Recently, the New York Times highlighted the story of a high school senior[i] from a Christian school in Maryland who was stripped of her office as senior class president, as well as being denied the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremonies to receive her diploma. Why? She had violated the pledge all students sign agreeing to remain chaste and not engage in premarital sexual activities. Her out-of-wedlock pregnancy was the reason for their decision. Some pro-life groups were outraged that the Christian school’s administration was not ready to simply praise the young woman for choosing life instead of aborting her baby, and ignore the sexual sin that resulted in the pregnancy.
Many articles from all sides of the abortion issue have been and will be written about this specific case. I am concerned about how myopic many who call themselves pro-life are when it comes to upholding all of God’s law-word. Because they are antinomian in orientation, they decide that some offenses in Scripture are more significant than others. The fact that someone does not murder an unborn child gives that person “hero” status in the eyes of some, who choose to ignore the fornication that led up to it.[ii] That is good humanism, but seriously flawed Christianity. James 2:10 tells us,
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
I am guessing that the school did not include in its student agreement that the students would promise not to murder or kidnap. I guess they thought that was obvious. The fact that they included requirements about chastity and abstinence points to the realities of our day—even among Christian students-- and that they were attempting to establish Biblical standards in their policy for students. This girl involved was well aware of what she was doing. Romans 6:23 reminds us,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
While we must establish and maintain that human abortion should not be tolerated nor regulated, but rather abolished, there is never any reason to jump to the humanists’ conclusion that this means forgiveness is not rendered if it doesn’t come in the form they require. Some say the school was not being forgiving or showing the love of Jesus, since the young woman confessed publicly to her sin. To these pro-lifers, that confession should have been all that was necessary for full restoration in the student body. Apparently, the burr under the saddle here is that the school felt that even with a public confession the young woman should receive the consequences to her sin of fornication—being removed from her position as president and not graduating with her class.
To conclude that the school’s actions were unloving, only reveals that these critics have either not read, or understood, the true blessings of the “free gift of God.” We must not deny or justify our sins. Our only remedy in life and death is to acknowledge them, confess them, and repent of them—making the 180-degree turn in the godly direction, and not endeavoring to excuse them.
When we witness in our families or churches the all-to-frequent pregnancies outside of- marriage, we should exercise godly charity in helping these mothers-to-be. However, we should not celebrate them as valiant heroes who are equal to, or even more exalted than, faithful Christian couples who honor God’s law by remaining chaste until marriage, and then, within the context of holy matrimony, purposefully raise covenant children to the glory of God. In addition, for those who have repented of their sin, should use their platform to uphold the commandments of God and place the emphasis and attention where it should be placed: on God’s abundant grace in full acknowledgment of their transgression.
[ii] I do not recall the prolife group condemning the sin of fornication, nor urging the father of the unborn child to take responsibility for his child. I also do not know if the school required the same penalty for that father, if he attends the school.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, the Chalcedon podcast, and has an active teaching schedule with women and high schooled students.. She can be reached at [email protected].