By Dave Andrusko
Today I received in the mail the quarterly edition of “LifeWatch,” the pro-life newsletter complied by the formidable Rev. Paul Stallsworth, a pastor in the United Methodist Church who has appeared at many National Right to Life Conventions and contributed frequently to NRL News Today.
Among the many meaty morsels, Paul includes a link to a book written by Dr. James V. Heidinger, II, titled, “About Abortion: 10 Things a New Generation of Christians Should Know.” I know of Dr. Heidinger’s work in other contexts. He is an excellent writer who always fills each page with insights worth pondering.
This afternoon I read the Introduction online; I would like to share a few of the ideas he has for informing a new generation of Christians about abortion.
For starters he reminds us of a truth that elates pro-lifers and deflates pro-abortionists: “Many in this new generation, according to the Gallup Poll numbers, seem to have pro-life instincts.”
But they might well be “unaware that the arguments and rationales used in the ‘70s and ‘80s in support of unrestricted abortion were (and remain today) substantially weak, not carefully reasoned, and sometimes based on misleading, even dishonest claims.”
Knowing that –and also that there is boatload of spot-on criticisms of Roe offered up by a host of ethicists, legal scholars, and Christian theologians–“may help inform today’s generation and give substantive support to its pro-life instincts.”
Let me offer two other points. This new generation, like the public as a whole (including many of these young people’s elders), “have not considered carefully the teaching of the church fathers of the first five centuries; we have not listened carefully to the pattern of sounding teaching of our greatest theologians and ethicists of the last century.” There exists is a great storehouse of careful, theologically-informed reasoning why we ought to , why we must protect the weakest among us.
Finally, Dr. Heidinger reinforces a pivotal truth. Truth does not cease to be true if we offer it poorly. However this does make softening hearts and unstopping ears a great deal more difficult. He ends the Introduction with this sage counsel:
“As we consider an issue that has been painful, heart-wrenching, and life-changing for millions of women, we must always address it with compassion and in the spirit of Christ. Not to do so would be an egregious contradiction. On the one hand, we must not allow the painfulness of the issue or a binding political correctness to mute a passionate teaching and defense of the truth about this critical moral issue. Therefore we must be equipped to engage in conversation about this difficult topic in a loving an informed way.”