By FRC's David Closson
Taking a page from the 2020 Democratic National Convention where the term "abortion" was not used a single time, Rev. Raphael Warnock's campaign website employs euphemisms such as "reproductive justice," "a woman's right to choose," and "reproductive health care" in the section outlining his views on abortion policy. But since the November 3rd election, Warnock -- who is running against Senator Kelly Loeffler in the January 5th Georgia Senate runoff -- has become vocal in his support for the national Democrat Party's abortion agenda. Earlier this week, Warnock doubled down on this support with a tweet that should catch the attention of every Christian in Georgia.
"I am a pro-choice pastor," tweeted Rev. Warnock to his supporters on Tuesday. Politically, the decision to emphasize support for abortion in a conservative state like Georgia is an interesting gambit. But more significantly, the pastor's tweet raises questions beyond abortion politics that touch on the responsibilities of pastors and what the Bible teaches about the personhood of the unborn.
On one level Warnock's tweet is not surprising. His campaign site includes promises to support judicial nominees who will uphold Roe v. Wade and endorsements from the abortion's lobby's largest groups including NARAL and Planned Parenthood are proudly noted.
But while a Democrat running for the United States Senate with pro-abortion views is not news, what makes Warnock's support for abortion newsworthy is the candidate's current occupation as the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. And it raises the question: Can someone truly be a "pro-choice pastor?" According to the witness of Scripture, the answer is an emphatic "No."
Scripture is crystal clear on abortion and the personhood of the unborn. The most common Scripture that indicates what the Bible teaches on the sanctity of life is Psalm 139:13-16. The opening verse says, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb." In this passage the author David speaks of how the Lord made him and knew him in the womb and his life had value before he was born. Luke 1 is another passage that teaches the personhood of the unborn. In this passage John the Baptist commences his ministry as the forerunner for the Messiah in utero when he "leaps" at the sound of Mary's voice.
Clearly, Rev. Raphael Warnock's stance on abortion, saying he is a Christian and yet pro-choice, is contrary to the clear teaching of God's Word. But Warnock's heterodox views on the Bible's teaching on life are not surprising considering his theological training. Warnock is a three-time graduate of Union Theological Seminary, a theologically liberal school that admits students who identify as pagan, allows student clubs including "Seminarians for Reproductive Justice" and "Queer People of Color," and recently held chapel services where students were encouraged to confess to plants and melting ice.
Finally, it is important to remember that Jesus warned his followers about false teachers. In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them" (Matthew 7:15-16a). Further, James cautioned the early church: "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (James 3:1).
Unfortunately, one's title does not always mean they are trustworthy. In the case of Raphael Warnock, just because he has the title of pastor, Christians must follow the church's Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who instructed us to look at one's fruit to judge whether someone is a trustworthy teacher. Like one who claims to be a baseball player but has never put on a glove, claiming to be a "pro-choice pastor" does not hold up; it is a contradiction in terms. The bottom line is this: anyone claiming to speak for God but who teaches doctrines contrary to Scripture is a false teacher and Christians ought to speak out clearly against anyone who would use their position in the church to undermine God's Word.