NASHVILLE (BP) – A Southern Baptist ethics leader is calling for men to step up and take responsibility for their sexual conduct and the role they play when a decision to abort a baby is on the table.
Kenneth Magnuson is a professor of Christian ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the executive director of the Evangelical Theological Society.
He spoke to Baptist Press about how the broader society’s view of abortion has allowed an easy way out for irresponsible men.
“Since the Casey decision in the 1990s, women in the country have been shaped by the idea that abortion is a right. This leads men to almost expect women to get an abortion. It has become a convenient way for men not to step up, and allowed the fiction of responsibility-free sex to exist.”
Regardless of the culture’s view, he said men taking responsibility supersedes any related legislation.
“There are different physical results of procreation, and this has become a way to let men off the hook in a way,” Magnuson said.
“We need men to be responsible for the results of their actions. We wouldn’t need laws to be put in place if men would take up this responsibility. At the very least, men in the church should be informed about the issue and take responsibility for pregnancies.”
Some of the practical ways Magnuson said Christian men can positively bring about change is by demonstrating sexual integrity, serving as protectors of women rather than predators and speaking truth about abortion.
He offered encouragement for those who have regrets.
“For any woman or man that has been involved with an abortion, this does not define you,” Magnuson said. “There is forgiveness and God’s grace is there. The Church needs to offer hope and let people know they are not beyond it.”
Pastor Garrett Kell is an example of that hope and forgiveness. Kell pastors Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va.
Before becoming a Christian, Kell lived a life that he says was marked with relationships that dishonored God. At one time, a girlfriend became pregnant, and the two faced a decision.
“Neither of us felt ready to raise a child,” Kell said. “In hindsight, she wanted to know if I would marry her and be there to walk with her and the child and I was not ready for that.”
The two decided to get an abortion, but Kell said even as a non-Christian he had a bad feeling about the situation.
“We both cried, and I don’t even think we knew why,” Kell said. “I think I knew deep down there was something wrong with what we were doing, but I certainly didn’t have a clear thinking about it or had given consideration to this being a life. Afterwards, I felt guilty in my conscience about what happened.”
A few months later, Kell would come become a Christian through the witness of a friend. The reality of both what he had done, and what he had been forgiven of began to set in over time.