Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity
“A Body Divided, A Body United” first appeared in the Spring-Summer 1989 issue of Touchstone.
A Body Divided, A Body United
by James L. Sauer
In John 17, Jesus prayed to God the Father that his disciples would be “one as we are one.” Unfortunately, Church history has emphasized the diversity, and not the unity of the Church. Christians have many important disagreements (and many trivial ones) which have separated them in history; and it is not my intention to deal with those differences here. What is interesting to me is that the sin of abortion has had a unifying effect upon Christ’s body. This unity is manifest in a number of ways:
1. Abortion reminds Christians that in spite of our differences we serve one God. Abortion has this effect for it reminds Christians that there is only One Maker, and that life comes from Him alone. It reminds us that we have only One Redeemer who became a man, incarnate in a Mother’s womb. And it reminds us of the Spirit of life, which unites all living, but which especially unifies the Church indwelt by His Spirit. Abortion dramatically reminds us that God is our Creator and we are his creatures.
2. Abortion unites Christians by reminding us of God’s authority. Abortion is not wrong merely because we feel it is wrong. It is wrong because God has spoken and revealed himself in history. Abortion forces us to renew our reason, experience, and tradition according to the authority of the Word of God. It reminds us of the great phrase: “Thus saith the Lord . . . ”
3. Abortion, by its violation of God’s Law, links Christians, reminding us of the moral framework of human life. Abortion forces Christians of all varieties to unite in forging a civil society based on God’s revealed moral law.
4. Abortion unites Christians in prayer. Perhaps at no time in history have Christians of various denominations been as united as we are in praying for the abolition of abortion. Prayer rises up from the pews of beautiful cathedrals and from rugged country chapels.
5. Abortion unites us in the witness of the gospel. The solution to the guilt of abortion is not counseling or therapy—however appropriate such interpersonal introspection might prove. Rather, Christians are reminded that only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from sin. The gospel is not an abstraction; it is the power of God to remake broken people, to forgive sins, to cleanse us from guilt.
6. Abortion unites us in good works. Working as counselors, hotliners; opening our homes; giving our time and money; Christians from every denomination are brought to labor together. Side by side, we find ourselves doing the work of Christ.
Abortion is an evil. But it is an evil which God has providentially used to draw his people closer together. It is sad that the ripping of a baby’s body must be cause for uniting the body of Christ. Let us remember Christ’s words: “This is my command: Love one another.”
James L. Sauer is the Director of Library, Eastern College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.
“A Body Divided, A Body United” first appeared in the Spring-Summer 1989 issue of Touchstone. If you enjoyed this article, you'll find more of the same in every issue.
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