Back in High School, ’68-’72, some of favorite teachers were social studies teachers. One social studies teacher that my clique did not like was Mr. Hunt: he wore tie and jacket and was a conservative. Now my social studies teachers taught us the evils of “back alley abortions” and the cruelty of anti-abortion laws. As president of the social studies club (I confess: I was a “Sheldon” wannabe), our club went to the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee to hear Dr. Paul Erlich who’s sensational bestseller was all the talk: The Population Bomb. Erlich repackaged Rev. Malthus’ 18th century predictions of the end of the world because of too many people. So Erlich promoted: ZPG, zero population growth. By this time The Pill (that’s how it was written in newspapers of the time) made this a possibility and it was completed January 22nd, 1973 with the Supreme Court’s rule in Roe v. Wade. The ‘revolution’ of the ’60s was to end the war in Vietnam, equality between the sexes, the new possibility of “gay liberation” and especially the end to greed. The last part of the revolution was an abysmal failure. But anything that smacked of the “sexual liberation” won hands-down, which included abortion on demand.
I say this to give the history in which I assented to the powers of darkness. It did take some time for conservative Protestants to see the horror of it. But so many in the “mainline Protestant church bodies” were like those divines in the 18th century and the Enlightenment who so wanted to be accepted, to be “relevant”, that they did not want to be left behind by the “cultured despisers of the faith”, and so became part of this brave new world.. So uncritically I continued with the assumptions of those days.
What changed my mind? The Scriptures? Sadly, no. It took sometime for my mind to change.
At that time, I had been re-thinking the whole abortion question. I had met a few traditional Lutheran pastors who were pro-life in a group of other colleagues who were younger and thoroughgoing in the revolution: to re-do society and the Church in various and many ways that were and are un-Scriptural and Godless. What finally changed my mind was a picture: a sonogram of our first child. Hearing the joyous news, your wife is pregnant, changed our lives. This was not “fetal tissue” but a child and a child we could ‘see with the relatively new technology. We had a VHS tape of our child in the womb. Even though I was not convinced by His Word, never the less, like the Magi, it is true:
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 20)
What I had seen in a sonogram was seen along time before by the Lord’s revelation in His Word to David:
13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139: 13-14)
My mind has remained steadfast because of the Scripture and it is the only way for any of us to so remain and abide. ”Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word, curb those who by deceit or sword would wrest the Kingdom from Your Son and bring to nought all He has done.” I think that this hymn verse is an important prayer in our day and time. We live in a culture that is increasingly “nought” by trying to dodge the “ought” of His Law and Gospel. The sheer Gospel in Luke 1:40-42 of John leaping in his mother’s womb when his mother hears the greeting of the blessed Virgin Mary carrying the Son of God is it’s own ought: the ought of life and eternal life that can not be aborted.
So with ZPG and abortion, we now have this headline of this past week:
Japan Warns Of Grim Population Decline
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
or this older headline:
“A Dying Breed? As the birthrate in European countries drops well below the “replacement rate” — that is, an average of 2.1 children born to every woman — the declining population will first be felt in the playgrounds.”