Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Livin' in the Bible Belt

Al Mohler made an interesting post today on the Bible Belt, "OK, There Really is a Bible Belt".

I was born and raised in the Bible Belt, and while I've traveled a good deal (40+ states, various countries) I've always called somewhere in the "Bible Belt" home. So, the Bible Belt is a 'given' for me, I get it--I've even blogged a bit about it HERE, and HERE.

Being a life-long Bible Belter probably best explains why I can be so passionate about seeking and upholding sound Biblical theology. I've seen the Bible and faith misused and abused at EVERY turn. I'm not kidding, and I'm also not intending to be unkind. So, when I read Al's comment, "...the challenge is to reach persons who think they are Christians with the reality of the genuine Gospel." and, "...being 'raised right' includes knowing how you are supposed to respond to a question like that posed by Gallup." I completely understand--completely.

So what gospel are we being reached with, if not the 'genuine Gospel'?

Unfortunately, here in the Bible Belt 'easy believism' is the preferred gospel--it's taught and embraced by just about every stripe of church and/or denomination. It is the gospel that instructs us to 'walk the aisle', 'pray the Sinner's Prayer', 'go forward', stop smoking, don't dance, don't gamble, stop drinking, and/or become a church member--or any combination thereof. It's 'easy', but sadly it has left the general population with an unbiblical view of God, His character, and His gracious plan to redeem His people.

For the Reformed Believer, this sort of climate makes for some very interesting and exciting conversations! We get to come alongside professing believers and challenge them to look deeper and more accurately into God's Word with the purpose of better understanding and, by His grace, embracing a more Biblical theology--what God has said about Himself, our need for Him, and how we might be reconciled to Him. Unfortunately, this also tends to 'step on some toes' because we Bible Belters cling tenaciously to our church experience(s) of 'walking the aisle', 'praying the Sinner's Prayer', 'going forward', summer church camp, etc., etc., etc. All the while rarely acknowledging the woeful lack of Biblical evidence/fruit in our lives which by God's design will testify of a truly changed heart--a life lived for the glory of God, and God alone.

So, with all the contemporary talk of 'missional', 'missiology', etc. I honestly pray and hope that more Christians will see the 'mission fields' right here on our own continent, more specifically here in the "Bible Belt".


John said...

Great post. I live in the Bible Belt too, and know exactly what you are talking about.

Lisa writes... said...

As a Bible belt-er myself, I say "Amen!"