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Bethlehem Blogs

June 25, 2022

An Open Letter to the Downtown Campus From Pastor Tom Steller (on Overturn of Roe v. Wade)

Tom Steller

Elder & Global Partner, Bethlehem Pastor for 40 Years

Dear Bethlehem, 

With the Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow Roe. v. Wade as a result of the Dobbs v. Jackson Health ruling, we just witnessed an answer to prayer that has been prayed for at Bethlehem and throughout our country for decades—that the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 to embrace abortion would be overturned. 

In January 1989, Pastor John and I and three other staff members and numerous people from Bethlehem were among the 130+ people arrested trying to save babies at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota on Ford Parkway, St. Paul. We were charged with trespassing and were arraigned on February 3. Several of us paid for our “trespass” in jail. This isn’t the only time we were arrested. God used that season to intensify Bethlehem’s corporate prayer that abortion would finally become as unthinkable as slavery. 

With the rejection of Roe v. Wade, we’ve witnessed an important turn in the road, and our hearts explode with thanksgiving that God has heard the outcry of his people! But this is an “already, but not yet” answer to prayer. Consider the impact of the Dobbs v. Jackson Health decision in the words of Scott Klusendorf, President of Life Training Institute:

If Roe and Casey are struck, it will be a truly historical moment, and pro-lifers should indeed celebrate. Nine unelected judges on the Supreme Court will no longer have sole legal authority to determine abortion policy. Rather, the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, along with those in the individual states, will now decide how the practice is governed. Put simply, the American people—your friends, your classmates, your coworkers, and your family members—will now determine if unborn humans enjoy the same legal protections as you and I, or get relegated to the dumpster.

Our country continues to be divided over this painful issue. We are not naïve. We are painfully aware that a huge non-violent battle for life remains for the people of God. As the debate moves to the legislatures of each state and to the classrooms and marketplace and newspaper editorials and social media and living rooms, may it afford many opportunities to put God at the center of these discussions. He is the one who is knitting together every child in the womb. He is the Sovereign One who has determined that a human girl and a human boy are being fearfully and wonderfully made. The decision of the mother (or the father) has absolutely nothing to do with the humanity of the life being formed inside of her. Human choice must humbly bow the knee to the Creator of the universe. Our God alone is sufficient to sustain a woman with an unwanted pregnancy if she would cry out to him and draw close to his people. The inherent racism and sexism in the abortion industry must continue to be exposed and repented of. The atoning death of the Son of God alone can pay the TOTAL penalty of the sin of abortion and can transform God’s righteous judgment into a fatherly embrace.

Abortion is not yet unthinkable to millions in our country and in many other parts of the world. O, may that day come. It seems impossible. In the near future, the debate may become even uglier. God, keep your people from being ugly, and help us to shine as winsome lights for you in the world! Fill us with humble, articulate, courageous strength!

If God, in his sovereign mercy, can change so much of our world such that slavery is now unthinkable, he can do the same with abortion. The mindset of the world can be largely changed—no matter how long it takes. The church of Jesus Christ has a huge role to play as we seek by his strength to “be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:15).

It’s not time for us to sit back in quiet celebration of this rare victory, but for us to press on to know God’s heart and to rise up all the more to advocate for the sanctity of human life. The resources to help us grow in our understanding of this crucial issue from a God-centered perspective are abundant. Bethlehem has produced a course that is very helpful for private, small group, or homeschool study. Bethlehem’s Sanctity of Life ministry has served our church for years to help guide us into practical involvement that makes a difference.

Yes, prayer has been answered that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Now let’s keep praying that abortion becomes unthinkable! 

Together with you for life, 

Pastor Tom Steller