The Witness

Volume 40, Issue 47

November 23, 2022

A Moderate Baptist?

Last Wednesday, we concluded our Bible study on Baptist distinctives by defining what it means to be a “moderate” Baptist church. Rather than studying the history of the word “moderate” and how that has become a defining characteristic for many mainline Protestant churches, I decided to share what being a moderate Baptist church means to me. As requested by some at our Bible study last week, I wanted to share a portion of that discussion through this article.

Borrowing some of the language from Wesley J. Wildman and Stephan Chapman Gardner’s book, Lost in the Middle, I believe a moderate Baptist is one who takes the Bible seriously; who believes it is the final, authoritative word of God, while also recognizing that God is continuing to work and shine a light on our understanding of him and the world he created.

A moderate Baptist is one who proclaims Jesus Christ unapologetically, while also embracing the diversity and mystery of God and his creation.

A moderate Baptist is one who desires a Christian faith that is both passionate and personal, while also “intellectually robust, gracefully generous, and globally sensitive.”

A moderate Baptist is one who is frustrated by the reduction of theology, morality, and politics into white-and-black contrasts that deny the complexity of these subjects, and demonize anyone whose views differ from one’s own.

A moderate Baptist is one who is uncomfortable on either wing of the polarized Christian movement because we can appreciate principles and practices on both sides of the liberal-versus-evangelical divide. And yet, a moderate Baptist is also one who has grown weary of the Jesus found on both extremes of this divide—the angry, hateful, and condemning Jesus on the far-right, and the laissez-faire, anything goes, all truth is relative Jesus found on the far-left.

Despite the uniqueness and distinctives of our identity, a moderate Baptist does not believe the biblical message of Jesus is a “moderate” message. Jesus preached about a kingdom that is radically inclusive of all people, especially those whom society and the religious establishment of his day rejected. Jesus preached about a kingdom that is coming to reconcile, redeem, and restore this world, not escape and destroy it. He preached about a kingdom that turns the powers of this world upside-down by humbling the proud and honoring the humble; a kingdom that puts the first, last and the last, first.

Jesus preached about a kingdom that loves and prays for its enemies, rather than looking for ways to destroy them. He preached about a kingdom that is built on grace and forgiveness; and therefore, requires it of anyone who participates in it, regardless of the offence. He preached about a kingdom that chooses love above all else, by choosing joy and peace, patience and kindness, generosity and faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Jesus preached about a kingdom that selflessly, sacrificially, and relentlessly feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, cares for the sick, visits the imprisoned, and welcomes the stranger. He preached about a kingdom that ultimately submits to the will of God by boldly and courageously echoing Christ’s words, “Not my will, Father, but yours.”

This kind of kingdom, and its message, can be found and lived-out best by a group of people who choose to rise above territorial instincts and insults; who choose to rise above divisive discourse and polarizations; and instead, choose to love with the radically inclusive, selflessly sacrificial, relentlessly merciful love of Jesus.

I believe that kind of Christian community is possible through the convictions of the moderate Baptist church. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I give thanks for you and the type of Christian community we are at Vinton Baptist. We may not fully be the community described above; in fact, it may not be completely possible on this side of heaven. But I pray that this is the kind of church we will always strive to become.

-- Travis

This Sunday, November 27th:

The First Sunday of Advent

REMINDER: Beginning this Sunday and extending through January 1st, we will have a modified Sunday morning schedule. We will have One Combined Morning Worship service at 10:30 AM each week and Sunday School at 9:15 AM.

The theme for the first Sunday of Advent is HOPE, and Travis' message is "Holding on to Hope," based in Isaiah 2:1-5. We will hear from the Pandemonium Steel Drum band and soloist Darian Garland. The Lafferty family will light our Advent wreath, and Spencer Boyd will share our New Testament scripture. If you cannot join us in person, please tune in through our website or Facebook group page.

Please see our Advent and holiday worship schedule below for worship plans through New Year's Day.

Advent & Beyond

Following is the remainder of our Advent and holiday worship schedule. Our Advent sermon series is based in Isaiah.

  • Second Sunday of Advent, December 4th - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service. Jubilate Handbells will perform.
  • Third Sunday of Advent, December 11th - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service. The Chancel Choir & Orchestra will present our Christmas Musical.
  • Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18th - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service. Our Children's Choirs will perform.
  • Christmas Eve, December 24th - 5:00 PM Worship Service.
  • Christmas Day, December 25th - 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service (NO Sunday School).
  • New Year's Day, January 1st - 9:15 AM Sunday School, 10:30 AM One Combined Morning Worship Service.

Wednesday Nights @ VBC

There are NO activities tonight. We hope you can use this time to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Following is our Wednesday schedule for the remainder of the year:

* November 30 – Travis will speak on the topic of divorce. Children's Choirs will meet as usual, and our Youth Mission Group will deliver Christmas care packages to some homebound folks. Our menu is loaded baked potato quiche, vegetable, soup, bread, and dessert. Adult choir rehearsals will take place at their usual times.

* December 7 – Family Christmas Event! Mark your calendars! This event will take place during the regular Bible Study and Children's Choir times. Sign up for dinner as usual (menu TBD), and then stay as a family for a time of fellowship with crafts, music, a mission project, cookies, & cocoa!!

* December 14 – Ministry Matters. Menu TBD.

There will be no Wednesday night activities after December 14th. We will take a break for the holidays and plan to resume January 11, 2023.

