Skip to main content

Abortion and the Early Church

In the early Roman Empire abortion was practiced with little shame. It was not uncommon for a man to insist that his wife abort their baby if she suspected it was a girl. Hippolytus of Rome records that women either took drugs or bound themselves tightly around the mid-section in order to “expel was being conceived” (Refutation of all Heresies, Book 9). Another method was to “expose” the newly born by simply abandoning it. Again, this practice was more common if the child was a girl as illustrated in the classic letter written in 1 B.C. by the Egyptian laborer Hilarion to his wife. “If you give birth to multiples, if there is a boy let it [live], but if they are girls, expose [them].” However, according to Origen (A.D. 185–254), Christianity changed men’s moral character so thoroughly that they no longer participated in these evil deeds of darkness. Christians then went on to openly challenge these practices in the public square (see Letter to Diognetus, 6 and Justin, 1 Apology 27). Though during Rome’s history Christians did not end these vile practices completely, their compassion for the unborn, infants, and expectant mothers turned public sentiment so sharply that large numbers of women were attracted to the Church. In time, it was Rome that fell. Let us therefore remain vigilant.


  1. I love the last little bit - that through compassion and love the Church saved the unborn and the women and eventually won!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Spurgeon Doesn't Help Us With Trump

Of two evils, choose neither." Spurgeon's quote has been posted numerous times on social media by Christians who find themselves in a moral conundrum at the very thought of voting for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Here’s the problem with Spurgeon’s idea. Biblically there is no such thing as a choice between two evils. Let me explain.
Moral philosophers and theologians have long spoken of the problem of "tragic moral choice", also known as the “incommensurability in values.” The man on the street simply calls it “choosing between the lesser of two evils.”  
The best known example of tragic moral choice is the one about the Nazis during WW II. Do you handover the Jews knowing that your choice makes you complicit in their deaths? Or do you lie and violate the Ninth Commandment? The Lutheran scholar, John Warwick Montgomery, has argued that such choices are unavoidable and of necessity cause us to sin.
The Bible, however, takes a dim view of the so-called less…

Andy Stanley and the “NEW Hermeneutic”

The problem of faith and reason is longstanding in the history of theology. Augustine held that faith aids reason (credo ut intelligam) and that reason aids faith (intelligo un creadam). The church father is, however, inclined to stress the later over the former. It was with Thomas Aquinas, and his Summa Theologica, that the effort to reconcile faith and reason reached its apex. Rejecting the medieval doctrine of double truth, he placed natural reason prior to faith in effectively every area of the Christian life. The restrictions are the mysteries of the faith that reason cannot penetrate.
Thomas’ affirmation of the high role of native reason in Christian belief is linked to his stress on dialectical method in study, seminally set forth by Peter Abelard. The form of study is dependent largely on logic to argue both sides of a theological question. Christian belief is thus the proper result of process or synthesis. Faith then assents to the final proposition arrived at by reason.

Fighting Abortion is Not the Fourth Sign of the Church

Some Christians are what I call, “single-issue.” I recall one family that left a church because everything did not revolve around Evangelism Explosion. But that's just one issue.
The issue I'm thinking about is abortion on demand. Some concerned Christians expect their pastor to thunder away almost each week on this topic, or at least mention it. He must make it is his central motif. He must protest outside the abortion clinic. If he doesn’t, he can say he’s against abortion all he likes, but it’s not enough.
Motivating the single-issue congregant is a deeper judgment. He thinks that the ultimate reason abortion on demand still happens is because pastors let it. Churches let it.
As one who has taken a virulent stand against abortion, both in the pulpit and with pen, I can say without qualification, “I hate it.”  Period. I pray the day that Roe is overturned. Nonetheless, as a former pastor, an as one who may return to the pulpit someday, here’s the bottom line.
We are called to …