(The Bible describes one of the tribes, Issachar, as people who”understood the times”. Loren Cunningham is a man who understands our times. I wrote this after a conversation with him; he has read it and is happy for it to be posted as an accurate account of the thoughts he expressed in that conversation.)
I was on a Zoom call with Loren Cunningham and several others recently. When it was over Marti, who could hear part of it, remarked, “I have rarely heard Loren speak so forcefully; did you get what he was saying? I think it is VERY important.” I agreed that there was an unusual sense of urgency and significance to what he said, so in the next session, I asked if he could write up what he said, or work with someone else to do that. His rejoinder was to say I should write up what he said from the notes being taken. Here it is:
THE TIME OF OPPORTUNITY IS GETTING SHORTER
We must be more diligent and work faster because the time of opportunity is being shortened. Many of the nations, known for their freedoms, are seeing those freedoms limited in ways we could not have imagined, even just a year ago.
The eroding of freedom of speech and freedom of movement over recent years has been obvious and have been written about and broadcast extensively, but the trend continues. Soon, it will enter a new phase.
There will be a worldwide vocal attack on the Bible. This will be an effort to stop our God-given mandate to make the Bible available to everyone in their mother tongue.
OUR BELIEFS, OUR CULTURE, AND OUR HISTORY – UNDER ATTACK
The Bible is being targeted because it gives us our beliefs and from our beliefs, we get our culture. Those who are determined to change our culture are working hard to banish any record of Biblical influence from our history. (I, Lynn, might add that, on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in 2011, the renowned broadcaster, author and Parliamentarian, Melvyn Bragg, produced and presented “The Legacy of the King James Bible”. He said, “It was in fact the King James Bible that had the greatest impact on everything from English language and literature to Western democracy.” Then, it was broadcast by the BBC, but I am certain they would not allow it today.)
With the Bible guiding our beliefs and lying at the centre of Western democracy, as Bragg stated, we have had a standard by which we could say what was good and what was evil in our history. There was, of course, a lot of both because those are always the results of human activity. But with extensive Biblical influence, the United States of America became a nation with a common culture in which people gained more freedom and prosperity than had ever been known on earth. Many other western nations also had extensive influence from the Bible, and the “American experiment” was an inspiration to other nations and cultures. (If You Can Keep It, by Eric Metaxas, is a spell-binding account of Biblical Christian influence on the American Constitution.)
If anyone sets out to change a nation, they must first rewrite the history. The more extreme left-wing movement in America and much of Europe has been determined to do exactly that. First, they write their own version of history and then they teach it in our schools and colleges, with no other versions permitted. They know that no one will work hard to overthrow the current social order unless they believe it is irredeemably bad. One well known socialist Ivy League professor stated that socialism cannot work until everyone thinks the same. The extreme left has set out to get everyone to think alike. The New York Times 1619 Project is an example of how young people are being taught that the history of the USA and Western Culture is predominantly evil.
WE MUST “WORK WHILE IT IS DAYTIME”
What once seemed impossible, or at least very unlikely, is now a strong probability. The Bible could be labelled hate-speech and then be banned. We must redouble our efforts to get it out more and more widely. That is clearly the will of God and when we do exactly what he wants, he will work with us and we will be able to do more than we ever thought possible.
WE HAVE A PANDEMIC, BUT NOT THE ONE YOU THINK
There is a pandemic among missionaries. Over 5% of them have recently had to leave the place of their calling. This is the beginning of a revolution, a dramatic change in the strength of missions sent out from America and other Western democracies. Because of the other pandemic, Covid-19, millions of people have become more and more dependent on government to tell them what they can and cannot do. Millions have also become dependent on the money governments are printing. These factors and others have led to a drop in money given to missions.
Some mission boards have looked at the drop in income and have let the accounts tell them what to do. For many boards, the decision was just a sad, but necessary, business decision: when the revenue drops, cut your costs! 20% loss in income means 20% of our missionaries must be fired.
