What do Southern Baptists believe about the right to life?
Jan 18, 2013
By ERLC STAFF

LIFE: What does the Bible say? CHOOSE IT!

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live ... .” Deuteronomy 30:19 (HCSB)

…RESOLVED, That we urge our Southern Baptist churches to remain vigilant in the protection of human life by preaching the whole counsel of God on matters of human sexuality and the sanctity of life, by encouraging and empowering Southern Baptists to adopt unwanted children, by providing      spiritual, emotional, and financial support for women in crisis pregnancies, and by calling on our    government officials to take action to protect the lives of women and children…

Most Christians recognize that abortion, infanticide and euthanasia are wrong, but why? We hope to encourage     individuals to embrace the reality that God is the Author of life, and that as His servants, we are to protect human life. According to His Word, there is no alternative. Human life is inestimably precious.

While a sanctity of human life ethic may be disparaged by the world, it is God’s view. His Word is clear: human life at all ages and stages is precious.

While the culture in which we live appears to favor a perspective that regards humans as enhanced primates, as Christians we serve a God who tells us clearly in His Word that we are made in His image. Likening God to a potter, a vocation that was common in those days, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “We are all the work of [His] hands”  (Isaiah 64:8).

The seeds of the culture of death were sown centuries ago, when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience before God—an event tragically crowned by Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. The passage of time has not abated sin’s deadly effects.

A culture that denies and defies God and that views His Word as a dated collection of legends with little authority is a culture shredded by violence and sensuality.

Human life loses its value when life is not viewed as a gift from God, when we fail to recognize that humans are created in the image of God, and when we forget that mankind is different in kind and type than every creature in the animal kingdom.

Abortion is not a modern invention.

This God-dishonoring cruelty was practiced in pagan civilizations, such as the Roman Empire and ancient Greece. While the spread of Christianity somewhat blunted this depraved practice by proclaiming an elevated view of human life, we still contend with this procedure that takes an innocent life to satisfy the need of another, much older life.

Those enlightened by the Truth of the Gospel should view the taking of innocent life, including the preborn, much differently than those who remain in darkness.

The blood of literally millions of unborn children cries out to us from the ground, their lives taken, most likely, because they were viewed as too expensive or too intrusive. These children had no spokesman or advocate, but were viewed as expendable.

If those of us who recognize God as the author of life are silent, then the ones who are increasingly threatened in a culture of death have little hope.

Abortion by the numbers ...

In 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available, the number of abortions in the U.S. declined to 1.2 million, 25% below the all-time high of 1.6 million in 1990.

Despite this decline, slightly more than one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2005, giving the U.S. one of the highest abortion rates in the developed world.

Who has abortions?

  • 56% of women having abortions are in their 20s
  • 61% have one or more children
  • 67% have never married
  • 57% are economically disadvantaged
  • 88% live in a metropolitan area
  • 78% report a religious affiliation, including 13% who identify themselves as “born again” or evangelical

(The Guttmacher Institute, guttmacher.org)

Women who have had abortions show symptoms that fit the model of posttraumatic stress disorder

  • Guilt 92.6%
  • Depression 88.2%
  • Regret 84.8%
  • Grief 84.7%
  • Loneliness 83.6%
  • Loss of self-esteem 82.3%
  • Anxiety 81.4%
  • Anger 80.8%

(National Right to Life Committee, nrlc.org)

HOW YOU CAN RESPOND ...

PRAY

  • Pray for the women and girls who are considering abortion. Pray that they will choose life, even amid difficult circumstances.
  • Pray for the millions of women and men who are living with the trauma of having chosen abortion in the past. Pray that they would know that God is able and willing to forgive them.
  • Pray for the staff of pregnancy care centers as they minister to those who are pregnant and frightened or experiencing post-abortion trauma.

ACT

  • Read what the Bible says about human life issues at erlc.com/life.
  • Contact a pregnancy resource center to determine how you can assist their ministry. Opportunities range from answering the telephone to mentoring an expectant mother.
  • Contact your elected representatives and ask them to for vote for life at every opportunity.
  • Celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in your church. Educate and encourage your congregation in the ways they can stand up for the rights of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly.

HOW CAN YOU KNOW JESUS CHRIST?

  • Realize you are not in control of your future. Admit that you are a sinner. (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:23).
  • Understand that God loves us, even in our sinful state (Rom. 5:8). He desires we turn away from our sin (Mark 1:15).
  • Believe that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9-10, 13). Eternal life is a gift; we cannot earn it (Eph. 2:8-9). Know that once you trust in Jesus, nothing can break your relationship with Him (John 10:28-29).

What SBC leaders say

“Abortion is not a disease, it is not an accident, and it is not a medical problem. It is a spiritual and social problem.”

 –Dr. Jimmy Draper, retired president of LifeWay Christian Resources

“We must oppose the barbaric, lethal combination of technical expertise and spiritual ignorance that would deny human life’s sacredness and that would abort and experiment on our pre-born, harvest fetal tissue, allow death into the nursery for our mentally and physically handicapped infants and encourage euthanasia in our hospitals and retirement homes.”

–Dr. Richard Land, president ERLC

f we care about truth, we will courageously follow the facts whevever they lead, no matter what the cost to our own self interests.”

—Scott Klusendorf, president, Life Training Institute

“As we talk with those who differ with us on this crucial issue, we should remember that God is prolife. He will work with us and through us as we share our beliefs in love. We can be confident that God will bless our every witness for Him and bring many people to value all life, especially the most innocent of us all—our babies.” 

–Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research, ERLC

Various resources provided by the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, used with permission and available online at erlc.org

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