Abolish Human Abortion – Biblical Ministry or Radical Moralism


 
I recently stumbled onto this website and think it is right to say a few things about this coalition and the arguments they make about how Christians should respond to abortion. The site states:

“We seek to instigate discussion centered on whether or not the legally sanctioned system of human abortion-on-demand is just (and we think it is not…), to inspire pro-life individuals to become more assertive and actively involved in the adherence to and expression of a way of life that is truly in favor of life.”

Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) is a coalition, or a movement whose stated purpose is not necessarily to abolish all human abortion, but rather to “instigate,” and to “inspire” pro-life individuals to become more “assertive” and “actively” involved in abolishing abortion. There is no necessary connection between this coalition and the Church of Jesus Christ other than the fact that the Church condemns abortion as murder and so too does AHA. If you visit the site here you will learn more about this coalition movement.

Under the “Who We Are” section of their website, they link their movement with the anti-slavery movement. It is telling that the gospel is not referenced until you scroll down nearly to the end of this page. In fact, just reading the page, I was not sure if this was a Christian website so-called, or a religiously moral website or a politically and socially conservative website. To be honest, I am somewhat thankful that the link with Christianity is less pronounced than it is. I have referenced the aim of this coalition above, and now I want to mention a few remarks from the “Gospel” section of the website and then list the “Five principle tenets of Evangelical Abolitionism.”

This coalition claims to be a gospel centered society. I am not sure what “gospel-centered society” means. Does the AHA coalition claim to be the Church? They claim they are a “gospel driven” movement. The site then says, “We are abolitionists because we have been adopted by God.” There are many people who are abolitionists who have not been adopted by God. And there are some who have been adopted by God who may be abolitionists differently than the AHA’s definition of an abolitionist. I deal with the fallacy of this implication below. The group claims, “Our work has been biblically mandated and sovereignly ordained.” I cannot argue with the latter, but I take serious exception with the former and I also deal with that statement below. The site implies that their anti-abortion activities should be viewed in the vein of being salt and light and in the command of caring for the fatherless and bringing justice to the oppressed. The group makes several other references to social causes before ending its section on the gospel with this familiar proposition, “True social justice begins and ends with the Gospel of God.”
The five principle tenets of Evangelical Abolitionism are:

1. The work of abolition is Biblically Rooted and Theologically Orthodox. (We are theological)
2. Abolition is work of the Body and Bride of Christ; it proceeds out from the Church. (We are a work of the Church)
3. Abolitionism is “Salt and Light”: It is the visible expression of Truth, Love, and Justice in a darkened and depraved culture. (We are evangelical)
4. Abolition is Urgent and Consistent: We reject Incremental Abolition and the gradual regulation of social evils. (We are immediatist)
5. Abolition Relies upon the Providence and Sovereignty God: All we must seek to do is be faithful and follow Him as we leave the results in His hands. (We walk in line with Providence)

If it is true that AHA walks in line with providence, then it follows that all we need to do is examine if their method for objecting to and denouncing abortion can rightly be understood to follow from a historical-grammatical exegesis of Scripture. Given that these are the five principle tenets, I will examine the arguments in search of exegetical support for their propositions.
Here are the two theological propositions that I presume supports the five propositions (conclusions?) aka the five principle tenets.

(1)    Human beings are created in the image of God and created to reflect that image.

(2)    The Creator himself became a man in order to rescue mankind from self-destruction, death, and eternal separation from his Maker, himself, and his own kind.
First of all, the only society in Christianity is the Church. A society is not a movement and a movement is not a society. A society is a culture, a people. There are people who could be involved in AHA who are not even in the body of Christ and I would consider this a high probability given the size of the movement.

Second, the movement claims to be AHA because they have been adopted by God. Does this mean that anyone who is not AHA is also not adopted by God? If it is possible for someone to be adopted by God and not be a member of AHA, or share their views, then the cause of AHA is not adoption by God, it must be something else. I am adopted by God and I am not a member of the AHA, nor would I consider membership in the movement.
Third, the group claims to be “biblically mandated and sovereignly ordained.” Well, for starters, everything that is, is sovereignly ordained. We can toss that one out. However, the claim that AHA is biblically mandated is a very disturbing claim. This infers that the coalition is a requirement of Scripture. Moreover, this means that participation is not an option. If it is a biblical mandate to be AHA, then it is a sin not to be AHA. This practice would fall well within the realm of legalism. There is no exegetical warrant for the existence of AHA. In addition, I searched the website and could find no guiding authority for the movement’s existence. It appears that someone with a passion to denounce and end abortion went out and just started this movement. Where are the Church, the pastor, and the elders responsible for AHA? Where is their statement of faith? I would like to know what else they believe about eliminating social evils. After all, I am kind of fond of country music. AHA might think that country music contributes to abortion and, therefore it should be eliminated.

