Big Questions
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Q Is abortion always wrong, at every stage of conception? About 15 years ago, when I was a college freshman, I was raped. I told no one at the time, other than my best friend and her doctor. He recommended what was known as the “morning-after pill.” Eventually I told my parents, and they were very supportive. Lately, however, I have been wondering and feeling guilty about what I did.

A Such a personal and invasive assault has the capacity to cripple emotionally, even years after it happens to someone. The most important message you need to internalize is this: you did the best you knew to do under extremely difficult circumstances. Living in guilt is not the answer.

Keep in mind that the experience of rape cannot be equated with the experience of consensual sexual intimacy. When consensual sex results in a pregnancy, both parents bear the responsibility for deciding how this new life will develop. Allowing the baby to develop to term would seem to be the only choice consistent with a faith in our God of life.

But you were raped. You somehow had to come to terms with having been violated and with having lost, at least temporarily, a sense of control over what happens to you. You then also had to decide whether to immediately terminate a potential pregnancy or not. But this would not have been a real choice if your only choice, as a Christian, was to wait and see, and if pregnant, to carry the child to term.

In hindsight, your present maturity in years and faith might have led you to a different decision, but it is unfair to judge yourself—and create guilt—on that basis. Be reassured that God, as affirmed by your parents’ support, does not judge you either.

About the Author

Judy Cook is a family therapist and a member of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster, Ontario.

See comments (2)


It would be hard to overstate how foolishly wrong this response is.  Not only is this answer in no way reformed or aligned with the teaching of the CRC, but worse yet it is not even a distinctively Christian answer in any way - it is thoroughly unbilblical.  And the respondent never even gives a straightforward answer to the question.  This is nothing more than sentimental worldly wisdom wrapped in a thin veneer of christianese.  The editor(s) ought to be ashamed of offering this in the denominational publication. 

Dr. Timmermans, if you are out there, I urge you to come and linger in this place for a moment and consider the depth of depravity in this response and what it means that this response is printed in the Banner.   You want a really good illustration of why the denomination struggles to get ministry shares?  Behold this response and the editorial decision to run this response, which is nothing short of anti-gospel.  This response is indicative of the emotionalism run amock that is so prevalent within the denomination.  There is not even an attempt to ground this response in scripture. 

  1. The question is asked: "Is abortion always wrong, at every stage of conception?" The author proceeds to (in a circular fashion) explain how abortion in this case is acceptable.  But the Bible says no such thing concerning the taking of life.  Why did the author chose to go directly against the teaching of the church as derived from Scripture? From the CRC website: "Mindful of the sixth commandment—'You shall not murder' (Ex. 20:13)—the church condemns the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death."  Now there is a straightforward answer to the question. It could have very easily been followed with a pastorally sensitive explanation that snuffing out the life of the child is not justified by the difficulty of the situation. 
  2. The way that the author deals with the guilt that the questioner is experiencing is totally foreign to the Bible or any reformed understanding of sin and guilt, but is only too prevalent in the secular world of psychology with its theraputic self-esteem language.  Notice how the author tells the questioner to "internalize" the answer that she did her best, and should have no guilt.  Shall we one day tell God that we are not guilty becuase we did our best under the circumstances?  Is this how the Christian deals with sin and guilt?  Where is the gospel?  Where is repentance?  Where is forgiveness?  This answer is nothing more than self-salvation by self-justification! The questioner is pointed inward to deal with her guilt.  Simply unbelievable for an ostensibly Christian publication.
  3. The author has the audacity to fully echo the wicked purveyors of abortion and raise "choice" to the level of supremacy.  The author justifies the actions because she says that allowing a preganancy to develop normally "would not have been a real choice if your only choice".  How does choice become sacred and inviolable?  Only according to the wisdom of the world.  God guarantees us no smooth run through this life.  Quite to the contrary.  God certainly does not guarantee that we will have a nice choice and way to avoid all pain, suffering, and struggle. 
  4. How is it unfair for the questioner to judge herself?  It's called self-examination, and its Biblical.  Aren't we all called to grow in sanctification?  Does this not then involve more and more viewing our lives in light of God's will and being willing to repent of all sin?  Is the process of sanctification, repentance, and forgiveness supposed to be "fair" by some theraputic standard?
  5. The author ends by assuring the questioner that God will not judge her.  By what scriptural standard does the author reach this conclusion.  The only support the author offers is the affirmation of the woman's parents.  Is this our standard for holiness now?  Can I be assured that God will not judge any sin in which I am affirmed by those close to me?

Rape is horrible.  Any reminder of that experience is painful.  The burden of sin is great, but never more than can be borne by our Savior.  This woman deserved Biblical clarity and pastoral sensitivity.  What she received was sentimental worldly wisdom and the "choice" language that is used by our modern culture of death.  What a travesty that this is published. 

Good answer Judy. Certainly our God is full of grace and forgiveness.  When the experts of the law brought a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus and demanded she be stoned according to the standard of Biblical law, Jesus turned the law against them.  Jesus’ response to the woman was one of forgiveness. Everyone’s situation is different and it’s difficult to press every situation into a hard and fast rule.  That’s what the Pharisees and religious teachers wanted to do with every situation.  Just as the father forgave his prodigal (runaway) son, instead of rebuking him, he welcomed him home with open arms (against the wishes of the older legalistic son).  Thanks Judy for your insight.  I think you nailed it.