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Exposure

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
-Ephesians 5:11

 
 
WARNING: Post contains a disturbing image of the recent baby remains discovered in Washington D.C.
 

The “Legal” Atrocity of Abortion

God is so much better to us than we deserve. For the past 50 years, baby murder has been considered legal in the United States by decree of the Supreme Court. For the vast majority of that time, the plurality of Americans (both pro-life and pro-abortion) have understood that the thing in the womb being terminated is a unique human life. Nevertheless, over the past number of decades upwards of 60 million babies have been killed in our nation and somehow, even for most conservative, pro-life Americans, it takes a gruesome atrocity to re-invigorate any semblance of a robust opposition to abortion.
 
The latest example of such an atrocity is the recent revelation of five (now, with reports of 115) murdered babies in Washington D.C., all of who appear to have been in at least the late second trimester of gestation, and one that seems to have reached full term and killed by a partial-birth abortion. The images of these children are shocking and horrifying—there is no mistaking these human babies for anything else.
 

Sin On A Higher Level

Now, it is true that something like this merely exposes the brutality and wickedness of every abortion; all 60 million-plus abortions performed in our country are murders, and all will receive just retribution from God. However, it is also true that some sins are more brazenly egregious than others.
 
The Westminster Larger Catechism explains: “All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others” (Westminster Larger Catechism, 150). The catechism goes on to explain some of what makes certain sins more offensive. “…if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience…if done deliberately, willfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance” (Westminster Larger Catechism, 151).
 
Therefore, the moral outrage that follows after such revelations as these bodies in Washington is appropriate—conscience and nature alike testify to the particular evil of those abortions. Although there is no difference in kind between a six-week abortion and one of thirty-six weeks, there is a difference in degree. A mother, father, and abortionist who take their six-week-old unborn child to be killed are guilty of sin and ought to be held accountable, however, the sheer brazenness and disregard for the plain light of nature that is necessary to obtain and perform an abortion, at such a point where the child is unmistakably a human baby, is sin on a higher level.
 

Exposing The Darkness

As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is actually a gracious thing on God’s part to allow us to see these kinds of murders take place. When images are made public, such as have come out of D.C., when the brutality of abortion is seen in such a horrifying manner, it serves to shine a light upon the evil of sin. It exposes the works typically done in darkness and allows all to see that these very crimes against humanity are being committed in our nation every single day by the thousands.
 
While it is extremely natural for Christians to see these images and lament as we point the accusing finger at our depraved and deranged culture, we ought rather be reminded that judgment begins at the household of God. The failure of the American church ought to be our first conviction.
 
Sadly, this is not the first time atrocities such as this have been uncovered; the past decade alone has yielded several examples. In 2011, Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist in Philadelphia, was exposed for performing illegal partial-birth abortions on nearly full-term babies (not unlike what appears to have been perpetrated against the D.C. babies). In 2015, Project Veritas exposed Planned Parenthood for its illicit sale of tissue from aborted children, and in 2019, the state of New York enshrined into law the Reproductive Health Act, allowing for “legal” abortion essentially up until the moment of birth.
 
What followed each of these revelations from both Christians and conservatives was indignation, a renewed rallying cry, and a momentary national spotlight. Yet in each of those instances, the energy was short-lived, and with this latest outrage as well, it seems the renewed interest of many Christians is already beginning to wane.
 

Extremely Consequential

Concerning abortion, the American church is reminiscent of Pharaoh. From time to time, God will provocatively confront us with the base wickedness of abortion and when He does, we cry out, lament, pledge more action, greater vigor, and deeper resolve to “rescue those who are being taken away to death” (Proverbs 24:11), only to quickly harden our hearts and return to the seductions of our comfortable Christian lives. We fall back into our typical routines and forget all about the horribly unjust brutality happening right outside our doors. The church’s lack of sustained commitment to the cause of the fatherless is not only a profound moral failure but is also extremely consequential to our national conversation.
 
Consider how over the past year, two issues have gone from being relatively unknown to becoming perhaps the most important conservative talking points: Critical Race Theory and transgender ideology, and particularly the discussion of these concepts with children. The national conversation surrounds these issues, with parents and politicians alike speaking out en masse against them, and as a result, bold policy is being implemented. While these issues are certainly essential and worthy of all the attention they receive, it is telling that social issues such as these are becoming, for the right, rallying cries and winning issues while abortion remains a second or even third-tier concern.
 
The transgender issue itself is broadly perceived as being important enough that any compromise regarding it is deemed by many as disqualifying for conservative politicians. Yet compromise regarding abortion is not only acceptable, but it is also political orthodoxy. What this helps to reveal is that abortion, in addition to being the sacrament of the left, is also the guilty indulgence of much of the right.
 

Full Criminalization

Abortion provides cover for the great national idolatry practiced by both sides of the political aisle: sexual immorality. Abortion is the blood sacrifice designed to atone for the sin of sexual immorality. Although incremental regulation of abortion remains a standard Republican issue, this is one reason why a consistent approach that acknowledges abortion for what it is—namely murder—is not even a part of the mainstream conversation.
 
