An Ongoing Struggle: The fight for Life in a Post-Roe Culture.
Updated: Mar 3
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at a Pro-Life event for our local Pregnancy Support Center. The full text of my address is below...
In 1973, in an act of Judicial overreach, The United States Supreme Court declared a law from the high bench that was unfounded, murderous, and lacking any foundation in the text of the United States Constitution. That decision has infamously become a part of American cultural life known as Roe v. Wade.
This past year, in June of 2022, the Roberts Court, with its 6-3 Conservative majority, dealt a righteous blow of justice to that long-standing mistake, bringing an end to 50 years of federally sanctioned genocide. The 2022 Dobbs’ Decision was fundamental in the fight for life. And we give thanks to God for what He has done in and through the Supreme Court of the United States in this way. Proverbs 21:1 tells us that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever he will.” Blessed be our God Who has done this great thing.
But, even as pro-life advocates rejoice, we must soberly recognize that the fight for life has not yet been won. To quote our speaker from last year’s banquet, “All is not well.” In fact, the fall of the Roe and Casey decisions have brought about an increased intensity in the fight for life. Across the nation, and even around the world, as many Christians and other pro-lie advocates celebrated the fall of Roe, many others hardened in their resolve to fight for abortion; and no doubt, hardened their hearts in the process. The Bible is clear: Sin hardens our hearts (Rm. 1).
In polls conducted just last year, the Pew Research Center found that 61% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. That’s 6 out of every 10 American adults who support abortion in most or all circumstances. But how have we gotten to this point as a culture?
Tim Keller offers some helpful comments on why this might be the case. He says,
“We are living in a post-Christendom culture. For at least a thousand years, western culture has been…Christendom culture. Even if most people were not devout Christians, there was a positive understanding of Christianity in the culture. The great majority of people had a positive understanding of the Church, and many, many, many people went to Church even if they lacked a devout and vital relationship with Jesus. Secondly, that Christendom culture instilled in people a certain amount of background beliefs that the Bible assumes. They assumed there was a moral law, they assumed that there were moral absolutes, and they assumed that they needed to be forgiven for being sinners even if they didn’t use the word. They believed in a life after death, they believed in a personal God. That Christendom culture had instilled all these ‘dots,’ and evangelism and religion was just about connecting those ‘dots’ to some extent…But now, things have changed. We are living in a post-Christendom culture.”
People are no longer shaped and informed by biblical truths; they are no longer being shaped by the Church. People are less and less likely to believe in personal sin, and the need for forgiveness; people are less and less likely to believe in a personal God; much less, any God.
In fact, we are living in what Aaron Renn calls a Negative world regarding Christianity.
He describes the world before 1994 as a Positive world, meaning “Society at large retained a mostly positive view of Christianity. Publicly being a Christian is a status-enhancer.
The years between 1994-2014 he calls the Neutral World, meaning “Society takes a neutral stance toward Christianity. Christianity no longer has privileged status but is not disfavored. Being publicly known as a Christian has neither a positive nor a negative impact on one’s social status.”
And since 2014, we have been living in a Negative World, where “Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity. Being known as a Christian is a social negative, particularly in the elite domains of society. Christian morality is expressly repudiated and seen as a threat to the public good and the new public moral order. Subscribing to Christian moral views or violating the secular moral order brings negative consequences.”
We are in the midst of the great secularization of American culture. This secularization is occurring on almost every cultural and religious front imaginable. Culture, religion, human sexuality, entertainment, and more. It's not just that people are less religious than before. Our culture is becoming irreligious.
Jennifer Patterson, who serves as the director of the Institute of Theology and Public Life at Reformed Theological Seminary (Washington, D.C.), and as a Senior Fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, recently noted that the most pressing abortion issue now is, “...what Roe left behind: Which is a distorted understanding of the dignity of human life. Fifty years after Roe, churches should take the opportunity to help their members and ministries find new footing for the long work of changing the prevailing view of what it means to be human.”
I think Patterson properly captures the real revelation that has followed the fall of Roe. Rather than loud cries of victory and celebration, the Dobbs decision revealed that a decisive change in worldview has taken place in our country…and that change is not limited to the secular, unchurched world.
In the time between Roe and Dobbs, the culture of our Country has radically changed and shifted. Men and women think differently about the world and life in the world. Worldviews are entirely different. Rather than discussing the ethics of life in the womb and contraception availability, we’re now lost in conversations and arguments about what it means to be male and female; indications that we are, in fact, living in what Renn’s Negative World.
