I may sound like a broken record here. So far I've counted 11 different resources from different blogs/ministries saying the same thing, people from J.D. Hall to Tony Miano to Joel McDurmon have all been saying this, but I just wanted to get my thoughts out there. This isn't even including people disagreeing on social media, such as Apologist and Polemicist, Chris Rosebrough.
Karen Swallow-Prior, professor at Liberty University and Research Fellow of the ERLC, has written an article at Christianity Today claiming that it is inaccurate and not Christ-like to call abortion (Or In-utero infanticide, as I prefer to call it) murder. Even most of her defenders backed down on this one (I have noticed two anons still trying to defend this, but one of them has a clear, unfair bias against anything Pulpit and Pen). Other than those anons, Dave Miller has even gone as far as to endorse the article.
If you are unfamiliar with Dave Miller, he is a writer at SBCVoices.com. Karen Swallow-Prior has edited the article, so I will be handling the edited version of the article in this post. This is done to ensure that I won't be accused of misrepresenting like so many others have (Although I probably still will, as that it a go to defense).
While there are a few problems with the article, the most prevalent issue is this, "On the other hand, referring to abortion providers as 'abortion ghouls,' clinic volunteers and workers as 'deathscorts or bloodworkers,' and women who obtain abortions as 'murderers' is worse than inflammatory: it is unchristlike. Calling legal abortion 'murder' when it isn’t (it is, to our shame, lawful) is to say what isn’t true, at least in a civil (not church) context." This is wrong. Abortion is most definitely murder. She even contradicts herself in the very next paragraph, saying, "To clarify: I am unwavering in my belief that according to God’s law, abortion is murder." I would agree with that second quote as far as abortion being murder (Although the Unwavering part is a little questionable). But she seemed to say that it is "to say what isn't true" to call abortion murder. So which is it? Can I call abortion murder or not?
Not only does this article send mixed signals, but it gives a false impression that we aren't allowed to call women who commit abortion "Murderer". If abortion is murder, which it is, wouldn't it make those who preform the act a murderer? So are we not supposed to call a murderer a murderer? If so, where do we draw that line? What about Kermit Gosnell? O.J. Simpson? John Wayne Gacey? Pol Pot? Joseph Stalin? Which of those are okay to call a murderer? Where is the line? Do we stop at murder? What about adultery? Is someone who rapes still a rapist? Can we call a liar a liar?
She even goes on, "Having volunteered 17 years at crisis pregnancy centers and offering help to women outside abortion clinics for 10 years, I was trained not to use the word 'murder' in trying to persuade them to choose life." So she isn't the only one who thinks like this. Many other people do not call a murderer a murderer. She at least implies that to do so is to use an "exaggeration or distortion". Notably, she even quotes Bernie Sanders later on in the article.
Who defines murder? Is it the government or God? If it is the government, then the government can change any law they want to make any killing they want acceptable under the 6th Commandment (Which is better translated as "You Shall Not Murder"). A prime example is Nazi Germany. If we cannot rightly call abortion providers and mothers who commit abortion "Murderer" because it is civilly legal, why can we call Nazi SS and Concentration Camp Guards the same? You see, it doesn't hold up when put to the fire. However, if we let God define our terms, then we can honestly say that an abortion provider, mother who commits an abortion, Nazi SS, and Concentration Camp Guard are all murderers, no matter what the government at the time said. In fact, we must if we go by God's terms.
Another problem that this idea raises is that, if we cannot rightly call something murder if it is not illegal, then how can we call hatred "Murder of the Heart"? Hatred is legal in almost all countries, and that is because there is no way to regulate it. Does that mean it ceases to be Murder of the Heart? Of course not! If it does, then Scripture is proven wrong when it says, "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer..." (1 John 3:15, ESV).
It should be noted that she once said about abortion, "As a matter of fact, unlike my opposition to capital punishment, which is rooted in Christian mercy, my opposition to abortion—under any circumstances except those rare times when it is necessary to save the life of the mother—is rooted in social justice, not Christian belief. Although my Christian faith compels me to act in accordance to that sense of social justice, it is not the origin of my pro-life ethic." (Can be read here).
What's more is that, when we don't call a murderer a murderer, we surrender. If we use their language we concede to them. For example, if we say "Morally Challenged" instead of "Sinful", people might feel better but we just conceded the weight of human depravity. Not only that, but we removed the conviction that the Law of God has upon that person. In the same way, we remove the conviction of the sin of murder when we refuse to call someone a murderer. And why is that a bad thing? "What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, 'You shall not covet.'" (Romans 7:7, ESV). There is more than just that verse that makes the same point. "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20, ESV). The Law teaches us of our sin. By doing that, it shows our need for a savior. So as good intentioned as one may be, using a euphemism and sugarcoating things when dealing with the Law of God will do more harm than good. It will concede the weight of your argument and remove the conviction of sins that leads to repentance. While this article is called "Loving Our Pro-Choice Neighbors in Love and Deed", it fails to realize that telling them that they are condemned as murderers under God's Law is more loving than any ammount of sugarcoating.
About the Author
Brandon C. Hines is a young writer from somewhere in northern Alabama who writes about Theology, Polemics, and Apologetics. His beliefs are best summarized by the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
You can search for various topics I have written about by going to Google and typing in a keyword, then typing site:Learningthepath.weebly.com after it.