THE FIVE TENETS OF ABOLITIONISM
TENET 1. GOSPEL-CENTERED
Abortion is sin, and the cure to sin is the gospel. We must not engage in sub-Christian strategies that do not hold the gospel as preeminent. Why would we look elsewhere? Where is the power to change culture? Where is the power to change politics? Where is the power to awaken the Church? Where is the power to abolish child sacrifice? It is in the gospel. Abolitionists bring the gospel into conflict with the culture of death, as is necessary for our faith to be a living one (James 2:14-26). By this conflict, the kingdom is advanced as souls are reconciled to God and darkness is pushed back. The curse of sin affects all of creation, but God, through His gospel, promises to restore all of creation; to make everything new (Revelation 21:5). The abolition of abortion must be gospel-centered, and the gospel must progressively extend as far as the curse is found.
TENET 2. ALIGNED PROVIDENTIALLY
God upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures and things by His most wise and holy providence. With this truth in mind, abolitionists rely on the wisdom and providence of God, not on the worldly wisdom and pragmatism of man. As abolitionist John Quincy Adams put it, “Duty is ours, results belong to God.” We have a responsibility to be faithful to His command, which is for justice to be established and legal iniquity to be stamped out in full. In our declarations to our magistrates and to the world, we have no right to make pragmatic calculations and retreat a single inch from the Biblical truth that life begins at conception nor from the Biblical prohibition on murder.
The prevailing worldly political wisdom, even on the issue of child sacrifice, is that compromise is the key to progress. But those who have followed the worldly wisdom of compromise and incrementalism for 48 years have very little to show for their efforts. We must fight this spiritual battle with the spiritual weapons God has provided us, not with the carnal weapons of worldly politics wielded by most pro-life politicians who rarely speak plainly about child sacrifice. Rather, we must make “open statements of the truth” to “everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). God moves most powerfully through His people declaring His Word. As Elizabeth Heyrick wrote in her 1824 pamphlet Immediate, Not Gradual Abolition, it’s time to engage in the battle with “more the spirit of Christian combatants, and less of worldly politicians.”
TENET 3. THROUGH THE CHURCH
The gospel is the cure to abortion, and the only entity in the universe that possesses the gospel is the Church of Jesus Christ. We alone have been charged by our Lord and equipped by the Spirit to drive back the darkness, and drive back the darkness we must. In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus teaches that religious people will often neglect a neighbor in need and that they sin in so doing, regardless of any particular callings they may have. In the modern American context, there is almost no one who does not pass by the places of murder on a daily basis. If there is not an abortion mill in your area, there is a hospital or OBGYN office that performs abortions or a pharmacy that sells abortifacient drugs. Child sacrifice is all around us. We must utilize our spheres of influence to expose this evil in all of its horror and point people to the cure. We must go to the murder mills and plead for the lives of the children being taken away to death while offering spiritual and physical help to the mothers and fathers going in. We must bring the gospel into conflict with the sins of abortion, abortion apathy, and compromise with abortion.
TENETS 4. ENGAGED BIBLICALLY
Is not God’s Word God-breathed? Is not God’s Word sufficient? Is not God’s Word profitable for every good work? It is. Given this reality, everything we believe and do must be governed by God’s Word. This does not cease to be true when we step into the political realm because God is the God of every realm. The ideology of abolitionism springs forth from the pages of God’s word, not from the advice of pollsters and political parties. His Word is the sword we bear against the rampant wickedness which rules in our halls of power, making fatherless preborn children into prey. This tenet stands in stark contradiction to the vast majority of Pro-Life leaders who intentionally exclude God’s Word from their argumentation and activism for the sake of not offending secular and otherwise unbelieving conservatives. Unlike secularly-minded incrementalists, abolitionists believe that we must — as Wilberforce put it — “give an account of [our] political conduct at the Judgement seat of Christ.”
TENET 5. SOUGHT IMMEDIATELY, WITHOUT EXCEPTION OR COMPROMISE
Incremental pro-life bills which regulate—and thereby sanction—abortion 1) are unbiblical, 2) are unconstitutional, 3) dehumanize preborn children, 4) entrench judicial idolatry, and 5) are substitutes for abolition which delay justice.
- The nation needs to repent, and calls for repentance in Scripture are never calls for gradual repentance. They are always calls for immediate repentance. Because Christ is Lord over everything and His word is the standard for all of our beliefs, the strategies we pursue must conform to His Word. As He says through the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees” (Isaiah 10:1), any prospect of compromising with child sacrifice and regulating abortion is immediately off the table. What could be more iniquitous than a law establishing the acceptability of murdering human beings? You can argue that these regulations are less iniquitous than the status quo, but you cannot argue that they are not iniquitous. Isaiah 10 does not say, “Woe to those who decree iniquity unless the iniquity is less iniquitous than something else.” It says, “Woe to those who decree iniquity.”
