The Sanctity of Life Ethic and the Gospel
By Thomas A. Glessner, J.D.
January 13, 2009
While the election of Barack Obama and the upcoming Presidential Inaugural activities currently dominate the headlines there is another event in January that must not be ignored. On January 18th churches around the nation will celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. This is the Sunday closest to January 22nd the day in 1973 when the United States Supreme Court issued its infamous decision of Roe v. Wade that ushered in the era of abortion on demand.
Since the Roe decision was rendered more than 50 million unborn children have lost their lives from abortion. Today in America abortion kills 1.25 million unborn children per year, 3,425 per day, one every 30 seconds. Can you imagine the reaction of the public if 3,425 Americans were killed in Iraq every day? Or, what would the public response be to a daily 9/11 attack killing this many Americans? Sadly, however, the number of lives lost each day to abortion appears to be a silent holocaust that the public chooses to ignore.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is a time for the community of faith to respond and not ignore these tragic numbers. It is a time for the Christian community to come together and pray for an end to abortion and to support the ministries of pregnancy resource centers that provide loving and compassionate alternatives to abortion. It is a time for Christians of every denomination to stand up and be counted and celebrate the sanctity of life by proclaiming that every human being regardless of size, race, age, ethnicity, or condition of dependency is made in the image of God.
The Christian community must proclaim this sanctity of life message because this ethic is a foundational belief of the Christian faith. To separate the sanctity of life ethic from the gospel cuts the very heart out of the gospel message because the scriptural proclamation of salvation rests upon the Biblical teaching that all are made in the image of God.
John 3:16 is possibly the most famous verse in the Bible and lays out the essence of the gospel of Christ. This verse simple sets forth that fallen humanity is so loved by the Creator that he sent to us his son as a sacrifice so that every human being who believes can live forever. "For God so loved the world" does not refer to God's love for the animal kingdom, the mountains, the oceans, the forests, or other magnificent parts of his creation. (Undoubtedly he loves these things because after creation was completed he pronounced "It is good.") Rather, in referring to the "world" scripture is referring to humanity because humanity is made in the image of God.
Without the foundational belief in the sanctity of life ethic the gospel message of Christ's redemptive love is meaningless. If mankind is no different than the animal kingdom then why did Christ have to die?
The American nation is a long way from ending abortion. Recent political developments indicate that the public policy that favors abortion on demand is not going to end in the near future. Therefore, it is imperative now more than ever in our history that the Christian church stand up and be counted on this issue by proclaiming the essential message of the sanctity of human life.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is an opportunity for churches to do this. Pastors should preach on this topic and the congregations should spend time in prayer for our nation and those who have been trapped by the snare of abortion. Churches should commit to providing resources for the work of their local pregnancy resource centers, and members of churches should be encouraged to volunteer their time at these centers.
The message of the gospel of Christ is the hope of the world. And the sanctity of life ethic that under girds the gospel must be once again proclaimed and upheld throughout our nation if we have any hope at all of ending the tragic destruction of human life that continues in our land day after day.
Copyright © 2009 by Thomas A. Glessner. All rights reserved.