Twisting scripture to justify killing
We don’t need the Bible to say “abortion is wrong” before we know abortion is wrong. The Bible teaches that all humans bear the image of their maker. If the unborn are human, they bear the image of their maker and therefore shouldn’t be intentionally killed.
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 Welcome everybody. I’m Scott Klusendorf, president of Life Training Institute. Welcome to The Case for Life, where we try to equip you to better defend your pro life views. Be sure to visit us on our social media sites, and if you do, please share the content. That helps us a couple of different ways.

First of all, it gets the message out to more people. But secondly, it helps drive traffic to pro life topics that need to be addressed within the wider Christian community. And every time you share it, it raises the chance of somebody getting the material that needs it. Well, it is political season, as you know.

It is an off year, but there are some real big issues coming up, especially in the state of Ohio. Ohio is zero, or battleground zero right now. Or ground zero I should say, I will get my speech right here. Coming up in November, there is an Issue 1 ballot initiative that is going to decide whether Ohio writes abortion rights into its states.

And if Ohio votes to do this, and right now the polling is challenging for pro life advocates, if the majority of Ohioans vote to do this, it will basically make the right to abortion untouchable in that state, as it is now in Michigan and other places like California and Vermont. It’s also going to intrude on parents rights.

their right to decide whether their child has an abortion or not, parental consent issues, not to mention what this means for trans surgeries. Imagine this, you’re a parent and the school decides your kid is trans. This Ohio bill is going to strip parents of their rights to control the destiny of their own kids on issues beyond abortion.

But we have an uphill challenge there and if I could say something to you as a way of a challenge, if you’re looking for a place to plug in some resources, maybe some financial support or volunteer hours, Ohio is ground zero right now. I would encourage you to do it. Groups like Created Equal, Ohio Right to Life and other groups are battling to oppose.

Issue one and encourage people to vote no and anything you can do to help there is great But what I want to talk about today is what happens every single election cycle and we’re seeing it here in Ohio every single election cycle Christians will be targeted with very pointed ads and messaging that goes like this Number one, the Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion.

It’s completely silent, so why are you all worked up about it? Number two, isn’t it a shame that the argument will be, and you will see this in multiple headlines, isn’t it a shame that Christians don’t just love each other? Why do we have to be so divisive? And really what they’re saying is, let’s all get along by supporting abortion.

That’s really what the appeal is. The third thing you’re going to get is messaging that says, Just look! There’s more than one pro life issue here. Why get all excised over just one related to abortion when there’s pro life issues that relate to poverty, pro life issues to government assistance for poor, uh, pro life issues related to the environment, pro life issues related to foster care, and why don’t we focus on the children that are here?

Instead of ones that aren’t here and let’s not get so divisive over abortion when there’s other pro life issues we could all agree to work on. Uh, the fourth thing you’re going to hear, and this one, um, will come up often, is that no matter what you do, you’re going to have blood on your hands. If you vote pro life, women are going to die from illegal abortion.

Therefore, you will have blood on your hands. If you vote in favor of abortion, fetuses die. and that you have blood on your hands. So given you can’t avoid having blood on your hands and doing wrong on the issue of shedding blood, why not just allow each woman to make her own decision and not get wrapped up in trying to dictate which wrong she ends up doing.

And then finally, of course, you’re going to get the, the old, uh, one that comes up all the time, and that is that every pro life candidate out there has a character flaw. Believe me, anybody running for office that opposes abortion, somebody’s going to find something about that candidate and say that candidate’s character disqualifies them.

Of course, they never say it disqualifies the pro abortion candidate, only the pro life candidate. And you will get Christian leaders in publications like Christianity Today and other places saying Hey guys, we gotta take one for the team here. We gotta do the right thing and not support this person because of this alleged character flaw.

Never mind his opponent has character flaws and it’s really a question of, okay, let’s say we got two bad candidates. Bad candidate number one will promote good and limit evil. Bad candidate number two will not only have bad character, he will promote bad policies. And Christians will be told, the only thing you need to focus on is making sure your pro life candidate doesn’t get elected because he or she has flaws, and we can’t compromise our morals.

