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When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June 2022, it remanded decisions about abortion law to the states. Several states are dealing with ballot proposals or state legislation that will tighten or lessen their restrictions on abortion. 

Denominational leadership in Grand Rapids have already received many questions about how the church should respond to proposals related to abortion. Because the Christian Reformed Church in North America is a denomination with congregations across the continent, our ministries typically do not speak into legislation and policy at the municipal, state or province level. Instead, our focus is at the national level in both the United States and in Canada. We also provide educational and worship resources on specific issues (e.g. refugees, creation care, and the sanctity of human life). 

With this in mind, we’d like to offer the following resources and suggestions to guide Christians across North America as they engage this issue in their specific contexts.  

  1. The CRCNA has an official stance on abortion. As part of this position, the CRCNA calls all believers “to a ringing testimony against the evils of abortion as practiced in our society, and encourage[d] them to promote action and legislation that reflects the teaching of Scripture.” (Acts of Synod 1972, p. 64) 
  2. The CRCNA position recognizes that abortion is not only about unborn children, it is also about their parents. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, Rev. Zachary King issued this statement with a few things to keep in mind, including compassionate care for people facing unplanned pregnancy 
  3. CRCNA Social Justice has several resources available to help you learn about, discuss, and take action around the sanctity of human life. 

Wherever you live, please join us in prayer about this issue. Pray for an end to the injustice in many forms that forces women and men to make hard choices about ending pregnancies. Pray for the unborn, those facing unwanted pregnancies, and those who are counseling women considering abortions. Pray for those in government that they will enact just laws that protect not just unborn children, but also help children and families to flourish. 

Comments

I am deeply discouraged by this communication. For starters, it fails to mention that the CRC's official position is that an induced abortion is morally permissible only when it is done to save the physical life of a mother-to-be. In all other cases, it is murder, a violation of the sixth commandment.

Second, it fails to mention that most, if not all, of the ballot initiatives related to abortion this year (but especially in Michigan) are, according to the above official position, profoundly immoral. If the ballot proposals had to do with giving people the right to euthanize their newborns, I doubt that the communication would be so noncommittal and tepid.

Finally, it comes across as passing the buck. In the US, there is virtually no chance in the next several years that abortion legislation is going to be considered at the national level. This means that, if we accept the premises of this communication, the OSJ and CRC will have no specific guidance on abortion legislation for the next several years. So, I will likely receive texts telling me to put pressure on my federal legislature when it comes to specific tax proposals, but the OSJ and CRC will be silent about whether I should put pressure on my state officials when it comes to specific abortion proposals. Again, this is all very discouraging. Unfortunately, it was not unexpected.

Hello fellow Christ follower! I wonder, had the OSJ communicated the statements you wish they had, what would be the desired result? What do you hope readers would feel, think, or do as a result of reading your ideal communication on this issue? Would they feel more shame? More fear? A greater desire to flock to the polls? Do you think reiterating that language helps Christians love each other more fully? I'm curious, so I hope you'll enlighten me. Thanks!

My initial desired result would be that CRC members and our broader communities would clearly know what our denomination (and Scripture) teaches about abortion and the sanctity of human life. Based on that knowledge, I would hope that readers would recognize their moral duty to 'flock to the polls' to vote against the pro-abortion proposals in their states. I would also hope that readers would draw the conclusion that CRC, pro-abortion, politicians are not walking in accord with God's Word. Whether they went on to vote for those politicians or not is a prudential judgment for which they are responsible - and Christ will hold them responsible, as He will every Christian. 

If the communication led some people to feel more fear for the lives of unborn children, that would be good, because it would provide them with an opportunity to be courageous in the defense and support of those children. If the communication led some people to feel more fear for the lives of women, then that would be good, because, it would provide them with an opportunity to be courageous in helping women who have unwanted pregnancies or are being bullied into having an abortion by their families, partners, or doctors.

If the communication led some people to feel more shame, that shame could very well be good, because those who feel that shame may have said or done things for which they should feel shame. In my ideal communication, it would be obvious that those who feel shame are called to repent and believe God's gospel promise: that He will forgive our sins and grant us eternal life through faith alone in Jesus Christ.       

Reiterating the truth about what God teaches about abortion and our duty to unborn children enables Christians to love each other more fully in a variety of ways. First and foremost, it helps Christians to love more fully their own unborn covenant children and the unborn children of their unbelieving neighbors. Second, it helps Christians to love each other more fully by reminding them of the deep value that God places on every human life both born and unborn. Third, it helps Christians to love each other more fully by helping them to distinguish between acts that are consistent with love (i.e., those that are compatible with God's Law) and those that are not. Fourth, it helps Christians to love each other by warning them away from following false teachers and false role models. 

In the past, the Office of Social Justice has spoken out on state and local issues including a ballot initiative to create more bus routes in Grand Rapids. If this is in fact a new policy, I am good with it. However, it will be important to hold the denominational staff accountable to this policy. 

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