In his 1980 book The Right to Life, the TV Evangelist, Jerry Falwell, declared, Â â€œThe Bible clearly states that life begins at conceptionâ€¦ (Abortion) is murder according to the Word of God.â€ With this book and his strong TV presence Falwell and his “Moral Majority” became a major political power.
Let’s back up twelve years earlier and we find a different take on what the Word of God Â was considered being:
In 1968, Christianity Today published a special issue on contraception and abortion, encapsulating the consensus among evangelical thinkers at the time. In the leading article, professor Bruce Waltke, of the famously conservative Dallas Theological Seminary, explained the Bible plainly teaches that life begins at birth:
â€œGod does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: ‘If a man kills any human life he will be put to death’ (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22â€“24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offenseâ€¦ Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.â€
Remember, Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 so this is the thought process leading up to that decision. While the Catholic Church was holding to the belief that life began at conception that was not a generally held belief among the Protestants, even among Jerry Falwell’s own denomination.
And the Southern Baptist Convention passed a 1971 resolution affirming abortion should be legal not only to protect the life of the mother, but to protect her emotional health as well.
My point is that Christian thought is not a constant. If you ask five Christians a question on morality you could get five different answers. What is generally accepted today isn’t what was generally accepted in the past.
I’m not saying here that God isn’t a constant, I’m saying that Man isn’t a constant. What we read into the inspired Word of God isn’t constant. I can trust God’s word to be inerrant. I can’t always trust Man’s understanding of God’s Word to be inerrant and that includes my own.