Bob and Pam were Christian missionaries to the Philippine Islands and Pam was experiencing a difficult time of pregnancy. As her time progressed, Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection that enters the intestines through contaminated beverage or food. This type of infection sent Pam into a coma.
To revive Pam from the coma, the medical doctors were forced to administer strong medicines, medicines that the doctors claimed had done irreversible damage to the baby boy that Pam was carrying. The doctors strongly insisted that Pam abort the baby.
But Bob and Pam’s Christian faith would not allow them to consent to an abortion of their baby boy. The decision to keep the child was made knowing full well that their baby boy could be born with multiple deformities. The pregnancy was so difficult that Pam spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed before the baby boy was born in August, 1987.
But the doctors were wrong. The baby was not only born healthy, but this past Fall, the young son of Bob and Pam Tebow passed for twenty nine touchdowns and ran for twenty two touchdowns as Tim Tebow quarterbacked the Florida Gators on his way to becoming the youngest Heisman Trophy winner in the history of the award.
My normal course of a sermon is to expound a text of Scripture. I know that God exhorted Isaiah to expound the Scriptures line by line and precept upon precept. The power is in the Word of God. For that reason, I am always preaching our way through texts of Scripture.
But this is my tenth January here with the Maytown Baptist Family. First of all, we are Christians and from that concern as Christians, we cannot ignore the slaughter of the innocents in our midst. This coming Tuesday is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that threw out laws in all fifty states which prohibited the wanton taking of pre-born life. Since that time, we have seen the taking of forty seven million lives. Today, churches across the United States will be commemorating Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Join with me in considering the social issue of our generation from a biblical viewpoint.
Consider with me today, the biblical teaching on the origin of life and the biblical response to the taking of that life.
I. Principle of Life
When does life begin? Traditionally, most evangelical Christians had never considered this subject. Protestants tended to reject certain concerns, simply because our Roman Catholic friends had taken up the issue. In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention actually passed a resolution calling for Baptists to work for legislation allowing abortions in cases as flimsy as emotional distress and many other exceptions. During this pre-Roe vs. Wade times, this would have liberalized most state abortion laws. By the way, in 1980, the SBC took a strong pro-life stance and has not turned back. In 2003, the Convention actually passed a resolution apologizing for their pro-choice days. Brethren, I hope situations like this tell you that we needed a conservative resurgence.
Even people like Billy Graham, W.A. Criswell, and J. Vernon McGee spoke in favor of allowing abortion in some cases–mind you, this was prior to a real examination of the issue. The Supreme Court decision caught most Christians off guard, off guard in that we had not examined the basis of belief on the issue of the origin of human life.
You will find three views on the origin of human life. The Mormons believe in pre-existence of the soul, that God makes a great number of little souls, and then sends them to the bodies created when a man and woman conceive the child.
This view has been held in pagan circles for years. In 1970, the rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears had a big hit When I Die with lead singer David-Clayton Thomas who sang “and when I die, and when I’m gone, gonna be one child born in this world to carry on.” This song reflected the idea that souls could and were often re-cycled.
Many Christians have traditionally believed that God created a soul each time a child was to come into the world. No one would be certain at what point the child became a living soul. Only the body is passed down from the parents. This is known as the creationist view, not to be confused with believing in the Genesis account of Creation. Keep in mind, that Scripture teaches that children are born speaking lies, born in sin, and born with the depravity of Adam passed down to us.
If you believe that God makes a new soul each time a person is born, you have three basic problems. First, you have difficulty saying at what point life begins. Secondly, you have God creating a sinful soul. Thirdly, you are separating the body and the soul in the forming of an individual.
The third view is known as traducianism. This simply says that the parents transmit the soul. Frankly, this is the obvious teaching of Scripture. Take into account, that in Genesis 5:2 God calls the two in the Garden Adam. In Genesis 1:26 & 27, you find both Adam and Eve referred to as one.
King David testified in Psalm 51:5, in sin did my mother conceive me. Remember, Genesis 2 tells us that creation ended on the days of creation. God is not creating, but renewing the world. God has set in motion the forces of creation to procreate and bring about new life. The soul is transmitted, passed down from the parents, hence, life begins at conception.
We find abundant evidence that life begins at conception. God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah of his calling as a prophet. In Jeremiah 1:5 we find that God said before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; and before you came out of the womb, I sanctified you and ordained you a prophet to the nations. Similarly, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost, even in the womb of his mother Elizabeth. Obviously, the pre-born baby is alive and possesses a soul.
In Psalm 139, the Psalmist testifies you have covered me in my mother’s womb. Verse 16 says thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect. The 139th Psalm describes someone being formed and God knowing them, while yet their body was in formation. God knew the pre-born soul even while the body remained within the mother.
In Luke 1:44, we find the wondrous story of the coming of Christ to Earth. We know that He was conceived of the Holy Ghost–which tells you that He was not just a blob of tissue in the womb of the Virgin Mary. But Luke 1:44 describes Mary as being with child– not with fetus or with tissue, but with child.
While we understand truth from Scripture, I do believe that Scriptural truth will be proven out by facts. Today, surveys show that a majority of Americans are pro-life. This should not surprise you. When women are expecting, they see the baby with four-dimensional ultrasounds. When babies can be seen moving, responding to touch and even sound, when babies are formed with fingers and toes at only ten weeks, when we clearly see babies responding to pain, even a calloused person must recognize that this baby is a living human being.
