Another leading family in this same evangelical congregation, whose rebellious daughter became pregnant by her irresponsible and “worthless” boyfriend, also opted for an abortion against my pastoral advice, again for reasons of avoiding public embarrassment. Of course, it is theoretically possible that the incarnation might have occurred in some other manner than it did. However, it is insightful that God did not attempt to avoid public scandal.
Admittedly, pregnancy out wedlock is less and less the scandal it one was –it is far too common today! But in many evangelical circles, abortions are being performed primarily be cause the scandal of a professing Christian’s having been sexually irresponsible and then becoming pregnant causes the Christian girl or her Christian parents to adopt the world’s way, rather than the way of the incarnation: turning scandal into redemptive love!Second, the incarnation illustrates how good may come from what appears to be evil.
I do not advocate premarital sex, and no one should misunderstand the following statements as either an implied or explicit approval of sexual involvement without the bonds of marriage. I am convinced that intimacy prior to marital commitment is dangerous to the marriage and to the persons involved, no matter how well-intended. But the facts are that biblically and theologically speaking, marriage is not a church wedding nor an expensive ceremony! Although it is very unwise to engage in sexual intercourse before the legal and spiritual consummation of the marriage, we ought never to socially or morally pressure a couple to have an abortion simply because the wedding day is several weeks or months away. As Joseph took Mary to be his lawful wife both to protect her as well as the Child, so two people who have behaved improperly and prematurely ought to consummate their marriage legally and spiritually. Because in God’s sight the marriage union has already been accomplished, although the marriage union will require a lifetime to fulfill!
There is, however, a third implication from the incarnation. Some evangelicals would allow for an abortion when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. What we face in the abortion issue is a clear-cut issue. Shall we handle human problems humanly or from a clearly Christian perspective?From a purely human perspective, there is no way that Joseph would have “bought” the story that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. How many young men or fathers reading this story would have believed it if their fiancée or daughter told them they were pregnant by the Holy Spirit?It is only because Joseph was the man of God he was that he was willing to lay aside his male (human) pride and to consider that Mary was being honest and faithful and that God might work in this highly unusual way. In cases of rape or incest, I would still counsel a young woman—as I did those mentioned above—to have the baby and let God work a miracle of love for some childless couple. The incarnation shows how God is always working good through the humanly irrational and publicly unacceptable. Wile I have witnessed the tragedy of unwanted pregnancy and abortion, I have also witnessed several young woman who admitted their sin and went ahead with the pregnancy.
I have seen wonderful congregations “adopt” both the mother and the baby—as well as the family. They shower them with love and bring great blessing out of what appeared to be a terrible tragedy. In one church where I served as the pulpit pastor, we dedicated the baby while several of the spiritual men in the church publicly stated their willingness to act as the mother and child’s surrogate “fathers and grandfather.” This young woman’s own father had died from cancer several years earlier. It was a moving ceremony that morning as the young unwed mother admitted her wring, asked the congregation for forgiveness, and then the three “fathers” who stood on the platform promised to assist the mother and the child financially, emotionally, and spiritually until the young woman was married to a Christian husband. She has now moved to another state, but several months ago I received a wonderful letter from her, telling how God had brought a wonderful young man into her life and that they were married and her daughter now had a good father.