Abortion? Christianity Says No. It Always Has

by Joshua Charles

In light of the back-to-back March for Life and “Women’s March,” we need a reminder of the ancient Christian position on abortion. It’s one of the signs of our age that what our Christian ancestors deemed a given for 2,000 years has, since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s, suddenly become matters of “debate” among self-proclaimed Christians. They seem to believe that Christian teaching on abortion was unclear throughout the ages.

It was not.

Universally Condemned

The ancient Church Fathers all condemned abortion as murder. There is no debate. God is the author of life. Human beings cannot hinder His creation of a human being. The Church Fathers did not allow a “right” to abortion, under any circumstance.

For example, perhaps the oldest Christian document outside the Bible condemns abortion. The first century Didache says; “You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill what is begotten.”

Likewise, the first-century Letter of Barnabas (which was probably not written by Barnabas himself) condemns it as well: “You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor shall you destroy it after it is born.”

Tertullian, one of the most important of the Fathers in the development of western Christianity, likewise condemned abortion. “Murder being forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb,” he wrote in his Apology about AD 197. It doesn’t matter “whether you take a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth.” Because, he says, “That is a man that is going to be one. You have the fruit already in its seed.”

Hippolytus of Rome condemned it as well. Writing about AD 227 in his Refutation of All Heresies, this early Christian theologian and prominent priest said that…


Abortion? Christianity Says No. It Always Has | The Stream