Saturday, September 18, 2021

Revival Prophecies (3) Fifty Years

I have recently been thinking and writing about the numerous prophecies that revival would come to New Zealand. I first started hearing them when I became a Christian during the 1970s. At that time, the nation seemed to be far more open to the gospel than it is now (I will say more about that in a future post). The prophecies about revival have kept on coming since then, despite the situation in New Zealand becoming much more difficult for the advance of the gospel than it was when I first heard them. The difference between that season and now is striking. Winning the nation for the gospel has become much harder over the last fifty years.

  • Clergy are now openly mocked on television. If they appear in entertainment shows, they are made to look weak and foolish.

  • Most weddings and funerals are now conducted by secular celebrants. Christian content is mostly gone from these ceremonies.

  • The news media frequently report on sexual and physical abuse of children and women by church leaders and staff of Chrisitan organisations. Christians see these incidents as having nothing to do with Jesus, but that is not how the people of the world see it. They see Christian organisations condoning abuse. Christian leaders have lost respect, and some of the hostility attaches to Jesus.

  • Mainstream media readily publish articles mocking the church.

  • The culture has become increasingly secular. Many young people do not even know who Jesus is, and they know nothing about his life and ministry.

  • People now get their ideas about life and the world from television and social media. The influence of the church as a thought leader has declined dramatically.

  • People are used to listening to snippets on television and social media, so they don’t know how to listen to a sermon unless they are trained by church attendance. This means that preaching has become an ineffective tool for evangelism.

  • Many people see church services as strange events that they would be frightened to participate in. They are scared of being embarrassed because they would not know what to do.

  • Covid is going to limit the ability of the church to function in the way that it has in the past. It might be a long time before seeker-friendly services are practical.

  • Many people see the church as an institution that attempts to control people, not set them free. It is seen as desperately clinging to outdated and repressive values from the past.

  • When many people think of the church, they see an organisation that takes money off people who cannot afford it.

  • Many people now believe that all religions are valid and people should be free to choose which one they prefer. Some believe that eastern religions are better than Christianity because they are less violent.

  • When crises occur, people no longer look to God for deliverance. They look to friends and family, and government-funded social services.

  • Pressure from social media makes living a Christian life increasingly difficult.

  • The spiritual powers of evil have entrenched their authority in all aspects of the life of the nation.

  • There are very few Christians in parliament. A significant number of MPs are really hostile to Christianity, and many hate the church. The church no longer has a serious voice in the political world.

  • The current government is passing laws against Hate Speech and Conversion Therapy. The new laws do not define these concepts very clearly, so they have to be interpreted by judges. As social attitudes change, these laws could be used to silence outspoken pastors.

These changes make a revival that will transform the nation much less likely than it was when the prophecies of revival were first shared. So prophesying that revival is just around the corner, when it clearly wasnt when these prophecies were first made, doesn't make sense.

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