Where Life Begins


*Opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are not necessarily those of The Messenger

To the editor:

On June 1, 2022, the Kenyon Leader printed opposing editorials on the issue of abortion. One written by Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the other by Pastor Shannon Bauer of Wangen Prairie Lutheran Church near Cannon Falls. Sadly, with such diametrically different views on the Bible's teachings, only one can be right.

As I looked at the viewpoints of these two people of the “cloth,” I was struck by the fact that Pastor Bauer's position is limited to the infallible Word of God. In reference to Psalm 139, he has opened the Bible for all to see. Beginning with verse 15 and continuing through verse 16, the Psalmist says, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.” This is where God's sovereignty over life itself begins.

In the Book of Jeremiah, God says to the prophet, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb.

In the Gospel of Luke, the angel said, And behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). The miracle of life would begin in Mary's womb.

Finally, and in support of Pastor Bauer, the Apostles' Creed (Confession of Faith) taught to Lutherans across the world says, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; Born of the virgin Mary.” Life begins at conception.

When I look at Bishop Eaton's position, I find someone who is using the dictates found in the 1991 ELCA Social Statement on Abortion. Rather than following the teaching's of the Bible, she prefers to use the church's social teachings. With statements like, “While the church longs for a future with fewer abortions every year, the social statement points out that outlawing all or nearly all abortions is not the way to do this; this church teaches that abortion must be legal and accessible.” This reminds me of       2 Timothy 4:3a where Paul says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”

So what is my point? My point is fourfold. First, I found that Bishop Eaton's use of the word church (ELCA) is incorrect. In the real church, you will find the teachings of JESUS CHRIST. Second, both the Old and New Testaments tell us that life begins at conception. Third, Roe vs. Wade is not the guide Christians should be obeying. Instead, the Bible says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). And fourth, Pastor Bauer is the one who is right. Praise God for pulpits full of the Word.

Dr. James Russell Lehman

Retired Educator

Kenyon, MN 55946 


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