Responding to 40 Years of Legal Abortion
Posted by James P. McGarvey , 22 November 2013 · 1058 views
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(This message was given at Pines Baptist Church, Pembroke Pines on January 27, 2013)
Before we begin I want to acknowledge that I understand that abortion is a controversial subject, and may be difficult perhaps even painful for some to think about.
Statistics would indicate that in most audiences I speak to there will be individuals whose lives have been touched by a abortion. I want you to know that I am aware of that.
Perhaps you have had an abortion or in some way were a participant in an abortion. You pressured a girlfriend wife, daughter, granddaughter or niece into having an abortion. Perhaps you paid for an abortion. Or you have lost a child, a brother or sister, grandchild niece or nephew to abortion.
As followers of Jesus Christ we must be willing to address this subject from the authority of Scripture. But, as we take this journey we must do so in the context of two very important Biblical truths.
Let me illustrate it this way. (SLIDE 2) There are two things a train must have to safely reach its destination. Two tracks. Two tracks that run parallel to each other all the way to its destination. A train will go nowhere without riding on both tracks at the same time all the way to the end of the rail line.
In the same way, we must communicate what God says about abortion in the context of God's grace and God's truth. You see, theologically grace and truth always go together. In fact, they are theologically inseparable. They are like the two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.
And here's why this is important. I've shared this with you before, but it bears repeating. Pastor Randy Alcorn has written, (SLIDE 3)
"Grace without truth deceives people, Truth without grace, crushes people."
You see, we will never understand (SLIDE 4) God's grace - apart from God's truth,
but God's truth will always lead us to God's grace.
And as we begin this morning let me impress this upon you. If your life has been touched by an abortion, while you cannot escape the truth about abortion, nor some of the consequences of your abortion, please know that there is forgiveness, there is healing and restoration in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is a way to resolve the guilt, shame and hurt that abortion will bring to the human experience. And I want you to know that you are in the right place to hear that Good News.
If your life has been touched by an abortion in any way you are in a safe place in this church. No one is here to condemn or judge you. On the contrary, we are here to extend love and compassion and a message of forgiveness, restoration and hope available to you because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on your behalf.
We believe that the gospel is the solution to America's abortion crisis. We believe that as those who have been saved by grace and regenerated by the Holy Spirit we are to live as "children of light." As Paul says in Ephesians 5:8. We are to (vs. 10) "find out what pleases the Lord" and "have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather to expose them." As Pastor John Piper says,
"Another way to say this is that God calls his people to be the conscience of the culture. Our individual conscience probes into our behavior and either approves or disapproves what we do. So the children of light are to probe into the life of their culture and approve or disapprove what it does." (Exposing the Dark Work of Abortion)
This last Tuesday, [January 22, 2013] we remembered the 40th anniversary of two U. S. Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. These two rulings of the court legalized the deliberate, premeditated killing of unborn children at anytime during all nine months of pregnancy right up to the moment of natural childbirth for virtually any reason.
This plunged America into a national tragedy that has proved to be unparalleled n our 237 years of history. It is conservatively estimated that (SLIDE 5) nearly 56 million unborn children have lost their lives to abortion in the U.S. in the last 40 years. That's an average of (SLIDE 6) 1,394,000 unborn babies each year. Over116,000 per month nearly 27,000 per week or 3,820 per day for the last 40 years.
Several years ago I read these words from Michael Spielman founder of abort73.com.
"The domestication of abortion has made it tragically commonplace, so much so that we seem to have lost our ability to be outraged by it. How is it that even we who oppose abortion are not more overwhelmed by the fact that it is legal, in the United States of America, to tear apart the tiny bodies of helpless unborn children?” (“A Biblical Mandate to do Something About Abortion”)
The questions I raise this morning are, how could this happen and how should we respond? How could a civilized nation historically rooted in a Judeo-Christian heritage and ethic abandon the metaphysical and scientific evidence that should lead to the prohibition of taking the life of pre-born children?
I suggest to you the answer to that question is found in a radical worldview shift that has taken place in America in the last half century or more.
