Part 4 — Compromise, Churches, and the Conclusion
Welcome to the last episode of this series about the Christian stance on abortion. In part three we have discussed two dilemmas that so now and then happen. We’ve seen that good arguments to keep the unborn alive are abound. Basically, there are no philosophical nor rational arguments for abortion that can withstand the test. That means that the emotional argument is the only one that is left, and we all know that our emotions cannot be accounted for good moral decisions. In any case, let’s get to it, let’s talk about the options we have.
Living in a democracy, Christians are free to express their values on human life. Nevertheless, we cannot force our morality on other people. This is why we need to walk down the legal ways instead. One way to accomplish a change is through politics. Our Christian ideals are clear—a total abolishing of the practise of abortion. This, however, will not likely happen very fast, and that why I propose a compromised stance.
Before I continue, I need to clarify myself a little bit. I talk about this topic with mainly the Dutch society in mind. Our country has many different political parties. And with many I do mean: Many! As far as I know we have only two political parties who are against abortion. Both parties are Christian and do not receive many votes. As a consequence, they hardly receive enough votes to shift towards a ruling position. Normally they need to form coalitions with other parties. In such situation they cannot ‘push’ their ideals. This, of course, is very frustrating. It is this situation that triggered me to think further than the ideals. Note, however, that a compromised situation is not my preferred model, neither is it for those Christian parties. But for now, I think it is the best we can do.
Good, let’s talk about this, shall we? We can find an example of compromising the ideal in the Bible. In Genesis God sets the ideals for marriage (Genesis 2:24). Later Moses allowed the people to divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1). According to Jesus, Moses accepted divorce because of the hardness of the people (Matthew 19:1-9). Jesus implied that Moses compromised the ideal in such a way that at least the divorced woman could be married by another man. Likewise, Christian politicians should consider a compromised agenda. That is to say, they can try to change the conditions and time-scale for abortions—focussing on the politically feasible and not on the ideal. This way, they can change the abortion law in gradual reductions.1
I know that this requires a big change of thinking for many Christians. And understandably so, compromise on abortion can be seen as agreeing with a terrible sin. Still, we need to realise that we live in a fallen world. In a fallen world we are bound to encounter conflicting moral issues. In cases like this, Christians have to choose between two evil options—choosing the less evil and thus saving a few is better than saving none. This tactic, of restricting access to abortion through state laws (in the USA), and offering viable alternatives for women in need, has been described by a worried pro-choice columnist as ‘death by a thousand tiny cuts.’2
The tensions are high in the abortion debate. Still, we really need to maintain our best behaviour. Even though you might think of abortion as murder, on which I wouldn’t disagree, it is better to control your tongue (James 1:26). Normally women do not go through abortion lighthearted, many of them simply do not know what else to do. Most women are, just like the adulterous woman in John 8:1-12, totally aware of what they have done. You see, Jesus did not preach a sermon or told her how bad the woman in John 8 was. The woman probably knew just fine what Jesus’ ideal was, still Jesus showed compassion, grace and love. If we say that we are followers of Christ, we should do as our Master (1 John 2:6).
Women, who consider abortion, generally have no reasonable idea of the alternatives, or they are strongly influenced by their surroundings such as their family or friends. It would be good if local churches become known as active pro-life communities. The topic should be in every church’s agenda. Education is crucial to help Christians understand the dilemmas that some women go through.
Many of the human-right issues which we discuss in our churches are about foreign dilemmas. While this is of great worth, we should not, and we cannot close our eyes for the problems of our neighbours that are closest to us. Information centres can be of great use for women who feel they are stuck. We can even consider to take up arms with non-Christians in setting up such centres. Really, there are many non-Christians that are totally committed to the pro-life movement. This may be considered as another compromise, but can prove to be even more effective in reaching women because some may have not much affinity with Christians.
In a society where one’s own choice is celebrated, Christians have a wonderful message. Part of the Christian message is the promotion of freedom of choice—freedom of speech and the freedom to choose any religion, school, healthcare centre you like—freedom should be one of the trademarks of Biblical Christianity as long as this freedom doesn’t harm others.
Okay, let’s wrap up this topic. We have seen that that Christians cannot accept legalised abortion. It is just absolutely immoral to say that the unborn cannot be seen as human. As I argued in the previous episodes, the unborn should be entitled for all basic human-rights. This is scientifically, morally, and legally undeniable. It is our duty to protect the unborn against any harm. Why? Simply because the unborn is a human-being. Human-Rights are there to protect, not only the strong, but in the first place to protects those who can’t protect themselves.
I also argued that doctors need to do their utmost to safe the unborn from harm in cases where a mother needs treatment for a life-threatening situation, such as cancer. It might happen though, that the medics unintentionally fail to save the unborn. If this happens, and it is really unintentionally I would not consider this as immoral or wrong. Especially in the early stage of the pregnancy the baby cannot survive outside the mother’s womb. This means that medics need to prioritise the life of the mother. No, that doesn’t mean they can terminate the unborn in that stage. Absolutely not! But again, if there’s a change in which the baby gets hurt while saving the mother, it isn’t immoral. The baby needs his or her mother.
It is such a blessing though, to see that the medical achievements are progressing rapidly. Last week I read about a baby, still a foetus of 21 weeks and three days, has been saved. It was born way the soon and the doctors gave the boy 0% change. Still, the parents wanted them to try and now the boy just had his first birthday! Glory to God, who gave us a brain to use! When we use our brains to the Glory of God we can achieve great things. In this last example, saving the life of a very young boy!
Anyway! This was the fourth and last episode on this topic. Now, I am very curious about your thoughts! What do you think about my rather controversial stance on compromising the ideals? Keep in mind: Saving a few is always better than saving none.
Maybe you have some good strategical ideas of your own? I mean, I come up with just another controversial idea of working together with non-Christians… Maybe, that is just too much for you, and you have some ideas of your own? You know, we do not live our lives in order to disagree and argue with everybody and every thing, while sitting safely behind our laptops. Nope, all major changes in the world came about because of pro-active people. We, Christians, shouldn’t be laid back! Jesus wasn’t silent, He actively obeyed God in every thing. We are to follow His example!
Do take a look in the description of this video. I always try to add all relevant links. Also in that same description you’ll find ways to support me… Your support will be used for making new videos and my work as missionary in the middle of nowhere on Madagascar.
Anyway, thank you very much for watching.
God bless you, and we’ll see each-other next time!
↑ 1 Cook, E. D., ‘Abortion,’ in D. J. Atkinson and D. H. Field (eds.), The New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1995, pp. 131-133.
↑ 2 Harris-Perry, M., ‘On Roe v. Wade Anniversary, a Letter to one Fighting for Choice’, website (03 July 2021, http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/roe-v).