The Gathering Storm Over Human Life

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
August 10, 2020

This article is an excerpt from Dr. Mohler’s newest book, The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church. For more information, click here. To order a copy of the book, click here

Abortion looms as a great moral scar on the modern age—a singular symbol of the embrace of the culture of death in the most technologically advanced nations on earth. The scar runs openly through the American landscape. In one sense, Americans have been deeply divided over abortion for the last half century since the US Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. But, unlike the case in many other nations, and unlike more liberal consensus that had delayed in the US on so many other issues, the debate over abortion in America is still fervent and it continues to shape American parties—all the way to the presidency.

As the late columnist Charles Krauthammer noted: “Of all the major social issues, abortion is the only one that has not moved towards increasing liberalization.” That observation is accurate. Though Americans have become more liberal on many issues (especially LGBTQ issues), the national conscience is still deeply divided over abortion, and five decades of abortion rights activism has not produced a liberal consensus. That is good news. But the bad news is that it matters a very great deal whether the unborn child lives in a womb in New York or in Alabama.

The horror of abortion seems to appear daily and in ever deadlier form in the nation’s headlines as states across the country pledge their support for late-term abortion laws. These laws would essentially allow for abortion right up until the moment a child is born. New laws in New York and Rhode Island represent a new day in the pro-abortion movement, which endeavors to make the womb the most unsafe place for any baby in the United States. The totality of the English language fails to describe the utterly chilling and abhorrent barbarity of the pro-abortion movement’s agenda.

In the past, pro-choice advocates have typically not openly defended abortion rights during the third trimester. Nevertheless, the truth was revealed when the pro-abortion movement vociferously opposed even a ban on partial-birth abortion. Most Americans—even most who say they favor some form of abortion rights—maintained that if a baby could survive outside the mother’s womb, protection should be granted.

That has changed. The inevitable outcome of the pro-abortion worldview leads to abortion on demand at any moment of the pregnancy. States should, according to this radical dogma, protect a woman’s right to abort at any time for any reason of her health—health being defined not only as life and death, but emotional and mental. The deadly logic of the pro-abortion movement took an even deadlier turn on the American political scene over the last year—especially with the backdrop of the 2020 presidential election.

The pro-abortion movement has sown a culture of death. It attempts to destroy and to deny the sanctity of life, and the consequences are now clear to see. This is what happens when a society jettisons the moral code based in the truth that every human is an extension of God’s common grace, and a bearer of God’s image. Unless this march to death is reversed, the headlines will only become more horrifying and even deadlier…

We now stand at a watershed moment in American history. The year 2020 will go down in the books as a decisive year when the United States of America dealt with the challenge of abortion and the question of the sanctity of human life. These days, every national election is, in effect, a referendum or an abstention. Christians should note the troubling trends and pay careful attention to the deadly rhetoric of the pro-abortion movement. The culture of death seems to advance hour by hour in the United States—this is no mere political issue or policy debate; this is an issue dealing with real lives, real human beings, legally murdered on a massive scale. The events over the past year and this current political crisis serve as a moral MRI—a diagnostic test on the ethical condition of the United States. The current scans present us with a horrid diagnosis. The culture of death has metastasized and continues to spread across the nation.

This much is clear: American Christians must not only work and argue for the preservation of unborn life, but we must also pray for it. This is a defining moment for the moral character of the nation. It demands not only the attention of the finest intellectual and legal minds the nation has to offer but also the prayers of every Christian. May God have mercy and reverse the culture of death that has plagued this nation. May God help us to preserve and protect the life of every single human being—born and unborn.

The Christian witness demands that we present people, collectively and individually, with questions—questions that cause serious moral contemplation. The heartbeat bills, for example, are not just wholesome provocations—they are holy provocations. These bills procure a conversation wherein Christians can bear witness to the glory of the Creator by pointing to the development and beauty of human life in a mother’s womb. Christians understand the weightiness of these debates. These are not merely public debates on a merely political issue—life and death are at stake; indeed, human life is at stake. That’s why provoking conversation through heartbeat bills is a holy calling.

It is incumbent upon Christians to defend the sanctity of human life and confront the arguments demanding unfettered access to abortions. Abortion destroys countless human lives each and every year. We cannot be silent. The cries of dying children from the womb demand our utmost and zealous efforts to speak for them, defend them, and endeavor with all our might to eradicate abortion.

To do this, Christians must first and foremost pray. We pray for God to intervene, change hearts, and shed his mercy on a nation lost in the seas of secularism. We pray for ourselves: that God would grant us courage, conviction, and compassion—not only for the aborted children, but for many women who feel trapped, who see their only viable option as abortion.

Secondly, Christians must equip themselves with the Word of God to preach and proclaim the glory of humanity enshrined in God’s creative mandate. Human beings at every stage of life, bear the image of God. To destroy image bearers intentionally is an act of high treason against the glory of our God who made man and woman in his image—an image that begins at conception. Christians need to contend for the sanctity of human life by equipping themselves with the powerful Word of the living God.

Finally, if all life is sacred, then Christians must champion adoption and foster care, and willingly step in to take on children who would have otherwise been aborted. Believers in Jesus Christ ought to be the leaders in the care of children. If we desire to see abortions end, then we must equally provide the necessary care to survivors of this abortion crisis.

The storm gathers, and it has already claimed the lives of millions of unborn children. We face a political, moral, and ethical crisis in this country—unless Christians press into the storm and declare the sanctity and dignity of human life, the casualties will be even more catastrophic. We cannot be silent. We cannot accept the logic of the culture of death. But the only real answer to the culture of death is the gospel of life…

This article is an excerpt from Dr. Mohler’s newest book, The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church. For more information, click here. To order a copy of the book, click here.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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