Author Topic: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week  (Read 4022 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« on: January 19, 2021, 09:15:11 AM »
Some of you may be observing Life Sunday this weekend. I'm thinking about the sermon this weekend, which is based on Jonah 3:1--5, 10 with the topic of repentance. I wonder how others will work the matter of abortion and life into their preaching. I invite folks to share their thoughts and observations here. God bless your efforts.

One thought I've had is that we are mourning the deaths of nearly 400,000 people from Covid-19. Yet CDC Abortion Surveillance tells us that in 2018 (their latest figures) 619,591 abortions were reported in the United States that year. And the latter figure repeats year after year. Lord, have mercy.
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peterm

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2021, 11:00:31 AM »
I  am staunchly pro life, but have been leery of preaching about abortion as such throughout my career for a few reasons.  (These are my own opinions.)

1. While Scripture, and confessions are pro life, they are largely silent on abortion itself and to highlight that one issue over the other issues of life, like the death penalty or SNAP,WIC  etc.  seems to me to eisegesis.

2. It's a political football full of all sorts of pitfalls, and I try to preach the Gospel in such a way that I'm not telling anyone WHAT  to think regarding a hot button issue like this.

3.  I know there are women in my congregations who have suffered spontaneous abortions, and or had to have an abortion due to an  unviable fetus.  These are painful for all involved, yet people seldom make distinction between that which may be tragically necessary, and that which is of convenience.  It seems to me that the stats are not broken out in such a way to differentiate between the two. Does   Does anyone know?  I will not cause these women more pain by making sweeping statements from the pulpit.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

RDPreus

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2021, 12:09:35 PM »
I used to observe "Life Sunday," but decided that it would be better to address abortion throughout the year where appropriate.  Civil law is a teacher of the moral law.  Since the "pro-choice" position is codified in our civil law, we are being taught by the state that a woman has the right to decide to have her unborn child killed.  I believe that the preacher has the duty to refute this and to address abortion specifically as he preaches on the fifth commandment.  He should rebuke the governing authorities for failing to protect the most helpless of us.  Clearly, the preacher should also address other life issues on the basis of the Holy Scriptures. 

peterm

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2021, 12:15:36 PM »
How do you handle the distinction that I mentioned in number 3 in my post?
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

RDPreus

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2021, 12:26:48 PM »
How do you handle the distinction that I mentioned in number 3 in my post?

We need to speak very clearly and not in generalities.  In doing so we can avoid laying guilt on women who have lost babies through no choice of their own as, for example, in the case of a tubal pregnancy.

peterm

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2021, 12:39:36 PM »
far too many people don't make such distinctions when protesting against abortion
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Dan Fienen

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2021, 01:01:01 PM »
And also far too many people do not keep such distinctions in mind when affirming abortion. The assumption is often made that anyone protesting abortion would not allow for or accept as necessary such medically necessary abortions where the life of the mother is in danger. The attitude seems to be that for the sake of those hard and tragic cases, all abortions need to be legal and accepted. The percentage of abortions that fit into those reasons is actually quite small.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2021, 01:05:04 PM »
How do you handle the distinction that I mentioned in number 3 in my post?

We need to speak very clearly and not in generalities.  In doing so we can avoid laying guilt on women who have lost babies through no choice of their own as, for example, in the case of a tubal pregnancy.

How do you bring God's forgiveness to a woman who had an abortion who might be in the congregation?

Preaching the gospel is bringing God's forgiveness through Christ to sinners. Laying guilt on women who, for whatever reasons, chose to abort a pregnancy, is not preaching the gospel.


It seems to me that Jonah is more about God's messenger (Jonah) being judged by God for his judgmental attitude towards the sinful Ninevites than it was about God's judgment of those sinners. God cared for them. They repented of their sins. God did not destroy them as they deserved. Did Jonah repent?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 01:08:07 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2021, 01:14:40 PM »
And also far too many people do not keep such distinctions in mind when affirming abortion. The assumption is often made that anyone protesting abortion would not allow for or accept as necessary such medically necessary abortions where the life of the mother is in danger. The attitude seems to be that for the sake of those hard and tragic cases, all abortions need to be legal and accepted. The percentage of abortions that fit into those reasons is actually quite small.


I see it the other way. People don't make such distinctions, so they believe no abortions should ever happen. They want laws to ban all abortions. They want to make doctors who perform abortions into criminals. There are reasons why the choice of an abortion, though tragic, is a responsible choice. (See the ELCA Statement on Abortion for what those reasons are.) Creating hoops after hoops after hoops for someone faced with such a gut-wrenching decision is adding more insults to injury.


We can reduce the number of abortions by ways other than banning them or making them nearly impossible to attain. It's been done in Colorado.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Randy Bosch

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2021, 01:37:13 PM »
How do you bring God's forgiveness to a woman who had an abortion who might be in the congregation?

Good question.  How do you bring God's forgiveness to a man or woman who had committed murder, assault, arson, rape or any form of abuse who might be in your congregation?

Randy Bosch

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2021, 01:38:09 PM »
President Trump, by Executive Order, just proclaimed January 22 to be National Sanctity of Life Day.

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2021, 01:47:13 PM »
How do you handle the distinction that I mentioned in number 3 in my post?

We need to speak very clearly and not in generalities.  In doing so we can avoid laying guilt on women who have lost babies through no choice of their own as, for example, in the case of a tubal pregnancy.

How do you bring God's forgiveness to a woman who had an abortion who might be in the congregation?

Preaching the gospel is bringing God's forgiveness through Christ to sinners. Laying guilt on women who, for whatever reasons, chose to abort a pregnancy, is not preaching the gospel.

You are correct. That "is not preaching the gospel." It is preaching the law.

When we preach the law, sins are exposed. That makes people feel guilty. If a woman chooses to abort a pregnancy for "whatever reasons" she will indeed feel guilty about it. Sometimes, they need to feel guilty about it, because it is only through the preaching of the Law that people learn that they are sinners. It's only when they see they are sinners that we can bring God's forgiveness.

BTW, I bring God's forgiveness to women guilty of sinful abortions the same way I bring God's forgiveness to anyone else who has sinned. How else does one do it?

It seems to me that Jonah is more about God's messenger (Jonah) being judged by God for his judgmental attitude towards the sinful Ninevites than it was about God's judgment of those sinners. God cared for them. They repented of their sins. God did not destroy them as they deserved. Did Jonah repent?

This proves my point. Jonah preached the Law--God was going to destroy the city. (Law) In response to his preaching, the people repented.  Since they repented, the Lord did not destroy the city. (Gospel)
These are things that we can discuss among learned and reasonable people, or even among ourselves. (Luther, SA III, paraphrased).

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2021, 02:07:27 PM »
Divorce, domestic violence, abusiveness, homosexuality, taking life in the line of duty, suicide, etc. These are all sensitive moral topics. Yet I would urge preachers to find helpful ways to talk about them rather than avoid them. Congregations need the instruction on such topics. Abortion is just one such topic.
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George Rahn

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2021, 02:27:34 PM »
People are sinners. Period.  Naming the sin is important but "going deeper" than naming is beating a dead horse, so to speak.  Why not simply use the confession and forgiveness and assure the sinner that she is forgiven in the name of the Trinity and promised by Christ? 

George Rahn

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2021, 02:31:33 PM »
I don't think the sermon is a place to get all moral and psychological.  The sermon is to connect forgiven sinners to a deeper comfort that is already theirs through their baptism and their faith.  The sermon used in the way of improving one's life simply returns the sinner to himself/herself.  "If we have been united with Christ in a death like his we shall certainly be united..."
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 02:34:25 PM by George Rahn »