Roe v. Wade: How Should Christians Respond?

JIMMY KOZY: You’re listening to Church Unplugged, the podcast of Christ Community Chapel. And each episode, we look at questions and topics that are connected to our faith in Jesus and the way that it plays out in our everyday lives. In this episode, we’re talking about how should Christians think about abortion? So, we’ve just had the leak of a draft opinion in the Supreme Court, which has suggested that Roe v. Wade could potentially be overturned. So, the question is, this has ignited a cultural conversation around abortion. How should Christians think about this issue, and how should they talk with others about it? Welcome in to Church Unplugged. Welcome in to Church Unplugged. I’m Jimmy Kozy, part of the leadership team here at CCC. I’ve got with me today the rest of our leadership team, Zach Weihrauch, Joe Coffey, and Stacey DiNardo. And our question today is how should Christians think about abortion? So, the recent leak of a Supreme Court opinion draft in regards to repealing Roe v. Wade, which is kind of the seminal Supreme Court opinion on abortion in our country’s history, has sort of ignited or reignited a cultural conversation around the topic of abortion. And so, we know that people are talking about it, thinking about it. So, I thought it’d be good to talk about it from the perspective of what does the Bible say about it? How should we as Christians think about the issue? And then, maybe even as we have conversations with individuals who may be of a different opinion than us, what are some of the ways we should think about addressing this issue? So, let’s start, though, with from your perspective, what does the Bible say about abortion, and where should we as Christians stand?

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah, I mean, it’s fair to say that the Bible does not literally say anything about abortion. This is not a turn to a certain book of the Bible and see, thou shalt not have an abortion. But from inference, the Bible affirms a great many things that, if you gather, if you kind of collate together, would tell us that abortion is wrong. So, in a sampling of those things would be, first of all, the Bible affirms that they are actually human beings in the womb. This happens in numerous places. You can think about when Mary’s pregnant, she goes to see Elizabeth and John the Baptist is in the womb, and she’s saying, hey, the baby in me is kind of is worshipping the baby in you. And, you know, David will talk about being

JOE COFFEY: Esau and Jacob wrestling in the womb. The two nations are wrestling in the womb.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: The Bible is just over and over again, not separating human beings, you know, from fetuses. Right. That is a distinction the Bible does not make. And the second thing is the Bible actually does affirm that because, you know, if we lump babies in utero in with human beings, the Bible does affirm that taking human life, especially in this way, is always wrong. So this would fall under the sixth commandment, you know, thou shalt not kill. You shouldn’t take the life of another human being. And actually, the Old Testament law will even extend this to if you are in some kind of physical altercation that results in a child in the womb losing its life, there are dire consequences, which is about as close as a 1 to 1 you can get. But also, the Bible would speak to the kind of the main pro-choice argument, which is that it’s the woman’s body, and she gets to decide if she is if she desires to host a child or not host a child. Of course, the Bible has a different worldview that we all belong to God. Our bodies belong to God. And as such, we don’t begin with my body, my choice. We begin with God’s body. This body belongs to God, and it’s God’s choice. And that is fundamentally a philosophical way that the Bible would push back upon this idea that any of us are autonomous and get to make our own decisions about the moral actions we do or do not take.

JIMMY KOZY: So I guess my question would be, some of the things that you’re saying, and now I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, and so perhaps I’m steeped in a way of thinking, but it seems like some of the things you’re saying are pretty logical and make sense. So why is this issue so controversial? You know, it’s hard for me to even kind of wrap my mind around a perspective that differs from that. But again, that could be from my being.

JOE COFFEY: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. You said before we started this podcast that you had been listening to another podcast by a pro-choice person, and I’d be interested in that too because even scientifically, I think it’s a really difficult argument to make like a baby in the womb. Well, if you look up the definition of an embryo, it’ll say that it’s an animal at the early stages of development. If you do with our environmentalists, if you crush a bald eagle’s egg, you are guilty of killing a bald eagle. I mean, they don’t say, well, it wasn’t an eagle yet. So. And then, you know, the baby in the womb could have or normally has a different blood type. I mean, it is so obviously something other than your, then a piece of your body anymore. But I think what Zach said is, is true. I think there is something inside of the cultural argument that where we are antithetical opposed, and part of that is that we believe our bodies belong to God and that God is the supreme authority, not we ourselves. And I think when you start to tell someone that you are not the one in charge of you, no, we’re going to have a cultural battle.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah. And, you know, I’ll just say, so you divide those up into like Jimmy, you would have the, you know, the science argument or the argument about life and what is human and what is not human. And then you could have the other argument about freedom and imposed morality. So on the life side, I would just say if you follow the arguments that the pro-choice crowd is making logically, so if I say the child cannot exist without the mother and the mother gets to decide if her body and her life can be used and imposed upon by this child. And the child is not human because it cannot stand on its own. If you follow that out, you get to some scary places. I mean.

JOE COFFEY: Right. Defining life like

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: as autonomy

JOE COFFEY: Right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: So, for example, and you might think I’m being hyperbolic, but let me show you that I’m not. Actually, one of the papers I wrote in my doctoral program was on a guy named Peter Singer, who is the chairman of ethics at Princeton.

JOE COFFEY: Princeton, right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: An Ivy League school, and Singer makes the argument that a fetus is not a person entirely because it cannot live on its own. So, he can’t make the argument based on heartbeat or brain activity, or so he says, No, no, no, you’re not fully human unless you can live on your own. And because this child needs the mom and the mom can decide, I don’t care he actually compared.

JOE COFFEY: I know some 18-year-olds who can’t live on their own.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Right.

STACEY DINARDO: Right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Well, he will say it’s similar to two people in a hospital and what you wake up in a hospital, and there’s a cord connecting you to another person, and it’s taking blood from you to them. And if you cut that cord, they die. So do you get to decide, Hey, it’s my body, it’s my blood. I don’t want to be attached to this thing. That’s the comparison he makes. And what he’s saying is they are not fully human because they can’t say no. But then, at least to his credit, he says so this also means that really, theoretically, a mom up to the age of about two could decide to terminate the life of a child because a toddler is also dependent. A nursing infant is also dependent. Then he will go on to say mentally disabled people who cannot live on their own could theoretically be killed by their family morally because the family doesn’t want, there, there they are again, this is Singer’s words, it’s not mine. They are parasitic upon the family. He will say, the elderly who cannot care for themselves. And so. But, but again.

JOE COFFEY: Even when you’re.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: He’s just following the logic!

JOE COFFEY: When you’re under anesthesia, you’re in trouble because you’re not sentient. But yeah, I think Peter Singer, the only thing that he has going for him is that he’s very consistent.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah, yeah. So, I think like some of the time is, we’re having an argument about one particular thing. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s her body, her choice versus like, let’s play this out. Okay? So if we say this, this fetus is not a person because it’s inside the womb. It can’t live on its own. It can’t. Well, we can apply that same logic to some other [things] and end up in some monstrous places. But the other argument about freedom and autonomy and imposed morality, I think some people will make the argument that and I’ll throw the argument out and we can talk about it, is they’ll say, well, there are a lot of things that are wrong. But the question is not the rightness or wrongness of abortion. It’s whether or not the government has the right to impose morality upon someone to say, well, you know, you have to carry this baby full term because the collective morality is this is wrong. There are a lot of things that are wrong that we don’t legislate. You can’t go to prison for adultery. You can’t, you know, so is it right to impose morality? And I think we have to have an answer to that because there are people who will say, well, yeah, maybe it is a human life, maybe it is, but we’re really talking about imposing morality.

JOE COFFEY: But yeah, and I appreciate that. But don’t we impose morality when it does violence to another person? Right. So then we’re back to the personhood argument.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah.

JOE COFFEY: But, we don’t have any problem imposing morality on rape.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah.

JOE COFFEY: Right. Or murder.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah.

JOE COFFEY: Right. But so once we that’s where I think it’s such a fuzzy thing when people start trying to define personhood. Other than that, when life begins.

JIMMY KOZY: Well, it always feels it feels arbitrary.

JOE COFFEY: Correct. That’s exactly right.

JIMMY KOZY: You have to make a decision. And, you know, unless you. Yeah. Unless it’s hard for me to see a logical argument for personhood beginning any time other than at the first moment of life.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah.

JIMMY KOZY: That doesn’t, that isn’t arbitrary.

JOE COFFEY: Right.

STACEY DINARDO: Right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: And, of course, there’s the other extreme argument that some pregnancies are not the result of consensual sex.

