Previously, I have held Pastor John Piper accountable for expressing opposition to same-sex marriage in ways that would only be persuasive to Christians. I didn’t like the way that he would not use arguments outside the Bible to argue against same-sex marriage, so that non-Christians would also be persuaded. I wanted him to have arguments and evidence to offer people who are not conservative evangelical Christians. I also disagreed with him for doing the same thing on the issue of abortion.
Well, something changed. And now I guess it’s time for me to eat crow.
Take a look at his new reasons for opposing abortion:
4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.
The five-foot-eight frame of a teenage son guarantees him no more right to life than the 23-inch frame of his little sister in her mother’s arms. Size is morally irrelevant. One inch, 23 inches, 68 inches — does not matter. It is morally irrelevant in deciding who should be protected. We know what we are doing in killing the smallest.
5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.
A one-month-old infant, nursing at his mother’s breast, does not have reasoning powers. But only a few dare argue that infanticide is therefore acceptable. Most know better. Outside and inside the womb the infant cannot yet reason, but is a human person. We know what we are doing.
6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.
Location or environment does not determine a right to life. Scott Klusendorf asks, “How does a simple journey of seven inches down the birth canal suddenly transform the essential nature of the fetus from non-person to person?” We know what we are doing.
7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.
We consider persons on respirators or dialysis to be human beings. The unborn cannot be disqualified from human personhood because they are dependent on their mother for food and oxygen. In fact, we operate on the exact opposite principle: The more dependent a little one is on us, the more responsibility we feel to protect him, not the less. We know what we are doing.
(Those last four observations, #4-7, were summed up by Scott Klusendorf under the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependence — none is morally relevant for the definition of human life.)
8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.
The genetic make up of a human is different from all other creatures from the moment of conception. The human code is complete and unique from the start. Once that was not known. Now we know.
9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.
At eight weeks of gestation all the organs are present. The brain is functioning, the heart pumping, the liver making blood cells, the kidney cleaning the fluids, the finger has a print. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date. We know what we are doing.
10. We have seen the photographs.
The marvel of ultrasound has given a stunning window into the womb that shows the unborn, for example, at 8 weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. Watch this four-minute video of the developing unborn child. We know that they are children.
Now note that he makes those arguments to non-Christians, and he has even more arguments to make to Christians:
For Christians who believe the Bible, we could add at least ten more reasons why we know what is happening in abortion, and why it is wrong. But the aim here is threefold.
- To make clear that we will not be able to defend ourselves with the claim of ignorance. We knew. All of us.
- To solidify our conviction to resist this horrific evil.
- To intensify our prayer and our preaching toward gospel-based soul-renovation in our land, because hardness of heart, not ignorance, is at the root of this carnage.
He’s not changing really, he’s adding more to what he already had said, by targeting a new audience, while still addressing the old one. It’s a both-and. It’s a win-win.
Scott Klusendorf and Life Training Institute
Pastor Piper credits some of his arguments to Scott Klusendorf in his article. Mr. Klusendorf is the top pro-life debater in the world, in my opinion. I recently wrote about an interview that Scott did with Brian Auten of Apologetics 315, too. And I also posted a debate that he did with Nadine Strossen.
You’ll remember that I picked Scott’s “Life Training Institute” as my charity of the year for 2012. I really recommend LTI if you are looking for a charity to support. Scott is the William Wilberforce of our age, and that goes for all pro-lifers who can make the pro-life case to anyone, not just Christians.
If you’re looking for a good pro-life book, check out Scott’s “The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture”.
And he has a new book out as well, called “Stand for Life: Answering the Call, Making the Case, Saving Lives”: