Interpreting The Constitution

It appears that the Roe vs Wade 1973 court decision which gave American women the right to an abortion is about to be overturned by the US Supreme Court. This could lead to some American states attempting to make abortion illegal again.


Abortion is an improper response to an unwanted pregnancy. I believe there is life from conception, so abortion is the taking of human life. Abortion (in most cases) ought to be illegal.


But I do not wish to focus on that question. Instead, I wish to explore this. How does one era of judges interpret the American constitution as allowing abortion, and another era of judges disagrees? In short, this is because Donald Trump appointed three social conservatives to the high court, changing the balance. You can imagine future Presidents will try to reverse this.


Does the American constitution make abortion a right of women or not? The answer is, evidently, it is a matter of opinion or interpretation. As much as documents say things, it is people who interpret documents. Both are true.


And so it is with the Bible. God’s Word says things. We are saved by grace. Jesus is both God and man. And yet people differ over interpretations of the Bible. Jesus was baptised as an adult, should we? Mary was not one of the 12, but clearly has a ministry? What role can women have in the church?


For some of us, this dynamic unsettles us. We like clarity and certainty. In my view, on certain topics, the Bible is clear and offers certainty.


But God also invites us to read, meditate upon, and devote ourselves to his words. As God brings order out of chaos (Gen 1), God invites Adam to name the animals. To interpret the world and bring order to it is to reflect God’s image. This is both a frustrating and fertile tension to explore with one another.


Rev. David Rietveld

Senior Minister


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