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Two major events caused May 2007 to bring the attention of all Americans, and particularly of American Evangelicals, to the State of Virginia.
May 14th marked the 400th anniversary of the first permanent Protestant colony in the New World. The settlement was named Jamestown, for King James I, who just three years earlier had also commissioned the creation of a comprehensive Bible in English, which began to be printed in 1611: the well-known King James Version.
The settlers of Virginia did not possess the zeal to establish religious freedoms like the Puritans and Pilgrims who settled Massachusetts some 13 years later. They were, however, Anglican supporters of traditional worship, for whom religion was a fundamental part of everyday life. From that day to this, Evangelical Christianity has grown and thrived in the Americas, and the freedom to worship (which has only lately been usurped by pagans and heathens) has been enjoyed by those who desire to worship the true God in spirit and in truth.
It is certain that the colonists settled this new land with the awesome help of divine Providence. Even as the children of Abraham were in a strange land for 400 years, so have we lived in, and enjoyed, this country for four centuries, while still knowing in our hearts that this is not our home, for we are but strangers and pilgrims. Hallelujah!
On May 15th, 2007, just one day after marking the fourth century of Jamestown, eyes again turned to Virginia, this time to mourn the passing of an American, Evangelical preacher: Jerry Fallwell. Bro. Fallwell, like the first settlers of Virginia, also saw a place for his faith in his everyday life. So much so was his conviction in this regard, in fact, that he incorporated his beliefs into the politics, co-founding the Moral Majority: a conservative, Christian lobby organization. He also infused his faith into education, founding Liberty University. This is a particularly marvelous fact, since he was the son of a bootlegger and the grandson of an atheist.
Over the years, he made many controversial statements, and accomplished much to both motivate the sensibilities of some, and rile those of others. He was an avid supporter of Israel, and a critic of the Civil Rights Movement, dubbing it the “Civil Wrongs Movement.” He denounced the secular humanist curriculum of the public school system, and strongly, and openly fought against pornography, homosexuality and abortion.
Whether you agreed with his tactics or not, you could not help but admire his gumption and willingness to stand for what he saw to be the moral high ground, based on his devotion to the Lord Jesus. We appreciate his sincerity, and the accomplishments of his 51-year ministry.
We are, even now, gearing up for the celebration of the Feast of Firstfruits, also called the Feast of Pentecost. As a point of correction, I inadvertently put in last month’s issue that the Feast would be observed May 25-28, actually it will be from the 24th to the 27th. I hope many of you can attend. Keep these special services before the Lord in prayer, as we expect to see a mighty move of the Spirit among His people as we dedicate ourselves to be a people prepared for the Lord, glorifying God in the day of our visitation.