Friday, April 28, 2017
The Bible & Abortion
A Matter of Life & Death
“To remain ignorant of history is to remain always a child.”
1. “Church Fathers”:
210 AD, Tertulian, The Soul 25: “[The doctors who performed abortions] all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived…”
374 AD, Basil the Great, 1st Canonical Letter, canon 8: “The man, or woman, is a murderer…who takes medicines to procure abortion.”
390 AD, Jerome, Hexameron, 5.18.58: “The rich…so that their wealth will not be more divided, deny their children in the womb & with all the force of parricide, they kill [them.]”
400 AD, John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on Romans: “Why then do you abuse the gift of God, & fight with His laws, & follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, & make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, & arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?”
430 AD, Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion 23.86: “To deny that the young who are cut out limb by limb from the womb…have never been alive, seems too audacious.”
2. Other witnesses:
74 AD The Letter of Barnabas 19: “You will not kill a child by abortion, nor kill that which is begotten.”
150 AD, Didache 5.1-2: “The Way of Death is filled with people who are…murderers of children & abortionists of God's creatures.”
170 AD Mark Felix, Octavius 30: “There are some women among you who by drinking special potions extinguish the life of the future human in their very bowels, thus committing murder before they even give birth.”
177 AD Athenagoras, A Plea For the Christians 35: “[When] we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it.”
3. Ecumenical Councils:
Elvira, 303-306 AD: “If a woman conceives in adultery & then has an abortion, she may not commune again, even as death approaches, because she has sinned twice” (Canon 63).
Ancyra, 314 AD: “Concerning women who commit fornication, & destroy that which they have conceived, or employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, & to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill 10 years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees” (Canon 21).
Trullo, 692 AD: “[The woman] who purposely destroys the fetus, shall suffer the punishment of murder. And we pay no attention to the subtle distinction as to whether the fetus was formed or unformed.”
The Road to Roe v Wade (Jan 22, 1973) Timeline
1968, Christianity Today, selectively quoted Bruce Waltke:
“God does not regard the fetus as a soul no matter how far gestation has progressed….Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”
1970, Jun. Christian Medical Society, A Protestant Affirmation on the Control of Human Reproduction: “The method of preventing pregnancy is not so much a religious as a scientific and medical question to be determined in consultation with one's physician.”
1971, Jun. Southern Baptist Convention:
“We call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, & carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”
1973, W.A. Criswell, after Roe v Wade ruling:
“I have always felt that it was only after a child was born & had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, & it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother & for the future should be allowed.”
2016, Presidential Election:
80%+ of “white Evangelicals” voted for Trump. Why?
Nov. LifeWay Research poll, the most important issue: Abortion 4%; 10% among pastors!