A firm foundation: Christian theology & abortion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Presbyterians Pro-Life   

babyhandsmPresbyterians Pro-Life has been around for almost 4 decades. It is appropriate that we take a little time for renovation. A look at our biblical foundation expressed in this 1995 publication, reveals a distinctly Presbyterian view of abortion. It is time to build something new upon it that helps us to equip more Presbyterians to live out the tenets of our faith by loving and promoting human life in hands on ways.

The vision to which Presbyterians Pro-Life calls the church is founded upon the central doctrines of the biblical faith of the church universal for two thousand years. We have not introduced something new into the theology of the church by opposing abortion and calling the church to be a community in which the love of God is demonstrated in concrete ways. Rather we speak and act on the basis of the theology which the church has claimed as its own for centuries.

We Claim the Doctrine of Creation
The Christian Church has always confessed that the triune God is the Maker of heaven and earth (Isa. 45:18; John 1:3), and that all that exists has been made by him (Acts 4:24). We all have been fearfully and wonderfully formed by God—knit together with bones and sinews in our mothers' wombs by the loving hands of our Creator (Job 10:11; Ps. 139:13-14). We are not just chance happenings of the universe. We were made by our Lord. We were intended by him (Ps. 139:16; Jer. 1:5). And we, as human beings, are distinct from the rest of creation by being made in God's very image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 9:6).

Presb-quotes-on-abortionThe conception of a child is a sure sign that God has stretched out his arm and has begun the life of a new and unique human being created by God to enjoy fellowship with him. Will the mother and father as the family, as well as the church as the community to whom this new creation of God has been entrusted, accept God's gracious gift of a human life or will they violate God's commands and brush aside his arm, refusing the gift because the circumstances are adverse or because the pregnancy seems untimely? With the church throughout history, we affirm that God is the Creator of all that exists, and the creator of each human life.

We Proclaim God's Ownership of Life
The Christian Church also has always affirmed that because God is the Creator of all things, all life belongs to him. Its creed is that of the Psalmist: The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. (Ps. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26).

"The world and all that is in it is mine," God says (Ps. 50:11). Thus, when we bring our offering, we often sing,

We give thee but thine own,
Whate'er the gift may be:
All that we have is thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from thee.

The church's affirmation is in direct conflict with the abortion-affirming claim that, "It's my own body." In confessing our faith, Christians cannot properly claim that our bodies are our own property, to do with as we choose. Neither our own bodies nor our unborn children belong to us, according to the Christian faith. They belong to God, "for it is he that made us, and we are his" (Ps. 100:3), and we do not have the freedom to do with our bodies as we like or to rob God of those unborn children whom he is creating and to whom he has already given life.

We Claim the Gifts of Baptism and Redemption
The Christian Church emphasizes that we are not our own by its sacrament of baptism. When a child or an adult is baptized, the church affirms, with the Scriptures, that believers and their children are in God's covenant and partakers of his promises (John 1:12-13; Gal. 4:4-7; I Cor. 7:14). The promise of baptism is that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39). Do we then want to turn away from that marvelous love as if God has no interest or say in our children and what we do in regard to abortion? Baptism is never a private act, and it never concerns only the individual being baptized. Baptism is the church's family affair, in which we welcome believers and their children into the Christian community as brothers and sisters of Christ and children of our heavenly Father. At every baptismal ceremony, therefore, the whole congregation accepts that familial responsibility for one another (cf. 1 Cor. 12:25-26; Gal. 6:2).

The Apostle Paul spoke of our belonging to God. "You are not your own; you were bought with a price," he wrote (1 Cor. 6:23; 7:23). That is, we were bought with the redemption price of the death of Christ on the cross. And so, admonished Paul, "do not become slaves again," slaves to the powers of darkness. By his death and resurrection, Christ has freed us from our bondage to sin and death, and we are warned not to become captive again to the destroying, deadly ways of the world. We are no longer earthbound victims of circumstances, but overcomers by his grace. Now we have the freedom to live as obedient disciples of Christ and as faithful parents of those unborn children who are God's children, created and loved by him.

Cat Q 1-3The church knows that God creates human life for a purpose. In the Reformed faith, that purpose has been summed up in the first two sentences of The Shorter Catechism (Book of Confessions, 7.001). The chief purpose of our lives, it says, is "to glorify God and enjoy him forever." We exist, our church confesses, to praise God in all that we are and do and to find our joy in fellowship with him. All human beings, no matter what their condition, are capable of living out that purpose through Jesus Christ. The Christian Church throughout the ages has sought life and healing, and not death for all God's children. God creates the unborn to raise their voices with us in praise of God, and to enter into communion with him. We invite God's judgment by destroying those children in the womb. The clear claim of belonging implicit in the sacrament of baptism is a rejection both of the claim of autonomy and the claim that any child is unwanted or unintended and therefore may be killed with the sanction of the church


Read PPL's complete publication A Firm Foundation: Christian Theology & Abortion.

 

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