Sanctity of Life: The Inescapable Issue. By Charles R. Swindoll. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990. 103 pp. Paper, $6.95.
Written by one of the most popular and prolific preachers and writers in evangelicalism today, this little book is really a tract for one of the most crucial social issues of our time. As a pastor for thirty years, Chuck Swindoll has experienced firsthand most of the tensions surrounding abortion. He has waited a long time-some might say too long-to speak out publicly and in print on this divisive issue.
Sanctity of Life is a bold, but simple pastoral plea “from his heart to ours.” The author asks us to take a stand on the abortion issue no matter where we are on the spectrum, from active protesters, to those who have yet to get involved, to those who are not sure that abortion is totally wrong.
Swindoll is neither technical nor exhaustive, although he bolsters his arguments with his usual plethora of quotations and statistics. He brings all his powers of persuasion to bear, using his distinctive tones and his practical, biblical, and highly illustrative writing style.
Using the Scriptures and a simple syllogism, Swindoll establishes in chapter 1 the biblical basis for the sacredness of human life. He states rightly that the Bible is the only foundation upon which legal, ethical, or moral anti-abortion arguments can be built.
The second chapter speaks directly to those who have been involved in abortion. Once again, this is a pastor graciously counseling the biblical path of repentance and restoration. Not only does he address those who have had an abortion, but also those who have performed or recommended one.
Chapter 3 is a call for personal purity. It is based on a pastor’s long experience that the best defense against any spiritual disease is preventive medicine and the best way to attack abortion is to prevent the rampant immorality that causes much of it.
The last chapter is a clarion call, stirring the slumbering troops in evangelicalism to action and encouraging war-weary veterans who have spent years fighting alone on the front lines.
This book may surprise some people. Its emphasis is not really on abortion at all. The author doesn’t cry out for the storming of the Bastille either-more conservative Supreme Court justices or constitutional amendments will never win the spiritual battle.
Instead, Swindoll pleads for revival, lifetime morality, and godly living. The greatest weapon he recommends against abortion is not electing a new legislature, but rebuilding Christian character.
Swindoll’s typical appeals for unity and balance within the Christian community give the book a broad application. He asks each Christian to pray and act, but without judging others for not having the same convictions or the same degree of involvement. Sanctity of Life ultimately argues that to restore human life to its proper place, spiritual life must be exalted to its rightful place.
This is perhaps Swindoll’s best written and most important work to date (equal in every way to The Grace Awakening, also reviewed in this issue) and one that deserves to be widely read and used.
Frank D. Carmical
Harvester Ministries, Inc.