This is not the way the economy of the Kingdom of God works. He will always provide sufficiently for His people to go where he calls them and live there. May the Lord grant a new measure of faith to those whose support has been cut!
As you probably know, this is not the whole picture. About the time YWAM began, the mission force also began to change dramatically. It is no longer comprised of missionaries from Western nations going to the rest of the world. Now the mission force comes from all over the world and goes all over the world. It is so much more resilient than it was. Thank God for that!
WILL THE VACCINE SAVE US?
At the time of this conversation, three potentially effective vaccinations have been announced, but none has been made widely available yet. But the CEO of Qantas Airlines has already announced that a certificate of vaccination will be “a necessity for every passenger who wishes to travel internationally”.
That’s another level of control and we are expected to get used to it, just as most of us have adjusted to churches being closed or so heavily restricted that we cannot worship in song or host full congregations. When governmental authorities can decide who can or cannot travel, it would be a small step to prevent missionaries from reaching the place of their calling.
A NEW WORLD ORDER
Meanwhile many world leaders are calling for more global control to address this pandemic and the crises of climate change and the world economy. In his September 2020 address to the United Nations General Assembly, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, said the Covid-19 pandemic was our “wakeup call”. He pointed out that the UN was based upon multinational cooperation, but that is not working. He said we need a new way of thinking, that “we must work together regardless of how the lines are drawn on our maps.”
Admittedly, Trudeau is one of the more extreme liberal voices and there is little chance that the squabbling member nations of the UN will suddenly start to work together in harmony. But the call for a “new global authority” with teeth is now widespread.
THE MOST THREATENING PANDEMIC
During 1918 and 1919, the Spanish Flu resulted in up to 50 million deaths. The 1968 and 69 Hong Kong Flu, originating in China like Covid-19, killed up to 4 million people globally. Covid-19 has, thus far, resulted in 1.4 million deaths. That is about 2% of the total global deaths in the past 12 months. The average age of deaths due to Covid in the United Kingdom is 82 and the median age across all nations is 79.5. Those younger people who die of Covid-19 almost always have other serious diseases. These historical facts should lead us to stop and think. Why is this pandemic being presented to us by governments and the media as if it is killing, or will kill, more people than anything in living memory? Why is there so much panic when a flu pandemic killed two or three times as many people when I was a young adult?
The most threatening pandemic is the pandemic of fear and the consequences we are reaping. Because of fear, we are giving up our civil liberties at a rate we could not have imagined just one year ago. Who would have thought that the government could close down churches, forbid congregational singing in any circumstances, prevent us from seeing family members, stop us eating in restaurants—as you know, the list goes on and on!
WE HAVE AN UNCONDITIONAL MANDATE—LET’S GET ON WITH IT!
Jesus gave us a commandment to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth, he said, “has been given to me! So you must go and make all the nations into disciples. Baptize them in the name of the father and of the son, and of the holy spirit. Teach them to observe everything I have commanded you. And look: I am with you, every single day, to the very end of the age.”
We are not yet at the end of the age, so he is still with us! And his command was not conditional. The first few generations of disciples who followed Jesus had many more disadvantages than we have. Their lives were much more difficult, and opposition greeted them everywhere they turned. But they changed their world! With Jesus working in us and through us, we can make all the nations into disciples. Just don’t be afraid to obey him!
Love this Lynn. Truth with compromise. Well said.
Perfect, this is exactly what I and many others are sensing. We continue to.pray into this.( Donna, Kristen, Patricia Talbott and I) Most accurate word to date. Thank you Lynn.
Amen, very well said and so glad to hear it from some of YWAM’s senior elders …
Sobering, timely, and eloquent words. Thank you for sharing them.
„Just don‘t be afraid to obey him“. It‘s a time to be bolder than ever before and believe and obey Him regardless., recognizing the times like the sons of Issachar. Thank you for having recorded and made available this timely reminder full of wisdom.