Dinner reservations are due by 5:00 PM the Monday prior to each dinner by calling 540-343-7685. Costs are $7/adult (ages 13+); $5/child (ages 4-12); children 3 and under are free; max per family (living in the same household) is $20; first-time guests are complimentary; takeout boxes are 50 cents/each.

JOY Seniors Luncheon

TODAY is the final day to sign up and pay for the next JOY Luncheon, which will be Tuesday, November 29th at noon in the gym. (Please note that the church office will close at 4:00 PM today, so please stop by before that.) Our program will be "Updates to Medicare," presented by Shannon Abell. There will be free goodies and new information. Our lunch will come from Three Li'l Pigs and will include a BBQ sandwich with coleslaw, your choice of one side, dessert, and water. The cost is $10/person. If you don't want to join us for lunch, you are welcome to join us for the free Medicare presentation.

Thrive Student Ministry

This Sunday, November 27th we will have Youth Choir and dinner at our usual times. Afterward, we're looking forward to Extreme Christmas Edition! Wear your ugly or beautiful Christmas sweaters and come for a fun night!

Next Wednesday, November 30th our Youth Missions Group will make some homebound Christmas deliveries.

On December 4th, youth will meet at 11:30 AM in the gym to set up and prep for our craft fair. Lunch will be provided for youth and parent volunteers.

You're Invited to Our Christmas Craft & Vendor Fair

We have nearly 30 vendors scheduled for our December 4th Craft & Vendor Fair, which means there will be many unique gifts to choose from! Plan to stop by between 1:00 and 4:00 PM and bring your friends. Concessions will be available.

Christmas Brunch Fundraiser: December 18th

Starting this Sunday, November 27th, you can purchase tickets at the Welcome Center for our December 18th Christmas Brunch Fundraiser, which will take place in the gym following the combined worship service and will be hosted by the Preteens. This event will be a fundraiser for the Preteen trip to Passport Camp this summer. Tickets are $10/person. The menu includes pancakes with toppings, bacon/sausage, eggs, pastries, fresh fruit, holiday punch, coffee, etc. Thanks in advance for your support!

Joyce Keaton

1536 Gordon Avenue

Roanoke VA 24014

Thank you to the Fellowship/Berean Class for their donation to the Capital Needs Fund.

Thanksgiving Offering

Please note that this year's Thanksgiving Offering will be split, with 50% benefitting the Capital Needs Fund and 50% benefitting the Blessing Box.

Children's Worship Volunteers

Please consider volunteering to help in Children's Worship during November or December. Click here for the current sign-up sheet. If you're interested but not sure what's involved, reach out to Sarah.

Please extend a warm welcome to Carter Russell, who joined VBC by profession of faith Sunday, November 20th. Carter is the son of Travis & Whitney Russell, 4301 Denbeigh Circle, Vinton VA 24179. Carter, we are thrilled to welcome you in Christian fellowship!

Children's Basketball Registration Deadline: 11/30

Registration forms are available in the church office or by clicking here. Please complete the form that corresponds with your child's age/grade level. $40 per child. Registration and payment are due in the church office by next Wednesday, November 30th.

Happy 70th Anniversary

to Gene & Betty White

on November 22, 2022!


Boys & Girls Club Collection

This December the Boys & Girls Club will welcome Robert Mauck for a fire safety lesson. As a thank you, the 4th and 5th graders want to provide the firefighters with whom Robert works with high protein snacks and water bottles for when they are out on a call. Donations can include protein bars, beef jerky, granola bars, nabs, and water bottles. Donations can be dropped off at the Missions Tables.

Christmas Poinsettias

We are currently taking orders for poinsettias to beautify our sanctuary during the upcoming Christmas season. They will be purchased from Martin's again this year and are $10/each. You may order in honor or memory of a loved one. Please stop by the church office to place your order no later than December 5th. Plants may be taken home after worship on Christmas Day.

Christmas Giving Tree

Giving Tree tags are NOW available! If you want to come grab your tag(s) before this weekend's shopping spree, you may stop by today (please note that the church office will close at 4:00 PM today); tags will be available Sunday, as well. Each tag specifies a local child's request (need or want) for Christmas. These children are from Keystone and our local schools. Pick up a tag, register your tag on the provided clipboard, purchase the appropriate item(s), and return your donation(s) underneath the tree. Gifts should be returned by Tuesday, December 13th.


Family Christmas Tree

Our annual Family Christmas Tree will be on display this Sunday. This tree has an ornament representing each family at Vinton Baptist Church. If you are new to VBC, or if you have simply never donated an ornament representing your family, please bring your ornament and place it on our tree this season. It can be any ornament of your choice that represents your family; please notate your name/family's name and the year "2022" on your ornament. When Christmas is over, we store all ornaments here at the church to be used on next year's Family Christmas Tree.


Rescue Mission Children's

Christmas Gift Bags

During our Family Christmas Event on Wednesday night, December 7th, we will be making Christmas bags for the children at the Rescue Mission. Please bring some of the following items to donate prior to December 7th. These items can be dropped in the appropriately marked box at the Missions Tables: Walmart/McDonald's gift cards, small or travel size board games, fun athletic socks/slipper socks, Chapstick, lotion, cute hand sanitizers, books, brushes/hair bows, mini characters (Minecraft, Roblox, super heroes), small plush toys, journals, coloring books, pens/crayons/colored pencils. Our goal is to stuff at least 15 bags of goodies!

November 2022 Calendar