The movement claims that the work of abolition is biblically rooted and theologically orthodox. This depends on what that work entails. Some Christians believe the best way to counter abortion is to preach the gospel, all of it; To engage in evangelism and to be a light by living out the values of the Christian life before the unbelieving community. Does one have to carry a sign in front of an abortion clinic to be a Christian against abortion? I hope not, because I have never done that and it is very unlikely that I ever will. Does this mean I don’t care about abortion? No more than my choice not to carry a sign in front of pornography shops and strip clubs means that I don’t care about those issues. I have not written the first letter regarding human trafficking or the sex trade that goes on here in our own country. Does that mean I don’t care about it? It does not. To argue along these lines is fallacious because it assumes that there is only one way to show that you care about an issue. That is just silly.
Next, the movement claims that this is the work of the body of Christ. I could not disagree more. The work of the body of Christ is located in the great commission. The Church is commanded by her One Lord and Master to preach the gospel, make disciples, baptize converts, and let her light shine before the world. This does not require participation in AHA. To imply that it does is overt legalism. AHA takes a text, applies a faulty interpretation of that text, and then creates a command from that faulty interpretation. The religious Jews of Christ’s day did the very same thing. We must be very careful about imposing our personal convictions around how we to respond to moral evil on others.

The coalition claims to be salt and light. Is this what Jesus meant when He said you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world? We turn to Matthew for this answer. Jesus said, You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The command to let our light shine comes within the immediate context of keeping the commandments. In other words, the good works referenced by Christ do not emphasize social works. They mean living out the Christian ethic before the world. Peter says as much when he quotes Christ, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1 Peter 2:9-12

 Notice that Peter was speaking to the Church in the very same context of Christ’s command. He is pointing out the role of the Church before a world in which it exists as strangers and pilgrims. He clearly connects good deeds with avoiding lusts which war against the soul. If we expand Peter’s context we discover that he is very concerned with holy conduct. Hence, the light and salt argument that AHA puts forth is based on a misunderstanding of Christ’s command. While it may extend to caring for widows and orphans because this is indeed Christian love, it is entirely unrelated to the cause of exterminating social evils such as abortion.

 AHA claims that it is both urgent and consistent. The implication is that if a person believes that abortion may be moral in cases where the wife of the mother is in danger, then they are being inconsistent. This is a very complex issue and beyond the scope of this blog. However, if one could begin with the elimination of 95% of abortions now and move to eliminate the rest later, does this indicate that such a person is inconsistent. Of course not. Let me think about this for a second. I could save 950,000 babies this year and move closer to saving the remaining 50,000 per year in a year or two, but I won’t because that is being inconsistent. I think that a very bad way to look at it.

 Human abortion is a very wicked social evil. There is no question about it. It is the law we live with in America. Is it going away? I don’t think it is. What should the Church do? The Church should preach the gospel, condemning abortion along the way without getting distracted by it. The gospel is not “abortion is murder, Jesus died for sinners, place your faith in Christ.” That is not the gospel. More than ever, the Church must distance itself from even the appearance of being a political movement. We are not a wing of the conservative party. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. We are not called to end social evils! Let me say that again: The Church of Jesus Christ is not called to put an end to social evils. We are not called to end abortion. We are not called to end poverty. We are not called to end human trafficking. We are not called to end adultery. That is NOT the calling of the Christian community. We are called to make disciples! We are called to preach the word! We are called to live holy and to let the word see that holiness because it is the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We may or may not influence the culture through our sanctified preaching and our sanctified living. That is God’s business. The work of the kingdom is spiritual, supernatural, not social, not temporal. It is only in the sense that we make disciples that we are called to end social evil. It is a by-product of disciple-making.

