Today we continue our series of bulletin articles looking at why abortion is wrong. My articles initially focused on the Biblical evidence against abortion. But over the last few weeks we’ve seen that God’s people have usually understood abortion to be a sin. Firstly we saw this in Jewish writings from the first century, then from early Christian writings. This week I want to look at the position that the Reformers took on the issue of abortion.

Protestant Christianity emerged as people protested against the Roman Catholic church’s understanding on core Christian doctrines, such as salvation by grace alone and the Bible as the only supreme authority. The Reformation was basically sparked by a Roman Catholic monk named Martin Luther. And it is therefore interesting to see the founder of the Reformation was against abortion. Luther wrote: ‘How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God.  Indeed, some spouses who marry and live together in a respectable manner have various ends in mind, but rarely children.’

After Luther came the Puritan Reformers who drew up the great statements of faith known as the Westminster Confession (which the Presbyterian church is built on), the Savoy Declaration (which the Congregational churches started with) and the Baptist 1689 Confession of Faith (which was formulated by Reformed Baptists). And from the Puritans we read strong statements against abortion. For example Thomas Manton writes: ‘…it is murder to stifle an infant in the womb’. Also Samuel Bolton says: ‘Many are like harlots who will murder the child in the womb, to avoid the trouble of child-bearing’. And Richard Sibbes asks: ‘If it be sin to kill infants in the womb, what is it to kill the breed of the blessed Spirit in our hearts!’

Therefore God’s people have a long tradition of condemning abortion as sinful. But is the abortion of a person an unforgivable sin? No. Through repentance of your sin and trust in Jesus’ death for your sins you can be forgiven for any sin, including the wrongful termination of another human.

Do you recognise abortion is wrong like God’s people have always done?

Joel Radford.