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Church must address culture of death, writers urge in seminary magazine
January 08, 2003
By Michael Foust
Southern Seminary Magazine
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--The 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade underscores the need for the Christian church to shine light in a culture of death, writers in the latest issue of Southern Seminary Magazine conclude.
The magazine tackles such life-and-death issues as abortion, euthanasia and cloning in view of the Jan. 22 anniversary of the controversial 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states.
A publication of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., the magazine includes feature articles by R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the seminary; Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and William Cutrer, a Southern Seminary professor who is also a practicing medical doctor.
Sadly, abortion has become an accepted part of the American culture, Mohler writes.
"The nation's conscience is no longer seared by the scandal of abortion, and abortion on demand has become a routine part of everyday life," he writes. "... Thirty years later, can we rebuild and recover? The signs are not hopeful. Three decades of post-Roe v. Wade experience reveal a downward spiral from abortion to euthanasia, from embryo research to human cloning, from assisted suicide to advocated infanticide."
The church, he asserts, must promote a pro-life message.
"The believing church is now perhaps the last outpost of moral sanity in the culture of death," Mohler writes. "If recovery is to come, it must arise in a new generation who sees through the moral insanity and possesses the courage to reverse course before all moral knowledge is lost. Let us pray that God will give us that generation -- before it is too late."
"Christians, in particular, have an obligation to confront these critical moral and ethical issues with a scriptural response," he writes. "These are hard questions, but God's Word gives the simple but indisputable answer: Human life from conception onward should be protected, not endangered."
Land tells the story of how, as a high school student, he was confronted with the realities of abortion in biology class. A classmate brought in a 12-week-old fetus, displayed in formaldehyde. Land protested to an administrator and it was eventually removed.
"The little baby was so undeniably human that I was deeply disturbed to see him displayed in such a casual, callous, disrespectful way," Land writes.
Cutrer, professor of Christian ministry and a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, serves as medical director of a pro-life crisis pregnancy center in Louisville. He notes that while the unborn child is an obvious victim of abortion, others also suffer, including the mother.
He describes "post abortion syndrome" (PAS), which affects women with symptoms of anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and even suicide.
"For those like me who have invested our lives as caregivers into the broken realities of these women and their partners, we see PAS as a dangerous, sometimes subtle and confusing collection of problems," he writes. "PAS may remain repressed with women in denial for years or even decades as they cope with apparent ease. Then, for perhaps 20 percent or more of abortion survivors, various symptoms appear."
The church, Cutrer argues, should reach out to such women.
"[T]here is hope in Christ," he writes. "These women, and the men who have fathered their children, can benefit from sound spiritual counsel. The pain is profound but forgiveness is real. Their understanding of 'self' -- often expressed in phrases such as 'I killed my baby' or 'I am a murderer' -- can be rebuilt by the power of the Holy Spirit. Healing comes in community. Thus, the church, while speaking boldly and clearly against abortion, should become a safe place for those who have chosen abortion."
Land says he sees "shimmering rays of hope" for pro-lifers.
"Today's pro-life movement is without precedent in American history," he writes. "Never before has a grassroots movement grown to such proportions without the sponsorship and support of any of society's elites. We have succeeded in making abortion a frowned-upon procedure by most Americans, even if they are not yet prepared to make it illegal in most cases."
The church, Mohler asserts, must not remain neutral in sanctity of life debates.
"We must let light shine in darkness," he writes. "This means, in part, that the church must be a culture of life, in the midst of the culture of death and the death of the culture. The church must contend for life -- life in the biblical sense -- at every level. This means contending for life in the womb and in the nursing home, in the hospital ward and on the streets. Everywhere, we must be those who stand for the culture and sanctity of life, for we know that the culture of life can never be predicated upon the authority of man, but only on the authority of God."