Abortion is the most vicious act of dehumanization, spiritual oppression, and physical destruction being carried out in our world today. Abortion is never the right choice, never the only option, and never the best solution to any situation. Every abortion that occurs in our culture ends the life of a child who has been abandoned by their father, betrayed by their mother, and forsaken by our society. Every abortion sheds the innocent blood of child made in the image of God. Every abortion murders our neighbor.
Abortion is an affront to God and a violation of His law. To do nothing about it is a failure to obey Christ’s command that we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves. To refuse to bring the light of the Gospel into conflict with the darkness of abortion is to abandon or confine the Great Commission.
Jesus Christ called us to care for the weakest members of our society, not abandon them to destruction. Undoubtedly, this includes the children killed by abortion. Mothers and fathers do not own their preborn children like property and have no right to determine whether they live or die. Abortion is sin and we are all guilty of participating in its continued cultural prevalence. In the manner of earlier abolitionists, we are calling on our culture to Repent! We are calling on the churches in America who have made peace with abortion and tolerated its practice to repent!
The good news is that Christ forgives all who confess their sins and turn from them to follow Him as Lord. This includes women who have killed their preborn children and men who have helped or encouraged them to do so. This includes the nation that has sanctioned and encouraged the crime, and the church that has stood silently by while the image of their God was being defiled in darkness and their neighbors were being destroyed down the street from their place of worship.
Table of Contents[hide]
- Abortion is the Evil of Our Age
- Abortion is Child Sacrifice
- What the Word of God says about the Shedding of Innocent Blood
- What the Word of God says about Injustice and Oppression
- What the Word of God says about the Neglect of Justice
- How the Word of God defines Pure and Undefiled Religion
- Scriptural Justification for why we go to the People of God first and Exhort them to Act Against Injustice
- How the Word of God describes the People who know God: Those who will take action!
- Early Christian Witnesses Against Abortion
Abortion is the Evil of Our Age
God did not destroy Old Testament Israel for unbelief, idolatry, or persecution of His messengers the prophets. Rather, those who had the most knowledge about Him fell so far into child sacrifice that God decided to send His people, His bride, into exile. We in modern America are in a similar situation – Americans have more available knowledge about God than probably anyone, and yet the death toll is 56 million and counting.
Ask yourself what other evil is permitted by the laws of this nation, and receives widespread, nearly universal protection from law enforcement, and enjoys widespread support among the institutional church, and watches with glee as the church pushes back against reformers in her midst, and is as final and brutal, and is as frequent, and rips all of the victim’s human rights away?
Abortion is Child Sacrifice
Long gone are the days when children were publicly killed and offered on altars to the gods of ancient cultures. But the practice of sacrificing children is still alive and well in our society today. While no one may explicitly offer a child in sacrifice to Moloch, women who abort their unborn children effectively sacrifice them to the modern-day idols of personal peace and affluence. Ancient peoples gave their children in sacrifice to secure the favor of certain fictitious deities, in the hope that such favor would result in material blessings, such as a favorable harvest. Likewise, many women today kill their unborn children in the hope that their death will result in material blessings, such as a college education or a lucrative professional career. In cases both ancient and modern, the life of the child is seen as something of far lesser worth than the temporal well-being of the parent. And in both cases, the parents callously murder their own children in cold blood, with the goal of making their own lives better.
What the Word of God says about the Shedding of Innocent Blood
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”
You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “You shall also say to the sons of Israel:
‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name. If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech.
So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you.
‘Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
2 Kings 21:5-6, 10-12, 16
For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger.
Now the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols; therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle.
Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord.
2 Kings 24:2-4
The Lord sent against him bands of Chaldeans, bands of Arameans, bands of Moabites, and bands of Ammonites. So He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken through His servants the prophets. Surely at the command of the Lord it came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also for the innocent blood which he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the Lord would not forgive.
They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,
And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood.
Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds.
Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people And He abhorred His inheritance.
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us ambush the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, even whole, as those who go down to the pit; We will find all kinds of precious wealth, we will fill our houses with spoil; Throw in your lot with us, we shall all have one purse,” My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, For their feet run to evil and they hasten to shed blood. Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net in the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors.
There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.
Then go out to the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle. Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter.
Egypt will become a waste, and Edom will become a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood.
Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead In order to enlarge their borders.“So I will kindle a fire on the wall of Rabbah And it will consume her citadels amid war cries on the day of battle, and a storm on the day of tempest. “Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together,” says the Lord.
“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with violence!
1 John 3:11-12,15
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
What the Word of God says about Injustice and Oppression
The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. “A bruised reed He will not break. And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. “He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted. And justice for the poor.
Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.
To receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity;
Proverbs 21:3, 7, 12-13, 15
To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. The violence of the wicked will drag them away, because they refuse to act with justice. The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin. He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor. Will also cry himself and not be answered. The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, but is terror to the workers of iniquity.
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
“Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
Thus says the Lord, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come. And My righteousness to be revealed.
Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord is our righteousness.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.’”
“But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period— if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully—he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God.
Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said! Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts. May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you. But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
What the Word of God says about the Neglect of Justice
‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow’s plea come before them.