I mean, after all, is there no threshold? That we will say we will not go beyond regarding a person’s character Again, it’s always a one sided argument against the pro life candidate never the pro abortion candidate So those are the five things and lo and behold I got up this morning and what was right on my computer screen A headline about the upcoming ohio issue one election and about where the various religious traditions stand on abortion and right away You can see that there are stark divisions on this, but what is clear is all the mainline Protestant denominations are pro abortion.

The evangelical Lutherans, the Churches of Christ, the Episcopal, of course, are all Pro abortion and their arguments are so old It’s always the same thing and it goes along the lines of this. Well, the Bible is silent on abortion therefore we should be too and I’ll give you an example of this. Here is a Reverend Dan Clark He’s at the United Church of Christ, and he says the following.

I’m just going to read what he says. We view access to reproductive health and equity as a human rights issue. Our faith teaches us that we should be good neighbors who create communities of love and care. Okay, right away, if you know anything about pro life apologetics, you can see how question begging this is.

He said we have a duty to be good neighbors. Hey Dan, is the unborn my neighbor? Notice he just assumes the unborn are not human. He also says that we have to be people who pursue human rights issues. Okay, I agree, but doesn’t that raise the question, are the unborn human? Because if they are, doesn’t abortion violate their human rights?

The whole thing assumes the unborn aren’t human. Now, as you read on… You will find other leaders here who make the claim that the Bible says nothing about abortion. And we’ve talked about this before, but it comes up every election cycle. And if you think you’re seeing a lot of it now, wait till next year, where it will be a constant drumbeat of articles aimed at sucking away just enough of the Christian vote to allow pro abortion candidates to And the argument’s always the same, 100 percent predictable.

The Bible doesn’t mention abortion. The Bible doesn’t say thou shalt not abort. and nowhere does it teach the unborn or human. That’s going to be the drumbeat you’re going to hear. So I thought I’d take a moment just to help you sift through this nonsense that’s going to be coming at you like a tidal wave next year and is already coming out with the election coming up in Ohio and give you some pointers on how to navigate this because some of your friends are going to be confused by this.

Don’t assume. Can I give you just a piece of advice here? Never assume that your church going friends understand the pro life issue the way you do. You could be at a church where gospel is preached, where biblical doctrine is sound, where you otherwise have a good church, but because abortion has not been talked about from the pulpit pastorally and biblically, a lot of churchgoers might have the inclination to believe what they read in the press with headlines like what we just looked at.

We’ve got to be prepared to explain to them why the Bible is pro life and why this alleged argument from silence is totally bogus. So let’s talk about why the argument from silence, mainly the idea that the Bible nowhere mentions abortion, is a complete bunch of crock and here’s why. First of all, Anytime, and I do mean anytime, that somebody says to you, The Bible nowhere condemns abortion, here’s the question I want you to put to them.

Are you saying that whatever the Bible does not expressly condemn, it allows? For example, where in the Bible does it say, Thou shalt not use neighbor for shark bait? It doesn’t say that anywhere. But nobody in their right mind thinks it’s okay to go kill your neighbor and put him on a hook, right? Why do they do that with abortion?

There’s a hidden assumption there that needs to be cashed out, and that hidden premise is this, that if the Bible doesn’t say something is wrong, it therefore is right. Well, that needs to be argued for, not merely assumed, and we need to challenge that hidden assumption by saying, Are you really telling me that whatever the Bible does not condemn, it condones?

That’s what they gotta argue for. The second thing we want to point out is that we don’t need the Bible to expressly say abortion is wrong before we can know it is wrong. So here is your biblical case that will help you sift through all this That’s theological nonsense that’s floating around out there.

Don’t go to Psalm 139. Don’t go to Jeremiah 1. 5. Don’t do any of that. I want you to make it a whole lot simpler than that. What I want you to do is simply put forward two premises, and then once you put forward these two premises, the argument conclusion just pops out. Here’s premise number one. The Bible teaches that all humans have value because they bear the image of their maker.

Genesis 1 teaches this. We see that in the Old Covenant in Genesis 1 and elsewhere. We also see it in the New Covenant in James chapter 3. So we’ve got both Old and New Covenants attesting to the fact that all humans have value because they bear the image of God. Premise two. Because humans bear the image of God, the shedding of innocent blood, and by that, Scripture means the intentional killing of an innocent human being.