I agree that we need to be aware of the times we live in and see what God is doing. But I have a few concerns about several of Loren’s comments….
One of the reasons the death rates are so low is our amazing hospitals and the availability of amazing scientific research to bring in treatments for diseases These were not nearly as developed in the flu epidemics mentioned. Some UK hospitals are on the edge of being able to cope, as are many hospitals around the world.
About the average age of deaths: God calls us to care for those who are vulnerable, who cannot protect themselves, no matter their age. It reminds me a bit of Scrooge, when he said that the poor and needy (or in this case, the old and ill) may as well die quickly and reduce the surplus population rather than us putting in the effort (personal and governmental) and resources into protecting and caring for them. Jesus calls individuals, and nations, to better than that.
On the issue of church, where in the Bible does it command groups of 100 or more to meet together? Jesus said where 2 or 3 are gathered, He would be there with them. The early church met in homes. Isn’t that what we are doing now? I think many Americans forget one of the most worrying Covid outbreaks was in a church choir practice in Washington State, where 1 person was asymptomatic but infectious, and the result was many people becoming very ill and several dying. It seems to me the Gospel spreads the quickest in nations with the greatest persecution (China and more recently, Iran, for instance. Even ISIS has brought many to salvation, according to Christians in the Middle East!) And the pandemic spreads the quickest where many people are indoors for an hour or more, particularly where they are singing or shouting loudly.
Surely it is not God’s will that His people push their “rights” instead of preferring one another, protecting the vulnerable, and being God’s hands (practical help) and feet (bringing the Good News like the messengers of old). In the Old Testament, time and time again God judged governments (of Judah and Israel, and gentile governments) of not caring for the most vulnerable in their societies. He didn’t call out individuals, He called out nations, and their governmental leaders. He didn’t call them out for not standing up for their rights. He called them out for the sin of seeing financial or political gain as more important than the lives of those in need. Jesus himself said it is not good enough to say “be fed” and not feed people, “be clothed” and not clothe people, or maybe in this case, “get health care” and not provide health care!
Many of the reforms brought into UK law during the 1800s and beyond were campaigned for by those who became Christians during the various revivals in that time. They saw it as their responsibility to stand for the poor and needy, the vulnerable, the prisoner, and bring in what would be considered “left-wing” reforms.
In the UK, socialist ideas were first espoused by these Christians! Not all “socialism” is Communism. Socialism taken to the extreme can become Communism, but then again Capitalism taken to the extreme can become Fascism. Both Communism and Fascism, while political opposites, are two sides of the same coin — they are all about control,. ANY political system — or political party, for that matter — invented by man has a fatal flaw: sin.
To change a nation does not require “rewriting history.” Isn’t that exactly what Jesus called us to when He mandated us to disciple nations? Amongst other things, this means teaching forgiveness and reconciliation, acknowledging the evils done but forgiving our enemies. That means teaching integrity, where our words, our behaviour and our hearts are in unison. And that means teaching compassion, practically serving those in need.
(Looking at the “freedom of movement” issue makes me wonder if Loren would be against Brexit???)
I love Loren, however we must remember he is from the American culture of demanding our rights (to freedom in all areas) rather than carrying responsibility for one another, i.e. being our brother’s keeper. In the understanding of many American Christians, our UK NHS is a Socialist, and therefore Communist, and therefore anti-Christian, invention, rather than an institution founded on Christian principles (it was actually modelled on a health system that developed in a Welsh village after the Welsh Revivals.)
As an expat American living in the UK (and other nations) for 30 years, I can see strengths and weaknesses, righteousness and sinfulness, in both cultures. From my reading of Scripture, and that of many in the world, the God of the Old Testament, and even Jesus Himself, may be seen as left-leaning, maybe even somewhat socialist, in many American Christian’s eyes.
