Posted by: adventlife | October 14, 2013

Adventist Leaders Defend Abortion, by Nic Samojluk

John-V_-Stevens-Sr_-150x96This may be a shocker, but there are some Adventist leaders that even today defend the killing of innocent human beings prior to birth. One of them is John V. Stevens, and the other one is a well-known evangelist named Kevin Paulson. There are others who have shared their extreme views, but these two have been the most vocal in defense of the practice of abortion. It is hard to understand how can men of God promote and justify the violation of the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, and the direct violation of one of the tenets of our own Guidelines on Abortion [1] which declares that our church does not condone abortions on demand.

Perhaps the strongest defense of the practice of abortion by a SDA leader was written by John V. Stevens, Sr., who was occupying the position of Pacific Union Conference Public Affairs/Religious Liberty Director at the time of publication of his article entitled “Abortion Answers and Attitudes” by the Pacific Union Recorder in 1990. Here is one of the arguments he advanced to justify the killing of the unborn:

“The best example is Christ who chose to die in order to restore that freedom lost through sin so that all can choose to mold their own destiny. Christ valued choice over life. . . . Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to the Creator–individuality, power to think and to do. (Education, page 17) This takes place after birth, when the developing baby becomes a person. . . .”

“Pregnancy, abortion, birth, life and death, can all be traumatic. Others have no authority over our consciences in regard to our response to life crucial events. The Holy Spirit is the only True Guardian of the conscience. To allow society–or the state–or the church–or even the family– to replace the Holy Spirit is to be guided by the spirit of the anti-Christ. . . . From the perspective of respect for God’s Word, Biblical history, and the fundamental principle of free moral agency, the Adventist church could justify adopting a pro-choice position.” [2]

It is interesting to notice the similarity between Stevens’ argument justifying abortion and one of the statements included in the official SDA Guidelines on Abortion:

“God gives humanity the freedom of choice, even if it leads to abuse and tragic consequences. His unwillingness to coerce human obedience necessitated the sacrifice of His Son. He requires us to use His gifts in accordance with His will and ultimately will judge their misuse.”

Perhaps the following question might be in order: Did Jesus die to protect the right of rapists, burglars, and murderers. Did he give his life to secure the rights of women to either poison or dismember their own children? Jesus stated on one occasion: “Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones … it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” [3] If offending a little one is such a serious sin against heaven, then how would Jesus have described the murder of one of these little ones?

Pro-lifers would probably ask Stevens: “Did Jesus die to make us free to sin or to be free from sin?” To the woman caught in adultery Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.” [4] What Stevens said to these women was: “You did not sin. There is nothing to repent of. What you killed was not a human being.” It seems evident that Stevens had a wrong understanding of the image of God as well.

The image of God is more than “the power to think and to do.” It is the power to reflect God’s character of love. The Devil possesses the power to think and to do, but the image of God in him has been distorted because his character is diametrically opposed to that of God. We could say the same about Hitler, Idi Amin, and Bin Laden. God is described in the Bible as love. This is God’s main characteristic. God’s image includes the ability to think, to do, and to love. God’s love prompted him to give his life in order to save others; those who choose abortion sacrifice the life of the innocent for their own convenience. The contrast is unmistakable!

There is no doubt that Stevens had also a wrong conception of the role of the church and the state. With one stroke of his pen, he did invalidate and negated the sacred duty God has assigned to both the church and the state. If the Holy Spirit has no need of the church or the state, then perhaps we might as well close all our churches and all governments and save some money in the process.

References

[1] http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/guidelines/main-guide1.html
[2] John V, Stevens, Sr. “Abortion Answers and Attitudes,” Pacific Union Recorder (20 Aug. 1990): 12-13.
[3] Mark 9:42
[4] John 8:11

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Responses

  1. Dear Nic:

    So, is this any better than what the Catholic Church did in times past and may resume such again! Yet, the Catholic Church defends the unborn!

    Hugo

    • Hugo,

      We need to judge individuals and organizations on the basis of their present behavior and not on what they did in the past or what they might do in the future. That is the manner we are treated by an all wise and loving Lord.

      Nic Samojluk

  2. Who can disagree with the statement, “God gives humanity the freedom of choice, even if it leads to abuse and tragic consequences”? Is not the abortion of the unborn both abuse and tragic?

    • Kevin,

      The problem with that argument is that it is used to justify the killing of the unborn. The Lord did not miraculously intervene to prevent Eve from eating the forbidden fruit, but look at the consequences. Thousands of years later, we are still suffering the results of Eve’s misuse of her freedom.

      To the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn thee,” but Jesus did not stop there. He added: “Go and sin no more.” This is what is missing when the freedom argument is used to justify abortion.

      Nic Samojluk

    • Kevin,

      The problem with that argument is that it is used to justify the killing of the unborn. The Lord did not miraculously intervene to prevent Eve from eating the forbidden fruit, but look at the consequences. Thousands of years later, we are still suffering the results of Eve’s misuse of her freedom.

      To the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn thee,” but Jesus did not stop there. He added: “Go and sin no more.” This is what is missing when the freedom argument is used to justify abortion.

      Nic Samojluk


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