Bound to abort

Unborn BabyMany Lutherans are involved in the pro-life movement in America. We attend rallies and have a Life Sunday at our church. This is a good thing. It is good to be pro rather than anti-life. God is pleased with those who, in faith, protect and treasure the life that He creates and sustain. But what about those who aren’t pro-life? What about those who have abortions and the people who desire further progression in pro-choice policies? What does God think about them? Is it good to say that God hates those who have abortions, practice birth control, or people who believe that we are free to make a choice with our bodies?  How should the church live amongst those who do not confess the Triune God as the creator and the one who sustains all life?  How should we act toward those who do not regard life in the womb, but see the child as a fetus without a life of his or her own? Do these people really have a choice in their worldview concerning life in the womb, or are they under the influence and power of the devil?

Christ the Lord says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8:34-38). Anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. We do not choose to sin, rather we are bound to sin. We are conceived and born sinful and unclean. Not that human nature is itself sin, but our nature is so corrupt that all we can do is sin and reject the truth.

Usually when we discuss this article of the faith we confess that man is fallen and therefore cannot accept the grace of God. However, we continue and say that man can still act according to what is good and carry out civil righteousness and conduct himself according to the laws of man. Man still can act good because of the natural knowledge of God, or the conscience.  Man can be a good citizen, as we confess in the 18th article of the Augsburg Confession that man is able to “live an externally honorable life and to choose among the things reason comprehends.” However, man is sinful and wicked. His nature is twisted and enslaved to the will of the devil. Man can act ethically according to human reason, but he is guided by the devil. The Formula of Concord addressed this issue  that “God’s Word testifies that the natural, unregenerated human mind, heart, and will are not only completely turned away from God in all divine maters, but are also perverted and turned toward every evil and against God. Likewise, they are not only weak, impotent, incapable, and dead to the good, but through original sin they have also been tragically perverted, poisoned through and through, and corrupted.” (FCSD II.17).

This is creation after the fall. Unregenerate man is bound under the tyranny of the devil and is captive to the whims of this corrupt world. Because of sin we love this world more than we love our Lord Jesus Christ.  This should change the way we think about pro-life issues. We aren’t here to convince people that we are right. We can’t change someone’s mind and convert them. We shouldn’t try to make progress. All we should do is open our mouths and let Jesus do the talking and the Holy Spirit the converting.  Proclaim the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation of all mankind. Preach repentance and forgiveness to every sinner that they may confess and be saved. Realize that you are speaking to a people bound in their sin and twisted by the lies of the devil that are proclaimed through the filth of society.  Those that don’t have contrition for abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, and the prevention of life are blind and bound under the yoke of the ancient serpent. Our word and unity will not free them. Only the Son can free them from their slavery. Only the Word of Jesus can redeem them from sinful self-righteousness or false guilt. They don’t choose to be pro-choice, they are bound to be pro-choice. Let’s treat them that way and proclaim what Christ the Lord calls us to speak.

About Pastor Chris Hull

Chris Hull is the Senior Pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tomball,Texas. He was married to Allison Desiree Monk on June 3rd, 2006. They have been blessed with four boys, Lochlann Richard Patrick, Eamonn Julius Luther, Tiernann Thomas Walther, and Jamesonn Frederick Flacius. Pastor Hull graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, Il in 2006. He received his Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 2010. He is currently in the STM program at CTSFW.


Bound to abort — 13 Comments

  1. Excellent article, Pastor Hull. May I use this in a future article for our local newspaper?

  2. “However, we continue and say that man can still act according to what is good and carry out civil righteousness and conduct himself according to the laws of man.”

    In this light, we the people, as government, are to justly promote and work within the first use of the law. This means that we the people (including Christians) should actively encourage, support, and work to establish a Nuremberg-style trial within which the pro-abortion elected and appointed government representatives, judges, businessmen, leaders of associated political and religious organizations, doctors and other medical leaders who supported, legislated, funded, and conducted abortions are indicted, tried, convicted, and their sentences carried out for the crimes of genocidal murder and treason, just as justice was carried out on various Nazi criminals.

    Furthermore, Missouri Synod Lutheran leaders should actively promote and participate in imprecatory prayers to God to crush the efforts of abortion leaders, judges, businesses, doctors, and political parties. Such actions by Missouri Synod leaders would allay any thoughts of ongoing LCMS hypocrisy and failure based on its position stated in the 1995 document, Render unto Caesar… and unto God (pp. 86-7):

    One of the few social issues concerning which the Synod has been willing to take a (more or less) ‘activist’ role is abortion. While presumably recognizing the risks and dangers of such an approach, the Synod has nevertheless concluded that the question of abortion is addressed so clearly by Scripture, that it is such an extraordinary social problem, and that this problem is so fundamentally tied up with what Scripture says about the God-given duty of the state, that failure to speak and under certain circumstances to act would be tantamount to the failure of the German church under Hitler.”

  3. I noticed this ” We do not choose to sin, rather we are bound to sin”. I understand how it isn’t an option for us not to sin, but can’t we also say that we still choose to sin?

  4. @Thomas #4
    Luther would always speak of a Bound Will. The language of bound choice came after Luther. The choice is a fruit of the will. I don’t believe we can discuss this with a benefit in this fashion. I will start writing another article on the distinction between a “Bound Will” and “Bound Choice.” hopefully that will help clarify the matter. Thank you for bringing this issue up.