My dear brother Loren has great wisdom on many things, and I honour and love his teaching on many things. It was his teaching which brought me into YWAM! But like everyone, including myself, not everything he says is perfectly true. I agree with him on many things he has said here. I, too am watching the times and seasons and see that we are quickly coming towards the end of this time in history, perhaps even towards the return of Jesus. The Bible has had incredible influence in the development of the good parts of Western culture. However I wonder if he needs to be careful to take his cultural and political glasses off in commenting on situations such as these.
I have approved of your comments, which means I have allowed it to be seen on my blog site. However, I disagree with the way you have described Loren and some of the thoughts he expresses.
Thank you Sandi Hobbs for your reply and bringing a fuller perspective.
Thank you Sandra. Well said and also I agree with you. You were honouring and honest.
Well said Sandra. I total agree with your perspectives
“One of the reasons the death rates are so low is our amazing hospitals and the availability of amazing scientific research to bring in treatments for diseases…”
Actually, very little has changed in the last hundred years in how we deal with pandemics. In fact, several scholarly articles have been written about how very little has changed in our response to pandemics since the *middle ages.* In reality, our medical treatment of COVID has been quite ineffective and scattershot. Our main medical treatment was originally ventilators, and those proved to be quite dismal in their ability to save any lives while many medical professionals believe they actually were detrimental to patient health. Other drugs and medical interventions have been only modestly effective at best, with much debate and controversy within the medical community on the efficacy of any of them. So there is no reason to believe the current death rate has somehow been significantly suppressed due to the marvel of modern medicine.
“About the average age of deaths: God calls us to care for those who are vulnerable, who cannot protect themselves, no matter their age…”
Death is inevitable and there is no magical age which is considered the appropriate one to die at or which any person is guaranteed—79.5 is well above the historical average and even above the US average life expectancy. Prolonging natural lives another few years is not the Church’s highest priority or God-given mandate. Loren is in his 80’s, so he’s clearly not suggesting that elders are disposable or should not be cared for. He’s simply reminding us there are higher biblical priorities which the Church and our mission need to be aware of and not discard in the futile attempt to avoid death at any and all cost.
“On the issue of church, where in the Bible does it command groups of 100 or more to meet together? Jesus said where 2 or 3 are gathered, He would be there with them. The early church met in homes…”
The church was patterned after the OT synagogue, which most certainly included more than 2 or 3 people at a time in corporate worship and reading of the Word. House churches were established mainly due to persecution, not because larger corporate meeting spaces were viewed as unbiblical. There are church historians who believe there were congregations even in the 1st century which were larger than 100. Jewish synagogues most certainly were larger.
“Surely it is not God’s will that His people push their “rights” instead of preferring one another, protecting the vulnerable, and being God’s hands (practical help) and feet (bringing the Good News like the messengers of old)…”
We are discussing religious freedom, which is enormously advantageous in advancing the Kingdom and preaching the Gospel to all nations. The latter is absolutely God’s highest priority, therefore the former should also be prized and safeguarded by those who desire that end. Can we send the Gospel to all nations without any religious freedom in the world? It’s possible, but it would take much longer, and that means many hundreds of millions or even billions of souls being lost in the meantime. This is not an acceptable trade-off, to prolong a few mortal lives now by giving up religious freedoms at the cost of countless eternal souls later. Again, our mandate, and therefore our *highest* priority must be the Great Commission, not ensuring our elderly live to see 80 rather than 79.5 (for context, the average life expectancy in the US is only 78.5 and globally it’s 72).
“Not all “socialism” is Communism. Socialism taken to the extreme can become Communism, but then again Capitalism taken to the extreme can become Fascism…”
The term “capitalism” was actually coined in the mid 19th century by socialists. Before that, the concept was simply known as free market economies. A free market, as the name suggests, is free and without coercion, force, or control. So no, “capitalism” taken to an extreme does not produce fascism as the former is a free economic model and the latter is an athoritarian governmental model. On a governmental spectrum, the further left you slide, the more government control you have while the further right you slide, the less government control you have. Therefore the extremity of the left is authoritarianism (total government control) while the extremity of the right is anarchy (zero government control). Fascism is defined by authoritarianism… which necessitates a large and powerful centralized government, which simply is not a concept you’ll find on the far right side of the spectrum alongside Libertarianism. Fascism is *associated* with right-wing politics, but it is not actually the end result of extreme right-wing governmental—let alone economic—policies.
