Questions on Abortion

Abortion: The Challenge and the Response of the Church of the Nazarene

The 20th century gave rise to numerous events on the landscape of human history that serve as stark reminders of the ubiquitous presence of Original Sin. In a century that took human experience from the boundaries of the Earth to the frontiers of Space, technology eclipsed society’s moral development. Such development is so essential to the creation of a human community where “peace on earth, and good will to all” might exist. Global wars, nuclear annihilation, genocide on heretofore unimaginable scales, and the legally sanctioned murder of the unborn eliminated millions upon millions of people who were indeed created in the image of God. The horrors of human suffering cannot be adequately chronicled by the historian because of the immensity of scale on which such sufferings have occurred. The tragedy that has stalked the earth seems to tower over even the most apocalyptic descriptions of divine judgment. In sum, we are simply at a loss of words to describe such horrors.

Since the inception of the practice of medical abortion, the Church of the Nazarene has expressed both its sorrow and its strongest condemnation of the practice of aborting the unborn for the sake of convenience, ending unwanted pregnancies, or population control. As a denomination, our resolve has been strong in our struggle against this moral blight on the conscience of America. Our Manual statement is detailed, broad in scope, and uncompromising in purpose.

The outrage over tragedy is all too often lost in the cacophony of ensuing voices that combines with the numbing effect of time’s passage. Add to this the crushing weight of interminable, seemingly insoluble problems, and the nation’s capacity to assimilate continuing grievances is exhausted. The frontal assault by the forces and ideologies of appeasement appear to have taken their toll on many Americans as many of our citizens exhibit fatigue in their continuing resistance and opposition to the social evils that seem to engulf our society.

The voices of protest are often perceived to provide the strongest expressions of opposition to moral aberration. For many individuals, organized strategies that are highly visible in their protestation are the preferred mechanisms of resistance to such evils. Clearly, the Church of the Nazarene respects the efforts of resistance to moral evil and applauds those who work to create changes that will erase such moral turpitude. Among those who protest most vigorously, however, are those whose extravagant behaviors broach illegality and create problems for justice-minded believers. Because this is sadly true, the Church of the Nazarene has adopted a proactive stance that is clearly modeled on the teachings of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The outrage we all feel must not paralyze our initiative to be Christ’s representatives in this world. The Kingdom needs men and women who still feel the outrage but are committed to proactive, intentional response in the name of Christ to express the true meaning of the gospel even to those whose moral compass seems broken and inoperative.

The outrage of the Church of the Nazarene is being channeled into missional behaviors that go beyond mere protestation. From our Manual statement we read:

Responsible opposition to abortion requires our commitment to the initiation and support of programs designed to provide care for mothers and children. The crisis of an unwanted pregnancy calls for the community of believers (represented only by those for whom knowledge of the crisis is appropriate) to provide a context of love, prayer, and counsel. In such instances, support can take the form of counseling centers, homes for expectant mothers, and the creation or utilization of Christian adoption services.  (from The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, The Covenant of Christian Conduct, C. Sanctity of Human Life, Para. 36)

We concur with you that America needs an awakening from the lethargy of complacency. We would also remind you that multitudes of Nazarene ministries and congregations are on the front lines providing ministries and interventions of “responsible opposition to abortion.” It is this proactive engagement on the moral landscape that transforms mere outrage to redemptive ministry in the name of Christ.

Jesus once told His followers that they must be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We are being sent out into hostile environments with the message of salvation, transformation, and holiness of heart and life. Our strategy is to boldly proclaim the gospel, preach Scriptural holiness, and manifest the character and mission of Christ in this world.