The Miracle and Hope of Life
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Bob LepineBob Lepine is the Lead Pastor at Redeemer Community Church in Little Rock, Arkansas which he helped plant in 2008. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Great Commission Collective, a church planting ministry connecting more than 150 churches world wide. Bob also hosts Mornings on Family Radio, a network of more than 70 radio stations in the US. He is also well known to radio and podcast listeners as the long-time co-host of FamilyLife Today® and as the on-air announcer for Truth...more
What do you say to someone who believes abortion is their only option or struggles with the weight of guilt from having had one? Bob Lepine addresses the struggles people face on this issue and shares the hope of a Savior who loves them.
The Miracle and Hope of Life
Bob: I’m grateful that there are places—some of you have worked at some of these pro-life clinics—where a mother, who comes with a troubling pregnancy/a distressed pregnancy, people are there to say: “We’ll help you; we’ll care for you. We’ll provide you with what you need. We’ll be here for your emotional support. We’ll help with financial support.” That’s what we’re supposed to do. If we know people, one on one, we’re supposed to help them. As the body of Christ in the community, we’re supposed to help those who are in circumstances that are distressing to them.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, January 22nd. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. What does it mean to be pro-life in all senses of that term? We’ll talk more about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We are noting the fact that this Sunday is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. This week, we’re taking some time to think about what the Bible says about the issue of abortion. This has to be the most contentious issue of our generation. I can’t think of another issue, in my lifetime, that has been as polarizing and as divisive as this issue has been.
Dave: Yes, you would think it wouldn’t be. You would think everybody sees a baby in a mother’s womb as a living human being, but they don’t. So yes, it becomes explosive. It’s one of those topics that’s very hard to talk about over the dinner table with your own family sometimes.
Ann: I don’t know about you guys, but when I hear the number 60 million, it kind of takes my breath away; and I think that’s why our attention goes to that.
Bob: Technology, over the last 48 years since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, what we can see now in 3D ultrasounds—
Bob: —and what we can look at—and go, “Oh my word.”
Ann: “This is life.”
Bob: Yes. We’re going to hear Part Two of a message today. I actually preached on this at our church a year ago, and preached on what the Bible says about life—we’ve heard that already this week—I also wanted to look at those objections that get raised against the pro-life position. The second part of this message was trying to take those issues on and saying, “Okay; again, let’s hear what people, who would disagree with us, have to say; and let’s consider their arguments. Let’s see if those arguments hold up.” Let’s listen together to Part Two of this message.
Bob: I googled this/I decided to google and see: “What are the arguments that the pro-choice folks would make about this? How would they counter the argument that this is a life that is precious and needs to be protected?” I got to this website: “How to Argue Pro-Choice: 11 Arguments Against Abortion Access Debunked.” They’re going to debunk the argument.
Let me just point out—you’ve seen the “My body, my choice” slogan before—it’s not your body!—it’s a different person/different DNA! If it was your body, I’m with you; you know? If you want to have your gallbladder removed, I’ll support you in that; but this is not your gallbladder.
I would also say that any tissue in your body that does not have your DNA is not you, and that baby does not have your DNA. In fact, if we were at a crime scene, you know, and the CSI investigators came up and said, “We found DNA”; well, we would know that there was a person; you can attach the person to the DNA. If we said, “Well, that DNA, that was just a part of my body,” they’d go, “What are you talking about? No, DNA is how we identify a person,”—they know that.
We’re not going to go into all 11—some of you said, “There are 11 arguments; I hope he’s not doing all 11,”—I’m not; I’m just going to do 1. Argument number 1: let’s walk through this. They put up here, “Common argument: A fetus is a human being, and a human being has the right to life; so abortion is murder,”—that’s what I’m saying to you this morning; that’s my argument.
The pro-choice argument/they say: “I’m probably not going to convince you that a fetus isn’t a life, as that’s basically the most intractable part of this whole debate; so I’ll be brief.” Let me just point out here, the author of this article understands this is where it all rests/this is where it all falls or stands. I wanted to make sure that I understood the word, “intractable,” so I looked it up in the dictionary. “Intractable,” according to Cambridge English Dictionary: “Difficult or impossible to manage or control.” “This part of the argument we can’t manage and we can’t control,”; in other words, the argument that the fetus, as a human being, has a right to life is, according to this person, the hardest pro-choice argument that people have to deal with. So how do they deal with the argument?
Here’s their first thing: “A fetus can’t survive on its own; it’s fully dependent on its mother’s body, unlike born human beings.” They’re saying you have the right to terminate, because the fetus can’t survive on its own. Hang on a second; we had five babies. Did anybody find that your three-month-old was able to survive on its own? I mean, really! Your one-month-old—if you say, “Hey, you’re your own person! Take care of yourself,”—no! Your child can’t survive without a caretaker/can’t survive without somebody loving, and protecting, and providing, and nourishing, and doing all of the things that you were doing when the baby was inside of you. Now, the baby’s outside of you, you’re doing it differently; but it’s the same thing.
