Abortion, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Ectopic pregnancies… Selfie vanity… Staying single… Devotionals)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.

A question on your post regarding abortion if I may. I am most definitely pro-life. You stated that every attempt should be made to save the life of the mother and child — including in cases of ectopic pregnancies. Can you direct me to articles of the professionals you mentioned who have stated publicly that ectopic pregnancies can be saved?

My first and only pregnancy was both an anembryonic pregnancy and a tubal pregnancy. I was told that I was 5 minutes until death, and that the tubal pregnancy could not be saved. I have wondered about this for many years but cannot find any information regarding a tubal pregnancy that can be saved. Thank you.

My deepest condolences for the loss of your baby. May the Lord continue to comfort you and give you peace.

I’m so sorry, but I think you may have misunderstood that part of the article. Here’s what it says:

Abortion is never necessary to save the mother’s life. Numerous OB/GYNs and other medical professionals have stated this publicly. In cases in which the mother’s life and/or health are at stake (including ectopic pregnancies), the biblical and medically ethical approach is to make every attempt to save both the mother and child (which can often be done through early delivery, not abortion). If the child dies during the attempt to save him and his mother, that is a grievous tragedy, but it is not an abortion. Abortion is the intentional, proactive killing of a child.”

The statement, “Numerous OB/GYNs and other medical professionals have stated this publicly,” refers to the previous sentence (“Abortion is never necessary to save the mother’s life.”) and link. In other words, these medical professionals have stated that abortion is never necessary to save the mother’s life, not that babies in ectopic pregnancies can be saved.

With ectopic pregnancies, “the biblical and medically ethical approach is to make every attempt to save both the mother and child…”. As I understand the situation, at this point in medical technology, it is not possible for a doctor, while attempting to save the mother with an ectopic pregnancy, to also save the life of the baby. However, it is my understanding that, through research, an attempt is being made to discover ways to save these precious babies, possibly through re-implantation or other means.

I think you will find the video below to be helpful as well as its companion article:

What about Ectopic Pregnancies?

One of the things Sarah mentions in the video that I found enlightening is that ectopic pregnancies are fairly rare, and that it is rarer still for the ectopic pregnancy to be nurturing a live, normally developing embryo.

She says that in every case she has personally seen in her career, either the baby in the ectopic pregnancy has already died by the time the mother is treated, or the cells in the blastocyst are so aberrant that normal development of a living fetus would be impossible, or both.

Is there a Biblical way to approach Christian friends about the appearance of vanity when they regularly post pictures of themselves on social media?

It is so kind of you to care about your friends’ reputation in the eyes of others.

There is a biblical way to approach them. There is not a way to approach them that comes with a guarantee that they won’t get mad. Those are two different things. In fact, it is likely no matter how gently and kindly you biblically broach the subject, they will get mad. That’s just how people respond to what they perceive to be criticism these days – even professing Christians.

And (assuming that what your friends are doing actually violates Scripture and isn’t just a matter of opinion – which I have no way of knowing) that’s OK. The fact that they get mad doesn’t automatically mean you weren’t being loving or biblical. As Christian women, we’ve been taught by society and by most of the popular evangelical women celebrities that the cardinal, unforgivable sin is hurting someone’s feelings. And that is what’s not biblical. You won’t find a single passage of Scripture that says, “Confront sin … unless it would offend somebody.”

Since the appearance of vanity is a highly subjective and sensitive issue, and one most Christian women aren’t familiar with, I would suggest broaching the subject privately and gently, keeping in mind that there’s always the possibility that you may be misreading the situation:

“Suzy, you know I love you and care for you, and I love looking through the pictures you post on social media. That picture of your dog last week was really cute! I’m just wondering if there’s a reason why you’re posting so many selfies? I know you love the Lord and I wouldn’t want others who see your pictures to get the impression that you’re vain or self-centered, but rather to see the godly young woman I know and love.”

If she’s teachable and willing to discuss the issue, you might wish to work through these Scriptures with her. (For the 1 Timothy 5 passage, I highly recommend listening to the section of our A Word Fitly Spoken podcast episode, Biblical Women’s Ministry, that explains this passage.)

You might also find the podcast series Amy and I did on modesty to be informative. “Modesty” doesn’t just mean refraining from dressing in a sexually provocative way. It also means dressing and conducting yourself in a way that doesn’t make you the center of everyone else’s attention.

Modesty: part 1 part 2 part 3– at A Word Fitly Spoken

Would you be so kind as to help me Biblically on the single/divorced woman. I would like to know if it’s OK to make my own way in life without remarriage. I am very successful in my profession, and content in my walk with the Lord and being single. (Or direct me to one of your articles)

It’s a great question, and one I’m sure a lot of single and single again Christian women wonder about.