Because humans bear the image of God, the shedding of innocent blood is strictly forbidden. Exodus 23. 7 teaches this. Proverbs 6. 16 19 teaches this. Matthew 5. 21 teaches. Again, Old and New Covenant affirming this. That leaves us with only one question we need to resolve, and it’s always the primary question in the abortion debate.

And you know what that question is by now. What is the unborn? Because if the unborn are human, the same commands against the shedding of innocent blood apply to them as they do everybody else. So let’s ask the question, what is the unborn? Well, we already know the answer to that. The science of embryology is clear that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct.

living and whole human beings. That means then that the same commands against the shedding of innocent blood apply to the unborn as they do us. The unborn, like you and I, are image bearers, and therefore their lives should not be taken without justification. There’s your biblical case. We don’t need to have scripture specifically mention the unborn or human in order to make this case.

For example, does the scripture expressly say Canadians are human, or Germans are human, or Americans are human, or the French are human. Some of you are going on that one. Wait a minute, let’s discuss that one. But that aside, the truth is, you know for a fact that scripture nowhere names out every nationality, every type of human that’s out there.

It simply says All humans have value because they bear the image of their maker. If that’s true, and if we know the unborn are human, the same commands against shedding innocent blood apply to them as they do everyone else. So when you get, uh, comments like this reverend from the Church of Christ, who talks about human rights and talks about the need to, you know, be good neighbors by promoting abortion, he is totally assuming the unborn are not human.

He’s not presented one argument for it. other than a vague appeal to silence that scripture nowhere condemns abortion. Well, that’s just a bogus argument for the same reason it would be if we were talking about using your neighbor for shark bait. But it’s very common and you need to be prepared to counterpunch on it and that’s your first line of defense.

Now, your second line of defense is going to be with some specific passages. that people love to bring up that they use to try to argue that the unborn are not human and that abortion is okay. And I’m going to go through some of those passages and just walk you through it so you can see what you’re likely to get hit with.

The first thing you’re going to get hit with is the idea that God created Adam out of dirt and he did not become a living soul until he had breath. And it’s the so called breath argument from Genesis 1 that the fetus can be killed and dismembered because it’s not yet breathing air and therefore we shouldn’t be concerned about it being a person.

You’ll primarily hear this in Jewish circles and again mainline Protestant circles, uh, Unitarian. Um, you’ll hear it in Episcopal. You’ll hear it in Evangelical Lutheran. Uh, those are the Lutherans that don’t believe the Bible, don’t believe Jesus is God, and basically they deny all the fundamentals of the faith that we hold to.

You’ll hear it in some liberal catholic circles, but it’s out there, this whole idea from breath that you aren’t a human being with value and you have no rights as a human, you’re not even a person until you breathe air through the lungs. That’s the argument. Okay, when anybody says this to you, I think you should be a little snarky in your reply.

I think it warrants you being snarky. So I like to look at the person and say, okay. I’ll agree with you. Every human being that God creates directly out of dirt is not living until God breathes air into their lungs. I agree with you on that. My question for you is, did you start that way? Did God… form you directly out of dirt?

And the answer, of course, is no. And the argument we’re making here is it doesn’t follow that because Adam was created that way that all humans came into existence that way. We know, of course, that’s not how humans come into existence now. And the person you’re talking to didn’t come into existence by God creating them directly out of dirt and breathing air into their lungs.

So anybody that God supernaturally creates out of dirt is not living until God breathes air into them. Agreed! Doesn’t follow the unborn aren’t human for a couple of reasons. Number one, the unborn are in fact breathing before birth. The only thing that switches at birth is the mode of oxygen intake and outtake.

Uh, think of it as a switch from A. C. to D. C. Prior to birth, oxygen is being exchanged through the umbilical cord. through oxygen in the blood, and after birth, the infant takes it in dramatically through the lungs for the first time, usually with a swat on the butt that gets the kid crying and breathing.

