by PPL Board President, Rev. John Sheldon
“Rise up; for this matter is your responsibility. We will support you,
so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4
Our PPL mission statement declares: Compelled by the Gospel, PPL equips Presbyterians to champion human life at every stage. Do Presbyterian pastors, sessions, teachers, and church members need equipping to champion human life? Yes. Is there a continuing need for the Presbyterians Protecting Life (PPL) to offer the wider family of Reformed and Presbyterian churches and pastors pro-life resources? Yes. Now, more than ever, our Presbyterian wing of the Christian family needs to stand up and proclaim the good news that God created human life and that he sent his Son Jesus to make it possible for any human life he chooses to be ransomed from death and destruction. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Wherever there is a reluctance and hesitation on the part of Presbyterian pastors, elders, and church leaders—even in conservative and biblically orthodox Presbyterian churches---to boldly champion human life for the unborn there will be a need for PPL’s help to witness to and resource local church ministries. There are abortion-minded women and men even in our congregations who are struggling with the chokehold of self-autonomy. There are post-abortive women and men in our congregations who though they may now recognize their past sin of abortion, are struggling with unresolved guilt and how to repent and receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ atonement. That is precisely why pastors and teachers need to be willing to preach and teach on abortion and the power of our High Priest Jesus “to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
As Christians and Presbyterians, we believe that 1) moral truth is real, knowable, and found in the written revelation we call God’s Word, where we learn and accept that 2) all human life is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) and has intrinsic value, both as a tiny developing embryo implanted in its mother’s womb and as a cute little toddler taking its first steps.
Pastors and teachers and church members need to keep a laser focus on these truths. Pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf has emphasized how important it is to memorize the foundational pro-life syllogism:
a) it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being;
b) abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being;
c) therefore, abortion is wrong.
Klusendorf goes on to say that embryonic human life “may differ from us in terms of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency, [S.L.E.D.] but these differences are not morally relevant to their status as human beings.” (The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, Crossway, 2009, pg. 30).
As we engage with fellow Christians and secular family members and neighbors in this culture of death be confident that God’s life has been graciously given you through union with Christ. Share that gift with others including your defense of the most vulnerable among us. Our Lord wants you to be his witness to His redeeming grace and holy justice.
I conclude with this personal note. Last June 24, 2022 when the Supreme Court officially released their momentous Dobbs decision my youngest daughter sent me the following text on my iPhone: “Dad, thank you for taking me on the pro-life marches [Washington DC’s annual March for Life] all these years. I remember how resilient everyone was in those crowds. Praise God that Roe is overturned. Great, great news. Thank you for being so involved in the movement or as long as I can remember and instilling in me the value of the unborn. What a great day!” That brought a tear of gratitude to my eye.
I would encourage my fellow Presbyterian pastors, teachers, and church members to take advantage of the resources available to you on Presbyterians Protecting Life’s website www.ppl.org to better equip you to be “champions for life.”