Evangelicals And Abortion -- By: Dolores E. Dunnett

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 033:2 (Jun 1990)
Article: Evangelicals And Abortion
Author: Dolores E. Dunnett


Evangelicals And Abortion

Dolores E. Dunnett*

I. Two Worldviews

“It is not merely two ethics facing each other, but the world views of two epochs, two cultures—one on the way out, one on the way in.”1 Thus John G. Milhaven has well stated the main problem in the abortion debate.

These two views have been moving toward each other for a long time but have now apexed, resulting in a clash of old and new moralities. It was bound to happen. Classical ethics went out when man began to “lose the view that human life was best understood in terms of an other-worldly destiny.”2 The shift took place when man turned in on himself and saw the larger picture of his human condition—his completeness and his life. “The shift is from Classical man to Modern man.”3

The search for the meaning of man began when he became obsessed with worldly experience and broodingly asked: “Who am I? What am I?” Everything had to relate to experience in order to be valid. All else was suspect.

According to Milhaven, five hidden principles have emerged that have energized and directed modern thinking. Modern man sees himself and his life (whether good or evil) (1) as revealed in his experience of this world, (2) as the experience would be even if there were no God, (3) as it is shaped (or can be shaped) by technology, (4) as it occurs in the lives of ordinary people, and (5) as it is created by the unique self of man, by his ongoing self-creation or freedom.4

These hidden principles reflect a new morality, and we deal with them in human experience. Therefore the fetus does not have the same worth as a living person. Herein lies the tension: Is performing an abortion the same as committing murder? “The battle lines are drawn: tradition versus the new morality.”5

Because many Christians hold both worldviews—classical and modern, they continually compromise in other areas of life as well as the

* Dolores Dunnett is principal of Christian Grammar School in Roseville, Minnesota.

abortion issue. Milhaven suggests “that many Christians of the present historical juncture are ethically schizophrenic.”6

It seems to me that there is a way for the Christian to be able to handle and control this “schizophrenic” ethic. The answer to every Christian ethical problem is to be s...

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