If the foundations be destroyed,
what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
Throughout her history, the Commonwealth of Virginia has seen much in the way of tumult. Indian massacres, settler uprisings, slave revolts, terrorist attacks, and open warfare have left their mark on the Old Dominion. The English settlers from the Jamestown period learned quickly what privation was all about. Despite starvation, disease, and attacks from the local tribes, they forged ahead and were able to convene the first legislative body on the continent just 12 years from the time they landed. Experiencing the same kinds of dangers, the Scots-Irish Presbyterians pressed on to the west and scratched out humble settlements on the Appalachian frontier. By the time Virginia joined the other colonies in seceding from the British Empire, she was already seasoned and ready for what was to come.
With independence came a period of relative peace and prosperity. This was punctuated by the War of 1812, Nat Turner’s bloody slave revolt in 1831, and John Brown’s terrorist attack on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. Sectional tensions boiled over and Virginia joined the rest of the South in seceding from the United States in 1861. The war that followed brought the Commonwealth to her knees: the land was ravaged, the economy wrecked, and a great portion of her young men would never return home. To add insult to injury, 50 of Virginia’s western counties were stripped away. It was a disaster to say the least. The humiliating and vindictive policy of Reconstruction followed in the aftermath. Despite military occupation and the corrupt politicians they imposed, Virginians would endure much yet again.
I give this brief historical outline simply to point out how resilient the Old Dominion has been in the past. What sustained the people of Virginia for a better part of three centuries was the Christian ethos and worldview which dominated from the beginning. Now that we are well into the 21st century, there is nothing more than a remnant of this culture left and it’s rapidly fading away. Last year’s elections for the House of Delegates and State Senate were simply the proverbial canary in the coal mine, confirming the cultural rot which had set in decades ago. Now that the Democrats control the entire State government, we’re about to experience what I refer to as Reconstruction Part 2.
Unless God graciously intercedes, Virginia will be “fundamentally transformed” as a civil polity: abortion will be radically expanded, monuments honoring our heritage will be torn down, gun rights will be severely restricted, parental rights will be assaulted, sexual immorality further promoted, casino gambling legalized, medical freedoms curtailed, and religious liberty for Christians will be greatly eroded. This is to say nothing of the increased tax and regulatory burdens along with the elimination of any integrity left in our electoral process. The new session of the General Assembly hasn’t even begun, yet the Democrats already carry with them the same vindictive spirit witnessed during the original Reconstruction. The Left aims to fight, and fight they will. They possess a religious zeal for their causes and they will accomplish their goals no matter the cost.
And that’s the issue: the vast majority of conservative Christians don’t realize (until it’s too late) what’s at stake and how this political conflict is actually being fought. Conservatives are out-gunned and flanked because they mistakenly think that this is a war of ideas. Instead, politics has become extremely tribal and that’s going to be the new norm. America has balkanized and fractured along the lines of race, religion, and region. The conservatives I talk to think that what’s happened in Virginia (and elsewhere) will simply be turned around in the next election, totally ignoring the demographic realities which have turned the Commonwealth “blue” in the first place. In short, there is nothing which holds us together as a people anymore. What’s happening here is not something we’re going to vote our way out of.
What we’re witnessing right now in Virginia is God’s judgment upon the Commonwealth. That can’t be emphasized enough. Our response needs to be a thorough and genuine repentance.
So where do we go from here? What’s the way forward? What ails Virginia and America as a whole is an identity crisis rooted in the broader apostasy taking place in the West. As biblical Christianity fades it will be replaced by a completely different worldview with a completely different set of values. We’re seeing this happen now. What we desperately need is a reformation that impacts not only the church but extends into each family as well. It is an absolute necessity that fathers lead their families in this direction, being faithful in ways that Christian husbands/fathers haven’t been in a very long time. Pastors and other elders in the church need to encourage this return to biblical patriarchy. Family worship, the catechizing of our covenant children, and the spiritual nourishment of our wives need to become, once again, daily responsibilities for Christian men.
For their part, the churches in our land must return to biblical standards in terms of worship, teaching, and polity. Church leadership needs to ditch worship centered on entertainment and instead be faithful to what the Bible says about how God is to be worshiped. Get rid of the stage and bring back the pulpit. A man-centered theology needs to be abandoned in favor of Christ-centered teachings. The Law of God must once again be preached and taught rather than avoided. The full counsel of the Word of God must be taught, Old and New testaments. Pastors do their job well by showing their flocks how to apply God’s word to every aspect of their lives. If the church is to survive, then we need to have a generational vision rooted in the biblical truth of God’s kingdom progressing in every age. Too many churches today are cold, antinomian, and exhibit a pietistic defeatism.
In saying all of this, no reformation will succeed without the faithful prayers of God’s people. We must recover even the most basic of practices. Small steps in the direction of faithfulness–family by family, church by church–that’s what will turn things around. We need to start there. My wife gave birth to our youngest daughter back in November. At her baptism a few weeks later, we were reminded of the deep importance of raising her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Her baptism and the promise it contains is a seed for the future–the future of our family, church, and community. The foundations will be rebuilt in small steps just like that. May the Lord restore His people in this land and bring glory to Himself.