JOE COFFEY: Oh, sure.

STACEY DINARDO: Yeah.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Some pregnancies are the result of rape or incest. And what would we say to the woman in the in those terms? And first, I just want to say that those situations are horrific.

STACEY DINARDO: They are.

JOE COFFEY: Yeah.

They’re horrific. Right. So, no one in any way wants to minimize the horrific nature of [it] or and I can’t imagine the trauma of not only being assaulted but then having an ever-present reminder, life-shaping, life-changing reminder that this assault occurred. The only thing I can offer is kind of twofold. One is that the child in the womb has no say in how they come to be in the womb. And the second thing I would say is the Bible actually includes stories like this, where life begins under less than ideal circumstances. And God does incredible things through the life of that child, which is just simply to say that the Bible has a category for terrible, horrific beginnings that that result in amazing and amazing.

JIMMY KOZY: The Lord uses it.

STACEY DINARDO: He uses it.

JOE COFFEY: And I think as Christians, we need to have compassion for sure on the situation, but also to look at, you know, what you said. My daughter and I were talking, and she had heard of a situation where a woman was raped, and it resulted in pregnancy, and then the man was not convicted of the rape so that if she had the child, he would have joint custody of their child, which is awful. That’s awful. But this is where I like Peter Singer. Because his argument is the one I would use to say, so does it; if the baby was born and the guy wasn’t convicted, would it be okay then to take the child and kill the child to avoid that terribleness? I mean, it’s a terrible situation, but the only innocent, I mean, the really innocent person in that would be the child. And you go back to Solomon, you know, offering to divide a child. There is a wisdom to saying, okay, let’s take this to its logical kind of consequence and see how we deal with that.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: But it does bring up that, and I don’t say this with any degree of insensitivity, but I think there are two difficult things that you have to talk about with abortion. And they both kind of go against either side of the debate. The first thing is to say that abortion exists because sexual immorality exists. Whether that sexual immorality comes in the form of God help us of nonconsensual rape or whether it exists in the form of adultery or fornication or any number of these things that. So I think that’s where we have to recognize that part of the pro-choice movement is connected to the sexual freedom revolution of the sixties. And just the idea that we, sex is outside of marriage. It is to be enjoyed whenever you want, you know, however you want. And the inevitable consequence of that because it’s a biological reality that pregnancy always follows sex. You can’t get pregnant without having sex. So I think some of it is we have to acknowledge that while the Church has held the line on abortion, for the most part, we have really softened on a theology of sex and challenging people to bring their sexuality up under the Lordship of Christ. And some of that’s because it’s the same arguments. My body, that’s my, you can’t tell me what to do. You can’t.

JOE COFFEY: Right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: And that to really be a pro-life church or pro-life Christian is to speak clearly and concretely and winsome and graciously on the topic of sexuality, calling people to surrender their sexual lives to the Lordship of Jesus. Because if everyone tomorrow, if we could snap our fingers and people would only have sex within the context of marriage, there’d be a dramatic reduction of the need for abortion.

JOE COFFEY: Now, how do we do that as a church without creating an environment where, let’s say a teenage girl does make a poor decision, gets pregnant, and then in her embarrassment and her desire for people that she respects not to condemn her goes and gets an [abortion]. You know what I mean?

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah

We have to try to be, hold the line of sexuality and what God intends for sexuality, but also have compassion and have a plan for when an unexpected pregnancy or an unplanned pregnancy happens as a result of immorality.

STACEY DINARDO: Yeah, right, right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah. I think you got to talk about both things, but I think one of the things is you got to preach obedience to yourself and grace to others. I mean, I think the reality is that most of us, if we want to fight against sexual sin

JOE COFFEY: But it’s more fun to do the other.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah, if we want to fight against sexual sin, we need to begin with ourselves.

STACEY DINARDO: Yeah.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Hold ourselves accountable. Hold our families accountable. And preach grace to everyone else.

JOE COFFEY: Yeah.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Right? That’s where we can begin. But as a church, we have to talk about both in equal measure. Right? I think every time we talk about sex, we need to talk about the Lordship of Christ and how we flourish under his lordship. And we also need to say, I mean, I’ve just been speaking to the high school ministry here about sexuality, and I’ve made a point every time to say some of you might have a sexual history that you feel guilty and shame about. And Jesus has died for that. And there’s grace for that. And you can be made new. And then I think we ought to preach that with an equal measure.

