Dear Colleyville Family,
I only rarely provide pastoral comment on Supreme Court decisions. The last time, in fact, was seven years ago, when I sent a pastoral letter to you after the Obergefell decision which legalized homosexual marriage. If you’re interested, you can read that letter here.
But yesterday’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is momentous enough that it certainly calls for a pastoral response.
I can’t tell you how thankful I am for God’s mercy and kindness toward our nation in yesterday’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade! Like many of you, this is a day for which I have been hoping and praying for many years. I read the news yesterday after flying back from Birmingham, and I was overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude.
My father, Barry Anderson, directed the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Richmond, VA from the mid 1980s until the early 1990s, so I grew up from an early age on the front lines of these matters – both politically and practically. I was 12 years old in 1992, and I remember vividly the hope and expectation that Roe v. Wade might be overturned when the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case was heard, as well as the deep sense of disappointment and defeat when that terrible Supreme Court decision was released.
To be crystal clear, Roe v. Wade in 1973 was a travesty of both constitutional and (more importantly) biblical justice. As our Westminster Larger Catechism states, the Sixth Commandment forbids “all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; [and] the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life.”
Holy Scripture clearly teaches on a number of occasions that human life begins at conception in the womb – thus to declare that a “constitutional right” exists to end human life in the womb was and is a grievous and wicked violation of Scripture’s teaching. While there are certainly other substantial instances of injustice in our nation’s laws and practices in our day, make no mistake – legally protected abortion on demand is the human rights issue of our day and age, and the most serious contemporary sin of our nation.
For many years, I have prayed and hoped for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and I must admit, there were many times when I did not think it could possibly happen in my lifetime. To have the constitutionally protected “right” to abortion wiped away in yesterday’s decision, and the issue returned to the states and their legislatures is a remarkable act of God’s kindness and mercy to us as a people. It certainly gives us an opportunity, as a nation, to repent of our sins, and to pass and uphold strong laws to protect human life in the womb.
Even as we celebrate and give thanks for Roe’s demise, we must soberly assess the reality of the situation. Now, we can no longer hold the seven supreme court justices who voted for Roe in 1973 responsible for legalized abortion. Now it is up to us, the people, to decide these matters before God. May God have mercy on our elected leaders, and on us, as we elect our representatives to govern.
I am grateful for the laws which already exist in Texas to protect life in the womb now that Roe is defeated. But I am confident that much more work will need to be done to protect, strengthen and wisely apply these laws in our new situation. And, to our collective shame, there are many states where abortion will continue to be legally protected aside from a change in heart of our nation’s populace. May God have mercy on us all. And may we, as Christians, lead the way in enacting and practicing biblical justice and mercy.
Three final thoughts on what we as a church can do in response to these events.
1) We must continue to pray for God to mercifully turn our nation away from the sin of legalized abortion. Yes, we should absolutely rejoice and give thanks for the destruction of Roe v. Wade! Thanks be to God! But this is not the end of the battle against the culture of death that is so prevalent in our society. In many ways, it is only the beginning, and in fact, the stakes are now much higher before God, as it is us the people who will decide whether and how human life will be legally protected in the womb.
2) It certainly seems likely that if, as we hope, legalized abortion declines in our nation, the need for adoption will increase. And there is already an alarming number of children without families in the foster care system of our nation. The church must sacrificially lead in this responsibility and calling. The time to prayerfully consider whether your family might be called to adopt children is now.
3) I would encourage you to consider sacrificially supporting a Christian pregnancy resource center over and above your tithe to our church. Their important work will only increase. For decades, our church has supported such an organization, which is now called the Human Coalition. I commend this organization to you for financial and volunteer support.
And finally, thanks be to God, who has ended Roe v. Wade, and has graciously offered us a new opportunity as a nation to repent of our sins and pursue justice and righteousness. May we as the church lead the way by responding with faithfulness, love, and mercy!
P. S. Though it was written years ago, this essay by the late Richard John Neuhaus remains, in my mind, one of the finest pieces written on the American crisis of abortion. I commend it to you, and it is certainly worth a read now, after Roe v. Wade’s demise.