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A closer look at the Sixth Commandment: How it relates to the Church and the Christian’s responsibility to stop the murder of the preborn

By Angela Wittman

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks and answers this question:

Question 67: Which is the sixth commandment?

A: The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill. -  Exodus 20:13.

Question 68 goes on to ask what is required in the sixth commandment and responds with:

The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

Francis R Beattie (1848 - 1906) in The Presbyterian Standards , chapter 24, section II, The Sixth Commandment, explains in greater detail what is required of God’s people concerning this command [emphasis mine]:
In a general way, this command requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life and the life of others. This is further explained by the Larger Catechism to include resistance of all thoughts, subduing all passions, and resisting all temptations, which tend to the unjust taking away of the life of any. It also requires just defence of life against violence, and patient bearing of the hand of God. To the same end, a quiet mind, and a cheerful spirit should be cherished, and a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreation ought to be observed. In like manner, the thoughts should be kind, and the conduct mild and peaceable. The spirit, also, should be forbearing and forgiving, and there should be a readiness to help the distressed, and to protect the innocent.

He continues to explain what sins are forbidden in this command [emphasis mine]:
In general, it forbids the taking away of our own life or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tends thereto. Hence, the taking away of the life of ourselves or others, except in cases of judicial procedure, or lawful war, or necessary self-defence, are all forbidden by this command. So, too, the withdrawing or neglecting the lawful means for the preservation of life, sinful anger, desire for revenge, all excessive passion, and distracting care are forbidden. The immoderate use of meat or drink, excessive labor or recreation, provoking words, oppression, striking, or whatever else tends to the destruction of any one's life, is forbidden by the terms of this command.

After reading these brief excerpts from the Westminster Shorter Catechism which many reformed Christians claim to adhere to and most Christians respect as a theological document, I can only wonder at the lack of progress made by professing Christians in stamping out the heinous sin of prenatal child-killing.   Folks, either we believe God’s Word and obey His commands or we are no better than the heathen who snuff out inconvenient lives for their own selfish purposes.

What part of “Hence, the taking away of the life of ourselves or others, except in cases of judicial procedure, or lawful war, or necessary self-defence, are all forbidden by this command,” don’t we understand?  It seems so simple if one looks at killing through God’s eyes.

Now you may tell me that in America we are making progress on ending “abortion” through enacting laws that regulate how and when the preborn child may be killed.  Do you really believe that this argument will pass muster with a Holy God who has specifically stated that you are not to kill or be a party to it by turning a blind eye or perhaps working to pass piecemeal legislation that just might backfire and more firmly entrench prenatal child-murder into our federal and state laws?  Dear Christian, think about that great day of judgment; do you want to stand before the Creator of the Universe ,who made man in His image, with your hands bloodstained?

If such a thought causes you to tremble with fear and shrink with dread, then rejoice that your heart is still tender, your conscience not completely hardened or seared and seek the Lord’s forgiveness.  Repent and work with all your heart to strike a final blow to the slaughter of the preborn by working to pass laws that will acknowledge the personhood and protection of all preborn children.  Contact your legislators – both state and national – and tell them they must stop funding those who murder preborn babies such as Planned Parenthood.

The Church should and can stop the slaughter of the preborn by seeking the Lord wholeheartedly, obeying His commands and having “a readiness to help the distressed, and to protect the innocent.” May God give us the faith and grace to do so. Amen.


  1. The problem is not the abortion. All that does is remove the dead fetus so it will not have time to rot and cause endometritis. I want to follow God's command to send the murderer to Him for His final judgment. Roe VS. Wade only allows abortion. It did not annul any State law against premeditated murder. Bible scholars must aggressively be against prolicide. PROLICIDE noun, [L. offspring, See cide] The crime of destroying one's offspring before or after birth. The New century Dictionary. It s also in my crossword book under MURDER.88


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