On March 1, 2018, Mississippi State University is hosting Dr. Willie Parker. Dr. Parker is a well-known advocate and supporter of abortion. He has written, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, in which he proposes that abortion is morally consistent with his faith in God.
Having spent most of the last 12 years living away from MS, I was recently made aware of Dr. Parker through the advertising of the event in Starkville, MS. I found in a Newsweek article printed in April 2017, where he claims to perform at least 1,000 abortions each year with over 10,000 thus far in his career. He claims, “I am doing God’s work. I am protecting women’s rights, their human right to decide their future for themselves, and to live their lives as they see fit.”
Dr. Parker does not see the Bible or Christianity as consistent, and as a result, He does not see Scripture as authoritative. To him, God relates to us in different ways depending on our circumstances. He admits that he has changed his views over time, and developed a view of God that is more personal than it is biblical.
As reported by Newsweek “He says the God he believes in is flexible and loving enough to accommodate different perspectives on the Bible, the life process is bigger than one woman, and that sacredness comes in an individual’s right to choose…or choose not to.” In the same interview, Dr. Parker said: “As a young person my Christian identity was far more important to me than interrogating the inconsistencies of my faith.” He has admitted that he no longer sees himself or others through his identity as a Christian, and yet He is building a career and a legacy of performing abortions in the name of Christ.
The problem with viewing God from a more personal view than a biblical view is that it impacts our view of humanity. If you don’t see God as He reveals Himself in Scripture, then you will not see people as they are through the lens of Scripture. Unfortunately, the abandonment of biblical Christianity has opened the door for what he believes is God’s work - the killing of unborn children.
As a Christian and a pastor, I am grieved that Dr. Parker has associated the name of Christ with the approval of abortion. I believe that there is grace for those who have aborted their babies. I believe that there is grace and forgiveness for the most heinous of sins, which is why our church has openly declared our love for those who have been through the tragedy of abortion. I believe there is forgiveness and grace available to Dr. Parker for performing abortions. But, I do not believe, nor can I be silent while a man claims that God approves of the right to choose to murder children in the womb. As Christians, we should not be silent as he comforts women with a false assurance that abortion is moral, and that God approves it, or is glorified in it.
Dr. Parker is right to want justice. He is right to want what is best for people in difficult circumstances. He is right to dedicate his life to the good of others. But, he is wrong to pursue the good of one at the expense of another. Dr. Parker is wrong in his belief about life. He doesn’t affirm that life begins at conception. But Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Life begins in the womb, at the moment of conception.
Dr. Parker’s case for abortion lacks faith in the power and promises of God. His position lacks the belief that God can restore and redeem sinners. Dr. Parker is playing God by giving to others what he thinks best based on the idea that the right to choose is better than to choose what is right.
He is wrong to believe that the best answer for the hardest of circumstances is abortion. I don’t claim that my answers are easy or simple. I can’t imagine the fear and uncertainty of what it must feel like to experience an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, but I do know what is like to raise three precious girls, and the joy God brought to our home through adoption.
Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God has a plan and a purpose for each child in the womb. Even if they were conceived in sin, or conceived in poverty. He has a plan even if the child was conceived as the result of a man’s sin toward a woman. In each case, God’s Word still stands. He created that little life, and He has a plan for that precious child.
God has done much for the sake of His glory out of wretched situations and with the weakest of society. It is not for us to choose what is right and what is wrong. It is not for us to elevate the right to choose over the call to obey. The God-given right to choose carries with it the responsibility to choose what is right in relation to God. I pray that Dr. Parker will choose a different direction. I pray that he will use the rest of his life’s work to encourage women to choose life rather than death. I pray that churches will graciously open their arms, hearts, and lives to women who are contemplating abortion. I pray that compassionate people will consider opening their homes and arms to children through adoption rather than simply condemning and pointing fingers.
Unfortunately, I am no longer surprised when institutions such as Mississippi State University open their doors to people like Dr. Parker who promote sin with a biblical blessing. I am grieved at the silence of Christians, pastors, and organizations concerning Dr. Parker’s use of Christianity to affirm and approve of abortion.
(The Guest Blogger is Rev. Rob Armstrong of Tupelo, MS)