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I continue to be amazed at the number of people who tell me their pastor never talks about abortion or marriage from the pulpit. As if those topics were not biblical moral issues deeply entrenched in the Gospel. The excuses often given for this refusal to engage these critical issues is even more disturbing.
One pastor said “abortion isn’t essential to salvation and the Gospel” and therefore he didn’t address it. Excuse me? I believe the Bible clearly teaches that murder is a sin, and that unrepentant murderers will spend eternity in hell (1 Jn. 3:15, Rev. 21:8). That seems very Gospel-centric to me.
If Christians truly believe abortion is murder then we have roughly 55 million “legal” murderers among us today. Some of those women have no doubt repented of their sin and turned their back on the atrocious practice of abortion. Others however have remained unrepentant. These post-abortive women are in need of the Gospel in the same way every sinner is, in order to repent of their sin and accept the grace of Jesus Christ. I simply cannot fathom how a pastor finds this to be an issue unrelated to the Gospel.
Perhaps an article by Anna Higgins at Family Research Council commenting on a blog by R.C. Sproul Jr. can add clarity to the discussion:
“Recently, theologian R.C. Sproul Jr. published a blog post in which he explored reasons why pastors do not preach on abortion. He mentions that pastors often think abortion is a political issue, that discussing it will upset the congregation or that it is not in the Bible, and thus, should not be brought up in a sermon. Sproul carefully dismantles each argument and discusses the fact that pastors are often wrestling with their own guilt on the issue or just have no idea how to preach on the subject. He then notes, ‘Abortion is THE great evil of our day. The preaching of the Word is the great power of any day.’ Finally, Sproul targets the most effective message against abortion – preaching repentance.”
Even conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the fact that he believes abortion is an underlying cause to many of the problems America is facing today:
“I think abortion is at the root of so much that has and is going wrong in this country…but what…it all means, culturally, in terms of the sanctity of life, how that’s crumbled, I think it’s almost at the root of everything. And if it’s not at the root of everything, it’s clearly had a profound impact on our culture, our society, and our politics, I think in ways that people don’t even stop to consider.”
I couldn’t agree more with Rush and Dr. Sproul. Abortion is no doubt at the root of nearly every issue America is facing today. When the sanctity of human life is not respected for the weakest and most vulnerable among us, it is hard to cultivate respect for other aspects of society. Consequently we have seen a breakdown in respect for marriage, family, fidelity, and personal integrity.
Speaking of marriage, Dr. Russell Moore recently led a discussion with prominent pastors during the SBC’s annual convention in which he addressed the need for the church to be prepared to confront the marriage issue. Moore specifically addressed the need for the church to engage the issue of homosexuality from a biblical, Gospel-centric position. He said:
“[W]hat we have to say is, ‘Take up your cross and follow Me, which means that you have to acknowledge part of what it means to repent of sin is to acknowledge what God as Creator has created me to be, which this is not it,’ This is not the picture of the Gospel, which means that we have to separate and we have to start living out a life under the discipleship and accountability of the local congregation and to acknowledge that this is going to be difficult.”
To deny that marriage and the sanctity of life are biblical moral issues rooted in the Gospel is a denial of the clear teaching of Scripture. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His church, respect for human life is a foundational principle of Scripture. The bottom line is that the church should not be shrinking from these discussions. The church has the truth of God’s Word and should be charging into these discussion armed with that truth. If we refuse to speak God’s truth on these topics all that’s left is those without God’s truth speaking for us.
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