John Stonestreet on if an Embryo is a Person

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


You should be pro-life. Everyone should be pro-life, and not only if they are Christians and see in the teachings of Holy Scripture how God defines life, or in church history that Christians have long opposed abortion. The more we are able to look into the womb and the more we know about embryology, the more we know that every single embryo is a whole, distinct, valuable human life.

But many people, even those who are pro-life, are unprepared to answer the very common questions we face in this cultural moment about abortion. But we should be prepared for two reasons. First, the answers are out there. Second, lives are literally in the balance.

Your hypothetical friend’s non-hypothetical question is the topic of the latest “What Would You Say?” video.  This new series from the Colson Center equips people to answer the tough questions we face in our culture about life, marriage, sexuality, apologetics and other faith topics with both clarity and conviction.

Here’s a segment of a recent video. Pro-life apologist Stephanie Gray offers a “What Would You Say?” response to the question of whether an embryo is a person:

Before we can decide whether an embryo is a person, we have to ask what makes anyone a person. Here are a few things to remember.

Our personhood does not depend on our abilities.

Some are hesitant to recognize embryos as persons because they don’t function in the same way that fully developed people often do. For example, embryos can’t think or talk. But neither can someone under anesthetic, someone in a coma, or someone who is asleep. Newborns can’t think or talk the way adults can. Are they still people? Even adults vary in their ability to think and talk. What we can do does not make us who we are.

Our personhood does not depend on our age.

The argument that embryos aren’t “fully persons” assumes that our age determines our personhood. But does that make sense?  If we have to be old enough to do certain things or look a certain way before we are “persons,” do we lose our personhood once we are too old to do things?  I certainly hope not.

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Source: Christian Headlines