Saturday, May 25, 2024

American Prophecy (3) Repentance

The prophetic message calls the church to repentance. However, the word does not really explain what sins the church and the nation must repent from. I have recently been reading Jeremiah, and the contrast is striking. He calls for repentance, but he spells out in detail the nature of the sins that they need to turn from.

This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right.
Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.
Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow,
and do not shed innocent blood in this place (Jer 22:3).
Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
not paying them for their labor.
He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace
with spacious upper rooms.’
So he makes large windows in it,
panels it with cedar and decorates it in red (Jer 22:13-14).

But your eyes and your heart
are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
and on oppression and extortion (Jer 22:16).

These verses are just an example from a single chapter, but Jeremiah lays out the failings of the people and the nation in great detail through many chapters.

In contrast, the American prophets are vague about the sins needing repentance. They are stirred up about sexual and emotional abuse in the church, but that is too late to be taken seriously. They also speak about apathy in the church.

They say that university students protesting against the violence against women and children in Gaza need to repent, which is bizarre. I can remember when students were protesting against the Vietnam War. Four students were killed at Kent State. History demonstrated that the students were right and those who persecuted them were wrong.

When it comes to the sins of their nation, the prophecy expresses concern about materialism, but ignores the harm to the poor being perpetuated by the rich and powerful in their nation.

The American prophets are mostly concerned about abortion. Every abortion that occurs is sad. In recent decades, hundreds of thousands of innocent children have been killed and injured all over the world by American-made bombs, but there is no call for repentance for the terror and pain that this has caused. I find this hypocritical. I am sure that if Jeremiah was alive in the United States at the current time, he would be calling out this slaughter of “innocent blood”.

A related problem with the word to the nations is the assumption that if the church in a nation repents, God will protect the nation from external attack. This promise cannot be validated from the scriptures. While the moral state of the church has an effect on the state of the nation, it is not always determinative. There are plenty of examples from history of situations where the church was purified, but the rulers of the nation went in the opposite direction and were subject to an external attack. The Jerusalem church in AD 70 is one example.

Followers of Jesus would be unwise to trust the promise of the American prophets that if the church repents, their nation will be kept safe from external attack.

Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. That includes prophets.

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