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Book review by James Jeffery
There’s no question that abortion is one of the great elephants in the room, and it’s an elephant we — as Christians — are often afraid to speak about. We fear that our discussion may descend into a debate in which we push our non-believing friends and family away from the gospel. Conversely, others feel that discussing the issue of abortion with non-believers is futile, and therefore the best option is to avoid the conversation altogether. Regardless, it is clear that abortion is the great ethical and pastoral issue of our age, and so we must be equipped to answer questions and care for those who have suffered from its sting.
Vaughan Roberts and Lizzie Ling wrote Abortion to equip Christians with a perspective on abortion that is shaped by theological truths and grounded in scientific realities, and which equips believers with how we can speak about the issue of abortion in a sensitive and yet truthful manner. With a rich experience in the medical field, Ling is able to communicate the key scientific and medical truths relating to pregnancy and the practice of abortion, and Roberts shows how these truths can be understood from a Christocentric perspective.
At just under 100 pages, Abortion addresses the critical issues underpinning the debate between the pro-life and pro-choice positions, dissecting the key presuppositions that so often hinder a fruitful discussion from taking place. It equips Christians with how to think Biblically about abortion, and how to respond pastorally to those who are either considering the procedure, or who have gone through with an abortion already.
The first chapter addresses the social climate in which we live and how we arrived at our current state. They helpfully explain that abortion is one of the many fruits of a society in disarray; a broken world in which we have rejected God and are left in a state of moral oblivion:
“Much of the time, human behaviour doesn’t make sense. This is a natural consequence of rejecting God’s moral framework for life — and this means we’re now left to our own devices, relying on our own wisdom and making up our own rules. It’s because of this that we end up playing what might be called “ethical catch-up” (p. 18).
The next few chapters place abortion in its social, political and historical context. Ling and Roberts explain how we got to our current state, and how the modern feminist movement has obscured the reality of abortion procedures by promoting slogans that ostensibly advance the rights of women.
The final two chapters of the book are exclusively dedicated to offering practical principles and wisdom for how Christians can engage in a Christ-like manner to the key questions we encounter. This section is the most helpful for the pastoral conversations you will have both in and outside your church and will provide answers to the most common objections to the Biblical perspective on abortion.
In a fresh and sobering way, Abortion is both accessible and sufficient to equip you with a Biblical perspective on the fundamentals of the abortion debate. It is an excellent resource for both laypeople and pastors and can even be given to someone who is wrestling with the decision to go ahead with an abortion.