Follow that logic that’s being advanced here: “Because a fetus can’t survive on its own, it’s okay to terminate.” Only those who can survive on their own have a right to life? That’s a scary thought; isn’t it? If you live in a society, where only those who can survive on their own have a right to life, that’s barbaric.
Here’s the second point they make: “Even if a fetus is alive, the right to life doesn’t imply a right to use somebody else’s body. People have the right to refuse to donate their organs, for example, even if doing so would save somebody else’s life.”
Okay, let’s take that apart. First of all, the fetus is alive—it’s a human being—it’s not dead. It’s the right to life that is what we’re questioning: “Does it have the right to stay alive?” This right—to use somebody else’s body—well now, wait just a second: “What is it?—is it your body or is it somebody else’s body? Are we talking about two people, or are we talking about one person?” This is where we’re weaving out of logical consistencies for the sake of the argument; is it “My body, my choice”? Looks like you’re saying this is a separate person.
Does a three-month-old baby, outside the womb, have the right to your body? It may not still be attached to your body, although some mothers would say, “It feels like my three-month-old is attached to my body”; right? But any mommy you know knows that her body is being used by that child regularly—or by the caretaker—because the child needs the body to survive. Being brought into the world carries with it a basic human right to be cared for and protected. If we say, “You don’t have the right to demand that my body be used,” that’s just ridiculous.
Look at the second part of the argument—about the organ donation—the logic here is you can refuse to donate your womb or your uterus to your child; that’s basically what they’re saying: “Because there’s a baby there, that baby has no right to claim rights on my uterus unless I choose to give rights to my uterus to that baby.”
I might ask the question, “How did that baby find its way into your uterus in the first place?” You were probably involved in that, at some level, even in tragic circumstances here. There was either an implied invitation—whether it was implied or not—that baby’s in your uterus. Can’t we agree there’s a difference between me deciding I want to donate my kidney to somebody to help him live and me saying, “There’s a baby in my uterus, and I don’t want you to live anymore; so I’m evicting you”? Isn’t there a difference between whether I give you my kidney or I evict you from my womb because I don’t want you crowding my uterus? That’s what it sounds like the argument here is to me. It doesn’t hold water for me.
Here’s the third argument: “The right to life also doesn’t imply the right to live by threatening somebody else’s body. Bearing children is always a threat to the life of the mother.” I checked the data on this; I wanted to see: “How often is a woman’s body in danger because of pregnancy or childbirth?” The most recent statistics I found: in four million births in the United States, there were less than a thousand women who died during pregnancy or childbirth as a result of complications of pregnancy or childbirth; that’s a 0.025 percent risk to a mother to carry a baby to term.
Now, I don’t want to minimize the thousand women who died during childbirth or during pregnancy—that’s tragic—right? But may we ought to wait until the child is demonstrating harm rather than just saying, “Oh, I’m pregnant. There might be harm; therefore, I’m going to evict.” If we can determine that a pregnancy has a mother’s life at risk, then I would say there’s a legitimate choice here to make to save the life of the mother against a baby that is threatening that mother’s life; there’s a legitimate choice to make.
Now, I’m saying life—let me just differentiate here—because this is how language matters. A lot of times, language/we’ll talk about the life or health of the mother; and then health of the mother is stretched out to mean her emotional health. If she says, “It’s going to be stressful on me to be pregnant,” her health is in jeopardy; therefore, abortion is… I would say, “That’s not the case”; but if her life is in danger, that’s a different issue. This is a little like saying, “There have been two murders in my neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood, where I’m at risk that I might get murdered; so if I see somebody walking by, I should be able to shoot him.” Well, no; wait and see if they’re a threat to you; right?
Here’s the last argument: “Right to life is, at the end of the day, a right not to have somebody else’s will imposed upon your body. Don’t women have this right as well?” Yes, women have the right not to have somebody else’s will imposed on their body; I would agree with that. But you get what this is saying; right? “If somebody is imposing on my body, I am justified in killing that person; so that my body is not imposed on,”—really?
My point in going through all of this is to make the point that we have to keep coming back to the central issue: we’re talking about a human being; we’re talking about a life. Whatever you decide is legitimate in the womb has to be legitimate outside the womb. Are there circumstances allowed in Scripture/in our society, where we can take the life of another person?—yes; self-defense, war—there are legitimate, scripturally-defined situations, where it is okay/it is authorized for us to defend ourselves and to take the life of another person if we have to. But all of that is last-resort, when there are no other options; because the Bible routinely exalts and glorifies human beings. Psalm 8 says we’re made just a little lower than the angels. We have the image of God; we’re unique among creation, and life is precious.
