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On a Sunday in January, early in my ministry, I decided to break from our expositional study of Ephesians to preach on the sanctity of human life.
After much prayer, I laid out the biblical argument with passion and conviction. From Genesis 1, I explained how every human being is an image-bearer of God and consequently a person of great worth to their Creator.
Psalm - Luke - Case - Personhood - Conception
From Psalm 139 and Luke 1, I made the case that personhood begins at conception, not birth; therefore, all human beings are to be protected, defended, and loved from conception. I quoted noted ethicist John Jefferson Davis, who contends:
During the earliest stages of human life—when the embryo does not look human—vulnerable human life is seen by God and is the object of divine awareness and concern.
I felt I’d been faithful to the task.
Immediately after my message, an older gentleman approached me with a hunched posture and haggard demeanor, and he handed me a note, folded in what appeared to be a hundred creases. He didn’t say a word. He just smiled.
Paper - Space - Sentence - Hope - Message
After he sauntered away, I carefully opened the paper. What I found inside, bordered by mostly blank space, was a single sentence that read: “Where was the hope in your message for women who have had abortions?”
I was devastated. Sick, actually.
Man - Zeal - Rights - Thing - Sermon
The man was correct: in my zeal to champion the rights of the unborn, I had neglected to provide the one thing a Christian sermon should never lack: Christ-centered hope.
That was nearly two decades ago, and thankfully God has since magnified my understanding of his grace, humbled me in a thousand ways, and radically altered my preaching, in spite of my foolishness and stubbornness. But that senior adult’s penetrating question has stuck with me, and I’ve come to appreciate it in a way I barely grasped at the...
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