A Rational Look at An Emotional Issue
Publisher: Reformation Trust
Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team
In this book bearing a spartan and pull-no-punches title, R.C. Sproul writes that abortion “may be the most serious ethical dilemma ever faced by the United States.” It’s certainly an issue that divides the nation and arouses strong emotion on both sides. This is no less true today than it was twenty years ago, when Dr. Sproul first published his book, Abortion: a Rational Look at an Emotional Issue.
Sproul says up front that abortion is not a simple issue to address:
It is a multifaceted, complex matter that involves a conflict of perceived rights. No matter how the issue of abortion is resolved, someone’s rights – or at least perceived rights – will be in jeopardy. Can such a web of interwoven and conflicting issues be untangled?
In this reader’s estimation, Sproul does a masterful job of untangling the issue with clear facts and skillful logic. While the book is short and easy to read, it provides a good overview of the questions surrounding abortion. What is the proper role of government and law? What does natural law teach us about the sanctity of life? What does the Bible say about the sanctity of life? Does the sanctity of life have any bearing on abortion at all? When does life begin? What does science say? In each of his responses, Sproul shows that “abortion is against the law of God, against the laws of nature, and against reason.”
Sproul’s arguments probably won’t move many who are firmly planted on either side of the debate. Those who are pro-life will agree with him; those who are pro-abortion won’t. But his primary audience is those who aren’t convinced – those who are undecided or who, in an attempt to take a middle ground, call themselves pro-choice.
Why should anyone who is already pro-life read this book? By examining the issue from several angles, readers will be more equipped to present balanced and convincing arguments in support of their view. Sproul also answers the most common arguments in favor of abortion, further preparing readers to engage in informed discussion.
Unfortunately, many professing Christians don’t act wisely when it comes to addressing abortion. Sproul discusses both appropriate and inappropriate responses. Most importantly, he reminds readers that, for those who are repentant, regardless of their sin, there is forgiveness in Christ:
Though what I have done cannot be undone, I can be forgiven. Forgiveness is one of the marvels of God’s grace. Its healing power is magnificent. If a woman has been involved in abortion, God does not require that she spend the rest of her life walking around with a red ‘A’ on her chest. He does require that she repent of her sin and come to Him for the cleansing of forgiveness. When God forgives us, we are forgiven. When God cleanses us, we are made clean. That is a cause for great celebration.
The fact that everyone needs God’s forgiveness should remind us that although we may hate the practice of abortion, we are to extend grace and love to everyone, especially to those who are hurting.
Of all that I’ve read about our “most serious ethical dilemma,” Dr. Sproul’s book is the most convincing. And, regardless of what side of the argument readers locate themselves, I’m sure they will agree that Sproul is both fair and, as the subtitle says, rational. To those who don’t know where they stand, I encourage them to read this book. For those considering an abortion, I beg them to read this book. It may be life-changing, not to mention life-giving.