I have spoken here each of the last three years for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, making the case for the sanctity of unborn human life from both a Biblical and scientific perspective. The Psalmist wrote these stunning words, identifying God as the creator of what John Piper calls "independent personhood." Listen to what David wrote of his life in the womb. (SLIDE 7)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. …Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13,16)
Let me summarize (SLIDE 8) the Biblical evidence that we have looked at in Previous messages. The unborn are created by God and for God. They are created in His image and likeness. That is, they resemble God and they represent God. They are recognized by God as distinct and unique persons from the moment of conception. Therefore to take the life of a preborn infant would constitute a violation of God's moral law, specifically the sixth commandment "You shall not murder."
Three years ago, we also identified the spiritual forces behind child killing. Jesus on at least two occasions revealed the nature of the Devil 's work (SLIDE 9) In John 8:44, He refers to the Devil as " a murderer" and "a liar and father of lies," making him the Architect of Abortion.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, (SLIDE 10) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy," thus exposing Satan's murderous agenda.
As I shared back in 2011 there is conclusive scientific evidence that human life begins at conception. That debate ended years ago with the discovery of DNA present in the first cell of human development.
As Dr. Jerome LeJeune, M.D. (SLIDE 11) summarizes, "after fertilization has taken place new human being has come into being."
You see, whether you approach the issue of the personhood of the unborn from a Biblical or scientific and biological perspective, the inescapable conclusion is that life begins at conception. The unborn are distinct living persons while in the womb worthy of our protection.
In light of this evidence, how is it that abortion could remain legal for forty years? Just this past week, (SLIDE 12) U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, posed the question this way,
"Someday future generations will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with education, advanced science, information, wealth and opportunity could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient.”
To answer that question we look no further than the prevailing worldview of our nation's institutions; our public schools and state universities, courts and legislatures, government agencies, medical, scientific, and business sectors, and our arts, entertainment and media.
Our nation is embroiled in a war of worldviews. Perhaps you remember back in November we took some time to define what a worldview is. Here is Whitney Clayton's definition (SLIDE 13) (“Basics: Defining Worldview”)
“…a worldview is quite literally the filter through which someone interprets, defines, and engages with the world around them. Your worldview assists you in making every decision throughout your day.”
At the risk of being overly simplistic, the worldview issue centers around one question. Who is in charge? Or to personalize it, who do you recognize as being in charge of your world?
A conflict of worldviews has been in play from the beginning of time. The stage was set as recorded in Genesis 3:15 after Satan successfully deceived Adam and Eve plunging mankind into sin. God said to Satan, (SLIDE 14)
"...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
With that, the epoch struggle between good and evil began. It continues today as varying worldviews compete for the heart and soul of man. And Satan has been trying to kill the offspring of Eve ever since. He was successful in killing Jesus Christ. But the blood Satan shed on that cross came back to haunt him. As Paul said, (SLIDE 15)
"...having disarmed the powers and authorities, He [that is Jesus Christ] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
Satan's work of evil became God's provision for His defeat and the salvation of sinful man. So today, though one can identify many different worldviews there are essentially only two. God's and Man's.
There is a worldview chart - on a very helpful Christian apologetics website, that identifies six different worldviews. Islam, secular humanism, Marxism-Leninism, Cosmic Humanism, Post modernism and Biblical Christianity.
But there is a sense in which there are only two worldviews because all of the five other than Biblical Christianity are in conflict with God's revelation of Himself to man through Scripture and the revelation of Himself by the historical intervention of Jesus Christ in our time and space dimension through His incarnation.
So today there are essentially two worldviews vying for control of every man and woman and the fate of the unborn. One is a Biblical or Christian worldview that acknowledges there is a God who is the Designer, Creator and sustainer of this universe. In other words, He is in charge!
As Paul wrote the Colossians, 1:16-17 (ESV) (SLIDE 16)
"For by him [that is Jesus Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities --all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Friends that is a worldview statement. That is a truth statement that applies to believer and unbeliever alike. It declares in very unambiguous terms who is in charge of our world!
He created us. He sustains every breath we breathe. And ultimately we are accountable to him and will face Him in the final day of judgment. Listen to the words of Paul this time in Athens as he interacted with those who disputed the Gospel he had proclaimed to them. It sparked their curiosity and this is part of response: Acts 17:24-28 (ESV) (SLIDE 17)
"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man (SLIDE 18) every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’"
Do you see it? The Gospel is our worldview. That's why abortion is a gospel issue. God created man in His image and likeness for his purposes. And because He values each human life He sent His Son to the cross in an obedient act of sacrificial love to pay the penalty for our sin that by faith we might be forgiven, justified and adopted into His family where we will spend eternity in the presence of He who is both our Creator and our Savior!
