Thursday, September 03, 2009

Opposition to the Bible Tied to Belief in the Bible

Biblical Inerrancy and Abortion Opposition

Roman Catholics have been long-standing foes of abortion, their position expressed for instance in Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubii, published on New Year’s Eve, 1930.1 Here the Pope spoke of a “very grave crime . . . which regards the taking of the life of the offspring hidden in the mother's womb.” Protestants took longer to join the fight for the unborn in significant numbers. Some say the awakening came in 1979, six years after Roe v. Wade, when pastor-theologian Francis Schaeffer teamed with distinguished surgeon C. Everett Koop to produce both a book and a film series with the title What Ever Happened to the Human Race? Though this production stirred many to take up the cause, not all Protestants got on board. And it seems that there has been a correlation between their view of the Bible and their stance on abortion. Consider these statistics:

Only 18% of the priests in the Episcopal Church (USA) believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.2 This may explain why fewer than half speak out on abortion.3 It is a fair question when those who deny inspiration are largely dismissive of the biblical arguments for the sanctity of life in the womb.

The Presbyterian Church (USA), another mainline denomination, is marked by biblical skepticism. Only 24% of its pastors hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, 43% believe salvation can be found outside of Christ, and 71% deny the historicity of Adam and Eve.4 Could it be only a coincidence that 70% of these pastors rejected a constitutional amendment to end abortion?5

On the other hand, 97% of the pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) believe Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, 100% say that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ, and 99% affirm the historicity of the first couple.6 On policy matters, 83% supported a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortion.7

Other biblically conservative, evangelical denominations produced similar results, reflected in their official statements—the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Assemblies of God, to name a few. Furthermore, the Pew Foundation discovered striking correlations among those in the “Renewalist Movement”: In the United States, 76% of Pentecostals believe that Scripture “is actually the Word of God, to be taken literally,” and 64% say that abortion can never be justified. For American charismatics, the figures regarding inerrancy and abortion-opposition are, respectively, 48% and 57%.8

These figures suggest that when people believe the Bible to be without error and therefore authoritative, they more naturally become pro-life as they read it carefully. If this is the case, then one of the most effective means of motivating people to become politically active on behalf of the unborn is to lift up the Bible as utterly trustworthy and inspired verbally by God from cover to cover. Of course, pastors may address national abortion policy from the pulpit, but they should know that the battle is half won if their people are already attuned to hear God’s voice in every verse and to respect scriptural teaching line by line.


1 Pope Pius XI, “Casti Connubii,” Priests for Life Website, (accessed February 29, 2008).
2 Paul A. Djupe and Christopher P. Gilbert, The Prophetic Pulpit: Clergy, Churches, and Communities in American Politics (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003), 24.
3 Ibid., 33.
4 William (Beau) Weston, “Presbyterian Church (USA),” in Pulpit and Politics: Clergy in American Politics at the Advent of the Millennium, ed. Corwin E. Smidt (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2004), 64.
5 Ibid., 67.
6 Brent F. Nelson and Beverly A. Gaddy, “Presbyterian Church in American,” in Pulpit and Politics, 147.
7 Ibid., 149.
8 “Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals,” The Pew Forum Website, October 2006, (accessed February 29, 2008).

Source for article: Kairos Journal

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