That’s not what’s going on in an abortion. It’s not because a woman’s life is in danger from a pregnancy; it’s because she doesn’t want to be pregnant or doesn’t want to have to take care of a baby, for whatever reason.
I just need to say here/quickly acknowledge that there are circumstances, where the news of a pregnancy for a woman does not bring tears of joy; it brings tears of great grief and sorrow. We need to understand that there’s a real burden that comes to some people with the news that they are pregnant. If you know a woman, who is married or single, who is distressed because she has found out she is pregnant, God would call us to come alongside and be a help, and be a comfort, and be a source of care, and to help ease her burden, not to dismiss it. There can be circumstances that make it very troubling and very painful; and if that’s the case, you need to be a part of caring for that person physically, spiritually, financially, emotionally.
I’m grateful that there are places in central Arkansas—some of you have worked at some these pro-life clinics—where a mother who comes with a troubling pregnancy/a distressed pregnancy, people are there to say: “We’ll help you; we’ll care for you. We’ll provide you with what you need. We’ll be here for your emotional support. We’ll help with financial support.” That’s what we’re supposed to do. If we know people, one on one, we’re supposed to help them. As the body of Christ in the community, we’re supposed to help those who are in circumstances that are distressing to them.
With all of that said, though, I want to wrap up with three things this morning. The first thing is we looked at one passage this morning; but just be aware, there are many passages in Scripture that would support what we’re talking about here: passages that talk about the fact that all human beings are made in God’s image—that’s in
Genesis 1—we are image-bearers.
The rest of creation does not bear the image of God; human beings do. Let me just say, the Bible would say that human life is more important than the life of animals, or the life of trees, or the life of insects. We just need to understand—in our day—there are some pantheistic religions/some people, who would say trees are as valuable as people. Trees are valuable—I’m not trying to minimize that—but the Bible says people are exalted. People bear the image of God; trees don’t—they bear His creative mark—but they’re not image-bearers.
All human beings, because we bear the image of God, we are people of value, and worth, and dignity. Every human life should be extended value, worth, and dignity—every human life: that’s people in other countries, that’s people in other cultures, that’s people who are maybe enemies of one another—every human being is valuable and precious before God, and that includes babies in their mother’s womb.
The Bible also teaches children are a blessing from the Lord. We need to have a biblical view of children: children are a gift from God/a blessing. Can they be a burden and a responsibility?—sure!—but ultimately, they’re a blessing. And the Bible says over and over again that the shedding of innocent blood is an abomination before the Lord.
I could go on, but my point is this: ask somebody, who’s pro-choice, say, “Show me the verses that support your pro-choice position.” They’ll get really abstract on you; they don’t have any verses that talk in utero babies not being important. In fact, I read this on one pro-choice website; they said, “We pray for a world in which every child is wanted, loved, and cared for.” Me too; right?—and you pray for that—that every child would be loved, wanted, and cared for. Then they said: “Because we believe in the sanctity of human life, we believe a child has the right to enter the world wanted and loved.” Okay; but if a child is conceived and is not wanted or loved, are you saying that then the result should be we end that child’s life? They don’t have the right to enter the world unless somebody wants them or loves them? Is that the argument?
They go on to say: “Because we believe in the sanctity of human life, we are sensitive to the effects of an unwanted pregnancy upon individual women/upon their loved ones and families.” Amen! I’d agree; we should be sensitive to the stress of that. Then they say: “And we recognize that they, not we, must determine what is best for those directly concerned and involved.” Well, okay; but if they determine that what’s best for those directly involved is to kill a baby—if a mother said, “My three-year-old is just stressing me out; I can’t take it anymore,”—we would all recoil at the horror of that mother saying, “This is just such a stress on my family, financially and emotionally. We’ve just decided to do away with the baby.” We’d go, “That’s horrible!” The same argument is what’s being made for a baby in the womb; and it’s the same baby, just a little younger. That’s my first point.
Here’s my second point this morning—I want you to hear this—there is good news for people who have had an abortion. I was working on this message this week; I read a blog post from a pastor in Alabama, who talked about a time when he preached a message on the sanctity of life—this was about 20 years ago—he said, when he finished, he felt good about his message—felt like he had said what the Lord had put on his heart to say—been faithful to what God had called him to do.
He said, “Immediately after my message, an older gentleman approached me and handed me a note. He didn’t say a word to me, just smiled and handed me the note; he walked away. I carefully opened the paper. What I found inside, bordered by mostly blank space, was a single sentence that read, ‘Where was the hope in your message for women who’ve had abortions?’” The pastor said, “I was devastated. Actually,”—he said—“I was sick.” He said, “The man was correct. In my zeal to champion the rights of the unborn, I had neglected to provide the one thing a Christian sermon should never lack: Christ-centered hope.”
