Pastor John’s “Through a Glass Darkly”
Hello Church Family,
I’ve been praying for you daily this week. I can’t wait to worship God together on Sunday. Since 1984, under the influence and administration of President Ronald Reagan, Christians in America have annually recognized the third Sunday in January as Sanctity of Human Life Day. Well, this Sunday is that Sunday. At Northpoint we have approached that day differently over the last few years, employing a variety of creative elements to communicate our unwavering conviction that: every human being reflects the image of God at conception and thus every single person (including the pre-born) is worthy of life, protection, respect, and love.
Why is this so important? Two reasons (in roughly 500 words!): One, because when we unjustly harm those who bear God’s image, we anger God. In Genesis 9, God says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Why such a steep penalty for violating human life? Because mankind alone is made in the image of God, and God is very concerned about those who bear his image. Old Testament scholar, Henri Blocher, says, “God himself has placed his image in his cosmic sanctuary and he wishes due homage to be paid to it by the service of mankind.”
A second reason that it’s so important that we recognize personhood as beginning at conception is: it prevents us from committing a reprehensible type of discrimination.
In the southwest region of Germany, there’s a town called Hadamar (about 70 miles north of Frankfurt, as the crow flies). Hadamar is home to Monk’s Mountain, a prominent hill on which sits an old monastery that, in 1939, was transformed into the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre, one of the infamous Nazi killing centers. There were six of these institutions spread throughout Germany, where as many as 200,000 people were systematically killed, by being starved to death, gassed, or burned alive because they were deemed “undesirable” members of society. They were considered undeserving of life because of things like blindness, deafness, a physical malformation or limitation, or learning disability.
Can you imagine what our world would look like today if we viewed blind, hearing impaired, learning disabled, paralyzed, or mentally challenged people as undeserving of life?
When we start determining a person’s value based on what they can do (talk, walk, breathe, eat, make rational decisions) instead of what they are (image bearers of God from conception) we take one step closer to the base of Monk’s Mountain, and the deplorable scenario that evolved from it. How we decide what constitutes a person will powerfully shape the way that we treat all humans: the physically and mentally challenged, the terminally ill, the elderly, the child with Down Syndrome, the homeless man, the “unplanned” baby. A failure to recognize that every human being reflects the image of God at conception and is thus worthy of life, protection, respect, and love will yield to devastating consequences.
Having said all that, whenever we talk about the sanctity of human life, it’s important to remember that violating human life (even through abortion) is not the unpardonable sin. God’s grace is sufficient to cleanse the hearts and souls of all those who run to him in repentance and faith; his grace is great enough to remove the guilt and shame of every sin, and to restore joy and hope to the hurting. And that’s good news for all of us!