[In late 1983, I founded the New England Christian Action Council (NECAC) when I lived outside Boston, completing my M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The motto of the NECAC was “biblically committed to protecting the unborn” and my initial newsletters were entitled “Contrabortion,” written for grass-roots pro-life Christians. I started my engagement with the subject in a reactive posture, that is, defining and critiquing it. But being committed to the biblical foundations in Genesis 1-3, I grew consistently more proactive across the years. So here are the original unvarnished articles, as my thinking was at the time.]
Contrabortion, Vol. 2, No. 1, January/February, 1985
Abortion and Redemption: A Statement
John C. Rankin
Of the many moral evils facing us today, abortion attacks the definition and protection of personhood. It challenges the sanctity of human life ethic, and the justification or toleration of it renders us less able to make moral decisions in other contexts — contexts we must also address, such as sexual immorality, poverty, discrimination, pollution and war. Judgment begins with the household of God. If we, as believers in Jesus Christ, do not speak and act on behalf of the unborn and their parents, we call God’s judgment on ourselves.
Abortion is the deliberate killing of unborn human children. Like the nature of sin, it tears lives apart — especially of mother and child. It cuts off life, cuts off hope, and cuts off second thoughts. It tears apart the physical, emotional and spiritual integrity of pregnancy. Abortion separates origin from destiny — or in other words, it cause people to forget their own mother’s womb, and it denies aborted children the chance ever to embrace a sense of hope and destiny. It sets the strong over the weak, and does not allow the weak the possibility to ever become strong. It does violence to the mother’s womb, and violence to her soul. Sin is already tearing people’s lives apart — abortion is thus an active accomplice of sin, adding evil to evil.
Those Christians who ever allow for abortion, regardless of the reason [save the mother’s life when there is no other possibility], tacitly say that abortion can be redemptive. They believe that the death of the unborn child is even tragically necessary to “help” the girl or woman involves. Accordingly, their view of God’s transforming power and presence is limited, and their definition of redemption becomes sub-biblical, it becomes false. Their view seeks to advance redemption through the agency of sin.
This is to deny Jesus Christ, to deny the reality of his incarnation and resurrection. It is to deny the church’s responsibility to base “quality of life” considerations on the “sanctity of human life” ethic, and ethic rooted in the nature of God’s image. There can be no quality apart from sanctity.
Abortion and redemption. It is a question of how seriously we take the Gospel. It is a question of whether we tear apart what God has made whole, or whether, by God’s grace, we labor to restore to wholeness what sin has torn apart.
Therefore, our task as believers is to be agents of redemption. It is to educate the church and society, it is to prophetically oppose legalized abortion, it is to effectively address the social evils that lead to crisis pregnancies. These evils include sexual promiscuity and perversion, certain forms of male chauvinism and feminism, racism, poverty, and any other forces which oppose the integrity of marriage, parenthood and family. It is to serve those facing crisis pregnancies with hope and in meeting practical needs, it is to minister to women who have had abortions, and now come to Christ for forgiveness. In all, our lives must clearly evidence the redemption which is in Christ.