Building a life-affirming church culture: a challenge to pursue a biblical view of the dignity and worth of every human life

Building a life-affirming church culture: a challenge to pursue a biblical view of the dignity and worth of every human life
Sharon James
Sharon James Author and speaker Sharon James studied history at Cambridge, theology at Toronto Baptist Seminary and has a doctorate from the University of Wales. Sharon works for The Christian Institute.
14 March, 2023 9 min read

The date 24 June 2022 was a momentous one for which we should give thanks to God – wherever we live. That was the day when the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling. The biblical conviction that every human life has dignity (because all are created in the image of God) lies at the foundation of the life-affirming medical ethic which has shaped Western culture for 2,000 years.

That biblical ethic was attacked head-on when, in 1973, the US Supreme Court claimed that the US constitution provided a right to abortion. Their decision in the case of Roe v. Wade ruled that human lives located in the womb were not worthy of the protection that other human lives are entitled to.

Last year, after nearly fifty years, the ruling was overturned. The Supreme Court has rightly recognised that the US Constitution does not provide a right to abortion. Decisions about abortion law were handed back to State lawmakers.

Ever since 1973, those involved in the pro-life movement in the US (and in many other nations) have been educating, campaigning, caring for women with crisis pregnancies, offering post-abortion counselling, and more.

Their work has been driven by the conviction that the sanctity of human life does not rest on capacity or independence, which may be extinguished by sickness or age. It rests on the truth that all human life is made in the image of God. And it has been motivated by the desire to care for mothers – both lives matter!

In the US, pro-life pregnancy counselling centres serve 1.85 million people, and provide almost $267 million in free services (including 486,000 free ultrasounds, 1.3 million packs of nappies, and 2 million baby outfits) each year. They receive little to no government funding, whereas Planned Parenthood (a leading abortion provider) receives $618.1 million per year.

All those involved in such pro-life activity had cause to praise God on 24 June 2022. It unleashed a storm of political protest, as well as media vilification and violent attacks against pro-life centres across the US.

But far from being intimidated, many in the US and beyond resolved to do more to provide care for mothers and their children, more to inform and motivate a younger generation about the need to protect unborn human life, and more to argue the case that every person, born or unborn, should enjoy equal protection in law.

As we reflect on last summer’s historic moment, it presents an opportunity to consider how we can increasingly build a life-affirming culture in our own families and churches.

Praise God the giver of life and preach the biblical responsibility to protect life

God has given us a divinely-inspired praise manual, and as we sing Psalm 139 we acknowledge that he is the giver of life. ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14).

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