If you know anything about Marxism, then you know that socialism is simply the transitive state of a society between free markets and Communism. Communism is the end goal of Socialism according to that economic theory, so claiming “not all Socialism is Communism” is a bit misleading and disingenuous when the entire Socialist agenda is to create a slippery slope which results in ever increasing government control.
“To change a nation does not require “rewriting history.” Isn’t that exactly what Jesus called us to when He mandated us to disciple nations?…”
You’re assuming Marxist ideology and Biblical Theology play by the same rule book and are guided by the same principles and strategies. Loren was referring to the former in this context, and was correct that rewriting history is a well-known strategy of social Marxism and extreme left-wing politics. Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and the NY Times’ 1619 Project are prime examples of this strategy.
“I love Loren, however we must remember he is from the American culture of demanding our rights (to freedom in all areas) rather than carrying responsibility for one another, i.e. being our brother’s keeper…”
We must also remember that the Framers of the US Constitution recognized that those rights were *God given* and came to that conclusion by being good students of scripture. You’re acting like the Bible advocates bondage and control rather than freedom and free will. You’re also accusing a man who wrote a book titled “Making Jesus Lord: The Dynamic Power of Laying Down Your Rights” as somehow making an idol of rights. Loren is arguing the case for freedom, not entitlements. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free…”
“From my reading of Scripture, and that of many in the world, the God of the Old Testament, and even Jesus Himself, may be seen as left-leaning, maybe even somewhat socialist…”
It seems you, like many others, have conflated spheres of influence which has produced a mix-up of biblical values and principles. The “socialist” ideas you see in scripture are within the sphere of *religion*, not *government.* It is biblical for the *church* to operate without compulsion, in the manner recorded in Acts chapter 4. But it is vitally important to realize that what is permissible for, or even commanded of the church, is not equally applicable to the sphere of government. Acts 4 was voluntary personal charity, not government mandated socialism. Without this distinction of recognizing to which sphere God gave specific tasks, mandates, and authority, you would have to conclude that the government is also responsible for collecting and dispersing our tithe and disciple making while the church can and should wield the power of the sword, administering corporal and capital punishment for lawbreakers. The simple fact is that God gave different authority to different spheres, and those roles and duties are not interchangeable or transferable. When government absorbs the role and authority of other spheres, whether it’s of the family, church, economics, education, media and communication, or celebration, society always suffers in the end.
I like your reply to Sandra. I am thinking in my very simple mind that Sandra must be leaning more on calvinistic thoughts which is becoming more and more socialist in their thoughts and ideas and using bible verses to support their socialist ideas rather than subjecting their thoughts (socialist ideas) to the words of God which I consider the truth of all times, of all eras, of all cultures and in all forms of government. I am not from America nor Europe but I am residing in the Netherlands which is one of the highly socialist countries in Europe and yes from the very beginning of my residence here, I always tell my husband that socialism is just a sister of communism. And my husband and his colleagues jokingly tell one another with their high taxes ( from a bracket of 39%-52% my husband reaches 52%) that such kind of tax is “legalized thievery.” and I agree very much that is it “legalized thievery.
Thank you Lynn for sharing all this with us. In 2016, in Milan, remember, God warned us of the shocking events we are going through. He asked us to build arches, places where life is preserved, not for our safeguard, but for the world around us. God has asked us to get ready for such a time like this, in the midst of difficulties, because he is preparing an unprecedented wave: let’s focus on what God is doing and not on what the rulers of this world have planned. May God help us.
Thank you Sandra — much appreciated perspective.