  5. Please expand upon who you include in the last group.

    “Those that don’t have contrition for abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, and the prevention of life are blind and bound under the yoke of the ancient serpent.”

  6. “They don’t choose to be pro-choice, they are bound to be pro-choice.” While I understand that many who are pro-choice also do not believe; there are also many people who are pro-life but do not believe in Christ either. In those cases, while they would need to hear the Gospel because of their unbelief they would not need to repent of supporting abortion.

  7. Pastor Hull,
    Thanks. I will look forward to your next article. Would you in that article specifically talk about this about freedom to sin versus freedom to not-sin? What I mean is just that it seems a bit strange to say that we don’t choose to sin because it is like trying to avoid the responsibility for the actions. It is confusing.

    Anyway, great article!

  8. Using contraception is now on par with infanticide, abortion and euthanasia?

    Please get some perspective.

    If you can’t see the difference you should not be calling others blind.

  9. @SanK Te Fied #8
    There is a difference in the purposes of contraceptives and abortion. However, the mindset is not different. This discussion is growing in the LCMS, and I would hope in other denominations as well. Birth Control is a highly misunderstood issue. We don’t talk about it because society has taught us to accept certain forms of birth control and to reject others. We accept contraceptives, but we are opposed to plan b. Why? I don’t think there is enough space in the comments to do this issue justice. I have just finished a paper on Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and one of the proponents of contraceptive usage in America. Planned Parenthood distributes contraceptives and performs abortions. There is a connection between birth control and abortion, and for that euthanasia. I will start getting an article going on this topic. Thank you for the comment.

  10. SanK Te Fied :
    Using contraception is now on par with infanticide, abortion and euthanasia?
    Please get some perspective.
    If you can’t see the difference you should not be calling others blind.

    By “contraception”, “SanK Te Fied” means Plan B, which is not contraception at all. It is abortion.

  11. @Lynn Hanson #6
    I would include in the section anyone who prevents life. Specifically I am talking about birth control. We don’t talk about this in the Church because of it’s ties to the Roman Church. However, I would assert that birth control leads to abortion. Margaret Sanger did not fight to legalize abortion, but birth control. Only after birth control was legal did abortion become a freedom of choice for the woman. We need to study more about birth control and the purposes behind its use. Life is a gift from God, it is not our decision when it begins or ends.
    I mention contrition because there are people who have used methods of birth control and are contrite. They must hear the gospel, the forgiveness of sins. They don’t get the opportunity to receive absolution because we never talk about contraceptives and birth control as man’s determination of God given life. It is a touchy subject because it is never discussed.

  12. SanK Te Fied :
    Using contraception is now on par with infanticide, abortion and euthanasia?
    Please get some perspective.
    If you can’t see the difference you should not be calling others blind.

    It is possible to rank sins according to the temporal ills they bring about. Actual murder is worse in this regard than being angry with or hating someone. However, all sin is damnable. Hence, Jesus equates anger with murder:

    “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

    And St. John summarizes this teaching in 1 John 3:15, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

    Contraception and abortion are likewise the same sin of despising life. How much more can you hate your fellow man than to wish he had never been conceived? The following common sentiment illustrates the main connection between birth control and abortion. It’s the “children are a choice” mindset:

    “I love my kids. I wouldn’t take a million dollars for any of them, but I wouldn’t give a penny for another.”

    Only a wretch of a parent could be so heartless or unloving that he or she would wish one of his children had never been born or conceived. The thing that users of contraception fail to understand is that there is little difference between this and not wanting another to be conceived. If a child is conceived “by accident” while trying to prevent that conception, then you actually have to ignore or deny what you were thinking before if you aren’t going to be honest with yourself or that child that you didn’t want him to be conceived in the first place. Many people today are so honest with themselves and unwilling to change their heart that they abort the child.

    Yet, consider this as well. From a theological or pastoral perspective, actual murder can be a sin that one succumbs to in a moment of rage, just as adultery can occur in a moment of sinful passion. Abortion can also be a desperate act. Often these sins are followed by virtually immediate contrition and repentance. Contraception, on the other hand, is by its very nature much more premeditated and ongoing. One doesn’t stumble into a contraceptive act. One plans it and justifies it… lives in it. There is a big difference between sin that we struggle with and sin that we “live in” without repentance.

    St. John Chrysostom was right on the money when he stated:

    “Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives]…. Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation.” [Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 24, A.D. 391]

    The church always saw contraception as a sin until the middle of the last century. If you have an open mind and wish to learn more about the historic, biblical opposition to contraception, begin with this little booklet by Rev. Heath Curtis: “Should Christian Couples Use Contraception?” – What the Bible, the Church’s Witness, and Natural Law Have to Say about Birth Control.

    That said, it should also be pointed out that it is impossible to actually distinguish between contraception and abortion in all cases. Not only do we not authoritatively know exactly when a soul comes into existence, we can’t know for certain in what mode various methods are acting in specific cases. In a given woman’s use of hormonal contraception over a year, has ovulation always been inhibited or has there been breakthrough ovulation where implantation many have been inhibited? [see Postfertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives and Their Relationship to Informed Consent]

    Methods which can work by inhibiting implantation include all hormonal methods (implants, injections, pills…), all post-coital methods (“Morning After” pills, Plan-B, RU486…), and all IUDs.

    The points I have made above hopefully make it easier to understand that the distinction between “contraception” and abortion is rather blurry at best. They are both born of the same sinful worldview that despises children unless “I want” them, rather than seeing them as the unqualified blessing Scripture teaches us they always are.

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