Five Tenets of Abolitionism
Powerful movements are not created by organizations or clever individuals; powerful movements are grounded in powerful ideas. The most powerful idea ever spoken became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1); Jesus taught that anyone who hears His words and puts them into practice is wise, whereas those who reject His word are foolish builders.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:24-29)
Abolitionists understand that any movement against national sin must be rooted in God’s perspective on the matter rather than the pragmatic wisdom of man. We believe that the Pro-Life movement at large has accepted an ideology that sounds practical to worldly thinkers, but rests upon the foolish wisdom of man. As such, we seek to replace that bad foundation with a rock-solid set of ideas that have power to actually make a difference.
The reignition of the Abolitionist Movement in America today is being built on the following five principles:
Abolition Is Biblical
We believe that scripture alone should be the foundation for everything we think, say and do as Christians (2 Tim 3:16-17, Acts 17:11); this is especially true for the practice of abolition. If the Bible is God’s revelation to man, and if the Bible is an account of what God is doing to abolish wickedness from our world, then any attempt we make to mirror our Father’s endeavor should reflect what we see Him do in that revelation. All five tenets of abolition are justified and grounded in the conviction that God’s word alone must be the foundation for everything we believe.
Two theological propositions in particular undergird every abolitionist movement in history. The first is that all human beings are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27, 9:6), and the second is that God Himself became a man to redeem man from his sins (Jn 1:14, Is 9:6). As anti-slavery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison once stated, the image of God in man “is a death-blow to all claims of superiority, to all charges of inferiority, to all usurpation, to all oppressive dominion.”
Abolition Is Gospel-Centered
Often Christian activists will exclude the gospel from their efforts because those they are engaging don’t believe in the Bible, and it is therefore concluded that they must be won by reason built on common ground. This however commits the Pretended Neutrality Fallacy, and ignores the biblical assertion that there is no common ground between the word of God and the wisdom of man (Matt 12:30, Jas 4:4, Luke 16:13).
We believe that the gospel is central to changing the hearts and minds of those in our culture. Abortion is sin, and the only answer to sin is repentance and a saving faith in the finished work of Christ. Those who want to leave the gospel out of the discussion are leaving out the cure; parents are sacrificing their children precisely because they do not have the gospel, and we aim to bring that truth as salt and light into conflict with the evil of our age.
Abolition Is Body-Driven
If the cure for abortion and other evils is the gospel of Jesus Christ, then abolition can only be carried out by those to whom the gospel has been entrusted (Matt 28:19-20). The body of Christ alone is empowered to be salt and light in a dark world (Matt 5:13-16); we alone expose evil by our light (Eph 5:6-11); we alone destroy the ungodly thinking that defends evil (2 Cor 10:3-5); we alone can carry out the work of abolition.
We furthermore assert that abolition is the duty of every Christian. We reject the attractive yet poisonous idea that fighting social ills is a task given only to Christians with a special calling or gift. In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus calls all Christians to love their neighbors when they are downtrodden and oppressed, and we live in a nation that is full of the blood of innocent men, women and children. Any Christian today who is able and does not stand against the abortion holocaust, or sex-trafficking, or rape etc. in meaningful, practical, self-sacrificial ways is guilty of the same sin committed by the priest and the Levite in that story (Luke 10:25-37, Jas 2:14-17). Such was the case with many of us, but we have repented, and are now encouraging other Christians to do the same.
Abolition Is Immediate and Uncompromising
We demand the immediate and total abolition of abortion. Many activists will compromise with abortion so that laws which allegedly work toward its abolition can be passed (for example, allowing abortion in the case of rape). We however recognize that this practice is neither strategically sound nor consistently Christian. Compromise with sin breeds more sin (1 Cor 5:6). Throughout scripture, God never calls us to repent gradually, but requires a radical cutting off of our wickedness (Matt 5:23-30). Jesus did not tell sinners “from now on, sin less and less,” He told them, “from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Certainly the Bible recognizes a process of gradual sanctification (2 Cor 3:18, Col 3:10, Phil 3:12), but it never lowers the standard by calling sinners to sin less. We are not saying that abolition will happen overnight; we are simply insisting that the standard we convey in our speech, actions and laws must always reflect the unflinching law of God.
Therefore, like the successful abolitionists of slavery, we reject the “popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition” and instead recognize that immediatism is the only biblical response to entrenched evil. We reject fetal pain bills, rape exceptions, laws against partial birth abortion etc. that compromise with evil and educate the culture with an unbiblical standard of law. Bad ideas produce bad fruit; therefore we reject any legislation which presents an alternate standard of right and wrong – even if only intended to be temporary – and endorse only those laws which mirror the standard of God as defined in scripture.
We therefore also affirm the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate, that God’s law is to be of greater authority in our lives than man’s law. This idea once served as the bedrock of American jurisprudence, but has been slowly undermined and must now be restored. We recognize that all authority is given by God (Dan 2:20-21), and that insofar as a ruler submits to God’s law, we as Christians are to submit to that ruler (Rom 13:1-7). However when a ruler rebels against God’s law, we recognize that in that matter we are not called to compromise, but are instead called to disobey his rule and submit to God’s authority (Dan 3:14-18, 6:10). Lesser magistrates serving under wicked tyrants must resist their wickedness to rein in their tyranny, and we the people must support those who make such a stand.
Abolition Is Providential
As reflected throughout these tenets, we rely on the providence of God, not the pragmatism of man. Our beliefs flow from scripture, so they will seem foolish to worldly thinkers. However, we recognize that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,” (1 Cor 1:25) and we seek to conquer evil by His wisdom and strength, not by our own (Ps 20:7).
Worldly Christians discard the gospel, preferring to meet unbelievers on their own terms using their own wisdom; we rely on God’s solution to sin, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Worldly Christians join with unbelievers who are opposed to abortion so that they can have greater numbers; we recognize that our God doesn’t care about numbers (Jdg 7), that there can be no union between light and darkness, and that the worldview held by unbelievers is the very thing which makes abortion acceptable in the first place. Worldly Christians will compromise with evil, falling for the lie that sin can be regulated into gradual submission; we fall on our knees before the living God in repentance, and call our nation to immediately do the same.
Our trust for victory is solely in God. We may be personally defeated, but our principles never. Truth, justice, reason and humanity must and will gloriously triumph as we stand on God’s Word by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Abolition: A Christian’s Duty
Many Christians instinctively recognize that they have a God-given duty to help the needy and the oppressed. In Pennsylvania, where the neediest people are the 30,000+ people being murdered by abortion every year, they understand that Jesus does not give us the option to walk by these children on the other side of the road as they bleed into the ground (Luk 10:25-37).
Many Christians know that they should do something, but they don’t know where to begin. The Activate series is designed to give you a simple, free way to educate yourself about the abolition of abortion, and to make an impact on the people in your social network.
Five minutes out of your day can save the child of someone you know. Join the movement that is shifting the culture’s perspective on abortion toward repentance and trust in Jesus Christ.