The articles having to do with our involvement in the Right to Life movement found in the December 1990 and March 1991 Beacon Lights occasions me to write. I found the article entitled “Is Right to Life Right” by Karen Hanko stimulating and refreshing. Others must have had similar thoughts for it came as no surprise to see opposing views in the March 1991 issue. The position Karen Hanko takes against RTL is not the most popular in Reformed circles today, not even amongst Protestant Reformed membership.
What I find interesting in the discussion is that both sides for the most part agree that RTL is a worldly, humanistic organization centered on moral reform. It is from this point of agreement, however, that both sides separate and veer off in opposite directions. The one side condemns our involvement in the organization while the other side promotes such involvement. Karen Hanko maintains the RTL is humanistic and therefore unscriptural and doomed to failure. To support RTL, she claims, would be an affirmation on our part to its humanistic creed. For her, Right to Life is not right.
Those who oppose Karen’s view strongly endorse the use of RTL to fight the evil of abortion. They point out that because RTL is a non-violent organization and not affiliated with any religious group our involvement with RTL may be promoted. RTL can be used to assist us in our calling before God to assist the unborn and women in crisis. Scriptural support used for this position is I John 3:16-18; Matt. 25:34-40; Prov. 24:11, 12. (cf. March 1991 issue)
For me, two of these passages present a problem in so far as how they relate to the discussion. Take, for example, I John 3:16-18. The apostle John uses explicit language in identifying whom he has in mind and our calling with respect to them. He speaks of laying down our lives for the “brethren.” A little later John labels the one in need as a “brother.” There should be no doubt that “brethren” and “brother” refer to brothers and sisters in Christ. They are spiritually one with us. This, of course, forces the question as to how this text fits into the discussion and relates to our involvement with RTL. Are we to view the women at abortion clinics as sisters in Christ? Are they spiritually one with us?
Someone may argue that one of God’s elect could possibly be found at such a clinic, a lost sheep of the house of Israel. I concede that could be a possibility. If that were so, are we allowed to approach such a one with anything other than the Word of God? If not, where would that leave our involvement with RTL? RTL could not assist us in our calling before God, nor would it be of any assistance to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The second text with which I have difficulty in relating to the discussion is Matt. 25:34-40, 45, 46. Christ in this passage identifies the sick, imprisoned, hungry, thirsty, etc., as His “brethren.” “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Again, to equate those who are spiritually one with us with those at an abortion clinic is a most serious mistake. And along with that, the “sufferings of Christ’s brethren” is something quite different as compared to the sufferings of those at such a clinic. The sufferings of those at an abortion clinic may be directly related to the sin of adultery and now murder. God is visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children. The words of Christ; “Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”, does not fit the clinic. It therefore follows I find no support here for our involvement with RTL. In fact, I don’t see any relationship between the text and the whole issue under discussion.
But what about Proverbs 24:11, 12?
“If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth he not know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his work?”
I believe we have something here. I am grateful that the Miedema’s called upon this text to bear upon the discussion. This text is broader in scope than the texts from Matt. 25 and I John 3. It is as broad and inclusive as Lord’s Day 40 of the H.C., Question & Answer 105-107. This text includes the neighbor, even the ungodly neighbor, who is drawn unto death and ready to be slain. It also stipulates our calling towards those found in such a predicament.
Who are those that are drawn unto death and ready to be slain? If we can identify who the inspired writer had in mind perhaps the remedy to prevent their hurt will not be hard to come by. Are they potential victims of famine, or of war, or of pestilence, or of earthquakes, or of some other natural disaster? Or did the inspired writer have in mind a potential victim of some armed bandit along the Jericho road? In the context of our discussion, we would apply it to the executions of unborn infants in the abortion clinic. Is that what the inspired writer had in mind? Close, very, very close.
Frequently, the inspired writer gives a close-up of those drawn unto death and those ready to be slain. In so doing he takes us to the house of the strange woman. What a pathetic sight! Men drawn unto death! Ready to be slain! One source of unwanted babies! And one source of abortion clinics too! “Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life” Proverbs 2:18, 19. In chapter 5:3-11 the writer continues to draw attention to the same woman and those drawn to her house. “They mourn at the last,” he writes, “when their flesh and their body are consumed.” In chapter 7 he continues with more of the same and ends with “her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” In chapter 9 we find the strange woman calling to the simple, to him that hath no understanding. “But he knoweth not,” we read, “that the dead are there: and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” How horrible! But how true.
Our calling is clear enough, but what’s the remedy?
“If thou forbear to deliver them…if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth he not know it? And shall he not render to every man according to his work?”
We stand before a very serious situation. The problem is deadly serious. Our calling is equally serious. But what about the remedy? The remedy had better be God’s remedy and not one of our own concoctions. Proverbs 14:27 has it in a nut shell, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” And to that remedy the RTL has shut its eyes, and for their remedy God has no eye. I suggest that our young people read and re-read the first nine chapters of Proverbs to acquaint themselves with God’s remedy. Embrace God’s remedy, witness against those who ignore or despise that remedy, and apply that remedy to yourself. Such is our calling before God.
In conclusion, how illuminating are the Scriptures. They expose the sources of unwanted babies and abortion clinics. They pinpoint the sin of women in crisis and of those drawn unto death. But RTL has no way of escape.