“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…” These are the words penned by the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church (see 1 Corinthians 12:22). Indeed, this is a powerful passage of Scripture that is describing the body of Christ, or His church. I’ve been meditating on these words for many months and something struck me recently. Very rarely do we apply them to the topic of abortion, but we should. We live in a nation that aborts 90% of babies with a pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. To be sure, this number is so high that it’s clear many Christians are participating in such decisions.
As followers of Christ, this is not a mindset God wants us to have and it runs counter to the call of Christ in Matthew 25 to have compassion on the most vulnerable or the “least of these.” The apostle Paul underscores this point in 1 Corinthians 12:23 where he states, “…the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty...” (1 Corinthians 12:23)
Unfortunately, in our culture, we are not demonstrating special honor to those children that have genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome. As believers and as churches, we would do well to focus more on what Paul is saying in the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Indeed, every part of Christ’s body is significant and every part is needed. And no two parts are the same. By denying unborn children the right to be born, we are not only snuffing out a life that God is forming in the womb, but we are NOT treating that part of Christ’s body as indispensable.
As churches, it can be challenging to lovingly address the topic of abortion, but that’s indeed what God calls us to do. And that’s what he called me to do on Sunday, January 18th when I spoke at Hope Life Community Church in Shawano, WI for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
This type of assignment is not easy as there are many reasons why we as Christians hesitate to address the topic of abortion. Here is a brief summary of some of the reasons I touched upon in my message.
- The view that abortion is primarily or exclusively a political issue, when in reality it’s a spiritual issue given the numerous references to God forming us, knowing us, and making us in the womb (Job 31:15, Psalm 139: 13-16, and Jeremiah 1:4-5).
- Given the fact that there have been over 55 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land, the odds are very high that in most congregations there is going to be one or more people who have had one or more abortion. If pastors are serious about shepherding their flock well, they must provide an outlet for these women and men to grieve and heal from the loss of their child.
- The “My body, My choice” worldview has crept into the church. It is this very mindset that runs counter to the apostle Paul’s admonition of the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, where we are told that our bodies are indeed not our own.
- There is a perception that the pro-life movement has become so focused on the baby, that the needs of the mom are diminished or ignored. In fact, Care Net’s President & CEO, Roland Warren, was once asked by a reporter whether Care Net was for the woman OR the baby. Roland paused and responded, “That’s an interesting question. That’s like asking me -- am I for breathing in or breathing out?” I think you get the point. Let’s not fall into the trap of choosing who we are going to value more. God’s word holds us to a higher standard than this.
Unfortunately, persistent silence on the topic of abortion among many churches only serves to undermine the call of Christ to look out for the “least of these” and to view and treat each member of His body as “indispensable.” The remaining blog entries in this series will touch upon two personal stories that were shared at Hope Community Church as part of the Sanctity of Human Life message, and the response I received following the service. God used these moments to underscore the importance of loving and protecting each unborn child as a part of Christ’s body. He also used the message that was delivered to remind us that what Christ did on the cross, He did for the covering of all sins, including abortion. To do or believe anything less would be to fall woefully short in how God wants us to live.
You can listen to Michael’s entire message on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday below.