November 16, 2023

by Rev. David R. Cloeter, Bella Vista, Arkansas

Here are a few reasons why it is important for pastors to speak publicly, in their congregations, about pro-life issues:

  1. Scripture directs pastors to teach all that is contained in God’s Word.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). Then in Acts 20:27, Paul reminded the pastors of Ephesus, “I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”

So also, God has given a commandment to all believers that protects life: “You shall not murder” (Deuteronomy 5:17). After receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses said to the Israelites, “Be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the ways that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:32). Teaching the Ten Commandments and all that is required by them is a part of the pastor’s work.

  1. Many post-abortive women are laden with guilt and depression and need to hear the healing voice of the Gospel.

Susan, a college student, found herself pregnant by her boyfriend. Her father, a prominent businessman in the community, insisted on an abortion, against her will. After the abortion, Susan was filled with regret. As years went by, she struggled with depression, went through several marriages, and once tried to take her own life. After thirty years of darkness and depression, she learned of a wonderful Savior who once gave His life on the cross to grant her forgiveness. It was then that she was able to deal with her abortion. She would never forget it, but she always knew that she was a forgiven child of God.

While some women vigorously defend their abortions as their “right,” many other women live in desperate need of hearing about Jesus’ love and forgiveness.

  1. Christians need to hear about the worth of the unborn and the vulnerable elderly so that when they are confronted with questions of life and death for themselves, they may do as God has commanded.

The pro-abortion, pro-choice message is ringing loud and clear from universities, politicians, Hollywood, and the media. Christians, too, hear this message. Where are believers to be taught what is right? Certainly, in the Christian home. Then also, in the Christian church. Without this education on the value of human life, the Christian will be influenced by the world and make decisions for themselves that lead to sadness, depression, and death.

  1. Christians need to learn about the sanctity of human life so that they may rescue others who are in danger of making decisions that lead to danger and death.

A pastor once met with a family who had been visiting his congregation and were considering membership. Present were the father, the mother, and their teenage daughter. In the course of the conversation, the subject of abortion came up. The father then shared, “Our daughter became pregnant, and her mother and I took her to the clinic so she could have an abortion.” Why did these parents make such a decision for their daughter and her unborn child? Were they not taught? Or, perhaps, they were taught, but they buckled under the embarrassment and difficulty of a teenage pregnancy.

What advice will Christians give to others who face questions of life and death if they themselves have not been taught? What advice will they give to their family members, friends, and fellow church members if any of these come to them for guidance?

In the story of the Good Samaritan, a Jewish man was ambushed by thieves, beaten, and left to die. First a priest and then a Levite came by, saw the man, and passed by on the other side of the road. Finally, the Jew’s enemy, a Samaritan, saw the man, took pity on him, and helped him. Jesus asked His audience, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hand of robbers?” (Luke 10:36). It was the Samaritan. When our neighbor’s body is in danger, it is clearly our responsibility to do what we can to save him.

The story of the Good Samaritan is also helpful when we consider that many who claim to be pro-life will say, “I wouldn’t have an abortion myself, but I won’t try to dissuade others who want to have one.” If life in the womb is truly a living, growing human being, it has the right to life, just as any of us. And its life should be defended by all. To walk by, say, or do nothing, as did the priest and Levite, is to sin by omission. Will the pastor also not speak up to defend endangered life?

  1. Pastors should learn that sometimes silence is consent.

Some have attributed this quote to Martin Luther:

If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.

It appears, however, that this quote may not be from Luther. Rather, it appears to come from a nineteenth century novel by Elizabeth Rundle Charles. (For a discussion of this, click here.)

While the quote may not be Luther’s, the thought is still valid. The value of the unborn and of the vulnerable elderly are topics on the forefront of American debate. It is not the only place, but it is one important place where the devil is attacking Christian teaching. Will pro-life pastors have no public response?

Today’s pastor may have fears about speaking on life issues. Statistics indicate that quite a few women in Christian congregations have had an abortion. A pastor may fear that, if he preaches on this subject, he may lose members. And he may worry that he will sound judgmental.

As to the worry of being judgmental, it is the Word of God that calls abortion and euthanasia “sin.” The moral Law of God does expose us and show us our sin, rightly so, so that we see a need for the Savior and the forgiveness of sins. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20). But, having exposed his members to their sin, the pastor must always be ready to share the wonderful forgiveness of God in Christ, as Paul wrote, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more …” and, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:20, 8).

There are other teachings of God’s Word that are difficult to discuss, such as homosexuality and divorce. It takes a great deal of courage to be a teacher of God’s Word, especially when more and more Christian teaching is being mocked by the world. Pastors need to hear the charge of the Apostle Paul,

 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

Pastors, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit and with courage to proclaim all of God’s Word. Jesus said,

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:11-13)

(Scripture quotes are from the New International Version.)