As Christians we wish to affirm:

As sanctity of life, born or unborn. This life is much more than physical existence.

We also affirm that:

The taking of life is evil. Our concern must not be limited to a concern for the unborn but it must also include a concern for the quality of life as a whole. Life in this imperfect would often places us in complex circumstances of moral dilemma and ambiguity where values ultimate in themselves seem at times to be in conflict with other values and rights.

We are called as people of God to take responsibility for our lives and the world in which we live. This may involve making grave decisions relating even to life itself.


a)      We affirm the inherent value of human life, both as immature in the fetus and as expressed in the life of the mother and related persons. The fetus is a unique, though immature, form of human life and as such inherent value. Christians should witness to that value by stressing that abortion is always a moral issue and can be accepted as the lesser of two evils and should be the most responsible alternative available in each particular situation. Therefore, abortion is acceptable only in certain medical social and economic situations….

b)      We do not suggest “abortion on demand” …abortion should be considered a personal matter between a woman and her doctor.

(Excerpts from an abbreviated pamphlet based on Contraception and Abortion-a statement of the 28th General Council of the United Church of Canada August 1980)

Upon reading the stand of the United Church of Canada, I feel that this great denomination is talking out of both sides of her mouth. On one hand there is an appeal to theology: on the other hand, the gospel of humanism is adhered to. Some may think that my judgment is harsh and negatively critical. My response is—it is.

The recent Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada ”came out of the closet” with his branding the position of Presbyterian Church as too permissive. I must go one step further to suggest that the stand of the United Church of Canada is immoral.

It is nice to say that we are to have a concern for the unborn and that the unborn have a sanctity of life. Then we passively support the mass murder of unborn babies.

It is nice to say that the unborn are sacred yet relegate the fetus to being immature, thereby making it less than a human being. Immature—when does the child become “mature”?  It is more than “a coming out” ceremony on the day of birth.

I appreciate the United Church’s attempt to be responsible in addressing itself to this complex question. The study covers a wide range of topics of social concern to which the Church must give its attention. However, I do not appreciate the United Church teaching me that all of life’s decisions must be measured by the Wesleyan Quadralatrial for decision-making scriptural tradition experience and theological reflection then itself going against these principles. I am convinced that my denomination’s stand on abortion lacks severely the Scriptural and theological dimensions.

You and I know that the present cry of the humanist is “Open the (abortion) clinic’s door” and “My (woman’s) body is my responsibility and what I do with it is my business.” These statements fail to recognize the fact that most abortions that are done in Canada are a means of birth control, and that a person’s body is not her own—it belongs to God. Throughout the statement relative to abortion by the United Church of Canada, there is support for both irresponsible sexuality and outright support of wholesale murder of human life.

It is significant that when God is going to do a great thing in His world babies are killed. Remember Pharaoh killed by Herod. I believe we are standing on the threshold of a mighty move of God. Satan is at work with his handmaidens of infanticide today. I pray that my denomination, which I love, will wake up to the fact that we are supporting statements that are contrary to God’s Word and Morality.

Robert J. Duthie is Minister of Lincol Avenue, United Church, Cambridge, Ontario. This article first appeared in the June 1985 newsletter of the Cambridge Right To Life Association

Editor’s note: On June 19, Robert Duthie was stabbed in the abdomen in Victoria Park, Kitchener and taken to Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital in serious condition. He was attacked by a 17-year-old youth. Other attacks have taken place in this park.

Rev. Duthie is the immediate past president of the Waterloo Presbytery of the United Church and a member of the church’s Renewal Fellowship, the evangelical wing of the United Church.

K-W Record, June 10, 1985