Reformation and Revival
Friday 31 October is the birthday of the Evangelical churches. On 31 October 1517 Dr Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation with his bold stand at the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
Western civilisation has been blessed with the greatest freedoms, productivity and prosperity ever known in history. The liberty, standards of justice and creativity enjoyed in Western civilisation is a direct result of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught: "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33
It was Martin Luther's earnest quest for peace with God, and his intensive study of the Scriptures, which led him to challenge the unethical fund-raising tactics of the papacy and launch the Protestant Reformation. Luther's love for the Word of God and his dedication to truth led him to challenge the entire ecclesiastical and political authority of the Roman Catholic church and the Holy Roman Empire.
"Unless I am convinced by Scripture, or by clear reasoning, that I am in error for popes and councils have often erred and contradicted themselves I cannot recant, for I am subject to the Scriptures I have quoted; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. It is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against one's conscience. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. Amen."
Reforming Our Churches
"We are in danger of forgetting truths for which previous generations gave their lives." Bishop Stephen Bradley
Are our churches changing the world, or is the world changing our churches?
If Martin Luther, John Calvin, R. C. Ryle, D. L. Moody or Charles Spurgeon were to walk into our Sunday morning service, what would they think? Would they be shocked at the type of clothes worn? Would they be able to recognise any of the great hymns of the Faith, or have drums and choruses taken over in your congregation?
What would they think of the preaching? Is the Word of God faithfully expounded? Or has anti-nomianism and existentialism taken over? Would they hear the Faith once delivered unto the saints or a cheap grace and easy believism? Would they find worship or worldliness? Spirituality or sensationalism? Education or entertainment? Would they find a congregation or an audience?
Were some of these 19th Century believers to visit our church would they find us praying or playing?
Some have suggested that celebrating the great spiritual Revival and birth of freedom achieved by the Reformation is unnecessarily divisive, and antagonistic to our Catholic neighbours and brethren. This is an unfortunate and unjustified assumption.
The purpose of celebrating the Reformation is not to re-open old wounds or to blame present day Roman Catholics for what popes and their followers may have done four to five centuries ago.
The purpose of celebrating the Reformation is to focus on the tremendous courage and convictions of those Reformers who restored to us the Bible, freely available in our own languages. The battle cries of the Reformation: Scripture alone is our authority, Christ alone is the Head of the Church, salvation is by the grace of God alone, received by faith alone, is positive and beneficial to all.
The publishing of our new book Biblical Principles for Africa has sparked a lot of interest and controversy. We have been greatly encouraged by the many enthusiastic endorsements and positive responses to Biblical Principles for Africa. Just in these first 2 weeks, hundreds of copies of the book have been purchased and we've had many phone calls and E-mails with positive feed-back from those who appreciate and support its message.
There have also been a number of media opportunities as a result, including on Christian and secular radio stations. What has also been remarkable, has been the absolute hostility many have towards the Bible and Christianity. At our first Book Launch, at Parliament, one journalist responded to my Power Point presentation God's Law or Chaos, by saying: "If the choice is between God's Law or Chaos, I'd rather have chaos!"
I suppose Christian charity, work ethic, honesty and prosperity doesn't make as much news as crime, corruption, debauchery and lawlessness.
On a secular national radio programme (702 Talk Radio/Cape Talk), I was astounded at the intense opposition to the book from listeners calling in. Naturally, none of them could have actually read the book yet, however, the vitriolic outbursts revealed a prejudice against Christianity and a hostility for the Bible which seems to be increasing in many circles.
Christians Can Change the World
If God can change you, then God can use you to change some part of this world.
That our fallen world needs changing is beyond question. When our newspapers and films glamourise immorality, undermine traditional family values and encourage selfishness, greed and lust; when criminals escape justice by legal technicalities; when half of the world suffers under totalitarian dictatorships and persecution; when pornography, perversion, abortions, terrorism and the occult are increasing - then we know that this world needs to be changed.
