Monday, March 16, 2020

Season Change

Dark clouds are rolling in from the sea and over the land.
The season of favour and privilege has come to an end.
A season of hostility, hatred, harm and harassment is beginning.

A sword of persecution will come against preachers
who go hard against sin with salvation by law.
When church leaders campaign hard
against abortion, euthanasia, genderism and homosexuality,
the world will react with hostility.
They will be accused of stirring up hatred and hostility
towards those who are hurting and helpless.
They will be labelled as lacking in love and compassion.
If fear, anger and hatred squeeze out of love and compassion,
the world will react with hostility.

When leaders use the sword of the state against sinners
and forget that sin carries its own punishment,
they will find that sword turned back against them.

A sword of persecution will come against preachers
who go hard against sin with salvation by law.
A sharp division will come between political leaders and church leaders.
Hostility will rise up between them and feed into hatred and harm.
Some facilities that have been publicly-funded will be shut down
to silence the voices that are speaking loudly against sin.
Some leaders will be hounded from their places of power
or silenced by dodgy legal and financial means.

Preachers who proclaim an exclusive gospel and eternal consequences for rejecting the gospel
will face terrible hostility.
The pastors who preach at their sheep from the front of their building
will be silenced and shut out.
Those who attempt to replace them will be silenced too.

A sword of persecution will come against
who have allowed themselves to be put on a pedestal,
who have taken the place of Jesus.
When they do not know who to follow,
their sheep will be scattered across the city.

After an explosion of anger and hostile threats,
some Christians will be afraid to come together in crowds.
When pastors fall,
their sheep will be scattered across the city,
afraid to return to big meetings.

When the sheep hide together in their houses
something amazing will happen.
The Holy Spirit will make his home amongst them.
He will heal those who are sick and broken
and many people will choose to follow Jesus.
God will raise up helpers from within their homes
to watch over them
to teach them the way of Jesus
and to bond them into his body.
They will gather to love and support each other in their homes.
Elders with balanced giftings will arise from within their midst
to watch over them.


The date for the NZ general election in September has been set. Most New Zealanders seem to be a bit bored by it, but Christians are rally stirred up about it. They see it as an opportunity to push back on the Big Four Social issues. A couple of them will be the subject of a referendum in parallel with the election. The big four social issues are:

    • Abortion
    • Euthanasia
    • Marijuana
    • LGBTQ issues
Focus on these issues is a mistake and a distraction.
  • Changing the law to outlaw behaviours that we do not like is salvation by law. We know that salvation by war does not work, and we do not believe in it, so it does not make sense that they are trying to use political power to bring social change. Advocating salvation by law is wasted effort.

  • The church has an amazing gospel and the Holy Spirit. These together are far more effective for bringing social church. The gospel can transform human lives and society. The gospel and the spirit are our weapons for changing lives.

  • The reason that evil is spreading in the world is that sin has become so widespread. The reason that sin is widespread is that we have not shared the gospel of Jesus effectively. For example, abortion is morally wrong, but we must not put the blame on the young women who feel their only option is to abort their babies. We must not put the blame on the politicians, who are watching which way the wind is blowing and give the nations the law that it wants. Changes to abortion laws are the consequence of the church's failure to share the gospel. We must not blame the world for our failure.

  • If the majority of the NZ population is not Christian, we should not expect them to elect Christian MPs. If the majority of MPS are not Christian, we should not be surprised if they change laws in a way that Christians do not like. Forcing them to apply Christian principles is not the solution. The answer is to change the heart of the population by proclaiming the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

  • The horse has bolted in New Zealand. Society has already decided where it wants to go, and is going the other way. Most people are glad that the shackles of religious constraints have been thrown off. They do not want to go back to the old world of religious condemnation and shame.

  • The four big social issues are suckering the church into supporting right-wing political parties. They will use these wedge issues to entice voters to gain power, but will give very little back. Political power is a trap and disappointment for the church.
    God does not care about these social issues as much as we do. He is sad when people reject his love, but he is not surprised when they sin. The wedge issues that concern Christians so much are normal in societies that have turned away from God. The solution is proclaiming the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

In the New Testament, Jesus did not challenge the religious and political powers to bring in laws to eliminate abortion, euthanasia and crucifixion. Instead, he went around proclaiming the good news and demonstrating God's love by healing the sick and casting out demons. Paul explained to the Roman Christians that increasing sexual immorality is the normal consequence in a society that has rejected God's presence (Rom 1:23-27). He did not tell the Romans to agitate for the Roman senate to pass laws that would stop these distasteful practices. Instead of advocating changes to the law, Paul urged the Romans to preach the gospel of Jesus, so that people's lives and their society would be transformed.

Jesus was far more concerned about different sins. He was particularly concerned about the sins of religious people and religious leaders than the sins of the world. When challenging sin, Jesus focussed on:

    • Unrighteous wealth (Luke 6:24-25; 16:13).
    • Religious leaders colluding with political power (Mark 3:6; Luke 23:2: John 19:12).
    • Imposing legal burdens on people to solve problems without doing anything about the underlying causes (Matt 23:2-4).
If the church persists in agitating on the big four social issues, there will be a harsh and hostile reaction. This will happen quicker than expected.

If pastors push hard on these issues in the lead up to the election, there will be a backlash from the media and activists that see them as a threat to their agenda. They have political support, so the fight could get really nasty. The social activists who have pushed these causes are tired of being pushed around and put in their place by the church. They feel like they have escaped that pressure in recent years, and they will do anything to avoid losing the ground that they have gained.

The experience of Isaac Folau is a warning. What the pastors in New Zealand churches are teaching is not much different from what he was teaching. Many are secretly saying, "He is right". The only difference is that he is better known, but if the pastors and leading Christians in New Zealand stand up on the parapet during the election, they will face the same vicious onslaught from the media and other social activists.

No comments: