Life

It was a wonderful day, Friday the 24th of June, 2022. The U.S. Supreme Court’s majority decision that the Roe v Wade judgement of 1973 claiming abortion was a constitutional right, was overturned. Now abortion’s legality will be determined by each state. Here is God’s reward for those many people’s love, diligence, prayer, generosity and care for the most vulnerable human beings on the planet. What a day! What a victory! But now the fallout – attacks on churches, organisations and individuals. The media is not reporting on attacks that have already been made. One alternative media outlet has named a group called “Jane’s Revenge” which has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks. Attacks, though, there are and more may be on the way. Will the living innocent be protected by law enforcers?

Going back in time, how did abortion as an accepted norm get off the ground? You would think that in a more naturally conservative era abortion would have had no chance of being so widely accepted and available by and in the culture. But here we find ourselves, 50 years after the sexual revolution, now facing brutish opposition for defending the innocent, mainly for those brave people on the frontlines. Two facts to note: life begins at conception and life being viable, or not, outside of the womb does not deserve to be an issue. If it is an issue, it places even more responsibility and culpability on the mother, that she should be protecting her baby’s life while it is not viable without her body’s protection. Women speaking about rights over their own bodies when two bodies are involved is doublethink. It makes no sense. We are not meant to ask the glaring question, “Are there not two human beings implicated in your pregnancy?” No, we repeat the mantra that she has every right over her own body.

So the question deserves asking, how did all of this cultural corruption gain traction? Following is a partial but important explanation. Back in 1967, a group of mainly Protestant, along with a few Catholic, clergy and some liberal rabbis formed a network, the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion (CCS). It began in New York City and grew to include over 2000 clergy across the US and Canada. A Time article commemorating the 50th anniversary of their formation appeared in 2017. The CCS advised women where an abortion could be procured, at that stage an illegal activity. They also lobbied governments to legalise abortion. 

“By the end of 1972, the CCS had helped between a quarter and half a million women obtain safe legal and illegal abortions from physicians. CCS members also demanded that their state legislators repeal abortion laws, and publicly testified for that cause.”

It goes on:

“Today I want to speak to The Challenge of the Sexual Revolution, or to The Use of the Body in Regard to Abortion,” declared the Reverend Charles Landreth on, June 6, 1971. From the pulpit of First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Fla., Landreth invited those present to imagine different situations that led to a “problem pregnancy.” Landreth prodded his congregants, asking them to consider what an unwanted pregnancy and lack of access to abortion could mean to an older married woman, a young woman who had been raped or a high-school girl “scared literally to death to tell her staunch Catholic parents and therefore very tempted to run to a quack.” That Sunday, at Tallahassee’s oldest church, Landreth argued that Jesus’ declaration that the first stone should be cast by those “among you without sin” was a “radical challenge to the Scribes and the Pharisees and to their conception of morality and authority.” Invoking these scriptural passages, Landreth protested against the immorality of Florida’s laws, which prohibited abortion unless the pregnancy endangered a woman’s life. Toward the end of his sermon, Reverend Landreth revealed to his congregation what they may have already learned from Florida newspapers in the preceding weeks: he and his colleague Leo Sandon had been helping women in Tallahassee obtain abortions.

Time

Let’s take a closer look at some of the language and concepts used here :

Landreth argued that Jesus’ declaration that the first stone should be cast by those “among you without sin” was a “radical challenge to the Scribes and the Pharisees and to their conception of morality and authority”’. So what was the Pharisees’ conception of “morality and authority”? Following is the full quote of the passage mentioned by Landreth:

John 8:2-11 (NASB) 2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]

The purpose of the scribes and Pharisees in bringing the adulterous woman into the temple and straight to Jesus was to publicly expose and accuse Him for not upholding the law (see vs 6). They cared neither about God’s law nor for the Israelites who were supposed to be abiding by it. Their goal was to catch out Jesus. He had accused them of hypocrisy which involved, among other things, rejecting the intent of the law.

Matthew 23:23 (NASB) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

The passage exposes the scribes and the Pharisees as being untrue to the people they were meant to serve and to God in whose name they supposedly served. This is why Jesus said:

John 8:7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

You may well ask whether the clergy of the CCS have read the passage rightly. After all, Jesus did mention “mercy” in the Matthew passage.  What about the words “justice” and “faithfulness”? How could all three words be used together? In the case of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus perfectly brought all three qualities to life. He did not just enact mercy. He also enacted justice and faithfulness (to God). Jesus’ justice can be seen in how He defends the woman from the hypocrites and His mercy is evident in Him not condemning her for her sin. He does gently rebuke her for the sin of adultery, showing His faithfulness in caring about God’s commands being lived out among God’s people. The John passage nowhere shows Jesus condoning adultery in the name of compassion. He tells her in vs 11, “From now on sin no more.”

Jesus sees that the scribes and Pharisees often SAY the right things but they have no intention of doing the things they preach about. They even have the right idea about the sin of the adulterous woman but Jesus is exposing their hypocritical motives. He is also exposing their lack of understanding that the law contained mercy coupled with rebuke, as Jesus demonstrates further along in the John passage.

Matthew 23:3 (NASB) 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.

To compare the actions of clergy involved in the CCS with the exchange between Jesus, the adulterous woman, the scribes and the Pharisees is wrong on a couple of levels. Emerging life in the womb was not a factor in the story of the adulterous woman. Ending developing, innocent life is murder because it is the ending of a developing human being’s life. God would never condone murder in the interests of protecting the “reproductive rights” of a woman. The CCS clergy are not acting like Christ in the John 8 story. Adoption was always an option, especially back then before the abortion industry had virtually banned it to make room for themselves by eliminating competition from any source. Helping of women in crisis has also always been an option and many pro-lifers have been involved in this work. Secondly, Jesus does chastise the woman. To use this story as the basis for assisting murder, and that coming from clergy, is a blasphemy against reason, logic and most importantly, God.

I wouldn’t be writing about these past events if it wasn’t still alive and well, even in your average suburban church. To a clergyman who asked in recent years, being either truly baffled or simply asking a rhetorical question, “What’s wrong with abortion?”, I say one thing; it is murder. To end the life of a developing human being, the most vulnerable of human beings, with profiteering by the state thrown in (think of the tax revenue from abortion clinics), is the biggest scourge of the West. From this wicked injustice alone has come many other wicked laws. You can’t create a merciless society and not expect flow-on effects into other areas of morality as well as affecting our understanding of God and faith. Our minds and hearts have become addled. In another instance in recent years, an acquaintance (W. V.) delivering a sermon in a church which involved questioning abortion was told off by one of the pastors for the possibility of offending some of the women in the congregation.

This is not a call for all Christians to be involved in the pro-life movement. We need Christians gifted in Bible scholarship, theology, philosophy, teaching, charitably working and caring for the living, faithfully pastoring, as well as those involved in numerous other important ministries within and outside of the church, all done in God’s name. At minimum, though, one would not expect argument against a pro-life position within the church. You would think the church would be a safe space for rejecting this wicked, evil practice. But no. The pro-life movement will be busy for years to come, both inside and outside the church.

Proverbs 14:34 (ESV) Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Author: ourworldourfaith

Where Christianity Meets Culture