I‘m a New Hampshire native. I was born and raised here, and now pastor a church here. Needless to say, these are my people. Now, New Hampshire isn’t known for much: Lake Winnipesaukee, the Old Man in the Mountain, the first American serial killer, and Adam Sandler… amongst a few other things.
But one thing we are known for is our Presidential primary. Every four years, the nation looks to us to see how we’re voting and hoping to gauge how things might turn out in the general election. It’s an exciting time, as all eyes are on us!
Last night, we held the first primary of 2016, and the results were, well, interesting. Our winners: a Democratic socialist from Vermont and a billionaire tycoon turned reality TV star from New York… both by a landslide.
Now, admittedly, I’m disappointed, but not at all surprised.
I’ve had the unique experience of watching my home state swing from staunchly conservative to wildly progressive in less than a few decades. The whole culture has shifted up here, but it’s worse than merely politics. Over the last 50 years, we’ve been in a spiritual free-fall that has permeated every aspect of government, education, business, and beyond. You might be thinking, “I know where you’re going, you believe if everybody in New England became Christians everything would be fixed.” Well, yes and no.
I don’t believe for a second that there is a “Christian” candidate. While I have my own personal choice of candidate, I don’t believe there is a clear choice for all Christians. However, consider for a moment the fact that we just threw our support behind two candidates with ideological and moral values we found reprehensible 20 years ago. In fact, in the 1990’s, we impeached a president because of his moral and ethical debauchery.
So, what has happened?
Why such a drastic change?
Let’s look at Scripture.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
In his introduction, King Solomon sets forth one of the primary axioms of Judeo-Christian belief: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In other words, true knowledge and wisdom are directly tied to a relationship with God. Factual knowledge surely exists in the world and God enables non-believing people to have insight and various levels of wisdom. But this is all due to His common grace: favor and blessing the Lord extends to all people as a general kindness.
However, at a certain point, God reserves the right to withdraw His grace and mercy toward unbelievers and deliver them over to their own sinful hearts, sinful ways, and sinful thinking. We see this illustrated in Romans 1:18-32. We read elsewhere that “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) I believe that’s what we’re seeing in New Hampshire. As a people, we are being turned over to a foolish and depraved mind. All because of how we voted? No, but it is certainly indicative of a greater problem.
New Hampshire, along with all of New England, ranks at the absolute bottom with regard to professions of faith, church attendance, and Christian affiliation. A quick Google search will produce a Pew Research number that says “65% of New England is Christian” but after last night’s primary, do you really believe that? It’s far worse than many might think.
Space does not permit me to discuss the depth of our problems in the Northeast, but we are in dire need of salvation. What is the answer? Political action? Social wellness programs? More law enforcement? Tax relief? Job stimulus?
The only thing way to save anyone is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In many places up here the gospel hasn’t been uttered in a generation. Our people need to know that it is their own personal sin that condemns them to an eternity in hell. But it is the substitutionary, sacrificial work of Jesus to die on the cross and pay the penalty for their sins and make a way for reconciliation with God. Only by confessing our sins and trusting in Jesus can a person be saved.
If I may be permitted a minor, temporary alteration: “For God so loved [New England] that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The need is great. The solution is clear.
Pray for New Englanders. Specifically, pray that the gospel would be proclaimed boldly in this region, that God might save the “Ninevah of the Northeast.”