Encouragement Regarding Issue 1
A Response from the Elders of Faith Church
Ohio Issue 1, the Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative, was on the ballot in Ohio as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 7, 2023. This passing amends the Ohio Constitution to provide a state constitutional right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to” decisions about abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing pregnancy. The amendment also allows the state to restrict abortion after fetal viability, except when “necessary to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.” 
By now you likely know that Issue 1 was passed by majority vote. This is incredibly disappointing and heartbreaking. How shall we as Christians respond to this news? Here are 5 encouragements from your Elders:
1. Grieve this Wickedness. Votes like this remind us that we are pilgrims in a strange land. This is not our home. As we look to grieve the evil in our state, the Psalmist thankfully gives us the language of the sojourner – the words of lament. Take some time this week to prayerfully lament as David does in Ps. 13: “How long, O Lord? How long will you let our enemies be exalted over us?” Grieve this enshrined evil. Pray for God’s mercy on Ohioans.
2. Continue to fight for life. Don’t let this setback squash your resolve. Abortion is still the killing of an innocent child. As you know, the law tends to shape our societal morals. A position of compromise may be the best we can obtain (i.e. a heartbeat bill), but do not let political compromise redefine the truth. Life begins at conception (Ps. 139:13-14; Jer. 1:4-5; Isa. 49:1; Lk. 1:39-45). Killing that conceived life is wrong, no matter how early that child is in development. Protect yourself against the lies of our culture by refusing to participate in them and proactively speaking the truth in love (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:15).
3. Recognize the spiritual battleground. This is a battle for hearts and minds (Col. 1:19-23; 2:4-15). We understand from the Bible that the immaterial part of a person consists of his thinking, feeling, and choosing (Lk. 10:27; 1 Thess. 5:23). All of those aspects of the heart are fallen and in need of gospel redemption. Worldliness, according to David Wells, is anything that makes sin look good and righteousness look bad. So when we argue against the legalization of abortion, we argue against worldliness in the hearts of our opponents (1 Pet. 1:14; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). In other words, we are not only trying to offer unbiased, scientific arguments for the beginning of life. We want to especially show that God’s good, created order (Gen. 1-2) is exponentially better than an unbounded, worldly libertinism (Gen. 3-4). May we love our opponents, seek to persuade them, and pray God will change their minds.
4. Proclaim the Gospel. Jonathan Edwards once said that before culture can be changed, people’s hearts need to be changed. Indeed! Let this evil in the majority of Ohioans’ hearts cultivate in you a greater passion for evangelism (Rom. 10:14-15). More than Ohioans need correct thinking on the preborn, they need to be born again (Jn. 3:1-15)! They need to repent of their sins against King Jesus, believe in His saving work on the Cross, and then follow Him in all their ways (Mk. 1:14-20). As regenerated Christians who follow King Jesus, they will come to value and protect the preborn life He has given. The mercy that’s been given to us freely can be given to more Ohioans. Let’s pray and boldly evangelize with that in mind!
5. Hope in the Future New Earth. Ultimately, God’s ways will prevail (Ps. 2). He is keeping an accurate record of every wrong committed against His name. And one day He will right every wrong (Eccl. 3:16-17). This doesn’t mean we abandon our efforts, nor do we lose all hope for policy change. Rather, the truth of God’s sovereignty helps us to be patient (Rom. 12:19-21) and consider the big picture. Abortion is awful – but like every other evil, abortion will be destroyed. King Jesus will one day prevail over this great wickedness. So we work for the good of this world, but we live for the New Creation (Rev. 21:1-8). Yes, we mourn injustice. But because our deeper identity is in Jesus we can carry on with joy in our hearts. We can fight for the good of Ohio with informed zeal and abandon, precisely because we are just pilgrims passing through. One day He will make all things new (Rev. 21:5). Come, Lord Jesus!