Tuesday, November 26, 2013

St. John Chrysostom on Abortion

In reading Chrysostom (347-407 AD), I am struck again and again by how 'contemporary' he is.  Much of what he says could be preached today without any changes.  This points to both the timelessness of human depravity and the timelessness of God's Word.  Chrysostom can apply the Law with a bite that no one can squirm away from, but he also declares the Gospel in all of its sweetness.  This quote is directed against men who commit sexual immorality, which often, then as now, leads to another sin.

“Drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder.  For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born.  Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing into slaughter?...  For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine.” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 520)

Chrysostom was surely speaking to our age!  What doesn't appear in this quote is the beautiful message of the Gospel, that Christ Himself hung upon the cross even for those who have committed abortion, even those who through promiscuity put another in a situation where she listened to her fears and the voices of the culture.  Jesus died for those sins, as He did for all others--there is forgiveness, there is healing in Jesus Christ.  He is the friend of sinners, all sinners, and He bore our burdens all to the cross.  Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me--Amen!

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