In the early 1990s, a local church with a school suddenly lost its Pastor. The church asked me if I would teach the Pastor’s Bible study class for the remainder of the school year. I was happy to oblige. The class contained about twenty-five students from seventh grade through high school seniors.
Having no idea what they were learning, I compiled a list of one hundred topics. Roughly half of the list was what we will call “Bible topics,” such as baptism, salvation, sanctification, etc. The second half of the list pertained more to life issues: abortion, the death penalty, and cheating in school, among other things.
During my first class, I handed out the lists to the student. I explained to them to check any topic they are interested in studying in class. They could mark as many or as few as they wanted. They were to return the list at the next class, and I would tally up the checkmarks. I would then address each topic in order of the most interest. We would take as long as necessary with each issue, then move on to the next.
Every student returned their list. When I tallied up the results, I was surprised. Not one “Bible topic” was checked on any paper. It’s not that the “Bible topics” were low on the totem pole; they were not even in the camp.
I asked the class about this, and one boy stood up and explained, “Most everyone in here has gone to church since they were born. We are all in a Christian school. We hear about these things all the time, but the one thing we are never told is how the Bible pertains to everyday life.”
What that young man said was unexpected, but what happened when we started our first topic surprised me the most.
I explained to the students that we would have an essay test at the end of each topic (they loved that!). The essays would be their opinion of said topic. I explained that they did not have to agree with me. Still, they needed to Biblically express their opinion (after all, it is Bible class). Grades would depend on how well the student presented their view. My goal was not necessarily for them to agree with me but to learn how to form an opinion using the Scriptures.
Abortion was the most chosen topic; therefore, we did that first. The very first thing I did was ask for a show of hands. How many think abortion is wrong? It appeared that every hand in the room went up. Then I asked the opposite question, how many think abortion is okay? One girl, a senior, raised her hand.
If this happened today, I would talk to the girl in private, but being young and stupid, I asked her there in front of everyone, “Why is that?”
She replied, “I wish I had been.”
These two high school seniors changed the way I teach forever.
I was going to teach the Biblical view of abortion by showing that abortion is murder, but what she said changed my mind. I decided to show the value of human life.
God spoke all creation into existence except humankind which He formed with His own hands. He also created us in His image. These two facts alone place a value on human life more significant than all creation (Genesis 1:1-31, 2:7, 18-25).
All life comes from God. John 1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 14:6 also explains that Jesus is the life.
God has a plan for each one of us. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
We can see that God has a specific purpose for us and that He forms us in the womb in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Many expectant moms can tell you what stimulates their baby inside the womb. My daughter, while expecting twins, would tell of how they moved around a lot during the singing at church. In the Scripture, we read of the reaction of John the Baptist when he hears of Jesus’ upcoming birth. Luke 1:41, “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”
Lastly, the price paid for all of us, including the babies in the womb, is priceless. 1 Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
By the time we finished the topic of abortion, the girl mentioned above had a new lease on life, understanding that, in God’s eyes, she was of tremendous value.
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As people continue to seek solid answers in these uncertain times, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and hope. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com