In 1973, the United States Supreme Court decision in the famous Roe vs. Wade case made abortion legal. Christians across America were horrified, considering abortion to be murder. Bible-believers took the 10 Commandments seriously, and the 6th commandment clearly states, “Thou shalt not kill.” Christian pastors and church leaders believed their congregations understood that abortion was murder, and that no true Christian would ever choose to murder an innocent infant.
Fast-forward 20 years to our dining room table, where my husband and I were hosting several pastors and their wives. Two of these men had been pastors since the 1950’s. One of the younger pastors asked his older counterparts how the ministry had changed since they first began serving as pastors. Both senior pastors remembered that, in their early pastorates, they had counseled with families when a daughter had “gotten into trouble.” (That’s was the prevailing reference to out-of-wedlock pregnancy.) These pastors had helped families make decisions about where the unmarried woman would give birth, and whether she would give the baby up for adoption or marry the father and create a new family. (In the mid-twentieth century, women rarely kept their babies and carried on as a single mother.)
Many times the woman and her parents decided to work with the pastor to find a Christian couple who would adopt the baby, and these pastors had found such counseling heartbreaking, but also fulfilling as they met with adoptive couples. The question was asked, “When was the last time you counseled a family about an out-of-wedlock pregnancy?” After a few seconds, both men suddenly realized they had not been approached by their congregants for many years…in fact, only once since the Roe vs. Wade decision. The ramifications of this hit all of us as we sat around the table: surely young women were still getting pregnant before marriage! But we never saw them go through the obvious changes of a 9-month pregnancy. We weren’t asked to help them arrange an adoption. Why? The obvious answer seemed to be that, in spite of Exodus 20, in spite of doctrinal statements and sermon titles, Christians WERE quietly choosing abortion. For us, it was a shocking revelation.
Let’s face it! Christians are not immune to the facts of life! Christians are not immune to the impact of unbiblical philosophy and cultural acceptance of abortion. When an “unplanned pregnancy” occurs in a Christian home, it takes courage to practice what we say we believe! And what DO we believe?
*We believe humans were created by God. Not simply an accident from the primordial mud, human life is a result of special creation by the true and living God. (Genesis 2:7, And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.) Therefore, whether we consider a pregnancy to be a blessing or “trouble,” we choose to acknowledge the Source of life, and respond to this new life with reverence for the Creator.
*We believe the Bible is God’s Word, and thus we choose to adapt our thinking to agree with the Bible. Since God commands people not to murder, and since an unborn child is a living human being, then deliberately taking measures to stop the continued life and development of even a tiny fetus is a violation of God’s law (Exodus 20:13, Thou shalt not kill). In fact, abortion is murder.
*We believe that a Christian’s body belongs to God. (I Corinthians 6:19-20, What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.) Though the CHOICE to have sexual relations outside of marriage is also a violation of God’s law, He calls us to take responsibility for our sinful actions, and to repent. He offers cleansing from sin and grace to deal with the consequences. We choose NOT to simply compound our sin by the CHOICE of murder, but to trust God to be faithful to us, to bless us when we repent, to grace our unborn child with a full and rewarding life. We belong to the One who purchased us with His own blood on the cross of Calvary, and we choose to honor Him by obeying, even when it’s humiliating or difficult!
So, please don’t assume “That will never happen to MY family…to MY child…to ME.” Unplanned pregnancies happen to all kinds of people. Determine to walk by faith in the Creator who later shed His blood on Calvary to redeem His sin-cursed creation. Obey His Word, trusting Him to give you wisdom for difficult decisions and grace for challenging consequences. Your unplanned pregnancy is an opportunity to glorify God to everyone who crosses your path, and to demonstrate His grace and faithfulness to His very-human children.
Devotional written by:
Mrs. Carole Vawter, Calvary Baptist Church, Watertown, WI
BFLW Board Member