Yesterday we had a couple from Vermont visit us in Sunday School and worship at JPBC who are considering relocating to our area. They come from what sounds like a really dynamic dual SBC-BGC church, Christ Memorial Baptist Church, with a Reformed, Baptistic, and evangelical identity. Check out especially the New England Theological Seminary ministry started by this church and its church planting efforts (listen to this pitch: NETS is looking for a few good men. Do you have what it takes to plant a church in dry New England soil?).
Couple of thoughts: First, these folk found us the way most of our visitors and new attendees seem to these days—through our website.
Second, as the conversation heats up concerning the upcoming vote on the marriage amendment in Virginia, one of the arguments made by those in opposition is that it will drive away homosexuals and their supporters from taking up residence in Virginia. This is a weak argument on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the opposite might also be true. Conservative folk, like these Southern Baptists from Vermont (of all places!), might be attracted to a place like Virginia, precisely because it is more conservative and does not allow gay marriage.
The polling data on the marriage amendment is alarming. The recent Mason-Dixon poll showed only 52% in Virginia in favor of the amendment. Hardly a landslide. For pro-amendment info look here. See the recent Baptist Press article: "Homosexual activists eye victory in the South." Even the South is drifting away from its Christian influenced social conservatism. The Bible belt has been loosed a notch or two. The marriage amendment in Virginia is, no doubt, having trouble picking up steam, because it threatens not only the legality of the marriage of homosexuals but also, indirectly, heterosexual cohabitation. Some advocates seem apologetic on this front, but from a Christian perspective, should we not also be outraged by cohabitation as an end run around marriage?
OK, so let's assume the marriage amendment passes (even narrowly) this year. Here is the question. What will the vote say about our culture in 2006? What would the percentage of approval have been 100 years ago in Virginia? Or even 10 years ago? So, it passes this year. What will happen ten more years from now after even more relentless exposure to homosexual advocacy in the general population through media, education, etc.? What kind of culture will my children and my children's children be living in? The pressures on them to conform will be immense. How vital it is that we instill a Biblical worldview in them now.