“I want to share a unique perspective that has been on my heart – a perspective that challenges us to explore the alignment of the pro-choice position with the life and teachings of Jesus.“,  Roland Warren, President and CEO of Care Net said in his keynote address to attendees of Care Net’s 2023 National Conference in Mobile, Alabama.

The conference theme was “Abundantly More” based on Ephesians 3:20, and true to our theme, it was Care Net’s biggest conference ever. More than 1,600 Pregnancy Center staff and volunteers gathered to sharpen their skills to reach out with Christ’s compassion to women and men considering abortion. Watch Roland’s keynote addressing whether the pro-choice position aligns with the life and teachings of Jesus.

Watch the full keynote: Roland Warren

Portions of what follows are excerpts from Roland Warren’s keynote address to attendees of Care Net’s 2023 National Conference in Mobile, Alabama. Watch the above video for the full message. 

Roland begins his keynote by recalling, a few years ago, after speaking at a life-affirming church, a young man approached him with regret etched across his face. He confessed that he had taken his girlfriend to Planned Parenthood for an abortion just days before. This encounter deeply moved Roland and prompted a reflection on the sin of Christians having abortions.

This issue gained even more significance for Roland when Roe v. Wade was overturned. He recognized that many pro-life Christians were met with unexpected rejection and hostility, even from those they thought shared their convictions. The unsettling truth emerged that the abortion rate among Christians is alarmingly close to the general population.

As we grapple with this issue within the Church, it’s essential to examine the theological framework that informs our stance. Systematic theology categorizes beliefs into absolutes, convictions, opinions, and questions. Abortion, undoubtedly, falls into the absolute category, given the biblical foundation of the sanctity of life. However, disunity arises when some reclassify this absolute as a mere opinion or question, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden when absolutes were distorted into uncertainties.

You can watch Roland’s full keynote address in the video above, or download the transcript below. In this post, I want to give you the four questions Roland covers in his keynote that will guide your exploration:

1. How does support for abortion align with the Great Commandment and the Great Commission?

Jesus emphasized loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The unborn child is undoubtedly our nearest neighbor, the one knit together in the mother’s womb. The decision to abort challenges the essence of sacrificial love – how can it fulfill the Great Commandment?

2. When did Jesus’s human life begin, and how should this fact influence Christians’ views on abortion?

Delving into the personhood debate, we must examine Jesus’s experience in the womb. The Bible provides insights into his prenatal development, compelling us to reconsider when life truly begins.

3. What does Mary’s unplanned pregnancy teach Christians about the abortion decision?

Mary’s unexpected pregnancy with Jesus challenges our perspectives on unplanned pregnancies. If God deemed an unplanned pregnancy suitable for the birth of the Savior, how should we approach similar situations?

4. How should uncertainty about when life begins influence Christian views on abortion?

Acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding the exact moment life begins, Christians must approach the abortion debate with humility, guided by the principles of love, compassion, and the pursuit of abundant life.

The Great Commandment instructs us to love our neighbors, and the Great Commission calls us to make disciples. Aborting the unborn contradicts both, as it is an act neither of love nor of disciple-making.

Additionally, the personhood debate challenges us to look at Jesus’s prenatal experience. His presence in Mary’s womb is a testament to the sanctity of life from the earliest stages.

Mary’s unplanned pregnancy reveals God’s sovereignty in situations we may perceive as inconvenient. If God chose such circumstances for the birth of His Son, should we not reconsider our views on unplanned pregnancies?

In the face of uncertainty about when life begins, Christians are called to approach the abortion debate with compassion and humility. Our focus should be on advocating for abundant life and reflecting the love of Christ.

As we engage in conversations about abortion within the Church, let us use the Great Commandment as a lens through which we view this issue. Only by aligning our perspectives with the love for God, neighbor, and self can we truly understand the gravity of the abortion dilemma.

The pro-choice position within the Church demands a careful examination of its alignment with the teachings of Jesus. Let our discussions be marked by compassion, humility, and a commitment to promoting abundant life.

May our hearts be open to the transformative power of Christ’s teachings as we navigate the complexities of the abortion debate within the Christian community.

Find the full transcript of Roland’s keynote address to attendees.