Contending for Life: Abortion in the Work and Witness of the Early Church

A timely article by Nathan Tarr published in the 2021 Haddington House Journal.

Extracts:

The regularity with which abortion is given a place in our national conversation means that Christians are regularly required to articulate both what we believe, and why. Thankfully, we are not left without either biblical teaching or historical precedent as we cultivate a response that holistically addresses the exigencies of such a complex issue. In defining and defending Christian moral values, the early church drew on the biblical conviction that, from the moment of conception, unborn children are created by God in his image. This theological foundation calls the church, as an ethical corollary, to welcome the unborn as a neighbour, even preferring them above ourselves, rather than to destroy them as an enemy. Significantly, in contending for this culture of life, the mother is not asked to bear this cost alone. Rather, both mother and child are to be welcomed, served, and protected by the Christian community. Such service includes extending grace and forgiveness to facilitate healing and restore fellowship even after grievous sin….

The Christian rejection of abortion differed fundamentally from that of their pagan neighbors because they carried the personhood of the unborn child always in view. The grid of implications through which their culture considered the practice of abortion –– the power of the father, the population of the empire, or even the safety of the mother undergoing the procedure –– were, for believers, secondary considerations. The primary conviction motivating the Christian stand for life was that the unborn child was a human being, created by God, and therefore was included under the divine commands against murder and for the love of neighbour….

This balance of truth –– abortion is murder –– and love –– the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin –– is captured in an ancient prayer that is still used today in the Eastern Orthodox church. It provides a good summary of the early church’s work to contend for the life both of the unborn and those who sin against them: “Lord our God…according to your great mercy, have mercy upon [name], who today is in sin, having fallen into voluntary or involuntary murder, and has aborted that conceived in her; and be gracious unto her willing and unwilling iniquities, and preserve her from every diabolical wile, cleanse her defilement and heal her suffering.”

“Lord our God…according to your great mercy, have mercy upon [name], who today is in sin, having fallen into voluntary or involuntary murder, and has aborted that conceived in her; and be gracious unto her willing and unwilling iniquities, and preserve her from every diabolical wile, cleanse her defilement and heal her suffering.”

Nathan Tarr

An article by Nathan Tarr published in the 2021 Haddington House Journal. For access to the entire 2021 Haddington House Journal in electronic format, go here.

The 2018 Journal is now available online.

In addition to the current volume (2019-2020) of the Journal, we are now posting the 2018 volume. Like the current volume, this also has “live links” in the Table of Contents, a handy feature that takes you directly to articles/reviews. You can access back volumes under The Journal page at the top of the website, or, for the 2018 volume, you may simply click here.

We pray that this, and each, volume of the Haddington House Journal will bless and strengthen you.

The Lord is Risen – He is Risen Indeed! (The road to Emmaus encounter)

Extracts from an article published in the 2019-2020 Haddington House Journal by Dr. Manfred W. Kohl about the road to Emmaus encounter.

…. The Lord went with the two travelers, guiding them into all truth. He presented a comprehensive view of all Messianic prophesies and their fulfillment. Jesus thus declared that he was the heart of the Old Testament Scripture.

… he was the substance of every Old Testament sacrifice ordained in the Messianic law…

… he was the true deliverer and king…
… he was the coming prophet, the true high priest… … he was, and he is, the key to all of Scripture….

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Reflection and Application

Jesus demonstrates that he is closer to his people than they will ever know; he has time to listen…

Jesus demonstrates that he is able to fill us with his presence if we are empty vessels…

Jesus demonstrates that he himself is the key to all Scripture; when he speaks our hearts are on fire…

Jesus demonstrates that he is the first, the last, the living one; there is none like him…

Jesus demonstrates that prayer/blessing and breaking/sharing are inseparable – biblical stewardship…

Jesus demonstrates that to know him means to serve him faithfully and with integrity…

Jesus demonstrates that life with him is everything, and he invites you and me to participate…

And it all began with a simple dialogical prayer.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Amen

The full article is available here.

The 2019-2020 Journal is available here.

The Lord is Risen – He is Risen Indeed!

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