Can A Non-Christian Join The Abolitionist Movement?

The Abolitionist Movement is an explicitly Christian movement. That should hopefully be extremely clear after reading through the Norman Statement. But can people who have disagreements with us work with us or join the Abolitionist Movement? Well, it depends on what the disagreement is. We love and rejoice in the great privilege of working together with many Christians in the Abolitionist Movement who disagree on a whole variety of different doctrinal matters. The movement is represented by Presbyterians, Baptists, Southern Baptists, Free Will Baptists, reformed believers, non-reformed believers, Calvinists, Arminians, post-millennials, a-millennials, pre-millennials, dispensationalists, and we could go on. But what we all agree on (as laid out in article 11 of the Norman Statement) is that:

We affirm that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, and to the glory of God alone.⁶ We affirm that all sinners are commanded to repent and believe the gospel and upon doing so are justified before God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and caused to love God and His Law and to walk in zealousness for the good works that God has prepared.⁷ We affirm that Christ’s kingdom is at hand and that He will continue to work until all His enemies are defeated and justice is established in all the earth.⁸ WE DENY that there is any salvation from sin outside of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as described in the Bible alone. We deny that a man’s works contribute in any way to his salvation.⁹

The Norman Statement, Article 11, The Gospel

And since the Abolitionist Movement is an explicitly Christian movement, it is impossible for us to partner with non-Christians, or for non-Christians to join the movement. But also an unbeliever who fully understands the five tenets of abolitionism would be inconsistent to still want to be recognized as an abolitionist. You see, three of the five tenets of abolitionism are: 1) Gospel-Centered 2) Biblical, and 3) Body driven/Obligation of the Church, the Body and Helpmate Bride of Christ.

  • You are not Gospel-Centered if you hold to no gospel, or a false gospel (as sadly, the Roman Catholic Church for example - does.)
  • It is not Biblical to hold anything other than the Word of God as your sole infallible rule of faith.
  • It is impossible to be driven and led by the body/church of Jesus Christ if you are not part of that church and cannot identify who the church of Jesus Christ is and is not.

Many unbelievers do believe in nullification, immediatism, and criminalization because these are good, powerful ideas. But abolitionism is far more than this and has much more theological depth than just these applications of what we believe. Holding some ideas that are part of the abolitionist ideology does not make you an abolitionist, any more than a Roman Catholic agreeing with a protestant that Jesus Christ is God and the Son of God does not make the Roman Catholic a Protestant. No, partial agreement with abolitionists only means that you hold to or agree with some abolitionist ideas.

Abortion is murder, yes, and it must be abolished. We can agree on that, and thanks to God’s common grace we do agree with many unbelievers on this point. But the reason murder is wrong is because God says so. Murder is a sin against our Thrice Holy God, a violation of His law, and an unjustly taking of the life of one of His image-bearers. Abortion is sin, but the only cure to sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has been entrusted to us, His bride, the church.

There are plenty of people who embrace a worldview of darkness that has been set up against the kingdom of God, and yet they are also anti-abortion. However, even though they agree with us that abortion is wrong, they are on the opposite team in this battle. They love and cling to a worldview that opposes the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself has commanded us to love our preborn neighbor as ourselves, and whose instructions and teaching we look to for our marching orders. When abortion is abolished, He alone will get the glory. So, when someone holds a worldview apart from the Christian worldview and yet opposes abortion, since their worldview cannot justify their opposition to child sacrifice, they are living in hypocrisy – they know the truth of God’s law, which is written on their hearts, that says that murder is wrong, and yet they spit in God’s face by clinging to a worldview that is rebelling against Him.

Dear reader, if this description fits you, or you find your spirit rising up in protest against what we are saying here, we urge you to hear us on this: you must repent of your sin, turn to Christ, and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. You need the substitutionary atonement and the saving righteousness of Jesus Christ - just as much as every abortion-supporting person does.

You see, we are not merely at war with abortion. We are at war with every single worldview that has been set up against the knowledge of Christ, and this is why we cannot partner with those who hold our enemy’s worldview. When those holding our enemy’s worldview say they are in support of our end goal, usually they assume that our end goal is merely “abolishing abortion.” And they are wrong. Our end goal is the glory of God, to which abolishing abortion is a means. The measure of our success is not how many babies we see saved, how many abolition bills are passed, or even the number of people whose hearts are changed. Rather, the measurement of our success is how faithful our obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ has been.

So yes, unbelievers do support abolition bills, and they may even donate to an abolitionist organization, which are good things to do. Yet whatever level of support they give, their actions must never change how abolitionists are seeking to evangelize and convert these very same people. We do want Roman Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Agnostics, self-professed Atheists, and everyone who falls into this category to support the abolition of abortion, but more than that, because we love these people and we know that there is no salvation for their souls to be found in these false teachings, we long for them to come to faith in Christ alone. Therefore, because we recognize anti-abortion unbelievers as part of our mission field alongside the unbelieving abortion supporter, we do not seek to partner with them to play any role in our organization or in the Abolitionist Movement.

What does this mean practically? If a Muslim or other unbelieving lawmaker comes to us telling us that he wants to run a bill of abolition in his state, would we bid him good riddance? No, we would be glad to see God’s common grace in his life through the fact that he opposes abortion and wants abortion to be abolished, and we would call him to repentance in Jesus Christ for his sin while explaining how Jesus is the reason why we are going about this work of abolition. Yes, we could also give him the language for the bill that we would want him to use, but when we have a rally for the bill, instead of calling the people to celebrate the lawmaker for running the bill, inviting him to speak on stage, and putting him forward as a hero, we would encourage the audience to pray for his repentance and salvation, and as they have conversations with him, to implore him to turn to Christ in faith for his salvation.

For further understanding our position on this, check out:
Pastor Brett Baggett: Reject False Gospels
Pastor & Senator Dusty Deevers: The Five Tenets of Abolitionism
Pastor Voddie Baucham: What is the Gospel?
Paul Washer: The Essentials of the Gospel
The Liberator Podcast: Episode 62 on The Five Tenets Of Abolitionism
Dr. Steven Lawson on Roman Catholicism and Ecumenism

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