Note the contrast, of the worldview that has become the dominant mindset in 21st century America. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, defined it over thirty years ago, (SLIDE 19) in his book, A Christian Manifesto (pg. 24). Note the stark contrast with what I have just read from the Apostle Paul.
"The term humanism...means Man beginning from himself, with no knowledge except what he himself can discover and no standard outside of himself. In this view Man is the measure of all things, as the Enlightenment expressed it."
In essence, you have the deification of man according to this worldview. Man is the center of his own universe. He has put himself in charge, accountable to no one but himself! It parallels naturalism that denies the existence of God, believing that matter is all there is. Therefore the cosmos, as someone has said, "...exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system," a closed system that excludes God, and his working in the affairs of man. As someone has said, Man is but a complex machine "products of valueless processes" and the afterlife consists of the "extinction of personality and individuality." In other words, when you die - that's all there is. It's all over. Life is void of any intrinsic meaning or purpose. This is the premise of Darwinian evolution.
As Dr. D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe have written, (SLIDE 20)
"Evolution simply says that the whole universe is made up of nothing but matter; that matter, time and chance -- the trinity of materialism--have brought all things into existence. Therefore there is no God." (Lord of All,pg. 24)
This mindset not only denies the inherent value of each human life but it denies any notion of purpose to his existence. After all, if man is the product of random chance he exists in the absence of any transcendent truth or moral compass that would assign purpose and meaning to his life. This worldview has had a significant impact on the fate of the unborn.
The Founding Fathers, in the Declaration of Independence wrote, (SLIDE 21)
"We hold these truths to be self evident…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Founding Fathers recognized that the Creator endowed man with the unalienable right to life - not the Federal Government; not the Supreme Court; not the state of Florida; but their Creator.
Again, Dr. Schaeffer, (A Christian Manifesto pg. 25-26)
"Those who hold the material-energy, chance concept of reality...not only do not know the truth of the final reality, God, they do not know who Man is...They have reduced Man to even less than his natural finiteness by seeing him only as a complex arrangement of molecules, made complex by blind chance. Instead of seeing him as something great who is significant even in his sinning, they see Man in his essence only as an intrinsically competitive animal, that has no other basic operating principle than natural selection brought about by the strongest, the fittest, ending on top. And they see Man as acting in this way both individually and collectively as society."
Friends, here is the reason why a modern, educated, highly advanced society can deliberately and legally kill its own off spring.
Some advocates for abortion, are now acknowledging that life in the womb is human. But in an attempt preserve their right to choose abortion, are sliding further and further down the slippery slope of those who deny the intrinsic value of man. Listen to the words written by Mary Elizabeth Williams that appeared this last week (Jan. 23, 2013) in the progressive online magazine Salon. The title of the article? "So What if abortion Ends a Life" Subtitle: "I believe that life starts at conception. And it's never stopped me from being pro-choice." She writes,
"While opponents of abortion eagerly describe themselves as 'pro-life,' the rest of us have had to scramble around with not nearly as big-ticket words like 'choice' and 'reproductive freedom.' The 'life' conversation is often too thorny to even broach. Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice."
She goes on to explain
"Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your -precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always."
An astounding admission. A diabolical line of reasoning. She continues,
"I can say anecdotally that I’m a mom who loved the lives she incubated...If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant, you bet your [expletive] I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion."
When man is considered to be nothing more than the product of a meaningless, random evolutionary process over billions of years; or the result of a cosmic accident; when he is no longer assigned the intrinsic worth given to him by His Creator; he, therefore, becomes expendable in the struggle of the survival of the fittest. Might becomes right. And when the Supreme Court gave women the right to kill their unborn children the inevitable has taken place. You've just heard the admission. The stronger, in every case the mother, has used her power to take the life of the weaker, her unborn child, allowing millions of mothers and fathers to sacrificed their own posterity to further their own convenience.
The denial of transcendent truth has come at a very high price to our society. When man becomes his own god, all hell breaks loose in society and the civility of a civilization is lost.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who helped to legalize abortion and who himself was responsible for 60,000 abortions before his conversion, wrote,
"The abortion holocaust is beyond the ordinary discourse of morality and rational condemnation. It is not enough to pronounce it absolutely evil....The abortion tragedy is a new event, severed from connections with traditional presuppositions of history, psychology, politics and morality. It extends beyond the deliberations of reason, beyond the discernment of moral judgment, beyond meaning itself....This is an evil torn free of its moorings in reason and causality, an ordinary secular corruption raised to unimaginable powers of magnification and limitless extremity."
