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by Mrs. Terry Schlossberg, September 1995

Abortion is a major issue of our day. The institutions of our society have reversed themselves in the last half of this century and there has been a concerted effort by some to declare abortion a "good," both for women and for societies. Even most mainline Protestant denominations have approved the practice in official documents. The current policy of the Presbyterian Church (USA) says that "problem pregnancies are the result of and influenced by, so many complicated and insolvable circumstances" that the Church "has neither the wisdom nor the authority to address or decide each situation," shrouding the subject in moral ambiguity. But whether it is moral ambiguity or timidity in the face of controversy, the silence is pervasive in the pulpits of our land on this moral problem of overwhelming proportions.

It is our conviction in Presbyterians Pro-Life that the silence of the many pulpits on abortion does not avoid the controversy of the subject. In fact, the controversy rages on, but without the moral guidance of the pulpit. And a much worse effect occurs as a result of the silence: those who have been involved in abortions have been left without the ministry of the spoken Word of the Lord. Many are without guidance and warning from the pulpit as they struggle with temptation. Others, having sinned, hear no opportunity for confession and restoration. The silence leaves them with a feeling of condemnation without hope. The silence encourages those who resist the notion of abortion as sin to rationalize the act, rather than to gain access to the means of grace. Many, many men and women have given testimony to the lack of the church's ministry in response to abortion. One young woman wrote:

    I grew up in the Presbyterian church. I felt I had no meat to hang on to and drifted away as a late teen. I fell victim to abortion three times. All I had was society telling me to take the quick fix and think about myself.

    Ten years after, and many Christian counseling sessions hence, I harbored great resentment that my church never taught me a stance on abortion. I guess I see why now--they were not really against it.

    As one of the casualties of that grave error in your policies, I cry out now on behalf of my three lost babies: teach your young people, and teach them why.

The church is not entirely silent on abortion. When, in our newsletter, we requested sermons that have been preached on the subject by Presbyterians in Presbyterian Church (USA) churches, we received no fewer than fifty submissions. In this little booklet we have printed ten of them. We have chosen them for their content and for the range of their approach to the issue. And we chose sermons that emphasized the spiritual aspects of abortion over the political.

We begin with an introduction to the subject by Elizabeth Achtemeier, who not only addresses the silence of the pulpit, but also goes on to help the reader consider perspective and content for a well-grounded sermon on abortion.

We chose a children's message to begin our series. It illustrates how simple and uncomplicated the message of life is, and how easy it is to bring the truth to little ones in a way that delights them with the wonders of God.

The second sermon is on the subject of "Safe Sex" because we know that moral standards related to sexual behavior are very often related to abortion decisions. The third sermon draws the historical relationship between sexual permissiveness and child sacrifice, and makes the application to our day. But sexual permissiveness alone does not lead to abortion. The mind must rationalize such a decision. The fourth through sixth sermons in our series address the power of popular ideas--ideologies--to affect our decisions and behavior.

The seventh sermon proposes a pro-life ethic for our day. The eighth addresses the wonder of what is in the womb and the value God has placed on that tiny person. And the ninth considers the blessing of children. Finally, the last sermon in this series was chosen because it uses abortion as an example in preaching on the restoration of sinners to God.

We hope that this collection will inspire and educate the reader. We also hope it will challenge more pastors to bring a life-giving message to their congregations on a subject that is taking a terrible spiritual--as well as physical--toll on the people of God. And finally, we hope that the collection will provide pastors with Scripture passages and points for their own sermon development.

The book comes to you with our prayer that we will hear more from God's Word on the subject of abortion from the pulpits of our denomination.

 

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