A post at Stand Up For The Truth describes the efforts of “progressive Christians” to “use the Bible to promote abortion”. It describes the effort among pro-choice “Christians” to establish the beginning of life at the point when the baby takes his or her first breath (rather than at the point of conception). The post cites an article on The Christian Left Blog (entitled, “The Bible Tells Us When A Fetus Becomes A Living Being”) making a case for life starting when a baby takes its first breath. I’ve already discussed the problems with such a view in a prior post, but I was struck by the final line in the Christian Left blog post:
“In the end, if abortion was such a grievous sin Jesus would have mentioned it. He said nothing.”
I’ve heard this kind of argument many times over the past few years, applied to any number of behaviors that people are trying to justify or reconcile with the Christian Scriptures. I bet you’ve heard this kind of statement as well. “Jesus said nothing about (insert any number of behaviors) in all of his sermons to his disciples and the masses. If it’s such a big deal, Jesus would have preached on it.” There are many variations of this kind of argument, but all of them seem to miss the point. Jesus’ apparent “silence” on a controversial issue does not result in God’s approval or affirmation of such behavior for the following reasons:
Jesus already acknowledged the fact that he was in complete agreement with the teaching of the Old Testament unless he specifically delineated a new line of instruction. He did not “come to abolish the Law or the Prophets… but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus was a dedicated, devout and observant Jew. You want to know what he thought about homosexuality or abortion? Simple; just look at what other devout, observant Jews would have said. They most certainly would have affirmed the Old Testament teaching.
Jesus Said More:
We also know that the gospel writers didn’t capture all of Jesus’ teaching on any of these topics. John said that “there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Don’t be so sure that Jesus didn’t actually teach against these behaviors.
Jesus Said Less:
But none of this really matters if you stop and think about it. Are we truly going to take the position that any behavior that Jesus did not specifically condemn is therefore allowable and approved by God? How about bestiality? How about pedophilia? Jesus never said anything about these behaviors; you might say that Jesus said a lot less than he could have. Does this mean these behaviors are morally virtuous? Few would agree with that idea.
There are many things that Jesus “said nothing” about. This means very little, however, when you really stop and think about it. As Christians, we need to consider the entire counsel of God before we determine whether or not God’s Word approves or condemns a particular behavior.
For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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