Saturday, January 10, 2009

Revival? Not just yet

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that spiritual revival in the American evangelical church was imminent because, with the demise of the national Republican Party in the last general election, it would finally abandon its idols of cultural and political power.

I was reminded last night why it hasn't happened just yet.

After a singles Bible study at my church, most of the attendees repaired to an Olive Garden for dinner and conversation, and one of the other men said that the media gave vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin a raw deal, something that she recently echoed. As I'm in the media, I immediately objected, responding that her own shortcomings doomed the campaign -- and then a heated discussion (I really wouldn't call it an argument) ensued. Among other things, he accused president-elect Barack Obama of being willing to "talk to terrorists" and thus endangering our national security, never mind that Obama wants to address the issues that spawn terrorism in the first place.

Anyway, Christians of the politically conservative variety, such as my dinner companion, have long complained about lack of respect from the greater society, usually failing to notice that they themselves have acted arrogantly toward people not of their party, and I made that clear to him. Of course he didn't want to deal with that, which didn't surprise me in the least, because scapegoating is far easier than self-reflection.

The bigger issue is that Christians' insecurity and spiritual immaturity, the results of a refusal to trust God and His Word fully, are sabotaging our legitimate witness. Our obsession with cultural authority has led us down a path away from the "shalom" that our LORD desires and causes us to regard anyone who doesn't agree with us as an enemy, negating the grace of God through the cross of Jesus Christ. And our God is not obligated to bless that.

You see, many if not most people believe that revival will result in more "moral" behavior in society and hope and expect that the Holy Spirit will simply sweep non-believers into the church. It can't work that way because first God needs to deal with the idols already in the church before He can move -- because He will and should never share His glory with another. Last night was a reminded why, though I believe He will eventually move, He has not done so just yet.

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