By Jeff Ziegler
Published March 31, 2008
“Is there not a cause?” – 1 Samuel 17:28 KJV
The cause of God in church history has often ignited the same kind of Davidic passion within the elect to perform exploits against indolence, ignorance and iniquity. The words may be different, but the intent and spirit; the reformation zeal of David the warrior king, remains the same.
Indeed Martin Luther declared: “Here I stand,” and John Wesley: “Give me a place to stand … to shake the earth.” These men and many others in the church’s illustrious history are illustrative of the divine stuff of zeal so sorely needed in our generation. They were men with a cause, a mission from God.
David was once surrounded by an indifference to God’s purposes when his nation was challenged by Goliath, the giant from hell, who sought to shame God’s people and eclipse the testimony of God.
“And the Philistine said, ‘I defy the armies of Israel this day! Give me a man, that we may fight together.’ When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:10,11).
David’s oldest brother, Eliab, dismayed and fearful, became angry not with the deity-mocking, godless giant, but with David who, in reformation zeal, eclipsed the carefree existence of Israel by arriving on the field of battle ready for mortal combat despite all of the natural circumstances arrayed against him.
“Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?’ … And Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David” (1 Samuel 17:26,28).
Eliab goes on to ridicule David as being prideful, irresponsible and full of mischief, to which David retorts with divine ire: “Is there not a cause?”
Complacency, lethargy and malaise concerning sacred or secular matters have long been universally loathed attributes of human behavior. Yet in today’s anemic evangelicalism such an attitude is not only being tolerated but is actually being nurtured and promulgated as a portrait of “balanced” Christianity. Introspection, stoicism and a marvelous indifference to Christian maturity suddenly are the means to a happy life free from responsibility, duties and demands. This kind of placid indifference is supposed to protect individual saints from “burnout” and to remove from our lives any call or cause which will demand sacrifice, pain or rigorous exertion.
“Happiness is a choice,” some would say. “So away with troublesome righteous causes and the biblical injunction of ‘going on to perfection.’ After all, happiness and contentment are the highest goals of life.”
This kind of sickening sentiment is a selfish, hellish philosophy which strips from the Church the depth of Christian character and reformation zeal needed to transform our society.
There are a number of reasons for the cause for the churches slide toward mediocrity in our day. Here are two of the top detrimental trends:
First, the greatest hindrance to a revived state in any believer is a short and truncated relationship with Christ our true vine of life in glory. There can be no vision nor vitality of life without an intimate, prayerful, powerful, reciprocal relationship with Jesus.
Amazingly, when saints are found “short of the glory of God” instead of drawing nigh to Christ using the means of grace of prayer, meditation upon the covenant forever, they look for the quick fix of the latest paperback at their local bookstore which generally excuses rather than challenges their lukewarm condition.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5,6).
The second trend which stifles Godly animation is the increasing popularity of pop psychology. Typically these psychologists are short on biblical theology and demeaning to the comprehensive work of Christ upon the cross. Any behavior which is deemed by these “experts” to be unbalanced is somehow related to a dysfunctional background or a co-dependant relationship. No thought is given to man’s depravity or an individual’s personal responsibility for his own actions.
Interestingly enough these same psychologists take great pains to demean and tarnish the testimony of the reformers and revivalists of yesteryear, for their lives eclipse the new “balanced theology” they are trying to promote.
For example: Luther is described as an “insecure workaholic.” Never mind that he saved the church from apostasy, published the Bible for the common man, initiated the Protestant work ethic and was the bedrock for Western Civilization as we know it.
Or take the case of John and Charles Wesley, who are described as “having manic depressive tendencies” and “dangerously unbalanced.” Of course, John and Charles Wesley were dangerous, TO HELL, that is! Between them, they preached 85,000 sermons, wrote 250 books and 7000 hymns. In addition to this, they saved their beloved England from the kind of blood bath embodied by the French Revolution. Oh, that we should have more of such unbalanced, insecure, workaholic, manic depressive warriors. We might actually win our current culture war!
These same psychologists are guilty of historical and theological revisionism which robs the saints of their robust and glorious heritage and replaces it with the touchy-feely, blame-your-parents-for-everything syndrome, effectively neutering and contradicting orthodox Christianity.
“Our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for Himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:13,14).
The following is a complete “recovery plan” for those who wish to renew their spiritual passion:
1) Cultivate your relationship with Christ in a fresh and vital way. Unload preconceived ideas which have skewed your vision of who Jesus is and search after Him as a man searches for a treasure. Look for the underpinning principals and patterns of scripture in order to rebuild a Godly vision and purpose for your life.
Then dare to be abandoned in executing God’s purposes for your life with much fasting, prayer and concentrated Bible study. Do not fear “burning out” for God! Indeed to burn out upon the altar of self-promotion or to run upon the ecclesiastical treadmills of futility, that is certainly sin. However, to know real exhaustion after a major spiritual conflict and victory, that is true satisfaction.
2) Reclaim your spiritual heritage by reading the original source material of historic Christianity, not books written second hand. For example, if you wish to study the works of John Calvin, then read Calvin, not books about Calvin which may have a bias or untoward agenda. Be rich in your Christian heritage, so that you may have a foundation for destiny in God.
3) Begin to build a comprehensive Christian worldview. Know your election and mission from God within this context and then hurl your every faculty toward this purpose. Yes indeed, “Seek first the kingdom of God!”
Jeff Ziegler is president of Christian Evangelistic Endeavors, a ministry dedicated to bringing a great and mighty revival to the Church and spiritual awakening throughout the nations. C.E.E. sponsors Intensive Revival School, a two year discipleship training program designed to prepare students for the ministry. Revival Flame, a bimonthly newsletter published by C.E.E., contains articles written by staff members and revivalists of old concerning revivals past and present. If you wish to receive Revival Flame, write:
35155 Beachpark Dr.
Eastlake, OH 44095
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Reformation
Your comments are welcome!
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)