The only way to truly end social ills is through a changed heart, a regenerated mind. That comes from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every work, and every ministry should ultimately be the ministry of the local church, under the supervision and direction of the pastor and his elders. The Church cannot afford all these distractions. We have serious work to do that has eternal consequences. It is clear, not from the condition of the world, but from the condition of the Church that there is more than enough work to go around. We must get busy equipping ourselves to serve the body, proclaim and defend the truth, and be what God has called us to be.





Comments

  1. If the church acted like the Church abortion would be a non issue. These bench warmers we call Christians and these new converts to Christianity most likely will not make it to heaven. We must do the work of the Church to be the Church. Those who fail to warn this sinful world of eternal judgment are sleeping sentries who betray the of cause gospel. Our Churches today are filled with fruitless wonders.

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  2. Todd, how do new converts to Christianity not make it to heaven? And how does one become part of the Church?

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  3. Great post. You sure did bite at fictional AHA in the back. What did the men and women of AHA say to you when you brought your questions and concerns up to them before you posted this.

    PS: It is sinful for brothersthe to slander brothers.

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  4. What is the name of the brother I slandered? I will immediately go to him and apologize.

    Is disagreement and pointing out public error, publicly, slander?

    I prefer comments that actually point out the fallacy in my reasoning or better, explain to me why I am in error. If I am in error, I will repent. I do not think I am wrong about my position on coalitions like AHA, but that is a real possibility. I am a sinful man and all sinful men are subject to self-deception at times. I remain open to correction. My Lord demands such from all His servants.

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    1. Mr. Dingess,

      A full response is in the works. Thank you for your time in examining what we've had to say. The breadth of your research on us was limited, but we all have limited time for such things, so it's understandable.

      I appreciate your stated willingness to repent once corrected. We will give you opportunity to do so, and your apology will, please be assured, be accepted with grace and gratitude both to the Lord Jesus and to you.

      Grace and peace,
      Rhology

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  5. I have no problem repenting of anything that I have said that is slanderous. I also have no problem with hearing a different perspective. The only thing I require for comments to be posted on my blog is that speech, even passionate speech of disagreement, be seasoned with salt. If cannot love one another in disagreement, then we are better off not having an exchange. The Christian ethic applies over here on this blog.

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  6. Ed, you quote them as saying that their "WORK" is mandated and sovereignly ordained.

    Then you misquote them as saying that *THEIR GROUP* is sovereignly mandated and ordained, and go off on a tangent denouncing that.

    Isn't that dishonest? They are not claiming some sort of divine imprimatur for *themselves* but for the cause of stopping murder.

    Why would you be motivated to twist someone's words like this?

    I could just as easily say that because you are arguing for a particular view here, you are endorsing your own made up religion, "Dingessianity", and are therefore not Christian. See how dishonest and inaccurate that is?

    Why would you want to do this? I don't get it.

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  7. Ed, first you quote them as saying their *WORK* is biblically mandated and sovereignly ordained.

    But then you misquote them and say that they claim their *GROUP* is biblically mandated and ordained. But this is obviously inaccurate.

    They are not claimining in and of themselves to have some sort of divine imprimatur. They are claiming that what they support is commanded by the Bible.

    And it is dishonest to say otherwise. Why would you want to do this? I could play the same game with you, and say that because you believe your views to be Biblical, you are actually claiming to be a prophet or pope of some sort, and that therefore you are really making up your own religion, "Dingessianity". But of course that is a non-sequitur. It would be dishonest and inaccurate.

    So why would you take this course? I don't understand why you would do something like this.

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  8. Dr Dingess, is there a reason why you haven't published my comment with the link to our reply?

    If you haven't gotten to it yet, that's fine. I'm just wondering.

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  9. Hello Ed,

    I've contacted some people involved with the AHA organization and they said that preaching the gospel and loving your neighbor are not mutually exclusive. They say that they want to fight against abortion because they want to show love towards their neighbor.

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    1. The problem with this perspective is that it accuses those of us who do NOT preach at abortion clinics of NOT loving our neighbors. One does not have to preach at an abortion clinic in order to love their neighbor.

      The deeper problem here is the legalism this inserts. By narrowly defining love in this way, AHA now sends the strong signal that you MUST oppose abortion in precisely this way or love your neighbor by engaging in this specific action. That is patently false and highly legalistic.

