Since 1969, we, in Canada, have brutally put to death almost 4 million pre-born children. Some of these children were poisoned and burned to death with a concentrated salt solution (Saline abortion). Others were suctioned limb by limb from the womb (Suction abortion). Still others were cut up into pieces with a sharp curette (D & C and D & E abortions). Clearly, the plight of the pre-born is an emergency that calls for extraordinary action by the church of Jesus Christ. Yet, despite the fact that the evangelical church of Canada (henceforth simply referred to as the “church”) has known about the monstrous evil of abortion for almost half a century, it continues to treat this issue as if it were one of peripheral importance. I am ashamed that the church has not been “the salt of the earth” that Jesus called it to be, at least with regards to abortion. As such, I respectfully, throw down the gauntlet to the church: either refute my contention that the plight of the pre-born is an emergency that calls for extraordinary action by the church, or join with believers like myself in fighting this evil.
It is a well-known fact within the pro-life community – though one that is seldom talked about – that, when it comes to the abortion conflict, the church has been conspicuously absent. To quote Rory Leishman, the pro-life speaker and author,
“while the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has consistently and emphatically denounced the evil of abortion over the past several decades, the same cannot be said of all-too-many Evangelical pastors. They know the truth about the sanctity of all human life, yet have rarely, if ever, decried the legalized mass slaughter of babies in the womb for fear of alienating some members of their congregation.” Similarly, Paul Tuns, editor-in-chief of The Interim, says, “institutionally many evangelical leaders and organizations haven’t shown the leadership on this issue that many of us would like to see.”
In arguing that the plight of the pre-born is an emergency that calls for extraordinary action by the church, I will appeal to three broad lines of evidence: Scripture, church tradition, and the testimony of contemporary evangelical leaders.
In Proverbs 31:8, we are told, “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” (NIV) Since the pre-born, obviously, have no voice with which to plead their own cause, we are obligated to do this for them. Furthermore, Scripture teaches that a standard, which Jesus will use on the Day of Judgment, is our reaction to the needs of others. Jesus says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me .… Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:40b, 45b, KJV) The pre-born in Canada can, surely, be included among “the least of these.”
Many of the evangelical church’s most prominent and respected leaders, such as Billy Graham, R.C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, Charles Colson, John Stott, and Chuck Swindoll, have for the past several decades, pleaded with the evangelical church to make the plight of the pre-born a matter of high priority. For example, in his book, The Sanctity of Life – The Inescapable Issue, Swindoll says, “just how widespread is the practice of abortion? Are we making much ado about nothing, or do we have a full-scale issue deserving of our immediate attention? You decide. Only the senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless could read the following statistical facts and remain unmoved.”
Swindoll continues: “worldwide, 55 million unborn children are killed every year. If you are like me, you can’t get your arms around that large a number. To help us do so, let me break it into days, hours, and minutes. Around the world, every day 150,685 children are killed by abortion; every hour, 6,278; and every minute, 105.” Similarly, the late author, English cleric and Bible scholar, John Stott says that the fact that abortion challenges both the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and human dignity “should bring it to the top of our agenda.”
The church, possibly from as early as the end of the first century, has strongly opposed abortion. In his book Abortion & the Early Church, the New Testament scholar, Michael J. Gorman, says, “The tests of universality and time reveal that during the first five centuries (and until quite recently) abortion was rejected by Christians everywhere.” A list of the early Christian leaders who opposed abortion include Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom, Augustine, Clement, and Athenagoras.
To repeat what I said earlier, in this article I throw down the gauntlet to the church: either refute my case that the plight of the pre-born in Canada is an emergency that calls for extraordinary action by the church, or join with believers like myself in opposing this evil.
A couple of months ago, I, along with my wife and two evangelical pastors, began the, primarily, evangelical group, “A Voice for the Pre-Born.” Our declaration, in part, says as follows:
We acknowledge that the plight of the pre-born in Canada is an emergency that calls for extraordinary action on the part of the evangelical church of Canada… We admit our part in this monstrous evil. We acknowledge, to our shame, that we have not been the salt of the earth – at least with regard to abortion…. When we should have acted on the pre-born’s behalf, we busied ourselves with other, often lesser, concerns. When we should have responded to the plight of the pre-born, we plugged our ears to their silent screams. When we should have spoken up in the pre-born’s defense, we held our peace…. Since the pre-born cannot speak for themselves, we will, in obedience to Proverbs 31:8, be their voice.
For more information about A Voice for the Pre-Born, and for the full-length version of this article, please go to the website www.avoiceforthepreborn.com.