There are a few different possibilities of how you might have arrived at the state of being single:

  • You’ve never married
  • You’re a younger widow
  • You’re an older widow
  • You initiated a divorce for unbiblical reasons
  • You initiated a divorce for biblical reasons (adultery, abandonment)
  • Your husband initiated an unwanted divorce (abandonment)

If you’ve never married, you’re an older widow, you initiated a divorce for a biblical reason, or your husband initiated an unwanted divorce, my general counsel would be to get up every day and serve the Lord faithfully wherever He has planted you – in life, in your church, in your job, and in your relationships. God says being single can be a good thing:

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.

1 Corinthians 7:8

But never say “never”. There’s no requirement for you to pursue marriage, but don’t tell God “no” if He seems to be leading you toward marriage at some point in the future. Marriage is a good thing, too, especially if you struggle to control yourself sexually:

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband… But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 7:2,9

If you’re a younger widow, 1 Timothy 5:14 encourages you to remarry (a godly man, under godly circumstances, of course). In our culture, I think the principles behind this particular passage would also include younger divorcees who either initiated a divorce for a biblical reason or whose husbands initiated an unwanted divorce.

If you initiated a divorce for an unbiblical reason Scripture seems to indicate that you should remain unmarried:

To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11

If you have not repented for initiating an unbiblical divorce – whether before or after you got saved – you should definitely not remarry, and you need to repent. However, if you have repented, there is some disagreement among reputable Bible scholars as to whether this prohibition on remarriage applies to any divorce you’ve initiated for unbiblical reasons (pre- or post-salvation), or only to post-salvation divorce, since Paul is speaking to Christians in 1 Corinthians 7. If you initiated a divorce for unbiblical reasons, it is imperative that you seek godly counsel from your (doctrinally sound) pastor if you’re considering remarriage.

In fact, in any situation in which marriage or remarriage is being considered, pastoral counsel is a must. And even if you’re contemplating lifelong singlehood, I would encourage you to seek pastoral counsel as well.

Whatever your future holds, while you’re single, steward your singleness to the glory of God.

Additional Resources:

All the Single Ladies at A Word Fitly Spoken

Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood (lesson 13 deals specifically with singlehood)

The Mailbag: Is it all right for a Christian to get divorced?

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Remarriage after divorce…

The Mailbag: Potpourri (…Remarriage Forbidden?)

I read your articles on recommended women to follow but could not find that any of them had a devotional book. I am involved in a ministry at our church and put together goody bags for them. I’d like to give them a devotional book. Do you have any recommendations?

That’s awfully kind of you to make these women feel special and loved. Thank you for serving your church.

On principle, I do not make recommendations for Bible study books or materials, or devotionals. Instead, I encourage women to study straight from the text of Scripture (see my article The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids? for more information).

May I recommend instead that you give them a lovely copy of “God’s devotional” – the book of Psalms or Proverbs? Here are a few I found (I didn’t vet all of these websites, so I’m not recommending them, just suggesting a few books to consider):

ESV Scripture Journal: Proverbs

Psalms for Joyful Living

Proverbs for your Daily Path

Mini Book of Psalms

Vest Pocket New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs

Or if you’d like to go with a copy of the gospel of John, check out these designs from the Pocket Testament League. (I would strongly recommend the ESV versions.) You can even design your own cover!

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

2 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Potpourri (Ectopic pregnancies… Selfie vanity… Staying single… Devotionals)”

  1. I would like to add something about the Ectopic Pregnancy subject. When I was pregnant with my only child, I was having some pain and bleeding (at 6 weeks) so I went to the hospital. After an ultrasound, they put me in a room and started prepping me for surgery. When I asked the nurse what she was doing she immediately knew that the doctor had not been in to talk to me and stopped her prep work. The doctor then came in and said that they were prepping me to perform an abortion because this was an ectopic pregnancy. I refused and he got upset and said , “I just know in my heart that this is an abnormal pregnancy so we are going to just send you home and let you abort this baby on your own!” That was 32 years ago and I have a wonderful son and 3 beautiful grandchildren! This story is much longer ( I left out a lot of other details) but the bottom line here is this: The doctors are not always right and actually most times are very wrong! If necessary, get second and third opinions. But even more, trust in the Lord and HIS will in death and life!


    1. I’m glad that first doctor turned out to be wrong, Mary. What a blessing that God saved your son!

      Readers, I would echo Mary’s advice about getting second and third opinions, but do it really quickly if you’ve been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. Waiting can kill you if the diagnosis is correct.

      Liked by 1 person

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