As we enter a New Year, we have fresh memories of joyful celebration of the gift of the child who changes everything for us. In our Christmas celebrations, many of us sang the classic carol: “What Child is This?” The song reflects on the wonder of God’s great gift to the world, who was proclaimed alive while still preborn and the fulfiller of God’s promises to bring salvation to persons, families, communities and the entire world.
The angel told Joseph that the child conceived and to be born was from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). And the preborn son of Elizabeth leaped in her womb at the presence of Mary, carrying the world’s Savior and Lord (Luke 1:41). Clearly, life abounds in this story from conception to crucifixion and re-emerges in the resurrection of Jesus.
The Free Methodist Church celebrates life beginning at conception and ending at a time of physical death (2015 Book of Discipline Par. 3222). We honor what God has created and sustained in creation by opposing the termination of preborn babies after conception. Human life is sacred and bears the image of our Creator God. Such life, in whatever the circumstances of its conception, rightly causes us awe and draws us to offer protection and care. Our Scriptures imply this clearly (Psalm 139:13-14).
It grieves us deeply to learn of a recent law enacted in the state of New York making provision for preborn children to be aborted even when they are medically considered full-term and “viable.” We understand that the Supreme Court has recognized a right to privacy that offers a legal right to abortion. We have opposed such laws and deny the legitimacy of such a right. But this new law goes even further to the point of allowing the termination of life for healthy babies. We view such laws as contrary to the will of God expressed both in creation and throughout the Scriptures.
The Free Methodist Church calls its members to respect civil authority and to participate fully in public life. Within such respect, however, there is a place and even a necessity for opposition to laws and legal decisions that are unjust and run counter to the way of Jesus our Lord. Such opposition has been a feature of our witness and service to the world from the inception of our church. We also note that Free Methodists have been on the front lines of offering alternate and better ways than that of the world. We have responded to the legalization of abortion with opening crisis pregnancy clinics, adoption advocacy and opportunity, and the welcoming of women into our homes and churches whose pregnancies overwhelm them.
We call upon our members to pray, advocate and engage appropriately with due respect for authority but with unwavering love for and protection of life.
Board of Bishops
Free Methodist Church – USA