From the Editor’s Notebook: Abortion

MIF 7:5 (Sept-Oct 1975)

From the Editor’s Notebook

W. Ross Rainey


Is a Bible study magazine like Focus the place for an article on abortion? Several years ago I probably would have said no, but over the past two or three years dramatic and drastic changes have occurred in our society. As a case in point, my home State of Michigan, like other States, chose to legalize abortion. This was done on the basis of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling, by a vote of 7 - 2 (Justice Byron White and William Rehnquist dissenting) that “every woman in the U.S. now has the same right to an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy as she does to any other minor surgery.”

Have we as Christians taken seriously this matter of “abortion on demand”? What do you say, or what would you say, if someone asks you your convictions about this subject, and why you believe what you do?

Last summer I was asked by an anti-abortion organization called, “Lifespan,” which is Roman Catholic oriented, to speak at a Sunday evening open air convocation at Kellogg Park in the heart of Plymouth, Michigan, and publicly share my convictions about abortion. With a measure of “fear and trembling” I accepted the invitation on the condition that I could speak with “no strings attached.” My request was graciously granted. I went to the park following our usual evening service at Lake Pointe Chapel, presented my convictions, and with much liberty also preached the Gospel of Christ as the only remedy for our sins and social ills, abortion included. This marked the first time I had ever been invited and challenged to publicly present my convictions about abortion. It proved a healthy discipline of both heart and mind to prepare for that responsibility, and looking back I esteem it as one of the memorable highlights of my 1974 summer ministry.

There comes a time when responsible Christians must take a stand on the sticky issues and problems besetting the society in which we live. Abortion is one of those issues and problems. With few exceptions, we believe (at least this editor does) that abortion is a violation of God’s will, and that the wholesale practice of it will ultimately bring God’s judgment both nationally and individually.

In this issue of Focus we have provided an excellent article on the subject, entitled, “Is Abortion Biblical?” The author, Dr. Hadden W. Robinson, is a gifted servant of Christ, whom I have known personally since 1951, and we are grateful for permission to use his article. We prayerfully hope you will give it a thoughtful and thorough reading. Its conclusions may not be quite as strong as some would like them to be. Nevertheless, we feel Dr. Robinson has handled this difficult subject sanely, sensibly and Scripturally, and above all, in the spirit of honesty, humility, and Christ-likeness.

1982 A.D.

By Christmas 1982 the nine planets of our solar system — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto — are scheduled to be in perfect alignment. Of this rare and unusual phenomenon, Newsweek Magazine reported: “As the planets move into alignment in 1982, their gravitational pull may cause huge storms on the sun. These storms could alter wind directions on earth, reducing the speed of the planet’s rotation and triggering serious earthquakes” (September 16, 1974).

Two astronomers, John Gribbin (Physical Sciences director of the British magazine, Nature) and Stephen Plagemann (researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Center in Maryland), began in the late 1960’s to study the possible effect of the planetary alignment that is due some seven years from now. In fact, they have co-authored a book entitled, The Jupiter Effect, in which they present their scientific conclusions. This is what they expect:

    1. Great increase in magnetic activity on the sun. Huge storms, sunspots and solar flares will occur.

    2. The ionosphere may be seriously affected, with great changes occuring in the earth’s atmosphere.

    3. Radio and television communications will be disrupted.

    4. Weird lighting effects from northern lights will burst through the sky.

    5. Wind directions will be changed.

    6. Rainfall and temperature patterns will be greatly altered.

    7. The earth’s rotation will be affected, changing the length of days.

They have noted that solar activity in the late 50’s and 60’s and in 1972 has already increased the number of earthquakes and slowed down the earth’s rotation.

These two astronomers also warn that by 1982 “there will be many earthquakes, large and small… and a region where one of the greatest fault systems lies today — long overdue for a giant leap forward, and just waiting for the necessary kick — is California!”

These scientists explain that the nine planets of earth’s solar system appear on one side of the sun every 179 years. However, the astronomical effect upon earth’s environmental conditions and solar activity has always depended on the degree of their alignment. Much of what Gribbin and Plagemann are predicting for 1982 coincides in a startling manner with what the Bible says will take place on the earth during the Great Tribulation period. Interestingly enough, Newsweek referred to these astronomical projections as “apocalyptic”.

Prior to the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Advent to Planet Earth, He Himself said that there will be signs in the heavens and on the earth great tribulation (see Luke 21:25-27; and Matthew 24:21, 29). Both the sun and moon will be strangely affected (see Isaiah 30:26; Joel 3:21; Matthew 24: 29; Revelation 16:8-9). The earth, too, will be plagued by terrible storms (see Ezekiel 38:22; Revelation 16:21), and by famine (see Joel 1:15-20; Matthew 24:7).

Please, we are not setting any date for Christ’s Second Advent. Furthermore, nothing may come of Gribbin’s and Plagemann’s conclusions. No doubt there are many other respected scientists who totally disagree with these two astronomers and their expectations, particularly since there are no historical records to indicate that anything unusual or cataclysmic has taken place in past centuries when, every 179 years, this phenomenon has occurred. Nevertheless, we believe with other Bible scholars and students that we are close to the end of this age, and that sooner or later the things predicted in God’s Word concerning the Tribulation period will come to pass upon the earth. Even reputable scientists, who have no interest whatsoever in Bible prophecy, believe that something catastrophic will hit our planet before the end of this century. There is, of course, no need to conclude that God will use natural causes when He intervenes in His creation, although it seems quite possible that He may use them in carrying out His future purposes, particularly in the Tribulation period.

Granted, the Church is not bidden to look for signs, but the Saviour Himself (Philippians 3:20). However, we believe His coming to the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) will take place before the Tribulation period. This being the case, coupled with numerous indications that the Tribulation period may not be far off, let us who are “of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:5, 8) look up. Our Lord’s coming for His saints draws near.


(Editor’s note: Much of this information was taken from the April 1975 “Chapel of the Air Newsletter,” the material having originally appeared in an issue of The Gospel Truth, published by the Southwest Radio Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).