The full criminalization of abortion would command broad, genuine repentance of sexual immorality, and this is simply a vice that our culture, conservative and liberal alike, is not willing to turn away from. Thus, there will continue to be tepid half-measures taken against abortion and virtue-signaling bills that accomplish little, and far too many Christians will be willing to continue along with this inaction.
 
However, this most recent horror show reminds Christians that abortion is not a morally complicated issue. While political complexity is a legitimate factor, morally, there is only one policy option: full criminalization. And this is what Christians must demand. Christians must apply all the pressure we can to require justice for all the pre-born, and not just those who survive the first trimester, can feel pain, or have a detectable heartbeat. All, from conception, are image-bearers of God and are therefore owed justice, and Christians ought not embrace, endorse, or celebrate any legislation which does not act in accordance with this fact.
 

Necessity of Justice

A further issue that this case in Washington sheds light upon is the perversity of our nation’s justice system, a name that is becoming increasingly inaccurate to describe this apparatus. It is telling that the FBI is indicting the pro-life activists who exposed this infanticide while the D.C. police cooly claims that “there doesn’t appear to be anything illegal” done to those babies. This is a case in point that man is ultimately incapable of establishing justice if he begins from any foundation besides the word of God.
 
The church ought to be the conscience of the state, holding our magistrates accountable to the Lordship of Christ and constantly reminding them that they are required to rule in accord with the law of God. When we support fundamentally unjust laws, we gravely compromise this role.
 

Let This Be A Moment of Lasting Repentance

Christians must take care that this latest atrocity does not quickly fade into ancient history, as so many others have. Let this be the moment of lasting repentance. We must be devoted to serious intercessory prayer against abortion, instead of the obligatory, half-hearted utterance that allows us to check abortion off of our prayer list.
 
We must not avert our eyes from the brutal reality of this barbaric sin, but we must see it for what it is and cry out to God and ask forgiveness for allowing this to go on and on. And Christians must flex whatever political might we have been blessed with by God to demand true justice, in submission to the word of God, and for the honor of Christ the King.
 
 

For more on these atrocities:

 
Luke Griffo is an Elder and member of Leadership at Redeemer Church of South Hills in West Mifflin, PA.  Click here for more RCSH Blog posts. 
 
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5 Responses to “Exposure”

  1. Curt Day says:

    If we want to get a pro-life message across, we need to realize the complexity of the issue of abortion without sacrificing any moral stands. That is because there are too many times when taking moral stands includes oversimplifying a given subject like abortion. That is often driven by emotionalism.

    One of the complicating factors here are the temporal causes for abortion–it is not enough just to call it sin. Sometimes a given sin is unprovoked while there are other times when it is provoked. There it is useful to study the demographics of those receiving abortions in terms of marital status, race, income, age, and so forth to see how society can reorder things so that the perceived need or the desire for abortion occurs fewer times. We should also note how many abortions are performed on women whose lives are put at risk by continuing a pregnancy. BTW, we should note that some abortions are performed on married women and thus the claim that abortion is a blood sacrifice for sexual immorality, a claim that by itself is ignorant of the complexity of the issue of abortion, is at least not always true.

    Also, if we are going to claim that we are pro-life, we need to be consistent because there are other situations where innocent life is unnecessarily taken. Those situations include poverty, lack of health care, a poisoned environment, gun violence, and war. Maybe not as long range threats as once thought are war with nuclear weapons and climate change. When we neglect to pay sufficient attention to those issues, what we have done is to discredit ourselves before the very people who need to listen to us the most about abortion.

    Also, we cannot afford to use legislation that reduces or eliminates abortion as a way of reducing other sins. When we think of Paul’s approach at the end of I Cor 5, Paul sought the purity of the Church, not that of society. Remembering society is made up of believers and unbelievers, we need to reconsider associating legislation that reduces or eliminates abortion as a tool to punish sexual immorality lest we associate our legitimate concern for life with trying to compel people to follow our sexual moral standards. We should also keep from expecting the same moral behavior by unbelievers, who are less helped by God’s Spirit as believers, as we expect from those in the Church. This is especially true since resisting sexual temptation is already difficult enough for many fellow believers.

    Finally, if we are to more effectively communicate our message about abortion, we need to see why abortion became a women’s issue. We need to see if abortion is, at least in some cases, the wrong response to an unfair situation.

    • Aaron says:

      Curt,

      God simplified the moral matter for us with commandment number six, “You shall not murder (Ex. 20:13).” Violation of this command demands justice. By no means is that complicated. Respectfully, I believe that you are complicating the matter when you excuse the sin of murdering babies as an issue of complexity. What is your standard? No matter the cause (temporal or otherwise), whatever the factor may be, abortion is murder.