- The rights to life and equal protection are Constitutional guarantees. Any law that allows certain human beings to be murdered denies these unalienable rights, as recognized and affirmed by the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. By regulating abortion, we have given up our ultimate foundation (God’s Word) and a secondary foundation (the U.S. Constitution). To argue for legislation like a 20-week ban or heartbeat bill that compromises with abortion is to lay down your two most powerful weapons and to weaken the power that truth and justice hold over the abortion debate.
- Incremental Pro-Life bills dehumanize children who do not meet arbitrary requirements for legal protection. They catechize the culture into believing that having a detectable heartbeat or the ability to feel pain is what makes us valuable. A Pro-Life Ohio State Senate aide told an abolitionist in 2019 that his abolitionist presentation “was very interesting, but it’s Senator Brenner’s personal religious conviction that life begins at a heartbeat.” Where did he learn that ridiculous and evil idea that humans do not have value until their heartbeats can be detected? He learned it from the Heartbeat Bill. Brenner was one of its primary champions. This is one of the consequences of supporting pro-life bills that violate our foundations: people are dehumanized, and the culture is miseducated.
- The abolitionist position is that the Supreme Court’s permission is not necessary to abolish abortion, but our position is also more likely to bring about Roe’s reversal. A state challenging the court’s self-appointed authority to legalize murder signals to justices that the people will no longer put up with judicial activism and legislation from the bench. If the Supreme Court senses that the people will no longer tolerate their defiling the Constitution and legalizing murder, they will be more likely to right their wrongs. The Pro-Life Establishment’s posture of unconditional submission to the Supreme Court only emboldens the Court’s tyranny.
- The 1833 abolitionist Declaration of Sentiments stated, “We regard as delusive, cruel and dangerous any scheme of expatriation which pretends to aid, either directly or indirectly, in the emancipation of the slaves, or to be a substitute for the immediate and total abolition of slavery” (emphasis ours). In the 2019 and 2020 Oklahoma legislative sessions, when the pro-life politicians refused to hear the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act, there was an outcry against them. To quell the outrage, they rushed through Pro-Life bills that gave the appearance of fighting abortion. Incremental Pro-Life bills are thus used by Pro-Life politicians as a substitute for the immediate and total abolition of abortion. The same thing occurred in Texas where State Rep. Jeff Leach, the man who prevented abortion from being abolished, filed an incremental Pro-Life bill (TX HB16) just days after the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act was assigned to his committee. Despite being primarily responsible for keeping abortion legal in Texas, Leach was awarded Texas Alliance for Life’s 2019 Courageous Defense of Life award because HB16 was signed into law. This is how the cozy arrangement between Pro-Life lobbyists and Pro-Life politicians operates. Wilberforce and the British slaves suffered to see this scenario play out over and over again. Whenever the abolitionists were gaining momentum, Henry Dundas and the incrementalists fought back by killing Wilberforce’s bill and passing a gradual bill in its place. In his 1807 book, A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Wilberforce wrote, “the gradual Abolitionists have been, in fact, the only real stay of that system of wickedness and cruelty which we wish to abolish; though that assertion is unquestionably true; but it is trying beyond expression that they should be the real maintainers of the Slave Trade.”
WILL YOU IMITATE CHRIST AND RESCUE THOSE BEING TAKEN AWAY TO DEATH?
You will stand before God and give an account. The only way that will go well for you is because, if you are in Christ, Jesus rescued you who were being carried off to death! He marched to the cross to rescue you as you were stumbling to the slaughter. He interposed His precious blood. Seeing that Christ is our great example of rescuing those being carried off to death, we must not only offer real help to those who come to us, we must actively interpose on behalf of our preborn neighbors and at the same time offer the real hope of Christ clothed in His gospel. Did Christ Jesus only say, “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest?” (Matthew 11:28) or did He also say, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10)? You know He said both. Jesus is not only the Great Physician you must come to for help, He is also the Hound of Heaven who must track you down and rescue you without your permission. His rescue of you has left you a model for rescuing others, believer. Proverbs 24:11 is what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you. Will you not do for others, in your small way, what Christ has done for you in His infinite way? As Christ has rescued us, we must rescue others. Oh, how sweet that the rescued become the rescuers!