5 Reasons Jesus Teaches Us to Choose Life
There are lots of opinions, philosophies, and beliefs surrounding the topic of abortion. As Christian ministers, we believe it is best to trust Jesus over human wisdom. By his teaching throughout Scripture, Jesus teaches us to choose life.
Whether you support abortion or the life of the pre-born, there is an urgency in getting the answer right today. To some people, being told they can’t get an abortion feels like one of the ugliest invasions of government into a woman’s bodily autonomy possible, especially when bringing a child into the world might exacerbate a mother’s poverty. To others, it’s a question of whether or not our society is okay with murdering millions of human lives—a policy which can’t be reversed soon enough.
It is very emotional—and yet it can be very confusing.
As ministers/pastors, our modest goal is to show you what Jesus teaches. We will leave the politics for you to work out in your own life.
“As ministers/pastors, our modest goal is to show you what Jesus teaches.”
Please note, you can find people who claim to be Christian leaders who believe in the morality of abortion. But be careful with that fact. You can find people who claim to be Christians who believe in all kinds of things.
It is helpful to remember that the leadership of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as well as in the majority of Protestant Evangelical churches understand Jesus to teach what we write below. Even when it comes to Christian-influenced religions such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses, abortion is seen as taking human life and thus a grave sin.
We would like to suggest 5 reasons why disciples of Jesus will choose life for the pre-born.
1. Caring for the oppressed = caring for the pre-born
For followers of Jesus, caring for the oppressed has historically included caring for neglected children, including pre-born ones. During his ministry, Jesus taught his disciples to welcome and protect the little children (Mark 10:13-16; Matt. 18:6) as well as to help people on the margins of society in general (Matt. 25:34-40; Luke 4:18-19).
Taking their cue from Jesus’ care for society’s littlest members, the earliest disciples of Jesus responded to infanticide by rescuing babies who had been thrown out into the elements (a practice called “exposing” the child), and they helped care for orphans (James 1:27), eventually by establishing orphanages connected to their cathedrals. In addition to infanticide, some people dealt with their unwanted pregnancies by abortifacient methods. Church leaders in the early centuries responded by protesting abortion and organizing support for women with unwanted pregnancies.
“The earliest disciples of Jesus responded to infanticide by rescuing babies who had been thrown out into the elements.”
Some pro-choice people respond that they too want to care for the pre-born, but that the best way to care for the pre-born is to prevent their being born into a situation where they emerge unwanted. As an ad by the American Humanist Association put it, “We believe that the world would be a better place if every child born was wanted.”
The truth is, however, with as many couples as there are who want to adopt children, we must insist and underscore that there is no such thing as an unwanted child. There are “up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption,” and practicing Christians are at the vanguard of adoption, making up more than twice the number of all adults who have adopted in the U.S. I (Bobby) have found that with the right adoption agency, any mother who wants to give up her child for adoption can receive complete medical and living expenses provided for free.
“There is no such thing as an unwanted child.”
We choose life because we care for the oppressed, including the most vulnerable and helpless of all: the pre-born, almost 1 in 5 of whom are currently being aborted. There is a disproportionately large number of African Americans experiencing abortion. Black women make up 14 percent of the childbearing population, yet, 36 percent of all abortions are obtained by black women, tragically reducing the black population every year.
2. The pre-born = human beings
We choose life because pre-born babies are human lives. How far back does this humanness go? Well, ultrasounds have helped us see that there are no essential differences between a baby inside and outside the womb. The only differences are things like size, environment, level of development, and degree of dependence on the mother—none of which make someone a human life or not. As Christian philosopher Norman Geisler has put it, “All that is added between conception and death is food, water, and oxygen.”
At the moment of conception, a human life emerges, complete with its genetic material and biological sex. One of the most common pro-choice sentiments is that a woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body. But can a human being living inside her with his or her own genetic material and sex fairly be considered the mother’s body?
“Can a human being living inside her with his or her own genetic material and sex fairly be considered the mother’s body?”
Throughout the Bible, as well, the pre-born are regarded as human beings. For example, there are the twins Jacob and Esau wrestling even in the womb (Gen. 25:22), the pre-born John the Baptist “leaping for joy” within Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:44), and both Isaiah and Paul being called by the Lord “from my mother’s womb” (Is. 49:1; Gal. 1:15). David also describes himself as existing in the womb before birth, as someone whom God knit together in his mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13-15). Abortion is destroying a human being God knit together in the womb.
3. Human beings = made in God’s image
We choose life because human beings are uniquely made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-28). Humans were created by God to represent him and spread his glory all over the earth (Rom. 8:18-21).
If you have biological children, you know the fascination and joy that comes with seeing a tiny person who bears your image. In the same way, God made us to bear his image—bearing qualities such as language, creativity, and moral sense. When describing humans (specifically, when describing the baby in the womb), King David prayed, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). All human life is sacred because we are made in God’s image.
4. Made in God’s image = worth protecting
We choose life because those who are made in God’s image are worth protecting from harm. It’s because humans are made in God’s image that God insists that no one is to shed their blood (Gen. 9:6). God puts it very plainly in his Ten Commandments: “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). Within a list of seven things “the Lord hates” is “hands that shed innocent blood” (Pr. 6:17), and none are more innocent than the pre-born.
5. Worth protecting = worth welcoming into our lives
We choose life, and this choice demands far more from us than just a conviction regarding the humanity of the pre-born. Choosing life means following Jesus’ call to welcome and defend children at all levels of vulnerability. It means adoption. Mentoring. Foster care. Pregnancy clinics. Children’s ministry. Parenting. Child sponsorship.
“Choosing life means following Jesus’ call to welcome and defend children at all levels of vulnerability.”
We join a long line of Christians who have been disparaged for sticking up for the marginalized and lifting up the “bungled and botched.” So it’s not surprising when we meet pushback as we advocate for the pre-born. In the West, we face a secularism which increasingly endangers humans at the margins, whether the “unwanted” pre-born or infant or the pre-born with a disability. Dehumanization has a long history of making atrocities seem moral, and that’s what is being used to make abortion seem morally permissible.
Amid the darkness of dehumanizing forces, we make our choice in favor of life.
In an ancient context, the people of God were given the following directive, which resonates with the choice before us today: “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deut. 30:19-20).
“Amid the darkness of dehumanizing forces, we make our choice in favor of life.”
The only choice we have as disciples of Jesus is to live for God and to choose his way. When we choose God’s way, we secure the future for us and for our descendants.
We follow Jesus as he teaches us to choose life. And when people make wrong choices, such as this friend of ours who chose abortion, we choose grace and forgiveness, because that is what Jesus has given to us.
 Alvin J. Schmidt, How Christianity Changed the World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 131-132.
 Schmidt, 59.
 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 149.
 Friedrich Nietzsche, “Section 43,” The Antichrist.