In the last issue of Pass The Word (Sept/Oct 1996: Vol. 3, No. 4), I wrote that Christians have social as well as personal obligations to the moral Law of God. The Law provides the standard for our involvement in civil politics. When we apply this idea to our involvement in the abortion issue, we will be challenged to an even more comprehensive method for action.
The problem of abortion is a social and political issue, but it is also an issue pertaining to God’s eternal Law – Thou Shalt Not Murder. The Bible also teaches us that human life begins at conception. Abortion, therefore, is murder.
The problem we are facing in Brevard County today is not that murder through abortion occurs. The problem is that the community agrees, implicitly or complicitly, that abortion should be legal. The general public of Brevard County agrees with the Roe v. Wade ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States and allows an abortion clinic to operate freely.
God’s problem is not with abortion. Abortion has been around for a long time. The existence of abortion has been universal in all societies. But God’s wrath hasn’t been universal because most societies in the past have had laws against abortion and have tried to stop the abortionists. God did not bring His judgment against those societies because their laws served to try to stop this terrible practice. Those societies who legalized abortion and child sacrifice were destroyed in time by God’s wrath.
As the pro-abortionists are so fond of reminding us, before Roe v. Wade, abortion was generally performed in back alleys. This is where abortion would be performed -as are all crimes – if it were illegal. Back alleys are hidden. When abortion is practiced in the back alley, child murder becomes relatively rare.
The problem comes when societies pass laws to allow abortions to be practiced for profit. The problem comes when abortionists can lawfully advertise in the yellow pages and classifieds. Abortion in the market place is what brings a society under the judgment of God. Legalized abortion reveals a deep-seated lawlessness on the part of the community.
Under God’s Law, every individual abortionist is a murderer; he is guilty of a terrible sin. We know from scripture that abortion is murder. Therefore, the Christian’s focus of legitimate concern should be the law against abortion itself and how justice should be meted out in the civil sphere.
If we know that abortion is murder, then we ought to be able to answer some other questions:
1. What should be the penalty for abortion?
2. Should the state execute abortionists?
3. What about the mothers who abort their children?
4. What about the men who encourage abortions?
5. What about clinic workers and volunteers?
Yet there is little discussion in the pro-life movement concerning these questions. The discussion about the crime and punishment of abortion needs to be hashed out by the Church. Then we need to actively seek to enact these laws. God wants to see if we will pass laws against abortion and punish criminals convicted of breaking these laws. If we allow abortion to remain legal, then we subject ourselves to God’s corporate sanctions. God’s primary concern is not with individual acts of abortion, but rather with the moral character of the community; whether we view abortion to be murder; and whether we are willing to punish the murderers.
Our focus should be the practice of legalized abortion in society, because this is the focus of God’s wrath. When abortion is legalized, it testifies to the depraved moral condition of the community. It is the moral condition of the community that concerns God the most, not the fact that this or that physician is practicing abortion. God can bring judgment in eternity, and will, against those who practice abortion. But God will bring temporal judgment on a society that legalizes child murder. The local question – whether or not babies are being killed by specific abortionists – is a vital issue; but the primary concern in the eyes of God is the depravity of the community, and the trampling of God’s Law concerning blood-guiltiness by the civil authorities.
God’s problem is with the entire community. The community approves. Brevard County, Florida approves (implicitly or complicitly) of abortion on demand. It will not bring political judgment against those politicians who remain silent on abortion or who actively promote abortion. The problem is in the hearts of the people. This is the primary problem that needs to be addressed by the Church.
Yet the legality of abortion is not the primary focus of most pro-lifers. We are rather concerned with stopping individual abortions from occurring. We believe that the more “committed” we are, the more we will focus on the deaths of specific infants at the hands of specific abortionists. This is not the focus of the Bible. The individual Christian is not responsible for atoning for the sins of other people who are in violation of one of God’s moral laws.
In other words, it is not the Christian’s moral responsibility to stop every individual act of sin from occurring. Our primary responsibility is to preach the Gospel in such a way that a significant portion of the population is saved. In that way, we will draw a portion of society into moral compliance with the Law of God. As individuals are transformed through personal regeneration, the society as a whole can experience reformation. As a siginificant portion of the community becomes morally self-governing, heinous crimes such as abortion become less and less a problem. But not everyone will be saved. That is in direct contradiction to what Scripture teaches. There is always a reprobate element in society that will remain in rebellion to God and God’s Law until the end. And this is exactly why God’s Law was given – to convict and restrain the passions of the sinner.
It is each Christian’s responsibility not to regulate individual acts of sin, but to preach the Gospel and also to bring society’s laws in conformity to God’s moral Law. In this way, the preaching of the Gospel of grace will serve to liberate the repentant while the Law will serve to punish the Law-breaker.
What must be done is first to change the hearts and minds of the people concerning legalized abortion; then to enact laws against abortion; then to pass a constitutional amendment authorizing civil authorities to legislate against abortion; and then to prosecute abortionists.
The problem is legalized abortion. We must face this horrible reality – not only is abortion murder, not only is child killing taking place – but it is legal.
The issue of abortion is a civil and political matter. It is judicial matter. And ultimately, it is a matter of God’s Law.
Portions of the above article have been paraphrased from: Gary North, When Justice Is Aborted: Biblical Standards for Non-Violent Resistance, Dominion Press, P.O. Box 7999, Tyler, TX 75711.