May I urge that you carefully use life language? Please don’t speak of a fetus, but speak of a child or baby. Recognize that the child lives in the womb of his or her mother as a living soul.
II. Protection of Life
I trust that you see established from Scripture that the child is a living being within the mother’s womb.
In Psalm 72, we find that God honors those who spare the needy and speak for those who cannot speak. You and I live in good times. We live in comfortable homes and eat all the food we want. Financial stress means we might have to eat at home instead of going out to eat. But we live in a day when 400,000 folks in Darfur are being systematically murdered. Someone over here in the land of the free and home of the brave needs to be their advocate.
Today, the silent are being systematically murdered here in our own land. They cannot plead for life, may we plead for them. Psalm 82:3 enjoins that we defend the poor and the fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy. James 1:27 tells us that pure religion and undefiled is to care for the widows and orphans.
Consider with me the biblical pattern of our good deeds. Jesus has plainly taught us to do our good work without others knowing that we gave or did good deeds. But we also see that our good work is to be done primarily for those who cannot do for themselves. We are not to look for those worthy of help, but for those unlikely of help, those who are not attracting our help.
Think with me! Who will help the babies who are conceived in unfortunate circumstances? Polls show that a strong majority of people are opposed to the wanton abortion of the unborn, but then the issues rise about difficult circumstances. We then ask about those conceived in the hard situations of rape or incest. Think with me a minute! Is the child conceived by these unfortunate less human and less worthy of protection? Is a child less human because he or she was conceived in a sad situation? Do you remember Ethel Waters, the star who often sang on the Billy Graham crusades? Her mother was a young, black teenager raped by a white man. Aren’t you glad that this child was not raped? Robert E. Lee’s mother was a sick woman abandoned by her husband with a house full of children. Aren’t you glad that she did not exercise the supposed right to choose?
May I add one thought? We condemn immoral living, and rightly so. We should contend against sexual promiscuity and living together without marriage. We should be plain that intimacy is only in the confines of marriage. But when one is disobedient and is expecting a child, let’s be plain that this was not a mistake but a sin. But the sin is not in bearing the child. The option at that point is to provide life and to show love and support for the one expecting a child.
Remember, the issue is not personal choice. If the child is alive and fully human, we cannot take that life, due to the hardships of the origin of that child. Consider that we live today with an abundance of parents who will adopt, but are unable due to the shortage of available babies.
Are you hearing me? Today, in the United States, we have waiting lists of parents willing to adopt interracial babies, babies with spinal bifida, and other sickly and malformed children. I plead with you not to abort, because someone will adopt. By the way, one good avenue is to work through our Baptist Children’s Home as a Foster Parent. This option is open, even right now.
Less than two weeks ago, some of us walked through Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the museum of the unfathomable Holocaust of Adolph Hitler where between five and six million Jews, along with the retarded, deformed, Gypsies, and others deemed undesirable were herded into death camps and systematically killed. The entire world gasped when the horrors of places like Auschwitz and Treblenka were revealed. How did a great nation like Germany, the people of Luther, the people of great bravery and innovation–how did they find themselves consenting to such depravity?
First of all, consider that many were silent, even though they did not approve of Hitler’s actions. Today, you may not participate in abortion, but if you are silent, then ultimately you bear part of the shame of the slaughter of the innocents.
Secondly, the great German people had become conditioned to believe that some human life was inferior, unworthy of life due to their status or nationality. Have you fallen into this trap?
When you hear of babies burned to death by saline solution, you say that you would never endorse this horror. When you hear of a baby’s skull being crushed, you shudder and wonder how anyone could defend this practice?
But what if your daughter conceived through rape? Could you find justification to kill that baby? What if the baby was interracial? I know of one minister who claimed to be pro-life, but advised an abortion because the girl was white and the father of the baby was black. So, like the Jew in the Warsaw ghetto, the baby is sentenced to death based on the child’s race.
Do you find yourself justifying some reason for allowing the taking of the child’s life? Today, we hear much in the news about embryonic stem cell research. Some claim a hope that this research might even help in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Nancy Reagan is the wife of the most outspoken pro-life President in our recent history, but she has openly campaigned for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Some of our current crop of Presidential candidates claim to be pro-life but support this research.
What is embryonic stem cell research? This is experimentation with the stem cells taken from embryos–hence encouraging the abortion of babies and the harvesting of their cells. Sounds like Joseph Mengale and his Nazi experiments on those in the death camps.
First, let’s make clear that this type research is not illegal, but that the issue is that advocates want the taxpayer to pay for the research.
Secondly, while stem cells from adults and from the cords of born babies have produced seventy three means of cure, stem cells from aborted babies have produced none– zero. Perhaps this is why pharmaceutical companies are not willing to foot the bill for something that is so uncertain.
Moses told the Israelites that they had set before them life or death and they were urged to choose life. Today, as Christians in a secular society, when the world wants to count people only in terms of economics, may we be vocal to stand for life. May we speak out, may we support ministries of mercy like Sav-a-Life and the Baptist Children’s Home. May we teach our children about morality, but keep underneath them a rescue net of mercy in case of their failures. May God’s people fill in with mercy in a cold blooded society losing their consciences by the murder of basic life.
Life is precious and a gift from God. May we consider the opportunities we have in Christ as we minister love to those in sin. May we speak boldly against sin, but remember to express mercy to the lost. Today, Christ stands ready to forgive you of your sin, to bring mercy and salvation to those who are without Christ.
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