STACEY DINARDO: Yeah, the same is true approaching this topic. I was thinking about women out there that have had an abortion and now what they do because there’s guilt and there’s shame that can be associated with that. But same thing as God’s grace does cover that, too. And there’s again, a future and freedom and Christ that can be had.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah. Jesus on the cross became the one who had the abortion. Yeah. I mean, I think you have to believe that if you’re listening to this and you’re hearing us say it is taking a life. It is. And that’s producing a visceral response that you understand that when Paul says that he made him, who knew no send to become sin in order that we might become the righteousness of God. He doesn’t just mean sin in the theoretical general. He means the sin of that abortion. Jesus became on the cross, which is why God poured out his anger on him. And there’s no anger left for you.

JOE COFFEY: And I think too. With the argument about, for abortion, against abortion. One of the things that is not measurable is the impact that an abortion has on a woman. You know, when I watch the protests like right now that are happening, that are pro-choice and the anger and the like, just the intensity of that anger, I have to believe that some of it’s associated with the actual act of having an abortion and the toll that takes on someone’s soul. Like you mentioned, like, if that we should be compassionate, you know, to look at a woman with a pregnancy that happens through nonconsensual sex and the reminder of that every day. True. Absolutely true. But they’ll have a reminder of that.

STACEY DINARDO: Yeah.

JOE COFFEY: That’s imprinted on their soul. And I have no idea what that’s like as a man, but I just watch it in women that have talked to me about having an abortion and that the hurt that they have that we just spoke to, that grace is for that. But there’s no measurement in our society for what that has done to women who are now pro-choice. So I want to be compassionate toward them. But I also want to say that, you know, that having a baby that you don’t want to have, there’s a price for that. Not having that baby through abortion and having an abortion. There’s a price to that, too.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think the second thing I would say about the challenging things about abortion is just to make sure that as we try to be people who are pro-life, that we are consistently pro-life. And I mean to say that in a couple of ways. I mean, one of the reasons abortions happen is economics. You know that in some areas, women are just saying, I can’t feed this child. I can’t. And we have to mourn that, and we have to seek to mitigate against that and create, you know, I’m not an economist, but create opportunities and systems. And, you know, through our generous giving and our service and where less and less women feel like they have to make that decision. And also, once that child is born, create a climate in which we are ready to, whether that’s through adoption.

JOE COFFEY: We should have a robust adoption, foster care.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: That’s where I think there’s a there’s a disconnect between, you know, if like, just take Summit County. If all the Christians in Summit County were really pro-life, then you might make the argument that there would never be a child in need of a home in Summit County. Foster care and adoption. There should never be one. There’d be Christians, there’d be thousands of Christians on the list saying, Hey, whatever it takes. You know, I think about the early church, find the babies in the street, would pick them up and take them home.

JOE COFFEY: Right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: They wouldn’t stand there and bemoan as the baby died. That’s a shame. That’s awful. Who did this, right? You know, I’m pro-life. They would have scooped the baby up. And I just think we need to be more and more saying, hey, I will stand in the gap for that child, and I will make it so. But also, even again, we think about systems and generosity, as how can we create an environment where a woman says, hey, I wasn’t planning on this pregnancy, and it’s rattled me, but I do know there is help for me.

STACEY DINARDO: Right.

ZACH WEIHRAUCH: As I speak, not only have this child but to raise this child as well. And, you know, I just think that in all things, what we’re calling people to is to align themselves with God, his morality, and to trust him that he has a plan, that he can work things for good even, and including an unwanted pregnancy. Our lives are not our own. Our bodies are not our own. They belong to God. And this is what he. Says is required of us.

JIMMY KOZY: You’ve been listening to Church Unplugged, the podcast of Christ Community Chapel. In each episode, we’re going to look at topics and questions that are related to our faith in Jesus and to the way that it plays out in everyday life. We want your feedback. We want your suggestions. If you’ve got ideas or questions that you’d like to hear answered on the show, you can email us at Church Unplugged@ccchapel.com. We would love to hear from you. Thanks for listening.

Roe v. Wade: How Should Christians Respond?
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