The contentious presidential election may have had the unfortunate consequence of narrowing the scope of the pro-life movement too much. Fervent appeals were made to life-issue voters stating that everything rides on the candidates’ potential to make multiple Supreme Court appointments, the one for the current vacancy and perhaps up to three more in the future. Christians, especially, were told that if they didn’t get this election right they would be responsible for setting the pro-life movement back and losing the court for possibly a quarter of a century (this after forty-four years in the wilderness, so to speak, since Roe v. Wade).
While participating in the civil process is a Christian responsibility that should be exercised according to a conscience captive to the Word, and while Christians do pray for the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, yet the curbing action of the law (which is important) is not the final word on God’s gift of life. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that any political party and its candidates will actually deliver “good government” and fully uphold the natural law under God as commanded in Romans 13. Recall that the author of the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun, was appointed by Republican President Nixon. The rest of the seven with the majority were: Warren Burger (Nixon, R); William Douglas (FDR, D); William Brennan (Eisenhower, R); Potter Stewart (Eisenhower, R); Thurgood Marshall (LBJ, D); and Lewis Powell (Nixon, R). The two who formed the dissent were: Byron White (Kennedy, D); and William Rehnquist (Nixon, R; chief justice under Regan, R). Thus, as Christians, while we do pray for justice and for all leaders and judges in positions of authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2), we do not trust in princes (Ps. 118:9; Ps. 146:3) who disappoint.
I recently received a letter from the Hope Clinic, a local crisis pregnancy center with which our congregation partners. The director said:
Each year between 550-600 come in for pregnancy services alone (another 600 will come in for wellcare medical visits or professional counseling for pregnancy loss and postpartum depression). Nearly half of the women who call us admit to being abortion-minded, but after they come in, over 90% choose life!
Those six hundred women in Nashville will be out there in need of help and instruction regardless of whether their access to abortion has been curbed or ended (for which we pray).
For the pastors of the Mid-South District, you and I who are kingdom-of-the-right men, our mission remains the same whether the civil realm improves or not: first, to proclaim the law “in its full sternness” (Walther, Law and Gospel, Thesis VI), to proclaim: God will require a reckoning for the lifeblood of man (Gen. 9:5-6); “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13); God alone is Lord and architect of the womb (Ps. 139:13-16); Murderers shall have their portion in the lake of fire that is prepared for the devil, the murderer from the beginning (Rev. 21:8; Matt. 25:41; Jn. 8:44). Second, our privilege is to proclaim the Gospel “in its full sweetness” (Walther, Law and Gospel, Thesis VI), to proclaim: “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30); “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (Jn. 3:17); “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom. 3:23-25); “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1); Your sins are taken from you “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12); “Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (LSB, DS 1, p. 151).
Please allow me to remind you that the 2017 LCMS Life Conference will be held in Arlington, VA, on Jan. 27-29. If you are unable to attend, you will want to download and listen to the presentations when available. Also, if you choose, Life Sunday may be observed on January 15, or on January 22, the actual anniversary date of the Roe v. Wade decision. Lutherans for Life (lutheransforlife.org) has materials available.
Rev. Philip Young
Mid-South District Life Coordinator