Rather than discussing the fixed moral norms and natural laws of God’s world, we no longer believe in a God at all. We have lost all sight of what it means to be a human made in the image of God,— and all of this because we have lost sight of God.
In the 1880’s, a German atheistic Philosopher by the name Friedrich Nietzeche famously made the statement, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” He goes on saying, “How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest in all that the world…has bled to death under our knives: Who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
Nietzche’s point was simple: Mankind no longer needed God, nor did man have time for God. The idea of God must be put to death so that man himself could rise to the place of power, control, identity, and worship.
And friends, that is precisely what we are witnessing today in American culture. The death of God in the hearts and minds of an entire generation who think the path to freedom is found in the unrestrained and unrestricted self.
The value of human dignity is quickly fading from our cultural conscience. And, perhaps, that fade is the lasting impact of the Roe decision. Roe’s initial aim was abortion-on-demand, but like the fallout of a nuclear bomb, its effects have gone far beyond its target.
Not only did Roe bring about a cheapening of life in the womb — it has also brought about a cheapening of life across the board. Gross violations of human dignity and the sanctity of the body are now happening at every level in every way. Minnesota recently passed one of the most aggressively pro-abortion laws of any state that not only assures unlimited access to abortion, but allows minors not only to obtain abortions, but permanent sterilization as well, all without parental consent. Doctors in India are preparing to complete the first uterine transplant into a man so men can gestate babies — all of this to the loud applause of culture across the world.
A nation cannot practice abortion for 50 years with no consequence.
A nation cannot decide that its most vulnerable citizens are not worthy of protection, and are subject to consequence-free murder, all while experiencing no ill-effects upon its own soul. The conscience of our country has been seared beyond recognition; it has been mangled, and left in pieces.
The practice of abortion has not only ended the lives of untold millions of unborn children, it has mangled the public consciousness of our nation beyond recognition. We no longer function as a moral society.
President John Adams once said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Abortion, and the floodgates it has opened, has served to show that we are no longer a moral people.
The question before us now is, So, how Must Christians Respond?
How must the Church respond to a post-Christian culture?
How must the Church respond to those who have forsaken the idea of the One, true God?
How must the Church respond in an age of moral perversion, religious skepticism, and a culture of death?
How must the Church respond to an entire generation who have so thoroughly lost their way?
There is but one answer: The Church must stand on the eternal and unchanging Truth of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected.
The Bible tells us Ephesians 1:10 that the eternal God is uniting all of history—from beginning to end—in the Person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ. That locates us this evening. Even right now. We are a part of God’s glorious work of uniting the times in the resurrected King, Jesus Christ.
It also locates the Church and her ministries.
As much as the Church is the Bride of the Lord Jesus, she is also His Instrument through which the King is making His gospel known, bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus, working out His redemptive power, repairing broken people, restoring ruined lives, redeeming the lost, mending the hurt , and making the washed up, old, and broken new creations.
And friends, it is in the Church and through the Church that the fight for life must carry on. From the cradle to the grave, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is unapologetically Pro-Life.
And, as Life-Choices had made clear in their motto, the Church of the Lord Jesus seeks not only to fight for the life of the pre-born in the womb, we also stand for the dignity, value, and worth of mom (and dad). We must Love them Both; we want to love them all with the love of Jesus Christ.
So, What Does All of This Mean For Christians, Churches, and Christian Ministries Living in a post-Christian Culture?
1 - Christians must Stand Firm on Biblical Truth and For Biblical Truth. — In a way never before seen in our own culture, Christians, Churches, and ministries must clarify the gospel of Jesus Christ, and stand firm on its truth.
In 1 Cor. 2:2, the Apostle Paul notes, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ crucified and raised.”
With this phrase, the Apostle is not ignoring the other aspects of the Christian faith by focusing exclusively on Jesus’ cross. Rather, Paul is highlighting that the very center of truth, the very center of the Christian faith is the cross of our Lord Jesus. Creation, human dignity, sin, righteousness, forgiveness, redemption, restoration, glory, hope…it all centers upon the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus.
-The Church today must stand where Martin Luther famously stood, saying, “Here I stand. I can do no other.”
The Word of God is the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word. It is unchanging in its nature, truth, and reliability. It is a living and active Word, revealing the One true God Who works salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and applies it by the power of His Holy Spirit.
It is the very Word of God communicated through divine inspired authors so that what we have in our hands today is the gift of God that does not fail. As the Prophet Isaih writes, “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”
Here, Churches and Christians must stake their claim.
