Abortion is murder.
Before you nod in agreement, ask yourself if these are the words you use when speaking publicly on this issue. If you are involved in pro-life ministry, as I was, odds are the term murder is not only taboo, but expressly banned in public settings. You won’t find it in pro-life pamphlets or tracts, and you certainly won’t see it in “pro-life” legislation. The word murder has become to the pro-life movement what baby is to the pro-abortion crowd. Call it “ending a life”. Call it a “fetus”. Tomayto, tomahto.
Until recently, I volunteered my time at a crisis pregnancy center. As is the case with most pro-life resource centers, the center at which I volunteered was explicitly Christian, and the gospel was a fundamental component of my interactions with clients. In my orientation training I was instructed to share the gospel (without arguing) and not to use the M-word.
As in any Christian ministry, pro-life or otherwise, the gospel must be the first and foremost priority. The gospel is what defines us as Christians. It is what separates believers from non-believers. It is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). The pro-life movement in our country has softened its approach on the issue of abortion. Consequently, this softening has adversely impacted the gospel message in Christian pro-life ministries.
What is the Gospel? Repent and Believe
Abortion, like all sin, is a transgression against God’s law. Namely, it is murder. What then should be our role as Christians in bringing this horrific practice to an end? Is it loving to confuse the issue by refusing to name the sin? More importantly, how does this refusal impact the proclamation of the gospel?
As Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, he preached “the gospel of God” saying repent and believe (Mark 1:14-15). The message of the gospel is not to give Jesus a chance, as if we could take Him on a trial basis as long as it suits our lifestyle. Jesus is not a QVC product returnable with proof of purchase. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37)! Jesus is Lord and we are to be bold in calling the fallen world to repent and believe.
Scripture is clear we should be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). My concern is that by refusing to call sin by its rightful name, we are not speaking the truth but tiptoeing around terminology in the name of compassion. But is it truly compassionate? If a woman believes herself to be a victim in the crime of abortion instead of a perpetrator against God’s law, how can she turn and repent?
I have sat with many women who claimed Christ but saw nothing wrong with the sin of abortion. More times than I can count, I have heard excuses made for why abortion is permissible in light of circumstance. I have even heard from women the very name of God evoked in the acceptability of abortion. How do we combat these affronts to God’s truth with anything other than the Word of God? Perhaps the more pressing question to ask ourselves is this: What is our commitment to God’s truth?
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.Ephesians 5:11, ESV
As I write, I can already hear the dissent: “It’s too harsh to use the word murder.” “It’ll drive people away.” “It’s not Christian to judge.” “Jesus wouldn’t say that.” “Can’t we just love on these women?”
Was Our Lord and Savior controversial in His proclamation of truth? In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus had drawn great crowds yet risked their dispersal by expressing the immense cost of following Him. In the Sermon on the Mount, did Jesus not threaten hellfire in His discussion of murder? Paul’s commitment to the gospel was such that many wanted to kill him. He went out and confronted a wicked culture with the truth. Are we being bold in our preaching of the gospel as the apostles were? Are we preaching the gospel as Jesus did? Let us remember this: the cross will always be foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Our mission is not to tickle pagan ears.
We must be confronted with our sin to understand the need for repentance and ultimately the need for a savior. We love women when we preach the good news of the gospel in its fullness. Repent and believe! We can and should express this truth in love, but it must be the whole truth. Abortion is murder. It is the casual–and often celebrated–destruction of an image bearer of God. It is no different from the Canaanite practice of throwing babies into the fiery belly of Molech (Leviticus 20:1-5). Why is this truth clearly stated in the private offices of pro-life ministries but shied away from in public? While we bite our tongues, the world is dancing about the sacrificial flames.