Posted by: Johnold Strey | June 4, 2009

Never Justified

Though the intentional taking of an unborn life, save for the rarest of exceptions noted below, is sinful, it is equally sinful — and counter-productive for the pro-life cause — to “play God” and end the life of an abortionist, thus bringing his time of grace to come to repentance to an abrupt end.  Such an act is never justified.  Yet, sadly, this is what took place last Sunday in Wichita, Kansas.  In light of this, permit me to share statements from two different Lutheran pro-life agencies.

First, a statement from Christian Life Resources, a life-issues organization affiliated with our church body, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod:

CLR Condemns the Killing of Dr. George Tiller

Notorious late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed during a church service Sunday in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller, 67, was gunned down in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church (ELCA), according to Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz.

The gunman fled the scene, but authorities detained a 51-year-old three hours later in suburban Kansas City in connection with the fatal shooting. A sheriff’s spokesman identified the man as Scott Roeder. Federal law enforcement agents are now coordinating with local authorities on the investigation, and formal charges could come on Monday. A motive into the shooting of one of the nation’s few late-term abortionists is not known.

Tiller’s clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, is one of just three in the U.S. where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

Pro-life organizations across the country have denounced the shooting death, saying the act runs contrary to a respect of human life.

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, national director of Christian Life Resources, commented on the news of the death of Dr. Tiller, “The mainstream pro-life Christian community will rightfully condemn this killing. While Dr. Tiller has been vilified in the pro-life movement for his willingness to kill unborn children in the third trimester of a pregnancy, his killing was not right and is not a solution to any problem.

“Dr. Tiller had seen the pictures of aborted children. He had heard the harsh condemnation of protestors and those who had written letters. None of that had been persuasive. Yet, there is still one thing that can change a heart, and that is the Word of God. How shameful it is that Dr. Tiller’s life was ended in the very place where he could hear the words that could have changed his heart.

“Taking the life of Dr. Tiller is as forbidden in Scripture as taking the lives of the unborn children he aborted. Taking the life of a man who needed to hear God’s life-changing Word in God’s own house is blasphemous, cheapens both human life and is an affront to the Author of life.

“It is our prayer that zealots on both sides of the issue stop the killing and that no one’s time of grace be shortened either by an abortionist’s knife or a killer’s bullet. God has given us His Word as an instrument to change hearts. Christians should focus on administering that Word to bring about the protection of life that a majority of Americans prefer when it comes to abortion.

“In our nation we have a democratic process that can be used to remedy the wrongs of abortion. Shortcuts are no solution. To protect all human life, born and unborn, requires the patient methodic work of electing the right people to make the right decisions to protect the most vulnerable of our society. Until then Christian can seek to change hearts with God’s Word.”


Second, a similar, shorter statement from Lutherans for Life:

Lutherans For Life Statement on the George Tiller Murder

Lutherans For Life (LFL) joins pro-life groups across the country in extending our sympathy to the family of George Tiller, the late-term abortionist who was gunned down Sunday morning in his church. We join other pro-life groups in denouncing this action as evil. No circumstances justify the violent murder of another human being.

God’s Word tells us not to fight evil with evil but to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Based on that same Word of God, LFL believes that abortion is a great evil, the violent murder of another human being that deeply grieves the Author and Redeemer of life. But we oppose the use of evil to overcome this evil. We have the greatest “good” there is to use against it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. LFL strives to apply the Gospel to the life issues, to change hearts and minds so that people will turn to the Lord of Life and not the god of death as the solution to difficult circumstances. We want to make the killing of children in the sanctity of the womb as unthinkable and deplorable as the killing of George Tiller in the sanctity of his church.

While George Tiller was a member of a Lutheran denomination that does not officially oppose abortion, it should be noted that almost all other Lutheran denominations do take an official stance that opposes abortion and asserts the God-given value of human life from conception to natural death.

We commend the Tiller family and all affected by this tragic event into the loving arms of a crucified and risen Savior. May He be at work in all of this according to His good and gracious will.


Finally, expressing concern that Dr. Tiller’s church affiliation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) will lead the public to think that Lutherans are not pro-life, I share with you a “letter to the editor” written by another WELS pastor for his local newspaper.  With a few minor edits for a general readership, here is what he wrote:

All human life is a creation and gift of God and begins at conception, and is to be ended only by God or His representatives, and that only in defense of other human life. This is what the Christian Bible clearly teaches. Please see Genesis 8:21 & 9:6, Exodus 21:22-23, Job 10:8-12, Psalm 51:5 & 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41-44, and Romans 13:1-4. Thus, by God’s own definition, both the doctor in Kansas who performed abortions, late-term or otherwise, for reasons other than the defense of the mother’s life, and the man who shot and killed him, committed murder.

News reports of this crime mention that the doctor was a member in good standing of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. Because of this people may come to the erroneous conclusion that the Lutheran Church in general supports elective abortion and those who perform this sinful act.

Reformation Lutheran Church of Wichita, Kansas, is a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This church body does indeed officially support so-called “abortion rights,” and allows its members to both champion this sin, and be an active participant in it.

However, this is not true of all Lutheran Church bodies. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, are officially strongly opposed to abortion on demand. A person could not be a member in good standing in any of these church bodies and at the same time be involved in the murder of the unborn.

I do not want other Bible-believing Christians to think that the Lutheran Church as a whole supports abortion or those who practice this heinous sin. Such is not the case.

Finally, I recommend listening to a discussion of this matter with guest Dr. John Warwick Montgomery on Issues, Etc. this past Monday, June 1, 2009.  Click here to listen to the program.



  1. Did you realize that it was automatically assumed that the killer was pro-life? He may have been, but obviously in name only. He wasn’t associated with any main-stream pro-life group.

  2. Should the other (Lutheran) church religions and faiths (that object to abortion) be more willing to condemn ELCA and other religions that accept abortion?


%d bloggers like this: