Being Completely Pro-Life
by Ron Sider
What does it really mean to be pro-life? The answer, of course, depends on one's basic values. If one endorses Marx's philosophical materialism, then sacrificing millions of people on the way to a secular utopia is not inconsistent. If one believes that the fetus is merely a physical appendage of the mother and not an independent human life, then favoring abortion is not inconsistent. If freedom is a higher value than justice, then majoring on religious and political liberty even at the expense of a decent life or even life itself for the poor is not inconsistent. Whether consciously or subconsciously, everyone's definition of what it means to be "pro-life" emerges from his or her deepest beliefs. I seek to ground my definition of what it means to be pro-life in my understanding of what the Bible says about life.
The opening chapters of Genesis sketch a glorious picture of the fullness of life intended for humanity by the Creator. A harmony of right relationships prevails everywhere—with God, with one another, and with the earth. Although it is not used here, the Hebrew word shalom is perhaps the best word to signify this fullness of life enjoyed as Adam and Eve walked in obedient relationship with God and in responsible stewardship over God's garden. Sin, however, shattered this shalom and disrupted relationships with God, neighbor, and earth. But God refused to abandon us. Beginning with Abraham, God called out a special people to be instruments of revelation and salvation for all. Through Moses and the prophets, the judges and the writers of wisdom, God patiently showed this chosen people how to live the abundant life.
As in the garden, God said that shalom starts with a right relationship with God. But it also includes right relationships with the neighbor: economic justice, respect for all persons including a special concern for the poor and weak, faithful family life, fair courts, and, of course, an end to war. Starkly, Moses clarified the options at the end of Deuteronomy. Life in every sense would follow if Israel obeyed God's commands, death and evil if they disobeyed. "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that I have set before you life And death… Choose life so that you and your descendants may live" (Deut. 30:19).
Excerpted from Ron Sider's Completely Pro-Life: A Sermon.
Here we explore the complexities of what it means to protect life in today's world. You can start with any of the articles below.