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Abortion and Annunciation

March 26th, 2008
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Annunciation_2
Rev. Scott Stiegemeyer offers these very good thoughts on the issue of abortion as seen in the light of the Incarnation of Christ. I vividly recall the first time I was struck by this very correct line of thinking: the Annunciation of Our Lord, which marks His virginal conception, is a powerful argument in support of not ending the lives of unborn children. Our Lord was Himself a tiny little human being when only a few cells "old" as it were. By the way, if you have not already, be sure to add Concordia Theological Seminary’s blog site to your reader.

Here are Pastor Stiegemeyer’s thoughts:

Even though we are still basking in the glory
of the Festival of the Resurrection, today my mind turns toward
Christmas. That’s because today is the commemoration of the
Annunciation, the scene in Luke’s Gospel where the angel tells Mary
that she will bear a son who will be called the Son of God. March 25 is
exactly nine months before Christmas which, of course, is the the
celebration of the birth of Jesus.* Thus today is really the
celebration of the impregnation of Mary, the incarnation of God’s one
eternally begotten son in the Virgin’s womb. As St. John wrote: The
Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

I never seem to get past this date without needing to comment on the
great atrocity of abortion. It is simply not possible to take the
incarnation of God’s Son seriously and not be opposed to abortion. The
Eternal Son did not begin his earthly pilgrimage as an infant in
Bethlehem. He began it as a zygote in Nazareth.

Some modern churches have altered the words of the Nicene Creed to
become more politically correct, and in so doing have sold their souls
for a mess of pottage. The traditional English translation states that
the Son of God “became man.”  In order to avoid the appearance of male chauvinism, some have rendered this instead as “became fully human.”

That is a very unsatisfactory translation. I understand the purpose.
By “man,” we do not mean to imply that the incarnation does not benefit
people without penises. So we say Jesus became a human being. And that
is true enough. The trouble is with the phrase fully human.”
Fully Human? What other options were there? Could the Son of God have
entered the world as a partial human? A potential human? Maybe a cyborg
or a chimera? The phrase “fully human” implies that there are degrees
of being human and that is completely incompatible with the Christian
faith.

I’m with Frederica Mathewes-Green who said, “I believe that we begin
when our bodies begin…. I believe that where there is a living body,
there is a soul. There is no such thing as a living body without a
soul; I’ve never encountered such a concept outside zombie movies. You
can’t, therefore, say that this living, unique human body suddenly
becomes a person at six months gestation, or at birth, or some other
time. Where there is a living human body, there is human life.” To read
the rest of her stunning essay, go here.

There are ethical implications for what we believe as Christians. It
is not possible to take seriously the incarnation of the Son of God
while tolerating abortion. Read that sentence again. Read it twice
because anyone who denies the true humanity of Jesus is in serious
danger.zygotes.jpg

St. John wrote that anyone who denies the incarnation of the Son of God is the antichrist.  “Many
deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh,
have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the
antichrist (2John:7).”

A person who accepts abortion must reason that the object
being removed from the woman is non-human or somehow less than human,
otherwise it is clearly murder. A Christian, however, believes that God
became flesh at the point of conception (”conceived by the Holy
Spirit”) and this confirms for us the tenet that a zygote is a human
being.

I don’t see how anyone can, in good conscience, celebrate Christmas without opposing abortion.


* Before anyone asks, no, we do not know the precise date
of Jesus’ birth. These dates were selected by the church and continue
to be observed out of tradition.

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