As it’s behind a paywall, I prefer to limit/avoid direct quotes on the subject: but it is fair to say that in the article Big Trouble and New Leadership, Gary North believes that when things get tough, Christian leadership in America will get tough, too.
I have immense difficulty believing this.
Not because it is impossible: it is actually quite likely, assuming that a spirit of repentance and reconsecration takes hold in the church.
The problem is that “spirit of repentance and reconsecration.” I see only two signs that the American Church is in the slightest interested in repentance: the homeschool movement, and the Abolish Human Abortion activists.
This is definitely better than nothing: see the Western European Church, snug as a bug in her grave, as an illustration of what nothing really looks like.
But what believing Ameicans have done just isn’t enough, not nearly enough compared to the scale of the redemptive task at hand.
And yet, it can be reasonably argued that these things are the glimpses of something bigger, something that will rise with great spiritual strength when the time comes.
It is in the spirit where the real action takes place, then in homes and churches. I am content to wait a decade or three before the impact reaches politics, so long as it shapes homes, hearts and pulpits right where we are, right now.
That shaping hasn’t kicked in yet. Not on a large scale, which is what is needed for national (or even county- or state-wide!) repentance.
I am told that people in great pain and suffering look to God.
I am confident that that coming pain is a certainty, due to the coming bankruptcy of the Welfare State.
But the mere fact of pain and change, does not mean repentance and renewal.
There has been various Great Revivals in American history, each of which has left the nation more lawless and more secularized and antinomian than before.
from North’s Revival: True and False
In about 1735-60, there was a wave of revivals in England and in the English colonies. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield (WHIT-field), and hundreds of roaming itinerant preachers crisscrossed the country and the Atlantic, bringing the gospel to hundreds of thousands of people (in a day when fewer than three million lived here). Whitefield attracted tens of thousands at a time in open air fields, both in England and the colonies. Region by region, the churches filled up . . . for a while.
Then passions waned, leaving cynicism and unwed or newlywed mothers in the wake. In the town of Bristol, Rhode Island, from 1680 through 1720, there was not a single recorded instance of a baby arriving less than eight months after marriage. From 1720-40, the percentage rose to 10%. From 1740-60, in the Great Awakening era, it hit 49%, trailing off to 44%, 1760-80. This story was repeated throughout the colonies, according to one as yet unpublished manuscript I have seen.
There is no doubt that the first Great Awakening permanently altered colonial America. Historians argue about its political effects. Some argue that it led to a new sense of community, including political community, and a new sense of millennial vision! But there is no doubt that ecclesiastically, the first Great Awakening shattered what was left of the New England holy commonwealth. The ideal of theocracy–God’s rule through God’s revealed civil law–never recovered from the anti-denominational and anti-creedal preaching of the itinerants.
In 1800, a new wave of revivals began in the Ohio Valley, and grew to a flood in the 1820’s and 1830’s. This second Great Awakening led to abolitionism, perfectionism, Christian political action, cults, church splits, and eventually to the phenomenon which Charles Finney called the burned-over districts. These districts became cold and resistant to evangelism efforts. The churches grew rapidly, and then emptied almost as rapidly. Revivalists returned, and repetitions occurred, but by the end, the second Great Awakening produced effects very different from what its founders had expected: the Civil War and, after the war, the rise of liberalism and the social gospel movement.
I am confident that North will pardon me, if I choose to be suspicious of the results of a Great Future Revival. “By their fruits shall ye know them.”
(Also: the Western Church has a solid post-Darwinian record of failure after compromise after collapse.
But then again, hasn’t God merely given us what was our heart’s deepest desire — not the holiness of God, not His justice and rule, not the salvation of men, not a peaceful world, neither beauty nor truth, but Free Stuff from the Government?)
North rightfully insist that, if the majority of men are to be saved from eternal hell and damnation, there simply must be a great, overwhelming revival (See: Some Undisclosed Costs of World Revival)… and if the Church is not ready for such an event, they will be held in account for it by God.
I agree… and I think that everyone here knows that the Church is not in the slightest interested in any such revival, regardless of its fruits.
The Church holds the keys to salvation: if she simply isn’t interested in saving men or nations, then they simply will not be saved.
And that’s all there is to it… until the current Church, laymen and pastors alike, give an account to God before His Throne.
Or unless the Holy Spirit wroughts a miracle, using some really poor materials.
I strongly suggest that, as a believer, you don’t stand before God empty-handed or tongue-tied when He asks how you pushed forward His Kingdom.
You know, the Kingdom Jesus spent so much time on in the Gospels… the Kingdom that we were supposed to dedicate our lives to expand, in whatever way we are capable of… the Kingdom that was – and will – overthrow all competitors, in this world and the next.
I do not want to be ashamed, when I stand before that Holy Throne. Christ covers my sins: but the servant is not higher than his Master. Christ worked to expand Kingdom of God: and so must I.
We must follow the demanding example of Christ, Obedient to the Law…
…and the explicit refusal of Our Christian Leadership to behave in accordance to Biblical Law (never mind teaching others to do so!), is what promises great wrath to come, should there be no repentance.
Yes, even greater punishment than what we have today, with our slaughtered unborn, our God-despising schools (and the graduating classes of God-despising youth) and our pathetic, laughably powerless churches.
We are under Divine punishment.
We must know why, and we must repent.