Thanks you very much Sandy for writing this reply, I whole heartedly agree with your concerns. Thank you to Lynn for allowing it to be posted as a response.
Sandy has expressed very well the concerns that I also have. I am a YWAMer currently serving and felt that the article misrepresents the science (making COVID appear less dangerous through the way the numbers were explained / not taking into account the measures people are taking to protect each other and the therapeutics helping reduce the death rate currently) and the risk (seeming to say meeting in groups should happen even against governments health advice) of COVID.
Our personal and corporate approach to COVID prevention is a great witness to the world. When we take science seriously and lay down our own rights of what we want to do, we show the world love and that matter to us and our creator.
Let us not grow weary of doing good. Wear our mask and socially distance. When COVID is over we will have our freedom back to travel and spread God’s word easily once again. For now let’s focus on where God has us.
There is an underlying assumption here that is not true. You use the term “the science”, which implies that there is evidence-based agreement about the nature of this virus and how best to treat it and how best to limit it’s spread. In reality, experts in virology, epidemiology, emergency care, pharmacology and family practice deeply disagree with others in their own, and related, fields of expertise. For example, my wife had an appointment with a surgeon yesterday who thoroughly disagrees with our UK government approach, though he would never say so publicly–and there is a reason for that. Those who disagree are often personally attacked and their statements are pulled off of social media or any other means of distribution. I’m not pulling these comments down because that is no way to have a conversation. I will only prevent a reply being posted if it is primarily a personal attack on me or other contributors. Thankfully those are very rare.
Thanks for your reply Lynn.
Ok, I will agree that there are different thoughts on COVID from different doctors and health bodies. So I understand your push back to the use of “the science”. Would it be correct that you do not align with the WHO’s assessment and approach to COVID? I do.
I still hold to the statement that I made following “the science”, that I feel you are “making COVID appear less dangerous through the way the numbers were explained / not taking into account the measures people are taking to protect each other and the therapeutics helping reduce the death rate currently.”
You have stated following in your post:
“During 1918 and 1919, the Spanish Flu resulted in up to 50 million deaths. The 1968 and 69 Hong Kong Flu, originating in China like Covid-19, killed up to 4 million people globally. Covid-19 has, thus far, resulted in 1.4 million deaths. That is about 2% of the total global deaths in the past 12 months. The average age of deaths due to Covid in the United Kingdom is 82 and the median age across all nations is 79.5. Those younger people who die of Covid-19 almost always have other serious diseases. These historical facts should lead us to stop and think. Why is this pandemic being presented to us by governments and the media as if it is killing, or will kill, more people than anything in living memory? Why is there so much panic when a flu pandemic killed two or three times as many people when I was a young adult?
The most threatening pandemic is the pandemic of fear and the consequences we are reaping. Because of fear, we are giving up our civil liberties at a rate we could not have imagined just one year ago. Who would have thought that the government could close down churches, forbid congregational singing in any circumstances, prevent us from seeing family members, stop us eating in restaurants—as you know, the list goes on and on!”
I am not disputing the numbers that you have given, but do not think that the comparison you have made and the conclusions you have drawn tell the whole story.
I would ask the following questions. Is 1.4 million deaths ok? What would the numbers for COVID be if we as humanity did nothing? Imagine if we rebelled against our government’s advice and did all the things they are asking us not to do.
From the start WHO have said that one of the most important things we could do is to buy the nurses and doctors time. Have we as humanity and our sacrifices not played a significant role in keeping hospitals from overflowing? And as such helped in achieving such low numbers?
We can not look at the low numbers and act like they would have been that way if we did not for a time give up our freedom and lay down our rights.
If I have prevented 1 death by wearing my mask, socially distancing, washing my hands, not going out when I am sick and yes not going to church and singing… then I believe I have chosen the right thing.
As YWAMers we look to you and Loren for leadership in many areas. COVID is one of the greatest issues that we currently face and YWAM needs to get this right. You may be aware that there is a YWAM Coronavirus Prayer Group with 4,413 members (31 of my friends are in there too). You are welcome to join us there, because there are certainly enough of us who this is affecting.