(BernardNathanson,“Pro-Choice1990,”NewDimensions, ?October 1990, 38 quoted in Innocent Blood pg. 109-110)
I believe we are witnessing what the Apostle Paul spoke of in Romans chapter one verses eighteen through twenty-one. (ESV) (SLIDE 22)
"18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made [natural revelation] So they are without excuse. (SLIDE 23) 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."
And verse twenty-eight,'And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."
Do you see why this is a gospel issue? The Gospel has not failed abortion. The church has failed to apply the gospel to the abortion debate. I have said it before; I know of no greater issue facing our nation to wrap the gospel around than abortion. Just turn the page in the book of Romans to chapter three and verses twenty-one through twenty-six. Paul continues, (SLIDE 24)
"21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (SLIDE 25) 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
A propitiation is a blood sacrifice that covers sin, so that God’s wrath and judgment will be averted! You see, Jesus died in our place. He paid the penalty for our sins; your sin and my sin, any and all sin, the sin of abortion, the sin of pushing a girlfriend, wife or daughter or granddaughter into an abortion, the sin of paying for an abortion, the sin of performing an abortion, the sin of doing nothing about abortion. It matters not what sin it is. We can be forgiven and justified - declared righteous in God's sight - our sin no longer being held against us.
Listen to what Don Schanzenbach posted just a few days agp [01-21-13] on his blog, "Mission to Restore America" Roe v. Wade -- 40 Years and Counting (to 55 Million Abortions), Part 1
"The science is on our side. The supposedly scientifically-oriented secularists, are refusing to embrace the science they purport to use as their source of absolute truth. Given the trouncing they have received in these science-related categories, we would expect the battle should long ago have turned in our favor. Yet, this has not been the case. Secularists struggle on with undying emotion in their now scientifically disproven cause..."
He goes on to say,
"The unsaved do not have the power to act righteously. Their minds are at enmity with God. As a group, they will not turn toward the civilization of Christ without His Spirit and prevailing influence... Our only path to success is to preach and each Biblical truth as it applies to the abortion issue. The only tool God uses to transform people is His word preached. The culture calls it foolishness, but we call it the power and wisdom of God. God truly transforms men, and the societies of men, through the word preached. This then, must be our chosen road for the future."
And I remind you this morning that the advocates of abortion are not the "enemy." The doctors who perform abortions and their clients, those associated with the killing of the unborn, and those who defend a woman's right to kill their unborn are not the enemy.
Paul identified the enemy when he wrote of the unseen reality behind this kind of evil, Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
‘...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
You see, tragically those involved in the abortion industry are themselves the casualties of Satan's deception and schemes.
To the Corinthian church Paul wrote, chapter 4, verse 4, (NIV) (SLIDE 26)
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
This is how we respond to 40 years of abortion. Unashamedly proclaim the gospel. But we must also respond with mercy and compassion to the practical needs of those at risk for abortion.
In Luke chapter ten we have the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem was robbed and beaten and left half dead alongside the road. Three different individuals had the opportunity to render him assistance - in all likely hood to save his life. Two failed to respond to the victim. In Jesus day, the one thought to be the least likely to help did so at personal cost to himself.
Jesus then pointed out that the one who proved to be the neighbor was the one who had shown mercy to the badly beaten traveller. He then said, "Go and do likewise."
The Psalmist wrote, Psalm 82:3-4 (SLIDE 27)
"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;?
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Commenting on this, Pastor John Ensor, in his book Innocent Blood(pg. 12) writes, (SLIDE 28)
"The commands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally.
The innocents whom God has commanded us to care about are precisely the kind of people we are apt to overlook— and wouldprefer to overlook...
These people have little or no claim on our love or kindness. Their problems are not personal to us. They are usually strangers. But they are personal friends of our God. In their plight they have cried out to God for help. He has heard their cry. In response, God calls us to look for them and drop everything, if need be, to come to their aid. Lest innocent blood be shed."
On January 20, 2011, Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America issued the following statement in a press release.
“Abortion will come to an end, when the Church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end - not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion in America rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ.”
© James P. McGarvey All Rights Reserved