“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge between Me and My vineyard. “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. “I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.” For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.
Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace. Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, We grope like those who have no eyes; We stumble at midday as in the twilight, Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men. All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities: Transgressing and denying the Lord, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the Lord saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
“Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, Then I will pardon her. “And although they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ Surely they swear falsely.” ‘For wicked men are found among My people, They watch like fowlers lying in wait; They set a trap, They catch men. ‘Like a cage full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit; Therefore they have become great and rich. ‘They are fat, they are sleek, They also excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; And they do not defend the rights of the poor. ‘Shall I not punish these people?’ declares the Lord, ‘On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?’
The voice of the Lord will call to the city— And it is sound wisdom to fear Your name: “Hear, O tribe. Who has appointed its time? “Is there yet a man in the wicked house, Along with treasures of wickedness and a short measure that is cursed? “Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights? “For the rich men of the city are full of violence, her residents speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. “So also I will make you sick, striking you down, Desolating you because of your sins. “You will eat, but you will not be satisfied, And your vileness will be in your midst. You will try to remove for safekeeping, But you will not preserve anything, and what you do preserve I will give to the sword. “You will sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; And the grapes, but you will not drink wine. “The statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab are observed; And in their devices you walk. Therefore I will give you up for destruction and your inhabitants for derision, and you will bear the reproach of My people.”
The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted. “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days— You would not believe if you were told. “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs. “They are dreaded and feared; their justice and authority originate with themselves. “Their horses are swifter than leopards and keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. “All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. “They mock at kings and rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress and heap up rubble to capture it. “Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god.”
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
How the Word of God defines Pure and Undefiled Religion
“At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.
“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
“When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.
“When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.
Job 29:12-17 (Job of his righteousness)
Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. “The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.“I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know. “I broke the jaws of the wicked and snatched the prey from his teeth.
Job 31:16-22 (Job speaking)
“If I have kept the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not shared it (But from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, And from infancy I guided her), If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or that the needy had no covering, If his loins have not thanked me, and if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep, if I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had support in the gate, let my shoulder fall from the socket, and my arm be broken off at the elbow.
“He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” Declares the Lord. “But your eyes and your heart are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, and on shedding innocent blood and on practicing oppression and extortion.”
Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’
And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Scriptural Justification for why we go to the People of God first and Exhort them to Act Against Injustice
God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the Lord!’” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.
And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols. I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am the Lord.
Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? “You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. “Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. “They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. “My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.” Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: “As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”
In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own people. So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.”
And I said, “Hear now, heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel. Is it not for you to know justice? “You who hate good and love evil, who tear off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones, who eat the flesh of my people, strip off their skin from them, break their bones and chop them up as for the pot and as meat in a kettle.”
Then they will cry out to the Lord, but He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time because they have practiced evil deeds. Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray; when they have something to bite with their teeth,
They cry, “Peace,” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths they declare holy war. Therefore it will be night for you—without vision, and darkness for you—without divination. The sun will go down on the prophets, and the day will become dark over them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths. Because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage. To make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin. Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, Who abhor justice and twist everything that is straight, who build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with violent injustice. Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord saying, “Is not the Lord in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.” Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.
With what shall I come to the LORD and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
How the Word of God describes the People who know God: Those who will take action!
Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.
Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on vegetation which do not wait for man or delay for the sons of men. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, among many peoples like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which, if he passes through, tramples down and tears, and there is none to rescue. Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, and all your enemies will be cut off.
For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim. And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece; And I will make you like a warrior’s sword. Then the Lord will appear over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning; And the Lord God will blow the trumpet, and will march in the storm winds of the south. The Lord of hosts will defend them. And they will devour and trample on the sling stones; and they will drink and be boisterous as with wine; and they will be filled like a sacrificial basin, Drenched like the corners of the altar. And the Lord their God will save them in that day as the flock of His people; for they are as the stones of a crown, sparkling in His land.
“My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the male goats; for the Lord of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like His majestic horse in battle. “From them will come the cornerstone, from them the tent peg, From them the bow of battle, from them every ruler, all of them together. “They will be as mighty men, treading down the enemy in the mire of the streets in battle; and they will fight, for the Lord will be with them; and the riders on horses will be put to shame. “I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them back, because I have had compassion on them; and they will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.
Early Christian Witnesses Against Abortion
The first Abolitionists of Abortion were the first Christians. Though they did not employ the term “Abolitionist,” the earliest followers of Christ certainly engaged in the work of exposing and removing grave evils and assisting those caught up in them. As the early church spread out in the ancient world proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, they consistently set themselves in bold opposition to their godless culture’s widespread adoption of practices which shed innocent blood (gladiator games, infanticide, euthanasia, child-abandonment, and abortion).
They rescued discarded babies from the trash heaps and river ways of Rome. They set up orphanages and hospitals. They tore down infanticide shrines and drove out abortionist guilds. They petitioned their rulers to outlaw their culture’s acceptable forms of child-sacrifice. And they succeeded.
