UPDATED 1/14/2014: video, bulletin insert, and more at the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
UPDATE (1/21/2012): In addition to the resources listed below, a great new resource became available this past year: the 180 Movie. You can click here to view a short trailer, or watch the whole movie below (about 30 minutes long, and they go by fast; very gripping film). You might also consider obtaining DVD copies to give away to church members or to use as outreach (more ideas here). The video not only deals with the abortion issue and the absolute evil of abortion, but with the gospel and the only way to be right to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
I also came across this free e-book (PDF format) by John Piper: “Exposing the Dark Work of Abortion”
Many churches and organizations will be recognizing January 19, 2014 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day (a practice which originated in 1984 – see here). This is a worthy topic any time of year, but it has been traditionally observed on the third Sunday of January, to coincide with the timing of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which was made on January 22.
We should think about issues of the sanctity of human life, abortion, and euthanasia through the lens of Scripture, not missing the relevance that the holiness of God, the dignity of mankind as God’s image-bearers, and justice and righteousness bring to bear upon the issues.
Steve Baker, pastor of Coeburn Presbyterian Church in Coeburn, Virginia, and executive director of Abortion Alternatives and Crisis Pregnancy Center until 2012 (a local ministry; see website at http://aacpc.org) spoke to one of our CAPS classes about the significance of this day and the importance of remembering it. He also spoke about some of the passages he had preached from (the following is adapted from his own words), such as:
- Psalm 139:13-16 – from that marvelous chapter where David is talking about all the Lord’s blessings in his life You are intimately acquainted with all my ways, You know what I am going to say before I say it. Where can I go from Your presence or flee from Your Spirit? Wherever I go, You’re there — and then without a break says, “Oh, by the way, You were weaving me together in my mother’s womb,” as if what You were doing in my mother’s womb was just as much a part of my life as what You’re doing now. He sees that his life before birth as a focus of the Lord’s work in his life.
- Isaiah and Jeremiah and the apostle Paul in Galatians 1 – all 3 indicate they were called and set apart for their tasks even from their mothers’ wombs. And again, you string all these together and it doesn’t sound like the Lord is talking about an undifferentiated mass of cells or a potential person, but a human being with plans and a purpose and a role already set apart.
- I have used the passages linked together from Luke 1. You’ve got that intriguing passage, verse 15, speaking about how John the Baptist – he would be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb, and then his mother carrying him meets Mary carrying Jesus. She says the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And those last two words, put there by the Holy Spirit, are telling us that there was emotion or some measure of comprehension behind the lurching in the womb. It wasn’t like an instinctive reaction to someone slamming the door. There was some very mysterious understanding — that’s a marvelous one.
- Ephesians 5:11 calls us to not just to not participate in the deeds of darkness, but to expose. Sometimes I wish he had stopped at don’t participate, but he adds, part of our calling is exposing the deeds of darkness.
- Proverbs 6:16-19 – things the Lord hates – includes hands that shed innocent blood
- Prov 8:36 “all those who hate me love death” – that’s an interesting way of looking at it – nobody would admit loving death, but part of being separated from Christ and totally in a lost and godless state, they tend to be drawn to things that are deadly – practices – personally as well as policies that are deadly in a culture.
- Proverbs 14:34 – righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people
- I’ve preached from passages in Jeremiah. Jeremiah speaks of the people of that day as those who didn’t know how to blush, had lost all sense of moral absolutes, and so no sense of embarrassment. It wasn’t a physical problem, it was their whole attitude about sin and the holiness of the Lord.
There are many other passages that could be used to highlight a focus on sanctity of life, such as Exodus 20:13 (forbidding murder), Exodus 21:22-25 (case law for a situation where a pregnant woman is struck and delivers early or miscarries as a result), Proverbs 31:8 (speaking up for the oppressed who cannot speak for themselves).
Here are some other resources to help educate pastors and churches about these issues and some good example of preaching on the topic (including other texts than those mentioned above):
- Abort 73 (abortion unfiltered)
- Answers in Genesis – abortion and euthanasia
- Desiring God – topic: abortion
- Desiring God – Sanctity of Life Sunday sermons
- Eternal Perspective Ministries – tag: prolife
- Eternal Perspective Ministries – tag: abortion
- An inexpensive booklet by Peter Barnes, “Open Your Mouth for the Dumb”: Abortion and the Christian (title taken from Proverbs 31:8)
- Randy Alcorn, ProLife Answer to ProChoice Arguments