      The pro-life movement, as an industry, has failed to be consistent in its approach to ending abortion. If anything is consistent with the pro-life industry, it is the fact that they are consistent with keeping abortion alive and thriving, while innocent babies are pierced, dismembered, and suffocated to death. The industry, as a whole, characterizes the mothers who deliver their babies to slaughter as victims, but it is the baby who is sentenced to death. That is baffling. Yet, the mothers and all of those involved with murdering the innocent babies, instead of being brought to justice, they walk away scot-free. If you believe that the issue of bringing those who murder babies to true, biblical justice is complex, or inconsistent, then I’d say that your standard of justice is off. Where is the justice for the slaughtered babies?

      A 15-week abortion ban does not effect justice. What it does is embolden and empower those in the pro-murder camp of slaughtering babies, to continue on in what they are doing. Life begins at conception and should be treated as such, and protected from that point. Babies in the womb deserve equal protection. How is that brought about? By criminalizing abortion, not by introducing incremental legislation. Pro-life incrementalism has only been good for hand claps, and pats on the back, while the murdering of babies continues on.

      Those of us who want true, biblical justice for babies murdered in the womb, are not advocating for legislating sin out of the hearts of wicked mankind. The only means of justification for wicked sinners is Jesus Christ, and him alone. Repentance from sin and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ justifies sinners, and reconciles them to a Holy God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Not one piece of earthly legislation can bring about that change. However, that is not an excuse for legislation to be absent of God’s justice.

      Again, abortion is murder, and that should be reflected by law. Criminalizing this evil practice, from the moment of conception, represents justice that is consistent with the Bible — it gives equal protection to those who are the most vulnerable among us, pre-born babies in their mothers wombs. They are amongst those whom the Lord commands us to rescue, and criminalizing abortion is the right response, no matter the situation.

      • Curt Day says:

        Aaron,
        Understanding the complexities of an immoral practice is not the same as excusing it. For example, the 9/11 attacks were preceded by decades of immoral American foreign policies. And yet, those immoral foreign policies will never excuse the atrocities committed on 9/11. But they can provide a context from which we can hopefully prevent some future attacks if we study and change because of what we learned from that context..

        The Scriptures themselves distinguish different kind killing from self-defense, to accidental killing, to accidental killing because of negligence, to killing out of passion, to pre-meditated murder. Those different distinctions recognized some complexities that can be involved when one person takes another person’s life. Those complexities come from the context of the act. And so if the Scriptures recognize those complexities, why can’t we recognize the complexities involved in abortion?

        You and I will never understand what a woman goes through when she is deciding between either carrying an unborn child to term or getting an abortion. We will never understand because we will never experience what they do. And not every woman’s experience is the same. And though our lack of understanding doesn’t mean we should excuse an elective abortion, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t listen in order to learn.

        Part of the rest of what I have to say in response is in an article on my blog. The link to the article is below if you care read it. I understand if you choose to read it.

        https://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/2022/04/what-will-new-abortion-bans-succeed-at.html

        • Aaron says:

          Curt,

          Thanks for your response. However, are you saying that if you understand the complexities, then the act of murdering a child in the womb could be acceptable? I would hope not.

          Rather than begin a discussion about how Scripture distinguishes killing (justifiable/non-justifiable), let’s keep it related to the issue of abortion. You mentioned premeditated murder. Abortion is exactly that. Think about it, most times, the mother makes plans to meet with the abortionist, and pays money to have her baby murdered. There is malice and forethought involved in the killing of that innocent baby — it is murder. The abortionist knows full well that they are ending a human life, without justifiable cause (whenever they rip babies limbs off, they put them back together, on a table, to make sure that they completely removed him or her from the mother’s womb). There is no justifiable reason for it. Abortion must be criminalized.

          We don’t know exactly what a woman goes through when she is deciding between carrying an unborn child to term, or getting an abortion. Do we know exactly what anyone faced with the choice of obeying God, or sinning against him is thinking? Unless they tell us exactly what their thoughts are, then the answer is “no.” What we do know is that life begins at conception, abortion is murder, and murder is a violation of God’s command which demands penalty. So, whatever the woman’s thoughts are, it is imperative for the church to stand in the gap and rescue babies from slaughter, and deliver the full counsel of the Gospel to mothers, fathers, and everyone involved in the evil practice of abortion, with the hope that they will be saved from the wrath of God, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

          Some circumstances call for greater compassion than others, but whatever the case may be, it cannot be compassion at the expense of God’s truth.

          • Curt Day says:

            Aaron,
            I’ve been clear both in words and with examples. Understanding a sinful act and the condition that may have contributed to that act is not the same as excusing it.

            But we also have to note that we need to speak somewhat, not totally, different to unbelievers in society regarding abortion than we would to anyone who claims to be a fellow believer. It’s not that we never quote the Scriptures and share the Gospel with them. It is that we are dealing with unbelievers in society and thus realize that what is prohibited in the Church is sometimes prohibited in society as well. And thus we have to speak to unbelievers in multiple ways.

            For example, would we say to a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or atheist that they have no right to practice their religion in this nation? Not if we hold to the 1st Amendment. But would we also say to them that they need to repent and believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins? Yes.

            So think about how that applies to how we speak to unbelievers about abortion.

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