Here was his advice to me, as a preacher; he said, “Every Sunday, whether you’re preaching to 30 or 3,000, the people gathered in our assembly are just like us. They’re riddled with guilt and shame over bad behavior, over un-kept promises, lapses in judgment. They’re hurting; they’re desperate, in need of hope. Our chief responsibility, as preachers, is to herald Jesus Christ, the good news in a world of bad news/news of forgiveness through the faith and the person and work of God’s Son.”
He went on to say that my job is to proclaim this to you this morning—here’s what it is—“Good news that for liars, thieves, blasphemers, pornographers, idol-worshippers, adulterers, abortionists, and women who’ve had abortions, there is complete and total forgiveness in Jesus Christ. The same grace on which we depend knows no limitations.” Let me say that again: “The same grace on which all of us depend knows no limitations.” Look back through that list; you’re there. He goes on to say, “The woman who has undergone abortion, and has turned in faith to Jesus, need never be concerned that God is against her or is looking to punish her; she’s a daughter of the Most High King, and she is beloved.”
Look, I want to make sure you hear that this morning. I want to make sure that anyone who’s here, if abortion is a part of your past, I want you to know, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In fact, we’re going to say that together. I want to read it aloud; say it with me. See, I just repeated a phrase in there a few times. Say it aloud with me: “There is therefore now no condemnation—no condemnation—no condemnation—for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
The next time you are tempted to despair, or to guilt, or to shame for your past, say that verse out loud. I say it often; believe the gospel/believe that, in Jesus, you are forgiven and set free, no matter what your past.
Bob: Well, again, we’ve been listening to the second part of a message about the sanctity of human life. This Sunday is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. We thought it was important to pull back and spend a little time this week, just reflecting on that truth/that reality, and reorient our thinking to be in line with what the Bible has to say.
Ann: I want to thank you for going back to the gospel: that we’re all forgiven, that Jesus has set us all free, that He doesn’t hold any of our sins against us.
I have a friend that has had two abortions; and then, when she had her first child with her husband now, and she saw the ultrasound, it wrecked her, knowing that she had gotten rid of two babies. Man, she spiraled for quite a while; but now she lives with God’s forgiveness, God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s hope that she’ll see them again one day.
Man, I’m so glad that you offered that to us: that He is there, and He forgives us.
Dave: That was a perfect way to conclude. You can tend to think, “I’ve committed the unpardonable sin”; and it’s not. It’s covered by the blood of Jesus, even that.
Bob: In the message, I showed our congregation a video/a commercial that General Electric did 20 years ago that was an ultrasound machine commercial. It’s a 60-second commercial that is an advertisement for the sanctity of human life. They were trying to advertise their ultrasound machine, which was an amazing machine; but what they were advertising was the preciousness of life. We have a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com to that commercial if anybody wants to go watch it.
Ann: Just get ready to cry.
Bob: Yes; it’s a powerful commercial.
We also have a link to the complete message that you heard a portion of today/a message on the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, as Psalm 139 says. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com to download the audio or to watch the video of that message. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
Let me quickly mention a great book by our friend, David Platt. He wrote a book, a few years ago, called A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans, Pornography—all of the hot-button issues. How do we deal with those issues, biblically and compassionately? That’s what David’s book is all about. That book is available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to find out more about how you can get your copy of David Platt’s book.
We should say that, oftentimes, when we’re dealing with issues related to marriage, or family, or gender, and sexuality, human life—these issues are countercultural; they’re not always popular. We have the president of FamilyLife®, David Robbins, here with us today. David, as a ministry, we are committed to talking about what the Bible teaches about all of these issues, even when it’s not popular to do so.
David: Yes, Bob; no matter where the cultural currents are going, we know that we stand on a foundation of Scriptures/God’s Holy Word, God-breathed. It is the source to instruct us, to exhort us, to convict us. That’s what we’re about! We are about standing on that timeless truth/proclaiming that timeless truth: how it practically plays out in our own lives, how that timeless truth is the sustaining factor that allows us to keep pursuing the relationships that matter most in our lives. We are going to keep standing on that truth and keep proclaiming that truth.
I just want to thank you, as listeners, for giving and generously partnering with us to allow us to keep proclaiming the Word of God. Thank you for giving so we can be on this station, if you’re listening on radio. Thank you for giving that enables us to release our new app, that we did a few months ago, and see that listenership and those digital platforms grow by 84 percent. You are having an impact in getting God’s Word out to more and more people, and we’re so thankful for you.
Bob: Yes, indeed we are. Thank you, David, for that.
We hope each one of you has a great weekend! Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to spend some time with Dr. John Piper, talking about the subject of God’s providence. How do we understand that? How do we teach our kids to trust in the providence of God?—even in the midst of pandemics and all kinds of challenges we face in life. Dr. Piper has a new book out on that subject, and we’ll talk with him about it Monday. I hope you can tune in for that.oHoHow
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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