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Rebecca Todd Peters is a Professor of Religious Studies, and Founding Director of the Poverty and Social Justice Program at Elon University. Her work focuses on globalization, along with economic, environmental, and reproductive justice. She is an ordained pastor with the Presbyterian Church (USA), and is currently working on the Abortion & Religion project. This is a project that interviews religiously identified women who are having abortions, and attempts to paint them in a favorable light. In addition to being an ordained Presbyterian pastor, she is also a Planned Parenthood advisor.
Peters recently delivered a sermon at The Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, wearing a pink stole decorated with the Planned Parenthood logo. In that sermon, she spoke about her own experience with abortion. She noted that she is a mother of two, but has also aborted two other pregnancies. About her abortions, she said, “I can also attest that I felt God’s presence with me as I made the decision to end two pregnancies and I felt no guilt, no shame, no sin.”
Here are some other comments from her sermon.
- Speaking of anti-abortion rhetoric, she said that it “has colonized our minds, traumatizing many people with its toxic theology and shaping a culture of stigma and shame that has silenced millions of women and people who have had abortions, erasing their voices, their stories, and their witness from the public sphere.”
- She said that the “abortion is sin” message is “one of the most disturbing things” imaginable.
- She claimed that “the Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion.”
- She refers to preborn life as a “zygote” and doesn’t consider it human life.
- Concerning the topic of pregnancy, she said, “If pregnancy and gestation are to remain holy mysteries, they require cooperation. A forced pregnancy or birth is not holy.”
- Finally she concluded, “The gestation and birth of a child is a wondrous event to be celebrated.” However, “not all pregnancies will, or need, to culminate in a birth.” She went on to say, “This is theologically consistent with the belief that prenates are not yet human beings.”
Well yes, her contention that “not all pregnancies will, or need, to culminate in a birth” is definitely theologically consistent with her belief that “prenates are not yet human beings.” But that is a theological position that does not represent biblical theology. Peters tries to argue that her point of view is based on the teachings of the Bible, and she even quotes some Bible verses in an attempt to support her view. But all she has done is what virtually every Christian cult does – she creates her own theology, then cherry picks Bible verses out of context in an attempt to back up her beliefs. It is not a legitimate approach to biblical interpretation.
Peters claims to be a Christian, surrounds herself with the trappings of Christianity, and uses vocabulary that is typical of Christian beliefs. But the beliefs themselves are not Christian. Peters has done what virtually all adherents of liberal forms of “Christianity” have done by coopting Christian forms and using them to disguise the real source of her beliefs – naturalistic philosophy (the belief that the natural universe, operating by natural laws, is all that exists).
So exactly how can we tease out her real beliefs? We do it by discerning how she answers the three essential worldview questions: 1) Who is God? 2) What is a human being? and 3) What is salvation?
Concerning God, she does not advocate for the God of the Bible. Never once will you hear her describing God the way He is described in the Bible. She speaks of Him in “spiritual” terms, but never as a person who has revealed Himself and His ways in Scripture, or who can be known in a personal relationship. You will never hear her speak of Jesus as God who came to earth as a man for the purpose of dying on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of humanity.
Concerning man, she advocates for an understanding that more closely corresponds to naturalistic philosophy. That is most clearly seen in her view of abortion. She doesn’t see a preborn child as a human person, but merely a zygote. And she states that point of view directly when she says that, “prenates are not yet human beings.”
Her understanding of salvation is that the purpose of humanity is not to come to know God in a personal relationship, but to engage social justice work to help the oppressed and overcome the oppressor. In other words, salvation is a social effort to make society better, not a process that brings people into a personal relationship with a personal God.
Peters answers to the three worldview questions are more consistent with naturalistic philosophy than they are with Christianity. And she truly makes her position plain when she speaks of her thoughts concerning her willing execution of two children within her womb. We need to hear no more than her words that “I felt no guilt, no shame, no sin.” That is not a Christian point of view.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books entitled The Truth Mirage, Rules for Christians Radicals, Liberalism vs. Conservatism, and his latest book Shattering the Truth Mirage and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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