A birthday song for the Rev. Philip Keevil of First Presbyterian Church in Reading, Penn., started off the Presbyterians Pro-Life (PPL) luncheon Sunday as part of the 219th General Assembly (2010).

This celebration of life remained the focus throughout the event. In his opening statement, guest speaker the Rev. David Swanson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, Fla., referenced Jer. 1, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you … I appointed you as a prophet to the nations ….”

Swanson emphasized that our culture is one bent on devaluing life and has become focused only on the individual and thus goes against God’s calling for us – a calling that came to us even as we were in the womb.

Calling to attention the matter of abortion, Swanson offered four points to consider:

  • By biblical definition, all life flows from God.
  • God’s purpose for us must be considered.
  • Reaction from us as Christians must be to protect life and bear witness to God’s word.
  • While we do have certain rights in regard to our individual bodies, this is not absolute and does not include an unborn child who is a separate individual with its own rights.

Swanson stated, “Your body was bought by the death of Jesus Christ. Seek his council on how to honor him with your body.”

Swanson continued with an appeal to the Presbyterian church, that it “needs to counsel the thousands of young people out there who have had abortions … pointing our fingers at them and calling them sinners is not going to bring them to God.”

“Abortion is not the unforgivable sin. As Christians, we need to affirm they are loved. We need to promote life, but also offer a safe place to begin healing,” concluded Swanson.