If there is one thing this election has shown us, it’s how strongly Evangelicals feel about abortion. 81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for the Republican candidate, many because of his pro-life platform. But does their involvement in the issue go farther than their vote?
- Approximately 90% of Christians surveyed say that abortion is a major social issue their church should be addressing
- 90% of these same respondents aren’t involved in any way (ProGrace church surveys, 2015-16)
Christians feel that abortion is a critical issue to address, but most feel helpless to act. While this disconnect is understandable, it’s also concerning.
If we feel so strongly about abortion, why aren’t we talking about it in our churches or involving ourselves in other ways? If it’s important enough to be one of the major factors in selecting a president, why do we only act once every 4 years?
Consider this quote from our research:
“I feel strongly that God is against abortion. Like my friends who volunteer at pro-life marches, I believe that life begins at conception and can’t consider myself pro-choice. Even though I believe this, I just can’t bring myself to align with the vocal pro-life movement. Deep down, something about its expression feels off to me, like it’s an incomplete expression of the Gospel I have encountered.”
Does this sound like you? Do you wonder whether the way political platforms have traditionally addressed the abortion issue is the way Jesus would address it?
I can remember the distinct moment when I identified the source of the disconnect I personally felt. It was when I came across this quote, “Are you for the woman and the child, and don’t know where you fit?” Yes! This is what was causing my tension. And not only because I was for both of them, but more importantly, because God was.
The truth we as Christians have been most vocal about – that God loves and values the life of an unborn child – is only half the truth. We haven’t been fully proclaiming the rest of the truth, that God is also for the life, future, and dreams of every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. He is pro-child and pro-woman, equally concerned with the future and the welfare of both.
And this is the greatest downfall of a politicized response to abortion—it will never be enough. Neither one of the political platforms fully expresses God’s heart toward both the woman and the child.
But how do we begin to express that when politics gives us only two options?
We find a third way, and we start by asking the question:
If Jesus were here today, how would He approach this issue?
- Jesus would be equally concerned for both the woman and the child.
Since God designed pregnancy in a way that intertwines two lives, it is impossible for us to help one while bypassing the other. This is why the current political stalemate won’t ever be resolved. God’s design dictates that we must work for the dignity and welfare of both.
- Jesus would extend grace to women facing unplanned pregnancy.
In every Gospel encounter, Jesus extends radical, unexpected grace first. This grace is missing from our cultural narrative, which tells women they were stupid to get pregnant, and that this mistake will ruin their future as well as their child’s. Jesus would have the audacity to say the exact opposite – that He has a plan for them both to thrive.
- Instead of relying on a political candidate, Jesus would ask His Church to be the hands that help them thrive.
Most women consider abortion because they feel they lack the emotional support and practical resources to raise a child. So the government can definitely make a difference through programs that support pregnant women and single moms financially and practically.
At the same time, we never see Jesus leaving His plans in the hands of the government. He didn’t tell his disciples not to be involved in politics, He just kept them busy healing the broken and proclaiming the Good News. In the same way, He has a lot of work we can be doing in the 1460 days between presidential elections. God’s plan has always been and will always be His Church, which he set up to bring His Kingdom to earth. That’s not the work of the government; that’s the job of the Church.
This work will eventually have a much greater impact than casting a vote for president possibly can. If the Church can truly be the hands and feet of Christ, God can paint a picture of hope for life after an unplanned pregnancy. And that, more than anything, is what will shift the abortion issue in this country.
This may sound like a radical idea, but there is already a movement of people and churches who are going after this dream. We are called ProGrace, and we’d love to have you join us.