      Another huge issue with AHA is its very loose connection with the Church. At one point, they were a parachurch ministry claiming they were going to hold the church accountable. That is precisely reverse from what the biblical order is.

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  11. Your obviously confused about the entire situation a.d have probably heard things from others. Contact the man who wrote the website and have a conversation with him instead of saying these things. Your not being helpful.

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  12. Your obviously confused about the entire situation a.d have probably heard things from others. Contact the man who wrote the website and have a conversation with him instead of saying these things. Your not being helpful.

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    1. I am not mistaken unless he has had a change of heart over the last couple of years. "Being helpful" is dependent on how one views the subject matter.

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    2. And I did go back and forth with him and his clan way back when. It was a pretty big dust up. I stand by my perspective.

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  13. #TRussellHunter doesn't speak for me. I am still an abolitionist, but no, I no longer endorse or support AHA. I believe in the ideology, but there are methodologies being promoted and considered that preclude me from being associated with them anymore. Do you understand how Abolish Human Abortion "feels" about ALL Catholics? (Remember I'm not Catholic, I just know when people cause dissension. Along with many other pro-lifers, I noticed the emergence of “Abolish Human Abortion” (#AHA) around 2012. Their graphic design was fantastic, their slogans catchy, and their focus on churches warranted. However, this group has increasingly attempted to make a number of outlandish historical claims, including that they are “abolitionists” while those of us in the pro-life movement are not. T. Russell Hunter, is the arbiter of who is and who is not an abolitionist, as evidenced by constant postings describing who is, and who is not, an abolitionist. This is nothing short of absurd, and seems to be based on a rather infantile understanding of the complexities of the long history of abolition across the globe. AHA does more harm to the pro-life movement than good. I appreciate AHA’s zeal and compassion to be a voice for the voiceless, I'm just not a fan of segregating pro-lifers. What the pro-life movement needs now, more than ever, is unity among its supporters and proponents., even ones who disagree with us on spiritual issues. I have participated in enough discussions and observed enough practices to determine I will no longer be continuing the conversation with AHA and those most deeply entrenched in the movement… #AbolishHumanAbortion

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  14. #TRussellHunter doesn't speak for me. I am still an abolitionist, but no, I no longer endorse or support AHA. I believe in the ideology, but there are methodologies being promoted and considered that preclude me from being associated with them anymore. Do you understand how Abolish Human Abortion "feels" about ALL Catholics? (Remember I'm not Catholic, I just know when people cause dissension. Along with many other pro-lifers, I noticed the emergence of “Abolish Human Abortion” (#AHA) around 2012. Their graphic design was fantastic, their slogans catchy, and their focus on churches warranted. However, this group has increasingly attempted to make a number of outlandish historical claims, including that they are “abolitionists” while those of us in the pro-life movement are not. T. Russell Hunter, is the arbiter of who is and who is not an abolitionist, as evidenced by constant postings describing who is, and who is not, an abolitionist. This is nothing short of absurd, and seems to be based on a rather infantile understanding of the complexities of the long history of abolition across the globe. AHA does more harm to the pro-life movement than good. I appreciate AHA’s zeal and compassion to be a voice for the voiceless, I'm just not a fan of segregating pro-lifers. What the pro-life movement needs now, more than ever, is unity among its supporters and proponents., even ones who disagree with us on spiritual issues. I have participated in enough discussions and observed enough practices to determine I will no longer be continuing the conversation with AHA and those most deeply entrenched in the movement… #AbolishHumanAbortion

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    1. I agree with your comments regarding AHA. The only qualifier I would offer is that the Christian Church is not called to rally around a particular social issue or any one moral issue like abortion. The Church rallies around wrist and because Christ is her LORD, she expresses his revealed truth about such issues. The gospel itself is our rallying cry. Nice summary of AHA.

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  15. Thank you for such a well thought out article exposing the logical and theological errors of the AHA. This is the best refutation of a renegade, emotionally based, divisive movement. I work with a pregnancy center that is constantly being chastised and harassed by the AHA. I have also seen them picket and Harrass several area churches that work tirelessly against abortion and obey the great commission with loving hearts. Thanks again for equipping with this biblical argumrpent exposing the AHA and its many errors and inconsistencies.

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