But most Christians have abandoned their moral responsibility to bring the light of the Gospel into heathen darkness. Many Christians are allowing their own children to be brought up by godless humanism in state schools and entertained by occultism and pagan magic through Hollywood films and television.
Prayer and the Sovereignty of God
"Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests . . . Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
"God gives us the Spirit as our teacher in prayer, to tell us what is right and to temper our emotions. We should seek such aid of the Spirit."
"Prayer is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach us. He is the giver of all prayer."
"There is no man, nor church in the world, that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit."
We in South Africa are at a critical point. Both church and society are facing a multitude of serious crises that threaten not only our freedoms, but our very lives.
Over 3,000 white farmers, and their family members, have been murdered in the last 18 years, yet the Commandos have been dismantled. For over two and a half centuries the Commandos provided security for remote farmsteads. Now this protection is being removed. At the same time, the Firearms Control Act, which is seen in many circles as a prelude to the disarmament of many civilians, has made it very difficult for any civilian to obtain a firearm for self-defence.
Along with the crime wave, with an average of 20,000 murders a year, has come an explosion of the drug epidemic. More and more ministries are having to expend considerable time and resources on dealing with more and more drug addicts and victims of crime and violence.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon .”
What is Revival?
Revivals are a sovereign move of God initiated by the Holy Spirit working through consecrated men and women. A study of the Revivals in the Bible, and in history, reveal that all Revivals begin with a deeper appreciation for the Holiness of God and a realisation of how offensive our sins must be in the sight of our Holy God.
It has been well said, that “Revivals are not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.”
Revivals involve a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Holiness of God, of the wrath of God against sin, and of the utter depravity of man.
In the book of Acts, it was said that these Christians who have turned the world upside down have come here also. In fact, Revivals turn things right side up: Restored relationships. Transformed communities. Drunkards made sober. Thieves returning stolen goods. Blasphemers sanctified. Marriages healed. Estranged children and parents reconciled. The selfish becoming sacrificial. Conversions. Miracles. Healings. Revived churches. Revitalised prayer meetings. Dynamic worship. Decisive action to seek first the Kingdom of God.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
The Record of History
It is remarkable how much discussion, debate and media attention is given to the old slavery, that was exposed and opposed by Christians, such as member of parliament, William Wilberforce, over 200 years ago and how little attention is given to the much worse and greater numbers enslaved by the Muslim slave trade, as exposed and opposed by Dr. David Livingstone and others in the 19th century.
Outrageous Silence on Human Trafficking Today
It is scandalous how little attention or concern is given to the ongoing Islamic slave trade to this day. Even more outrageous is the virtual silence over the very worst slavery in history, which is prevalent and pervasive throughout the world today – to this day: Human trafficking and sexual slavery.
The Islamisation of Europe
BRUSSELS - THE CAPITAL OF EUROPE
During my recent Mission to Europe I was struck by the high number of Muslims in the cities of Belgium and the Netherlands. The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is also the headquarters of NATO and the home of the European Parliament. Brussels describes itself as the capital of Europe. It is now one of the most Islamic cities in Europe.
Sociologist Felice Dassetto, author of The Iris and the Crescent book, projects that Muslims will comprise the majority of the population of Brussels by 2030. Muslims are now officially 6% of the total population of Belgium, but over 25% of the population of Brussels. His year long research has shown that Islam now mobilises more people in Brussels than the Roman Catholic Church, political parties, or even the trade unions.
Abortion and Immigration
With the low birth rate of Belgians, and extremely high abortion rates, the indigenous Belgian population is in steep decline. However, the Muslim community continues to grow through both high birth rates and marriage migration. Nearly 35% of the Moroccans and Turks in Belgium are below 18 years of age, as compared to 18% of Belgians. In Antwerp, Belgium's second largest city, 40% of elementary school children are Muslim.