Series: Talking Points
Published by Good Book Company on April 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Theology, Christian Life
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Helps Christians to think biblically, speak wisely and act compassionately on the complex issue of abortion.
Our culture is locked in a battle between two opposing worldviews on abortion. How should Christians advise those who are considering, or being pressurised into an abortion? How can we help those who are struggling with the emotional and spiritual fallout from abortion? What stance should we take in the public arena, and how should we conduct ourselves in conversations on these subjects?
The Talking Points series is a collection of short books designed to help Christians think and talk about today’s hot button issues. Coming from a mostly conservative perspective, the series is meant to help educate believers beyond stereotypes and move them into loving responses and firm, substantiated convictions. This volume, Talking Points: Abortion, is written by Dr. Lizzie Ling, a former family doctor currently serving as Associate Minister for Women at St. Ebbe’s Oxford.
There is no more emotional or divisive topic in the American political and religious atmosphere than abortion. Both sides—pro-choice and pro-life (though I would argue both are misnomers)—have a habit of using simplistic arguments that don’t engage each other in good faith and often devalue the humanity of the “other side.”
Coming from a conservative perspective, the authors of this volume are decidedly pro-life, but this volume comes with a genuine attempt to get readers to understand the perspective of those considering abortion. That’s the most needed thing in this book. All too often, Christians are told how to defeat or shout down abortion advocates—we see this as a battle to be won in the culture war. But we drive away and radicalize the other rather than draw them in. We never take a look at the root cause for why someone would consider abortion or consider the path that led them to an unwanted pregnancy.
The first chapter talks about the inherent contradictions in our language and laws that treat the unborn as either valuable or non-valuable based on circumstance. It exposes the doublemindedness of those that devalue the life of the unborn. But the book is also careful to say this with love and compassion, reminding readers that those struggling with abortion aren’t the “other.” They are in your churches and communities, and maybe even families.
The second chapter provides the theological foundation of the sanctity of life, building the concept that life created in the image of God is to be set apart as holy and sacred. This leads into the third chapter, which begins a discussion of when life is sparked. This is a complex issue (hence the title of chapter four, which continues that discussion.) There’s a great discussion of root causes and possible consequences that drive people toward abortion that’s extremely helpful in developing a theology of care surrounding this topic.
The latter half of the book contains suggestions for practical engagement, and they are a breath of fresh air in an often stale and vitriolic discussion. Ling advocates getting to know those considering abortion, treating them as humans, and offering competent counseling and care. To those replies, I would also state that developing infrastructure to empower birth moms to parent or adoptive parents to adopt would go a long way into keeping abortion from being seen as a necessary choice.
Like any book of this size—palm-sized and right at 100 pages—it can only be the beginning of a discussion. But this might be something that can get people into the conversation and working in their communities and churches. A good, just-the-basics resource!