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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Recently my brother bought a book for me written by Dr. R.C. Sproul Sr. entitled “Now That’s a Good Question!” because I am a fan of Dr. Sproul’s normally well-crafted and thoughtful defense of the Christian faith. I started flipping through and read Sproul’s answer to the question, “Is a woman acting in sin when she aborts a pregnancy that is the result of rape?” I found his answer to this question and an earlier one posed about babies with abnormalities so filled with needless obscurity and a troubling position shift on life that I literally started to argue with him out loud.
Dr. Sproul wrote in his answer to the question whether it is a sin to abort a baby that was conceived in rape, that he thinks Christians should never be involved with these “therapeutic abortions,” but continues on taking away all credibility of his previous statement by writing, “I certainly don’t think that it is clearly against the law of God to have a therapeutic abortion in the case of rape or incest.” Seriously?! What is lawful to do good or evil, to save a life or to kill it? We do not put the rapist to death for perpetrating their brutal crimes. Why then would we put the baby to death for being a victim? It is quite clear that the law of God condemns having any part in the senseless shedding of innocent blood. Jesus warned us not to even offend one of his little ones for we would be better off to have a millstone wrapped around our necks and be cast into the sea.
Furthermore, to call an abortion of any baby “therapeutic” is ludicrous. I was pushed to have a “therapeutic abortion” by a doctor when pregnant with my daughter, now five years old, who has chromosomal abnormalities. There is nothing medically nor psychologically therapeutic or curative about death – neither for the baby nor the mother. Death is not therapy. It is not surprising when a non-Christian doctor validates the idea of a “therapeutic abortion”, but I was shocked a Christian theologian would use this deceiving terminology. Abortion does not cure a child with abnormalities - it simply wipes them from the face of the earth. Who are we to question God or say why did you make the child like this? Neither does an abortion take away the pain of a woman’s rape, but it increases her misery with the additional sorrow over the death of her child. A baby, normally considered a mother’s treasure, becomes trash for a garbage dump, and this is considered therapeutic?
Dr. Sproul begins his answer warning his readers not to get “…sidetracked by that ‘special case’ issue.” What he fails to acknowledge is that every child is a “special case” issue and every abortion is a personal extinction because it’s the loss of a child made in the image of God. Was the baby conceived in rape not known by God or a heritage from Him? In that babe’s mouth was praise not perfected? Did He not form and knit them together in the womb with great purpose like any other child? We are not to despise any of God’s little ones. Unlike Sproul, I cannot “certainly understand those who would want to say that it be permissible” to allow abortion due to rape or incest. I have many “special case” friends. As a friend of mine who was conceived in rape so aptly put it, “I am my mother’s daughter, not some rapist’s baby.” The defense of her life and others like her is not a sidetrack to the pro-life movement, but the very heart of it.
The words Dr. Sproul chooses to clarify his answer in his book are not meaningless terms. He is an intelligent man who is known for scrutinizing positions and theology as they relate to Scripture. It would be insulting to say he did not mean what he clearly wrote. When he described that the life of a child conceived in rape is a “much less clear ethical premise,” I could only think -- what is so unclear about ‘Thou shall not murder’?! He should have warned as Susan B. Anthony once did, that abortion will “burden a woman’s conscience in this life and her soul in death.”
Imagine a woman who has been brutalized trying to get clarity from a leading theologian and finding that he believes the law of God is unclear in her situation. What do you think she will do? In the meantime, the next generation, future theologians, people seeking a Godly answers to tough questions, and mothers of five kids, like me, are reading this and getting tossed to and fro like a wave in the ocean by his answer.
What you have just read was my response to his answer, but before I published these words here, I contacted Dr. Sproul. He was kind to answer my letter out of what I can imagine must be a large stack of requests that he receives daily. He made it clear that the answer in “Now That’s A Good Question” is not his position. He said he will be contacting his publisher which I was thrilled to hear. In a time where we constantly find well-known Christian leaders refusing to be humble, R.C. Sproul is demonstrating what a Godly leader does when there needs to be a course correction. I am looking forward to reading the compassionate and articulate defense of the life of a baby so I can say ‘Now that’s a good answer!’