July 5, 2022

Life After Roe (Part Two)

associate pastor

associate pastor

Ken Rathburn


The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9)

In the 1st century, the Apostle Peter wrote two letters to fledgling churches scattered around the Roman Empire. These were recent Christian converts (all Christians were at that time, I suppose) and they needed guidance on living this new life of faith. Across the letters, three principles stand out: (1) God is faithful, but works in his time, (2) they must be faithful witnesses where God has placed them, and (3) living faithfully will mark them as different from, even at odds with, the cultures of this world. Two millennia later, this remains a good word for us, especially as we prepare to transition from Roe to Dobbs.

The move from a Roe America to a Dobbs America is a good thing, but the mission of the Church marches on and the challenges for the Church have only increased. There will be a dissonance between the Church and the surrounding culture. We must press on in the dissonance, believing and living according to God’s commands and by his grace. Christians are called to live in the world, but not to be of the world (John 15:18-25). This dissonance and opposition will continue until Jesus returns and makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). Until that day, there is much to do. So, in the whirlwind of life after Roe, how should Christians live?

Rejoice — We should celebrate and rejoice! (Psalm 126:2-3) We must sing praises to our God! He has done an amazing thing for which the Church has prayed fervently for five decades. The overturning of Roe and Casey is an instance of common grace poured out upon our nation. It is a picture of the Gospel itself—God bringing the promise of life and righteousness from the domain of death and sin. When God blesses, his people should always shout with joy in celebration. In the midst of the onslaught of pro-abortion rallying cries, have you taken time to simply thank God for this undeserved blessing of life and protection? We must do so in the wake of this joyful and watershed event. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24).

Recognize — Also, we must recognize who has accomplished this. The State of Mississippi didn’t do it. Five U.S. Supreme Court justices didn’t do it. The Senate confirmation process didn’t do it. Even the tirelessly working pro-life movement didn’t really do it. Ultimately, the Lord of Heaven and Earth has done it (James 1:17). He is the Ruler and Lord of all, sovereign over all things, working everything for his good purposes and in his time (Psalm 115:3). The Lord is the only One who can bring down unjust kings and kingdoms. Only our God could have done this and so we give him all the glory! For more on this, here is a helpful article: TGC – Remember Who Overturned Roe – Winfree Brisley.

Lament Not — Among some well-known Christians, many of whom I have appreciated and respected over the years, there have been calls to lament and express sadness. This lament is often directed at the loss of “reproductive justice”, something amounting to gender equality, or female bodily autonomy. Abortion has never been God’s solution to social issues. The difficulties of facing unwanted pregnancies and the stigmatic and economic struggles they bring not times for apology but for hope and action. As Christians, we do not lament when God redeems life out of death, whether spiritual or physical, and we do not question his revealed will. We are not downcast when he hems in the sin of this world.  Redemption from sin and evil always comes at great cost. Do not apologize for what the Lord has done or for celebrating this victorious step in the cause of life.

Listen Patiently — At the same time, we listen to those on the other side in this broken world. Christians have a categorically different worldview, leading them to think we are naive and foolish (1 Corinthians 1:20-25). Those who support abortion genuinely believe they are right and we are wrong. We need to take the time and energy, even at personal cost, to understand why they think this way. Only then can we uncover how the good news of the Gospel speaks to their heart and their head. We must earn the right to be heard by our willingness to first listen to others. Our God is patient with sinners. If he wasn’t, we would never have responded to the offer of grace. We, too, must be patient and listening well to those opposed is a big part of that.

Prepare and Respond — When challenged, however, listening patiently should never preclude us from clearly speaking truth. If you haven’t already, you will hear all sorts of arguments about why the Dobbs decision is disastrous. It isn’t. It is right constitutionally and morally. Thus, we must be ready to clearly and gently respond to those arguments, always ready to give a defense for our faith (1 Peter 3:15). This blog is already too long, so I won’t lay out all of that here, but I encourage you to watch Pastor David’s FAQ from January that equips Christians to tackle these issues and respond to pro-abortion arguments. View it here. Also, check out this helpful response guide from Watermark Church: The Arguments You Can Expect. In listening and responding, may the fruit of the Spirit be evidenced in all we say and do (Galatians 5:22-23).

Pray — Before, during and after any time of crisis or challenge—at all times really—we must call upon the name of the Lord (Philippians 4:6). There is much to pray for and we have a sovereign God who listens to our prayers (1 John 5:14). Pray for states to enact laws restricting and prohibiting abortion. Pray for abortion clinics to be run out of business. Pray for pro-life ministries to continue their important work. Pray that NAPC would be a place of grace, support and trust to those who experience unplanned pregnancies. Pray for those considering abortion to choose life instead. Pray for those who have had an abortion to repent and receive God’s grace. Pray for pro-abortion advocates to have their hearts and minds changed in favor of the unborn. Pray for wisdom in listening to and responding clearly to those who think and believe differently. Pray that we Christians would not sit idly by and assume our labor for the Lord on this matter is done. Pray for the Lord to be patient with sinners like us and yet bring an end to evil in this world.

Engage — Christians must care for those whom society ignores (Matthew 25:40). There likely will be more moms-to-be with unexpected pregnancies in need of care than there have been in several decades. Pregnancy centers will be overwhelmed more than they already were, but their important work must continue. Adoption and foster care needs will rise. Christians must not stand by and simply hope that things work out. We must prove those wrong who say that the evangelical agenda just caused a health crisis and that we don’t care. So, get involved right here in our community. Pregnancy Decision Health Centers is a wonderful, God-honoring ministry right here in central Ohio and their support services are needed now more than ever. Check them out and support them at pdhc.org. Another ministry providing Christ-centered encouragement to single, young mothers in Embrace Grace. Support them and find out more at embracegrace.com. Finally, check out this helpful article with other ideas on how to engage: TGC – Stand for Life – Lauren Green McAfee.

Vote — This one may have surprised you, but not if you read Part 1. Dobbs has returned the matter of abortion to the state legislatures. Members of congress have already begun drafting federal legislation to codify the pro-abortion protections of Roe. Some have even called for the establishment of abortion clinics on federal lands, requested the federal government to condition funding to states on readily available abortion access, and are clamoring for other grotesque actions. The issue is not going away with Dobbs—it is just getting started. Therefore, it is perhaps more important than it has been in the last 50 years to vote and engage in the political process. “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2) Unborn life still needs protected across our nation and so Christians must discern how this affects our political engagement. Vote.

Stand Firm — The pro-abortion movement’s reaction has been loud, swift and visceral. Pro-life Christians have been accused of reversing generations of “progress,” hating women, instituting government akin to A Handmaid’s Tale, and worse. Some large corporations have explored offering reimbursement of travel expenses for their employees to get abortions. As bad and noisy as it seems today, it will increase and Christians will be opposite the culture in yet another way. We must be ready for this and we must expect it. Christians shouldn’t be surprised and we shouldn’t waiver. Our goal is for God to be glorified in our lives and the Gospel loving proclaimed with our mouths. In the end, we live for an audience of One (Galatians 1:10).

Remember — In order to do everything listed above, maybe in order to do any of it, we must remember that this world is not ultimately our home. We are and always will be strangers and exiles here, awaiting the Lord’s return (1 Peter 2:11-12). But we are not strangers and exiles without a mission. No, we are ambassadors for Christ to a world in desperate need of the reconciling love found only in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20). Having an eternal and missional mindset is what gives us purpose, direction and compassion as we await the second coming of Christ. May he come soon, and may we proclaim the Gospel and be people of life until the dawning of that day!

Calling all of us to protect life until his return,

Pastor Ken