The landscape of the abortion discussion in the American church has dramatically changed. and a new demographic of American Christians has emerged. This new demographic is actively challenging life-in-the-womb Scriptures and pro-life assumptions with new interpretations of Scripture that lead to distinctly pro-choice policy positions.
A recent George Barna study found that 44% of self-identified Christians now believe the Bible is ambiguous regarding the start of life and the morality of abortion. Further, 34% said they think "abortion is morally acceptable if it spares the mother from financial or emotional discomfort or hardship."
Introducing The New Pro-Choice Christian
If you're like me, you're probably disheartened by these new statistics—what in the world is going on with the church? You're probably also equally grieved by the deliberate swing toward radical pro-choice policies in the 2020 Democratic presidential platform. A November 2019 New York Times article observed that 2020 Democrats have moved beyond their historic "safe, legal and rare" approach to abortion rights. Democrats have moved from defense to an offense, seeking not only to defend but to expand abortion rights—beyond that of any political platform to date. What in the world is going on with the Democrats?
While 2020 Democrat and Republican presidential platforms are increasingly polarized on the topic of abortion, Christian leaders experience their own political polarization. But they do so from a shared pro-life premise. Recently, several prominent evangelical leaders have chimed in on the abortion debate. Phil Vischer, Dr. Michael Brown and John Piper have each articulated unique and differing pro-life approaches to the 2020 election. While these respected leaders propose conflicting approaches to advancing the cause of life, they do so from a shared biblical worldview: God gives life in the womb. Taking innocent life is murder. Abortion takes innocent life. Therefore, abortion is murder.
This shared biblical worldview is precisely what I call the "the new pro-choice Christian" is challenging.
While our esteemed leaders engage robust public debate on the best approach to defend the most vulnerable, the very premise from which they debate is being abandoned by a staggering number of self-identified Christians.
While the architects debate the building design, massive theological tectonic plates have shifted under the surface and the foundation has been compromised.
This is a problem of theological foundations.
Under the nose of the pro-life policy debate among church leaders, pro-choice ideology has embedded itself in the minds of Christians across America. The statistics suggest that large numbers of self-identifying Christians now approach Scripture from a pro-choice bias. This is to me is one mark of the "new pro-choice Christian."
In recent months I have engaged numerous conversations with this growing demographic. These experiences have helped me see that much of the spiritual warfare for the church on the topic of abortion is actually internal and theological in nature. We are warring against arguments and philosophies that rise against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:3-5) in our own communities.
The new pro-choice Christian challenges several key "life in the womb" Scriptures and reinterprets them according to their pro-choice worldview. In the Jesus Movement Now podcast episode on the Charisma Podcast Network, The New Pro-Choice Christian (Ep. 11), I unpack four ways the "new pro-choice Christian" reinterprets life in the womb Scriptures and provide responses to these theological aberrations. My aim is to equip the people of God to engage this important topic by learning to think critically from a biblical worldview, thus playing their part in today's Jesus movement.
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