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Question and Answer

Abortion

Question:

What is your stand on abortion?

Answer:

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church takes a firm stand against abortion. Our reasons rest upon what the Bible teaches as to the sacredness of human life. And we hold the Bible to be the inspired, infallible Word of God.

1. In Genesis 1:26 & 27 we are told that God created mankind in His image. In Genesis 9:6 God says, "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He made man." That image distinguished man from animal creation. Once truly human, that image of God establishes the product of conception to be endless in its continuous, conscious existence.

2. The Bible teaches the fall of our first parents in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3). The "death" threatened is more than the cessation of bodily life. It is not only separation of soul and body, but eternal separation from the goodness of God, with divine wrath on those who die under the curse of Adam's fall as well as that which is due to actual transgressions. (See Romans 3:1-19; Mark 9:42-44; Jude (verses) 12 & 13; Revelation 20:13-15.)

3. The Bible teaches that God sent His incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save hell-deserving sinners (John 3:16; 6:14; Acts 4:12). It further teaches that children are born sinners and need to be taught their need of salvation through Christ (Psalm 51:5; Mark 10:13-15; Matthew 18:6 & 7).

4. Finally, the Bible teaches that unborn children are human beings, beginning with conception (Luke 1:35), in which the Virgin Mary was told that when Christ was conceived in her, he was already "the Son of God." And in verses 41-44, when Mary met Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, Elizabeth's child leaped in her womb at the presence of Mary bearing the Christ Child.

Consequently, the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13) forbids the wanton taking of human life. If the unborn child is a human being (and medical evidence underscores the biblical teaching that it is), then abortion is forbidden. One other aspect of the difference between animal and human life is that, at creation, God gave man dominion over the sub-human creatures (Genesis 1:26), but God retains dominion over His image-bearers, so that the killing of animals is not forbidden, but the killing of man is (with the exception of murderers, who may be executed by civil authorities under God's delegated authority to them as His ministers or appointed agents).

I have given you more that you asked. But what one believes is not important till you learn why he believes it. This I've tried to do.

For further information, see the Report of the Committee to Study the Matter of Abortion presented to the thirty-eighth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1971) and the Statement on Abortion adopted by the thirty-ninth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1972).


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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