The thing is… COVID is killing, or will kill, more people than anything in MY 35 year old living memory.
Not so, Shane. Here are some of the other big killers in your lifetime. In the 1980s about 2.5 million people died annually from measles. About 1.6 million people die annually from Diarrhea. Malaria accounts for about 4.5 million deaths each decade. All of the above kill, primarily, the young. Covid-19 has accounted for 1.46 million people, with the mean age at 79.5 years; with very few exceptions it kills the elderly and those with serious underlying health issues.
You point out that I am not “telling the whole story”. That’s right. I’m just telling the bits that are true but not so often told. Please don’t interpret this as evidence of being hardhearted. I buried my mother last month and she died with Covid–though not from it. (That is often the story). These are just facts that speak for themselves; they do not convey my feelings about them. If you want more facts like these, you can go to articles by the Professor Carl Heneghan, Evidence-based medicine at Oxford University.
Thanks Lynn for this post. One would have to be blind to not see that the attack on the Bible is already underway in many spheres both in the Western world and globally. The bible is not only God’s revelation of his character and ways it contains our written marching orders for discipling all nations.
Regardless of the subject matter, one’s views are most often first seen through their cultural and experiential bias. With spiritual matters, one must recognize the times which Scripture speaks to, are to be discerned through eyes of spiritually awakened men and woman; spiritual discernment. Not because of the years of leadership which Loren and others have demonstrated with such discernment and the humility to go along with it, of which I am personally well acquainted with (I am an older Ywamer) but because I too have a degree of spiritual awakening and discernment to “know the times”.
The Lord has been my shepherd for over 60 years now, and I have struggled with understanding of what the return of the Lord “could’ like in the immediate days proceeding the wonderful sound of that anticipated trumpet call. What would the world and certainly the USA look like; how would the worldly governments of that time be governed. What really is meant by the mark of he beast and it’s implications at that time? I was reminded of the Scripture in, 1Co 15:46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual, etc.. One major aspect of spiritual maturity and or spiritual discernment is that we first see in the “natural realm”; principles and practices which are the natural daily events of humanity on Earth. From the natural realm, Christian men and woman must understand and follow into spiritual discernment and live at a higher level of understanding in whatever the Lord has called us to do. Yes, we have been called to address all of the diverse vital physical needs; the injustices of societies as a whole in this “time”, however, from there, their eternal need, the spiritual. Often, too much emphasis is laid on sacrificing the spiritual for the temporal, as we fail to “discern” the times and the plot of the “evil one”; the mastermind behind all the injustice, pain and suffering. We through the physical subtlety of emotion predicated upon the immediate (physical) often lose sight of the eternal and the expressed reason we have been commissioned by our Lord to stay and occupy. Occupying means to be busy and focused about the work of the “Eternal Kingdom” first and foremost. Satan can and often uses use the spiritual people of God, as he does with the natural well intended man, by lulling spiritual discernment into a marshmallow of good intentions, and the sight of the all important “eternal” is exchanged and weakened. remember, first the natural then the spiritual, and too remember, we are also dealing with our own human weaknesses and cultural experiences and bias; none of us have a complete picture nor do we posses perfectly developed spirituality and so we need the whole body of Christ to enable us to see more clearly and thus to abide and watching for His appearance; whatever that will look like!
In 1975, the Lord gave me my first message to preach/teach. It is the seldom heard events of the end of the Babylonian captivity and the rebuilding of the temple. The specific events leading to the captivity are found in Isaiah and Jerimiah, and the rebuilding events are recorded in Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah. It has been a message first for me, and then to preach/teach and is especially applicable today. The principals there-in are many, however the over riding message is this. God’s people must not be diverted with or by anything which interferes or delays the work which He has called His people to. The last instruction before His accession is found in Mark and in Matthew; Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
May nothing of this life with all of it’s immediate, varied and egregious injustices, ever supplant or usurp the all eternal most important; the eternal.
