Bonhoeffer on Abortion

Bonhoeffer on Abortion

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is claimed as a patron saint by theological schools, ranging from God is Dead to evangelical conservatives. Eric Metaxas sees his biography as one step in the rescue of Bonhoeffer from the most bizarre misuses of his thinking.

Along the way he points out, for example, Bonhoeffer’s clear and strong views on abortion. They are decisive on the immorality of it, and pastorally compassionate toward the persons in crisis.

Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And this is nothing but murder.

A great many different motives may lead to an action of this kind; indeed in cases where it is an act of despair, performed in circumstances of extreme human or economic destitution and misery, the guilt may often lie rather with the community than with the individual. Precisely in this connection money may conceal many a wanton deed, while the poor man’s more reluctant lapse may far more easily be disclosed.

All these considerations must no doubt have a quite decisive influence on our personal and pastoral attitude towards the person concerned, but they cannot in any way alter the fact of murder. (Quoted in Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 472, paragraphing added)

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.