We all know that dramatic moment we’ve all seen and witnessed, either on film or maybe you’ve been there for the birth of your own kids. But nobody is going to say to you that when that kid is born, before that swat on the behind and he starts screaming, it’d be okay to slit his throat because he hasn’t yet breathed air through the lungs.

But that would follow from this argument. If you’re not fully human until you take in air through the lungs, uh, then it follows that if you slit the throat of a kid before he screams after being swatted, it’s okay. You haven’t done anything wrong. But I don’t think our Our, our opponents want to go there, but that follows from the logic they’re advancing.

The other argument you’re going to get from, allegedly, from scripture goes like this. In Exodus 21, two guys are fighting, and they’re duking it out, and there’s a pregnant woman standing nearby, and they inadvertently collide with her, and if she is harmed, the so called lex taliano supplies, the life for life, tooth for tooth, eye for eye.

But if the child is harmed through miscarriage, there is only a fine that is paid. And the argument from the pro abortion side goes like this. God clearly values the fully formed woman more than he values the unborn, because if the unborn are miscarried, there’s only a fine. But if the adult woman is harmed, even a little bit, the Lex Talianos, eye for eye, life for life, tooth for tooth, applies.

Therefore, God clearly values the woman more than the unborn. That’s the argument, and there’s a lot of problems with it. Let’s start with the obvious one. How does it follow? Let’s say we grant that that view of interpretation of that passage is right. In a minute I’m going to argue it’s not, but let’s go ahead and give the pro abortion side their interpretation of that passage, that there is indeed a lesser fine for harming the fetus than the mother.

Even if we grant that, How does it follow that because there is a lesser fine for accidentally harming an unborn human, that we may intentionally do it through abortion? That’s a total non sequitur. It does not follow at all. All. And yet this is being promoted as a great passage that shows that women have a right to kill their unborn offspring.

It simply does not follow that because there’s a lesser fine for accidentally harming a child, that I may intentionally do it. Total non sequitur. But there are other problems as well with this view. First of, or second of all, if you look at the text in the original Hebrew, it seems that the lex talianos, meaning the law of retribution, applies equally to both mother and child, and if either is harmed, there is a penalty that ensues.

And, uh, it is a penalty based on the lex talianos, the law of retribution. There are only a couple of translations of the Bible out there, the Jerusalem Bible, The revised standard version, which have both been roundly criticized for not being very careful in their translation and scholarship content.

Those two versions make it look like the penalty only applies to harming the mother, not the child. But if you read it in the original and you read it in the vast majority of… translations that are out there from the ESV, the NIV, New King James. It doesn’t seem to limit it only to the woman. It says if harm follows, that could be used for mother or child.

And so it’s really only those two translations that you can build a case that the Lex Talianus applies only to the mother, not the child. The other translations, it’s more reasonable to view them as saying if either is harmed, there you have the the law of retribution that would apply. I think there’s a third thing we can say about this, and that is in that same chapter of Exodus 21, there’s a case where a master beats his slave, and not with intent to kill, but nevertheless the the the slave dies a few days later.

and the master gets no penalty at all. Do we want to argue from that, that that means the slave is not a human because there was no penalty for his death? These are the kinds of arguments that follow by reading too much into these passages as pro abortionists are doing. Now another one I have seen a lot of recently is 5, and if you look at verses 11 to, uh, 13 or actually 15 in particular.

I’m just going to read it. Then the Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and say to them, If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband, and her impurity is undetected, since there were no witnesses against her, and she has not been caught in the act, and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband, and he suspects his wife, is guilty and she is impure, or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure, then he is to take his wife to the priest.

He must also take an offering of a tenth of epaph of barley flour on her behalf, and he must not pour the olive oil on it or put incense on it because it is a grain offering to the Lord. Um, a reminder offering to draw attention to wrongdoing. All right, then what happens is, so rather than read the whole passage, here’s the situation.

A man suspects his wife is guilty of adultery, but he doesn’t have evidence. He doesn’t have any real evidence, but it’s eating him up, this fear that she has been unfaithful. And the way to determine whether she was or was not unfaithful involves him taking him, taking his wife to the priest. The prie the priest then concocts this, uh, cocktail drink of temp or tabernacle dust from the floor of the tabernacle and bitter water.

