In Position Papers, Sex by The Elders

The God revealed in Holy Scripture sides with the weak and powerless (Dt. 10:18) and sets Himself against those who would harm or take advantage of the widow, the orphan or the alien (Ex. 22:22; Dt. 27:19). He is the Father of the fatherless (Ps. 68:5) and those who love Him are called to imitate Him (Jas. 1:27).

Throughout Scripture, unborn babies are regarded as immature human beings, and therefore true bearers of God’s image (Gen. 1:27; Ps. 127:3-5) and objects of His loving care whose personhood begins at conception, not at implantation or at some later point. From the twin boys struggling in Rebekah’s womb to the unborn John the Baptist who leaped for joy at the approach of his unborn Savior, God clearly regards the unborn as His handiwork (Ps. 139:13-16; Is. 44:2). Babies in the womb are persons with legal standing (Ex. 21:22-25), covenant status (Ps. 22:10), continuity of personhood (Judg. 13:2-5; Ps. 51:5), and the ability to offer true worship (Lk. 1:41-44). Jesus himself demonstrated great love and concern for small children (Mt. 19:13) and pronounced dire consequences for those who would mistreat them (Lk. 17:2). To love children is to imitate God.

Because unborn humans bear the image of God and are innocent of criminal wrongdoing, the act of abortion is murder (Dt. 5:17). While all sin is deserving of judgment (Ro. 6:23), the sin of murder is especially egregious because it is a Satanic assault on the image of God (Gen. 3:15, 9:6) and results in a corporate guilt that defiles the land when justice is not pursued on behalf of the innocent (Dt. 21:1-9; 2 Ki 24:3-4). Abortion unjustly tears the fabric of love that unites parents to their children and sears the conscience (1 Tim. 4:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24), wreaking spiritual and emotional devastation on all involved.

Until very recently, the Christian Church has strongly and uniformly opposed abortion. The Didache, a first century summary of Christian ethics, explicitly prohibits abortion and infanticide. And the early Church was known throughout the Roman Empire for its rescue and adoption of unwanted infants abandoned and left to die of exposure.

Therefore, we oppose taking unborn human life by any means including the various types of abortive procedures, the use of the so-called morning after pill, or the use of abortifacients. This includes aborting babies that are the result of rape and incest, those that have been deemed non-viable, and those whose race, sex or physical and/or mental capabilities are not to the parents’ liking.

In our fallen world, parents and doctors often face difficult ethical dilemmas regarding pregnancies that immediately threaten the life of a mother. Such dilemmas should be met with wisdom and compassionate pastoral care by the Church as she urges both parents and doctors to do all they can to preserve life, not take it.

Further, we oppose all local and national entities that promote and provide abortion services. At the same time, we praise those organizations that promote the cause of the unborn and that provide support and services for men and women who are grappling with the challenges and decisions attendant to unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancies or who are suffering from the guilt of having taken an innocent human life (1 John 3:18; Ro. 12:15). Additionally, we applaud the people and organizations laboring to expose the wickedness and extent of the abortion industry (Eph. 5:11).

While applauding most efforts to protect the unborn, we abhor the violence of anti-abortion vigilantes who are willing to destroy property and even to take life in their attempt to oppose this sin. We eschew the weapons of the flesh, wielding instead with the weapons of the Spirit (2 Cor. 10:4): Gospel preaching (2 Tim. 3:2-3), psalm-singing/corporate worship (Ps. 29; 2 Chron. 20:20-22), prayer (Mat. 5:44, Eph.6:18), apologetic discussion (1 Pet. 3:15-16; 2 Cor. 10:5-6), as well as peaceful protest and civil disobedience (Ex. 1:17; Dan. 3:16-18, 6:10).

In conclusion, we oppose the sin of abortion for love’s sake: love for God, love for the unborn, love for the parents, and love for the nations languishing under the curse of this heinous sin (Rom 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Dt. 21:1-9). We pray for wisdom to engage our unbelieving culture winsomely, resolutely and decisively. And we pray for grace to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:14-15) to our brothers and sisters in other churches and denominations currently thinking through, or rethinking, what God has revealed about the preciousness of human life before and after birth (Ps. 139:1-16).

*Heavily drawn from CREC Knox Presbytery Memorial on Abortion