As history records, these Christians spread their message and its corresponding way of life so thoroughly that it led to the abolition of abortion, infanticide, child-abandonment, gladiator games, and many other dehumanizing practices engrained in ancient pagan culture.
Everywhere they went they brought the light of the Gospel to those dwelling in darkness. From the brothels to slave-markets, to demonic killing-centers and to the high-places which protected these practices, these “abolitionists” replaced their culture’s “way of death” with the “way of life” they were instructed to walk in by their risen Lord. Everywhere these Christians went, they did not cease from teaching that Jesus had risen from the dead and that he had the power to forgive sinners (Acts 5:42). And in everything these Christians did, they demonstrated the new life they found in Him, and lived according to His teachings before the watching world. Christians worked against infanticide by prohibiting their members from practicing it, by voicing their opposition to it boldly before the pagan world, and by providing for the relief of the poor and adopting children who had been left to die by exposure by their pagan parents.
The Church that Christ established on earth focused on teaching people to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds, and to love their neighbors as themselves. They brought the teachings of Christ into conflict with with their culture of death by living in accordance with it.
We see this in the oldest known Christian catechism, the Didache (2nd century A.D.). As the Didache begins, “there are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference.” The document contrasts the world’s system of morality and its treatment of human beings with the teachings of the Apostles, and demonstrates how a man-centered way of life leads to death, and a Christ-centered way of life leads to life and joy eternal.
Though little is known about the daily work these first Abolitionists carried out to put an end to the legalized forms of child-sacrifice taking place in Rome, we do know of some bodies of believers who did rise up and remove the evil of abortion from their midst. Consider the church pastored by the fourth century scholar and church father Basil of Caesarea.
Despite his active role as a teaching pastor and church administrator, Basil led a group of committed Christians into constant confrontation with the pagan practices of abortion, infanticide, and child-abandonment running rampant in the pagan culture of his day. When Basil discovered a guild of abortionists working in Caesarea, he immediately set to work on abolishing its occurrence, both legally and culturally. He railed against the monstrous practice of child-killing from his pulpit, staged public protests of the abortionists and their financiers, tore down ancient infanticide shrines on the outskirts of the city, and mobilized the body of believers under his care to cut down the number of abortions occurring in their community as they sought to provide help to betrayed women facing what we would label today as “crisis pregnancies”. All the while, Basil set his scholarly mind on various legal and educational reforms that challenged, and eventually abrogated, the laws permitting abortion and infanticide in his city along with the cultural norms that undergird their approval. Basil’s condemnation of culturally approved child-killing was unequivocal. And he did not just preach against abortion; he took action and led his flock to follow him as he did so.
The following quotations document the early church’s position on abortion:
Here are two ways, one of life and one of death, but a great difference between the two ways. -Didache 1:1 (90AD)
And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. -Didache 2:1-2 (90AD)
Thou shalt not doubt whether a thing shall be or not be. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain. Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thine own soul. Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion, nor again shalt thou kill it when it is born. Thou shalt not withhold thy hand from thy son or daughter, but from their youth thou shalt teach them the fear of God. -The Epistle of Barnabas 19:5 (130AD)
And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it. -Athenagoras of Athens, Embassy (177AD)
There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels. So they commit murder before they bring forth–and this about infanticide and child exposure: And I see that you at one time expose your begotten children to wild beasts and to the birds; at another that you crush when strangled with a miserable kind of death… And these things assuredly come down from your gods. For Saturn did not expose his children but devoured them. -Minucius Felix, The Octavius (200AD)
Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument that is formed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for first of all opening the uterus and then keeping it open. It also has a circular blade, by means of which the limbs within the womb are dissected with careful, but unflinching care. Its last appendage is a blunted or covered hook, by which the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery. There is also a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is brought about in this treacherous robbery of life. From its infanticide function, they give it the name, “killer of the infant”—which infant, of course, had once been alive. -Tertullian, De Anima 25 (209AD)
Women who were reputed to be believers began to take drugs to render themselves sterile, and to bind themselves tightly so as to expel what was being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess wealth, want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See, then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching adultery and murder at the same time! -Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies (228AD)
When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men.. Therefore, let no one imagine that even this is allowed, to strangle newly-born children, which is the greatest impiety; for God breathes into their souls for life, and not for death. But men, that there may be no crime with which they may not pollute their hands, deprive [unborn] souls as yet innocent and simple of the light which they themselves have not given. “Can anyone, indeed, expect that they would abstain from the blood of others who do not abstain even from their own? But these are, without any controversy, wicked and unjust. -Lactantius, Divine Institutes 6:20 (307AD)
Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not. -Basil of Caesarea, First Canonical Epistle, Canon II (374 AD)
He that kills another with a sword, or hurls an axe at his own wife and kills her, is guilty of wilful murder; not he who throws a stone at a dog, and undesignedly kills a man, or who corrects one with a rod, or scourge, in order to reform him, or who kills a man in his own defence, when he only designed to hurt him. But the man, or woman, is a murderer that gives a philtrum, if the man that takes it die upon it; so are they who take medicines to procure abortion; and so are they who kill on the highway, and rapparees. -Basil of Caesarea, First Canonical Epistle, Canon VIII (375AD)