2 - Christians Must Once Again Teach the full Biblical story.
-No longer can we take for granted that our culture shares a theistic worldview. We must become skilled once more at explaining the God-centered nature of the world and everything in it. We must become more skilled at sharing the four-fold message of the gospel: God created everything good; mankind sinned; Jesus Christ redeems; glory is coming. Everything finds its meaning and place in that story.
You see, friends, it is the fact that God made the world, and that He bestows the gift of His image upon mankind that provides the basis for understanding human dignity, the worth and value of life, and specifically, the worth and value of life in the womb.
It is only in understanding the full biblical story that we see why we fight for life; not only the life of the pre-born, but the life of all. Because, King Jesus is redeeming the world.
3 - Christians Must Intentionally Present the Gospel and Live it Out.
-This should go without saying, and yet, so many Churches and Christians seem content believing the gospel without sharing it. Many churches seem content to meet about the gospel, but never carry the gospel to a lost and dying world. We cannot be content to carry out gospel convictions into the voting booth, while lacking the zeal to carry our gospel convictions into our conversations, relationships, and our lives in the world.
By its very nature, the Good News of Jesus Christ is a verbal Good News. It is a message to be spoken and shared. It is a message that is received with our hearts, but evidenced in our words, “I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead!” (Rm. 10)
The Church must commit herself afresh not only to believing the gospel, but to living it out. As James says, “...I will show you my faith by my works.” We know that no man is justified before Holy God on the basis of his works, but we also know that the free gift of God’s grace through salvation by faith produces good works in us.
We must carry the saving gospel of Jesus Christ into an increasingly dead and dark culture, and we must shine the light of Jesus through lives that reflect His transforming power and glory.
4 - Christians must Resolutely Maintain a Biblical Worldview Shaped and Grounded in Scripture,
More and more, Christians are losing their distinctiveness from the culture. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish Christians from the larger culture of our modern world. This happened in the Old Testament again and again; the Israelities were called to be distinct from their surrounding cultures, and instead, rejected God’s call to holiness and mingled with pagan cultures. The world for this is syncretism. It means “to synchronize with.” So, instead of synchronizing themselves with God’s righteous commands, they chose instead to synchronize themselves with pagan cultures; the very cultures God had forbidden them to engage with.
Syncretism is one, if not the major issue for the American Church today. Many Christians today are trying to synchronize a love for God with a love for the world. Especially among younger generations, fewer Christians are holding to an exclusively biblical worldview.
There is a significant rise in what we would call a syncretistic worldview. Instead of seeing the Bible as their highest authority, many younger, and more liberal Christians are trying to wed together Bible and culture. And the Bible always loses in that equation.
Thus, Christians must commit themselves afresh to teaching and instilling a biblical worldview in their young ones.
5 - Christians Must be Thoroughly Pro-life, loving them both.
-That’s the mission of Life Choices Roxboro — “Love them both.” The Christian worldview sees the value of the life in the womb, and the value of the life carrying the pre-born. A truly Christian, gospel-centered worldview holds out the hope of Jesus to both baby and Mom.
In an incredibly hope-filled move, TN Governor Bill Lee recently proposed a bill that would direct $100 Million Dollars of the State’s budget to support the work of Tennessee’s Pregnancy Support Centers. The Governor stated that the move was “ a moral obligation that goes beyond just defending the lives of the unborn,” but a mission that centers on the dignity of mother and child.”
The Human Rights Coalition reports that 75% of abortion-minded women state that they would choose life and choose to parent if their situations were different.
“Changing those circumstances might include child-care assistance, material needs, government grants, access to education, monthly financial aid, and more. These are things that pregnancy centers empower women to receive and achieve every step of the way. If these women were equipped with emotional, material, and financial help, they would be more likely to choose life. As it stands, their decisions to abort often aren’t about freedom of choice. Rather, they “choose” inside a tyranny and context of fear and even panic.”
A Hope-filled Eschatelogical Worldview
One of the most beautiful aspects of the Bible is its unrelenting hope of Restoration. From the very beginning, when Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden, God promises a coming restoration where He will make all things right. I said a few moments ago, quoting from last year, “All is not yet well” in our world today. But the sure hope of restoration remains because Jesus Christ is alive forevermore.
And friends, that’s exactly how the Bible concludes…with the unrelenting, unwavering, unflappable hope that King Jesus, alive forevermore, is coming soon to set all things right.
Until then, let us resolve to stand for the pre-born, for mom, and for the family.