Social media is brimming with responses to New York’s recent update to the state’s abortion law:
New York’s abortion law was updated and strengthened Tuesday night when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law that had just passed the Senate and Assembly.
The bill was first introduced in the Democratic-run Assembly in 2006 but had not been taken up by the Senate until the Democrats wrested control from Republicans this year.
The law for the first time allows abortions after the 24-week mark to protect the mother’s health or in cases where the fetus won’t survive.- New York Post
The biggest slap in the face to the signing of the law the while the crowd cheers and a “God Bless you” by Governor Andrew Cuomo. God bless who?
What should the church’s response be in light of this new law?
Remind ourselves we live in a post-Christian nation.
“Man no longer sees himself as a qualitatively different from non-man. The Christian consensus gave a basis for people being unique, as made in the image of God, but his has largely been thrown away…. All morals and law are seen as relative.”
There have been many blocks hacked out of our foundation that lead to us becoming a post-Christian nation:
On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment because it represented establishment of religion. In 1963, in Abington School District v. Schempp, the court decided against Bible readings in public schools along the same lines.- cnsnews.com
The cover of Time magazine in 1966 asked – Is God Dead? followed by many conversations that led to some believing the question to be reality.
God is dead. God remains dead. – Nietzsche
In proclaiming God’s death, Nietzsche doesn’t mean to be taken literally. On his view, God never existed in the first place, so talk of his “death” is more about humanity than divinity. We humans, Nietzsche surmises, have found God’s existence both indefensible and undesirable. He therefore asserts rather than establishes the indefensibility of belief in God, even as he explains its undesirability.-thegospelcoalition.org
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions.
These are just a few of the changes to our government that began to strip away at the foundations of a Christian nation. We have since shifted to a secular nation with no moral absolutes.
“Modern man has no real boundary condition for what he should do; he is left only we what he can do. Moral “oughts” are only what is sociologically acceptable at the moment. In this setting will today’s unthinkable still be unthinkable in ten years?” – Francis Schaeffer
We must stop shouting our “moral oughts” as if our emotions regarding the moral decay of our nation will change it.
A new friend of mine told me she was tired of the church’s rhetoric and promises of “I’ll pray for you” while it remained inactive about the moral and social issues of the day.
2. Respond to social/moral issues as the early church did (in the midst of a godless empire).
Before I answer the question, let me set the stage of the early church in the Roman Empire:
“According to the centuries old traditions of paterfamilias, the birth of a Roman was not a biological fact. Infants were received into the world only as the family willed. A Roman did not have a child; he took a child. Immediately after birthing, if the family decided not to raise the child – literally lifting him above the earth -he was simply abandoned. There were special high places or walls where the newborn was taken and exposed to die.”- George Grant via Third Time Around
Life was not valued in the Roman Empire. The arena viewed violence as entertainment. Gladiators fought to the death. Christians were mauled by lions in front of cheering crowds. Pedophilia was practiced. And the list goes on. And on this world stage, Christ lived, died and rose again. The early church began.
The disciples devoted themselves to prayer, waiting together.
They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They devoted themselves to instruction and fellowship. They organized themselves, and met needs, spiritually, financially and physically.
During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—“Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.” Acts 6: 1-3
Unfortunately, we have left the social gospel behind and spend our time shouting “moral oughts” and have let the government take over the feeding of the poor, the caring for the widow and the orphan. And yet…we want a secular nation to handle our responsibilities with the morals and values of our Christianity. Not going to happen. We shouldn’t be shocked when we get godless solutions to humanity’s problems from the government.
“Because of its messiah complex, today the government preempt the work of the church and tries to meet the problems of poverty by government-subsidized programs.” –What if Jesus Had Never Been Born
We, the church have let our responsibility slip through our hands so carelessly, yet we find ourselves in an abysmal atrocity that we ourselves let happen. We even ask the government to provide these things and when they do, we cringe out how it is played out- government subsidized abortions for one. Foster care is another (I won’t go there in this article).
The government has tried to carry out by force the Christian ideal of helping the poor, caring for the widow and orphan, deciding who has value and who doesn’t. The unborn is not given “value”. The value of the child is often what his value is politically.
If we want to change the climate of the nation, we must pray first, wait for His leading and act. When we act, we become the loving hands of Jesus. We cannot change things because of our own effort, but when we follow the roadmap of the early church by the directives of the Holy Spirit we can bring help and healing.
3. Get ready for the fallout.
We’ve already seen fallout on social media- women mourning the loss of a child and outraged at laws and policies that allow other women to take a life. It’s unfathomable. We have all shed so many tears this week. Emotions are all over the place. Women who have had abortions are sharing their regrets, shame and heartache for the choice they made. There’s going to more of that. We’ve opened the floodgates and we need to be ready for the fallout.
Find an honest women who has undergone an abortion and she will tell you the truth. She is damaged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Her health has been damaged.
“Women who have abortions are 81 percent more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems, according to a new study published by Britian’s Royal College of Psychiatrics. The greatest increases were seen in relation to suicidal behaviors and substance abuse.”- Afterabortion.org
The church should be equipped to minister to these women after the fact. That’s a hard pill to swallow. These women are already out there. They exist. They need our help. Who else will they go to? What about the women who refused an abortion and followed through with the birth? Are we pro-life if we don’t support her? Make provisions for her and her child? Or are we just pro-birth?
This is some heavy stuff. As a church we have realize our predicament, we are living in a post-Christian nation. With that in mind, we need to get back to the practice of the early church who ministered the Gospel and followed up with provision to meet the needs of those affected by the current culture. It was the early Christians who opened the first orphanages, made a provision in the church funds to care for the widow and fed the poor. The early church preached the value of life.
“The church has made more changes on earth for the good than any other movement of force in history.”- What if Jesus had never Been Born
Let’s pray, humble ourselves and celebrate they tiny moral victories in a secular world such as this one:
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bills into law on Friday.
The so-called “heartbeat” legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. -npr.org
Let’s gear up, army of God, to fight the good fight on faith on our knees and abandon our personal peace (the desire to be left alone to do our own thing) for action based living.
I know that many of you reading this article are already doing the work suggested, you are praying, fasting, serving, sharing your stories for the benefit of others. You are not only sharing, but acting. I applaud you! I thank you.
Let me leave you with this word:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
II Corinthians 1: 3-7