The Unbuckled Bible Belt?

November 2000

The popular image of Bible Belters is that of old-fashioned puritans who eschew frivolity for the straight and narrow. Apparently not -- or not all that often anymore.

The June issue of Citizen magazine, published by evangelical James C. Dobson's Focus on the Family, reports on a major study on divorce done by the Barna Research Group. The Citizen article states: "Baptists and nondenominational Protestant churches (which dominate the Bible Belt) included more adults who had been divorced (29 percent and 35 percent respectively) than any other Christian denomination.... Lutherans and Catholics had the lowest divorce rates at 21 percent."

Citizen says the big reason for the Bible Belt's poor showing is antinomianism, the view that "once we are justified by faith in Christ, we no longer have an obligation to the moral law," that "we are not bound by the law, but rather led by the Holy Spirit...." Citizen goes so far as to call this a heresy.

Citizen also notes that Bible Belters are "very concerned about threats to the sanctity of marriage launched from homosexual activists who seek to turn the definition of marriage on its head," but asks: "Are we ignoring an even more substantial threat to marriage [namely, divorce]?" In Citizen's view, when sizable numbers of heterosexuals -- especially Christians -- in effect spurn the sanctity of marriage, they are "redefining" marriage, and then -- why of course! -- homosexuals will feel justified in redefining it a bit more, hence the pressure for "same-sex marriage."


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New Oxford Notes: November 2000

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Thanks for the article. After spending a number of years in the "Bible Belt" while serving in the military, it was hard not to notice the disconnect between their faith and action. I guess I'm saying I noticed a lack of guilt on their part justified by their "once saved always saved" mentality. Steal, lie and cheat - hey, you're saved no matter what!

Even my wife who worked during this time for the State child protection agency was amazed how many of the mothers were multiple divorcees, five time divorcees were not uncommon! Serial monagamy at its finest.

Of course if I mentioned I was Roman Catholic they believed it was time I got schooled in the right "religion". Why would I bother going to confession when I could be "once saved, always saved"? Why feel guilty, why do good works? Just say "I believe in Jesus" and you're going to heaven no matter what you do.

The path to you know where is wide indeed.

Posted by: stanleyshenko
January 21, 2009 06:59 PM EST
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