Christian Responsibility Bible Studies

Yeah, It's Time to Speak, But ... (Student and Leader Guide)

By James Lamb

Date: June 26, 2002

Category: Christian Responsibility

“Yeah, It’s Time to Speak, But …” – Student Guide

Introduction

“Yeah butting” is a popular pastime for many of us. “Yeah butting” is reluctantly admitting that something may be true and good but then offering a negative spin on it. We do it best with the weather. “Sure is a nice day.” “Yeah, but it’s suppose to rain tonight.” It is hard to have a conversation about the weather, even among friends, without a good deal of “yeah butting” going on!

It is hard to have a conversation about abortion, even among Christians, without a good deal of “yeah butting” as well. It is an issue that has so polarized our nation that many people just do not want to talk about it. “Yeah, I know it is wrong but . . .” In this Bible study we will look at some of the common “yeah buts” about abortion and see if they stand up in light of Scripture.

It’s Time to Speak!Yeah, but abortion is a political issue, and we shouldn’t be talking about it in the church.”

Read Psalm 139:13-14; 119:73; 127:3; Mark 10:14-16; Proverbs 3:5-8.

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but abortion doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not going to have one.”

Read Proverbs 31:8-9; James 1:27; Matthew 25:40.

It’s Time to Speak! Yeah, but the Church exists to proclaim the Gospel, not to address social issues.”

Read John 4:13-14; 8:3-11; Romans 8:31-32.

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but abortion is too controversial.”

Read Ezekiel 13:10-12 and John 14:27.

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but abortion is divisive.”

Read Matthew 10:34-36.

Conclusion

The “Yeah buts” about abortion really do not stand up in light of Scripture. The Church has a responsibility to uphold the Scriptural truths about life. The Church has a wonderful message to apply to abortion and those caught up in this evil-the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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“Yeah, It’s Time to Speak, But …” – Leader’s Guide

[Answers to questions and other comments for the teacher are in brackets and italics.]

Introduction

“Yeah butting” is a popular pastime for many of us. “Yeah butting” is reluctantly admitting that something may be true and good but then offering a negative spin on it. We do it best with the weather. “Sure is a nice day.” “Yeah, but it’s suppose to rain tonight.” It is hard to have a conversation about the weather, even among friends, without a good deal of “yeah butting” going on!

It is hard to have a conversation about abortion, even among Christians, without a good deal of “yeah butting” as well. It is an issue that has so polarized our nation that many people just do not want to talk about it. “Yeah, I know it is wrong but…” In this Bible study we will look at some of the common “yeah buts” about abortion and see if they stand up in light of Scripture.

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but abortion is a political issue, and we shouldn’t be talking about it in the church.”

[A dictionary definition of political is: “Of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government, politics, or the state.” By this definition, abortion certainly is political. In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws forbidding abortion and made abortion legal in all nine months of pregnancy.

A dictionary definition of spiritual is: “Of, from, or relating to God.” Is abortion a spiritual issue? Does it “relate to God”?] 

Read Psalm 139:13-14; 119:73; 127:3; Mark 10:14-16; Proverbs 3:5-8.

[Psalm 139:13-14; 119:73; 127:3 – When you consider that abortion kills the work of God’s hands, when it destroys what He has fearfully and wonderfully made, then, yes, abortion is very much a spiritual issue. This destruction is a mass destruction happening over 3,000 times each and every day.]

[Mark 10:14-16 – You should also point out that these aborted babies are children for whom Jesus Christ died, but they will never have the opportunity for baptism. Abortion is a very grave spiritual issue! Questions that may arise here about what happens to the soul of an aborted baby must be dealt with in the same loving and sensitive way that you deal with a stillborn or other cases where babies die before baptism.]

[Proverbs 3:5-8 – Abortion is a spiritual issue because it leads people away from trusting in God in times of distress. Abortion is, in fact, putting your trust in the god of death instead of the Lord of Life. You may want to quote Luther’s comments on the First Commandment in the Large Catechism.

[“Do you have the kind of heart that expects from Him nothing but good, especially in distress and want, and renounces and forsakes all that is not God? Then you have the one true God. On the contrary, does your heart cling to something else, from which it hopes to receive more good and help than from God, and does it flee not to Him but from Him when things go wrong? Then you have an idol, another god.”1]

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but abortion doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not going to have one.”

Read Proverbs 31:8-9; James 1:27; Matthew 25:40.

[The fact that abortion is a spiritual issue, as indicated in #1, negates this argument. In addition, however, the Bible verses in #2 show that God’s people have always had a responsibility to speak for those who are vulnerable and in need. This is a recurring theme in the Old Testament. There God is called the “Father to the fatherless” and the “Defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5). In the Day of Judgment, those who oppress the needy are to be held as accountable as sorcerers and adulterers (Malachi 3:5). Therefore God’s people, from the king on down, had a God-given responsibility to speak up for and defend the poor and needy. It is a recurring theme in the New Testament as well. God’s New Testament people are to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). They are to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). They are to care for the orphans and widows (James 1:27). Jesus says we are to care for “the least of these” as if we are caring for Him (Matthew 25:40). God’s people today, clergy and laity alike, have a God-given responsibility to speak up for and defend those who cannot do so themselves. Indeed, it is irresponsible not to speak. The old axiom is true: “Silence is affirmation.”]

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but the Church exists to proclaim the Gospel, not to address social issues.”

Read John 4:13-14; 8:3-11; Romans 8:31-32.

[John 4:13-14, 8:3-11 – Jesus met people where they were. He shared the Gospel by applying it to people’s lives. Yes, the purpose of the Church is to share the Gospel. However, the social and moral concerns of our nation provide opportunity for the Church to share the Gospel. The affect of abortion on women and men, for example, is devastating. When the reality of that decision sets in-and it almost always does sooner or later-it crushes people with a heavy burden of guilt and hopelessness that can lead to despair. If there is a single reason for the Church to speak on the issue of abortion, it is so that those who have made this decision can hear the Gospel applied to their sin. If the Church is silent, these people will be led to believe that the sin of abortion is too big to be forgiven.

[The Gospel is not just to be preached. It is to be preached into people’s lives and to the specific sins they commit. If the Church never talks about the sins against life under the guise of only wanting to proclaim the Gospel, they have, in effect, relinquished an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. You may want to use some of the thoughts in the following quote from C. F. W. Walther.

[“Preachers, as a rule, imagine that they have fully discharged their office, provided what they have preached has been the Word of God. That is about as correct a view as when a ranger imagines he has discharged his office by sallying forth with his loaded gun and discharging it into the forest; or as when an artilleryman thinks he has done his duty by taking up his position with his cannon in the line of battle and by discharging his cannon. Just as poor rangers and soldiers as these latter are, just so poor and useless preachers are those who have no plan in mind and take no aim when they are preaching. Granted their sermons contain beautiful thoughts; they do not, for that matter, take effect. They may occasionally make the thunders of the Law roll in their sermons, yet there is no lightning that strikes. Again, they may water the garden assigned to them with the fructifying waters of the Gospel, but they are pouring water on the beds and the paths of the garden indiscriminately, and their labor is lost . . . May God help you in your future ministry not to become aimless prattlers.”2 ]

[Romans 8:31-32 – This passage is a good one to use to show that the life issues give opportunity to proclaim the Gospel as motivation for making good decisions and therefore avoiding difficult situations. We are God’s bought-with-a-price people! He is for us! He has demonstrated His love in the giving of His Son. He is not going to forsake us when troubles come. We do not have to turn to death as a solution to the problems of life. We can turn to our God. He will not forsake us. He will get us through.]

It’s Time to Speak! “Yeah, but abortion is too controversial.”

Read Ezekiel 13:10-12 and John 14:27.

[Ezekiel 13:10-12 – Not speaking about a specific evil because it is too controversial is the same as proclaiming peace when there is no peace. Our silence whitewashes a very bloody evil. Our silence proclaims Satan’s favorite line, “‘Did God really say’ abortion was wrong?” Our silence leads people to sin, and our silence offers no peace to those who have.]

[John 14:27 – When we do speak about abortion, it will stir up controversy. God’s truth often does. But it will give us opportunity to proclaim a peace that the world cannot have and can never understand. We have been given peace with God through Jesus Christ. This is a peace we can have even when the peace in our lives is disrupted. This is a peace that we can proclaim to those who have had their peace robbed because of sin.]

It’s Time to Speak! Yeah, but abortion is divisive.”

Read Matthew 10:34-36.

[No one wants division in a congregation or in a family. Sometimes it’s good to be silent when the color of the carpet in the narthex is not what you would have chosen or when Uncle Rob plays his accordion at the family picnic each year! However, to be silent about abortion to avoid division is a deadly silence. Jesus plainly says that He came to bring division under certain circumstances. He came to proclaim Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). When that is proclaimed, especially in our world today, it causes division. To be silent on this, however, would undermine the very purpose of the Church. Jesus said He came as God in the flesh (John 10:30). When that is proclaimed, it causes division. To be silent on this, however, removes the very essence of the Gospel. Jesus said that He came so that we might have life and have in to the full (John 10:10). When that is proclaimed and applied to the unborn, it causes division. To be silent on this, however, ignores the Biblical truth that human life from the moment of conception is gifted by and precious to God.]

Conclusion

The “Yeah buts” about abortion really do not stand up in light of Scripture. The Church has a responsibility to uphold the Scriptural truths about life. The Church has a wonderful message to apply to abortion and those caught up in this evil, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

[How can this be done in a way that is bold and courageous but also sensitive and loving?

Conclude the Bible Study with some ideas on how the members of your congregation can speak. You may want to use LFL’s How You Can “Speak” booklet.

(Footnotes)

  1. The Book of Concord, Theodore G. Tappert, Ed. Page 368.

  2. C.F.W. Walther. The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel. 99-100.

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