The basic rule of Reformation is as follows: Wherever the Bible has become available in the language of the people, revival and reformation follows.
The Gospel cannot be stopped anywhere in the world now because of the fiber-optics revolution. We do not have to smuggle Bibles and sound teaching into these countries. It is already there.
Most Muslims are not fanatics who want to kill all Christians, but are like most nominally religious people in third world countries. Much of the current fanaticism is a response against the new “openness” because unfortunately they see only the depravity of the West and not the Christian foundation. Muslims want stable families and a lawful social order. When they see that Christ can give that to them, little by little they will be converted in each generation. We can offer the tools to help them to that end.
In the West, we have had the Bible for 500 years, but then we had liberalism in the church and the wrong strategy of countering liberalism with fundamentalism which had its roots in pietism and dispensationalism. Both of those movements robbed us of the vision to be cultural revolutionaries. At the same time that Islamic dictatorships are falling into turmoil, Western humanism has had its day. People in our own Western culture can see that its values are bankrupt and there is a whole generation of people coming up that are open to a Christian Reformation — or as I prefer to call it: “a Second American Revolution.”
Most adult Christians are straining in hope that there will be a Revival, but they think of “revival” as a highly personal and pietistic experience. The truth is that there is already a type of awakening happening, but most adults don’t know how to lead the younger generation. What we should do is to systematically get more and more teaching materials with a correct Christian worldview to the younger generation in order to equip them to be Reformers. That is why the teaching videos and the pro-life presentations we want to produce are potentially more powerful than jihad.
Did William Bradford, the first governor of Plymouth Colony, ever experience a mid-life crisis? He was too busy taming the wilderness, converting Indians and building the New Jerusalem to think about himself. The Pilgrims and Puritans who came to this country in the 1620s and 1630s were looking for results three generations ahead. They too had their time of apostasy a few decades later.
Then there was the Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s. The birth of the first republic in the world governed by constitutional law did not occur until 40 years after that. What we should be thinking about now is not the immanent jihad apocalypse, but how we can be used 40 years from now and after we are dead. John Wesley and George Whitefield, leaders of the First Great Awakening, couldn’t work within the framework of the established church. They had to go to the coal miners. And that is what we must do as well.
It may not come as an explosion in the way we are used to thinking about “revival.” It will come little by little as we are faithful.
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