He mixes that together. The wife drinks it. If nothing happens, she’s innocent of adultery. She is not guilty of it, and that is to be a sign of her innocence, and she is not to be charged with any kind of adulterous behavior. If, however, her inwards rot away, or if she suffers miscarriage, as the text would indicate, then she is guilty.

And what the pro abortionists are arguing here is, see, even God himself seems to approve of a woman’s right to choose abortion, because after all, God himself is using this test for adultery, and if she’s guilty, she will miscarry. So there goes the whole pro life argument, they say, that the unborn have value that their image bears, because God himself seems willing to execute them.

Okay, let’s take a look at this. First of all, As in the case of Exodus 21, the majority of Old Testament manuscripts in the Hebrew and majority of translations that have come from those texts do not indicate that miscarriage is in view here. Rather, what those texts seem to indicate is this. If the wife is guilty of adultery, her thigh will waste away.

She will suffer disfigurement. Her body will not work the way it’s supposed to work. Most of the texts do not even mention pregnancy, that it’s in view that she is pregnant. But you gotta look at another thing here. This would be a crummy test for adultery. Why? Well, because most adulterous affairs do not result in pregnancy.

So, What’s going on here? This is a test for adultery, not a permission slip for abortion. But there’s a third and even bigger problem, another non sequitur. How do we get from the point that God intentionally kills the unborn to the position that we may do it. Notice that in this case, if the unborn is in fact miscarried because of the adulterous affair, it is God who is doing the killing supernaturally.

He is specifically intervening supernaturally to kill the unborn. And that’s evident because just drinking bitter water is not going to kill the fetus. It’s, there’s nothing toxic in it. It might not taste very good, but it’s not going to kill you or your unborn offspring. This is God working supernaturally to bring about this miscarriage.

How do we get from God having permission to intentionally kill anyone he wants to the fact that we may intentionally take the life of the unborn? And there just isn’t a line of logic there that gets us there. God is the one acting here. I would also point out that if being killed by God makes you non human, then all the people who died in the flood, all the people who died in Sodom and Gomorrah were not human, because they too were executed by God.

So even again, if we grant their interpretation of this passage, it doesn’t get them where they want it to go. It’s a non sequitur. And it doesn’t prove you’re not human just because God kills you. Because God kills a lot of people in scripture. It does not mean they never were human. And therefore, uh, this will work to justify abortion.

It just does not. You cannot prove the non, the non humanity of the unborn by pointing to the fact that God. Now again, I don’t think the passage is teaching miscarriage. I think it’s teaching the woman’s inner organs will rot away, and sterility may ensue. But this test for adultery is not primarily about miscarriage if you read it in the original Hebrew and in the majority of texts that are out there.

So these are some things that are going to come up when you bring up, uh, with, friends that what they’re hearing in the news isn’t accurate. They’re hearing these arguments, that the Bible says nothing about abortion, that the Bible nowhere teaches the unborn are human, that abortion is a human rights issue, and the way we love our neighbor is to allow abortion.

Again, notice how this just totally assumes the unborn aren’t human. Is it loving your neighbor to kill him? Obviously not. That only works for abortion if you’re assuming ahead of time the unborn aren’t human, and that’s the issue. Never forget, the abortion issue always, let’s say it again, always comes back to the question, what is the unborn?

That question must be answered before you start talking to us about it’s okay to kill the unborn. I agree, it’s okay to kill the unborn. Yeah, you can do it, if. If what? If the unborn aren’t human and, uh, our pro abortion opponents need to demonstrate the unborn aren’t human, not merely assume they’re not human.

Thanks for joining us. Look forward to seeing you next time. Again, visit us on our social media sites where you can get more information. We’ll throw up some show notes on this topic to give you something to work with. By the way, in the new edition of The Case for Life, which will be coming out in just a few short weeks, I’ve got a whole chapter in there on why the Bible’s alleged silence on abortion does not justify the practice.

And that’s in there intentionally because more and more we’re hearing the other side try to pick off believers by claiming the Bible doesn’t mention abortion. And when it does, it supports it. You need to be up to speed on these arguments and know how to reply. Look forward to seeing you next time. Till then visit us on social media.