As a pastor, I am a mandated reporter if I discover that abuse or neglect is transpiring within a home. Many people falsely assume that if something is confessed in a ministry counseling situation, the pastor is safe not to report it.  That’s simply untrue.  I am liable to the American government if I know about a situation and fail to report it.

In fact, if I know that a pregnant mother is drinking alcohol and I refuse to report it, I could be fined $500 and imprisoned up to 6 months.  If I know that a child is being physically abused within a home, I must report it to authorities regardless of the fallout.  And yet, in our culture, if I am aware that a child is endangered within the womb due to the possibility of an abortion, I am told to keep my mouth shut.

If I am a mandated reporter to keep children safe, then I cannot keep quiet: children are in danger within the wombs of America, and the Church must do everything within their power to protect these innocent lives.

If you just take the work of Planned Parenthood in 2016, they report:

  • 398,721 aborted babies in 2016.
  • That averages out to 1,120 babies every single day.
  • 47 per hour.
  • 1 child every 76 seconds.

For the horrific nightmare that was 9/11 in America, we lose the same amount of lives lost on that national tragedy every 3 days in America due to abortion.

Make no mistake, I am for women’s rights.  I am just for giving the 199,361 little women in the womb the same right to experience life.  

Allow them to make the choice to live.  As believers, we are called open our mouths for those who cannot speak for themselves (Prov. 31:8).  We believe that God knits a child together within the mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13).  God saw the child together even before the substance was formed as He intricately wove that child together before an ultrasound or a parent’s gaze could behold the gift (Ps. 139:14-16).  Why does life being at conception within the womb?  Because the image of God has already been stamped upon that boy or girl.

The Item and the Image

When Jesus was on earth, He acquired many enemies.  In fact, sometimes His enemies’ enemies worked together because they despised what He was doing so much.  On one such occasion, the Pharisees (religious leaders who added their traditions to God’s commands) and the Herodians (cultural leaders who were hostile to God’s commands) worked together to trap Jesus (Mark 12:13).

Just like the time of Jesus, we live in a time when religious and cultural forces are hostile towards the work of Christ.  True biblical Christianity is getting pushback from liberal religious groups and ungodly secular groups.

The diverse group asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar (Mark 12:14).  If Jesus said yes, the Pharisees would be hostile to Him.  If Jesus said no, the Herodians would be hostile to Him.  Either way He answered, they were sure they had Him cornered to turn enough trouble His way to stop all of His shenanigans.

They forgot who they were dealing with.  Jesus stopped both in their tracks with a unique response.

“Bring me a denarius and let me look at it…Whose likeness and inscription is this?”

They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  And they marveled at Him (Mark 12:15-17).

Why did they marvel at this answer?  What was so unique about it?  Since the denarius was a coin used in their currency, the image of the emperor was stamped upon it.  So if it’s his coin, it’s his property.  Do what he says with it.

The item belongs to the image by which it is stamped.

We can often shrink back to align ourselves with the current stance of the government or push back against it.  The enemies of Christ can use helpful or hurtful governments to lure believers away from biblical positions.  We can and should obey Caesar until Caesar asks us to disobey God.

We should obey the government’s stance until it conflicts with the Bible’s standard.  

While our government has a policy regarding abortion right now, it might change.  Then it could change back.  Regardless of the current policy, we have an eternal standard.

After Jesus told them to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, Jesus also told the people to give to God the things that are God’s.  If the denarius belonged to Caesar because it had his image stamped upon it, what has the image of God stamped upon it?  We do.  Life at conception.  Every person is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).

All life is stamped with the image of God, and therefore, we will not rest until each image is protected.

As those who bear the imprint of God upon our lives, we must fight for the rights of those at every stage of life to have the same right to live and to choose.

What Should We Do?

  1. Choose Life – In your own life and within your influence, promote life.  Work with crisis pregnancy centers.  Support the work of adoption.  Vote with biblical values.  Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.
  2. Share Grace – For those who have had an abortion, there is more than enough grace to cover even that sin.  God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8)!  That verse was written by a murderer and Jesus’ grace could fully cover those sins.  He can cover yours as well.
  3. Promote Family – In a culture that seems to treat children as an inconvenience, be radically different.  Children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3) – not a burden.  Treasure the children in your home and in our world.
  4. Remain Steadfast – If you are in this work, don’t lose heart in doing good – keep at it (Gal. 6:9)!  The government will change, the Supreme Court will change, and the policies will change.  They have changed before, and they will continue to change.  No matter what happens, remain steadfast in your work to protect the innocent.  Regardless of the leanings of the Caesars in our lives, follow the commandments of our God.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.