Thank you Lynn for posting this. Thank you for making room for dialogue. I have worked as a medical care giver before my time in mission and I am still connected to several medical people who also are questioning the strict measurements are in place. I agree that we have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable and to do this do so sacrificially nevertheless I am concerned and wanting to appeal that we would not turn blind in such a time as this. God is a relational God. He restores, he heals, he is just and merciful. We need to be careful in these times that we would not allow thoughts of suspicion and fear blind us. I am observing a breaking down of relationship all around me, a fear for people to meet each other with love and respect. Fear is a nurturing ground for manipulation.
Gods purpose for government is to serve, to protect with purity and generosity. It is to safeguard justice. In such a time as this it is my constant prayer that we would not loose sight and vision of Gods definition for justice, his desires, his plan of redemption which is still at work and will be until the day Jesus comes back. We need to be alert, brave, humble and clearsighted. In midst of lockdown is my heart compassionate towards others, am I concerned about the increase of humans being sold every day (this business continues also during lock downs), am I concerned with the breakdown of families, the thousands of children who are currently not receiving an adequate education due to the measurements. Am I moved by those who experience violence behind closed doors in their homes? Or am I checking and looking around and more concerned if there i s a person not wearing their mask correctly? Our call to be light and salt in the world does not change due to the circumstances we face in history. This is a call to persevere in sharing the word of God and to demonstrate it in midst of a fast changing world.
1 Thessalonians 5.
Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t usually respond to these things because I don’t have the brilliance of many of you, but I feel like the comments of COVID that Loren spoke of were just one small part of the larger picture of what he is trying to expose in terms of what is taking place. I don’t believe Loren or any of our YWAM leaders are infallible, but the overarching theme, or my takeaway from his message, was that there is a change coming to our world order that will try to negate the Bible and the very being of Christianity. To be judged as “American or Rights oriented” seemed to me accusational, as if he or many of us don’t care, when of course we do. Currently in the USA there is a group of people who are attempting to lobby legislatures to remove the accreditation of any school, public or private, elementary to university, that does not follow the “science.” In other words, if they teach creation vs evolution, their government accreditation will be stripped and their diploma’s no longer valid, grants and funding withheld etc. The goal, get rid of the Bible and marginalize believers. This is just one of many examples taking place.
Loren is not being callous or uncaring when he uses COVID numbers as one example. The NIH here is the USA is probably responsible for 100,000 of the lives lost because they have not allowed treatments for people prior to hospitalization, when even the makers of Remdesivir state it has to be used early in the course of the disease, prior to hospitalization. I was listening to a physician today sharing all of the options out there and the fact that as a physician she can’t use them due to NIH (national institute of health) guidelines. This is not about “pushing our rights” it is about the false use of the word “science” to make rules. That is simply the COVID part, but looking at all the signs that are out there, there is an attack on Christianity. We can’t let the gospel stop going forth because of these “scientific rules.”
I can say this as someone who is a nurse and whose mother is very close to death from Covid right now (she actually just sent us a text on how to divide her things among us family.) And yet, though she may or may not have gotten it from going to church, her church family and worshiping God is her passion and delight and I will never hold her church or anyone else responsible if she does not make it, when there is so much supposedly “compassionate science” out there that kept her away from possible treatments early on.
I just ask that you be careful of your judgements, accusations or implications in the words you use to disagree with Loren. He doesn’t need my defense, but because I agree with many of his assessments, I feel that you are speaking poorly of many of us in this mission as uncaring, lacking in compassion or “pushing our rights” just because we have a different belief system than you. That to me is painful coming from “family.”
Thank you Lori for your candid and well articulated response. It was so spot on. I have had personal push back after reposting Lynn’s article. It only makes me stronger in the area of honor, respect, careful in judgment and a word I heard today out of Hagai “Heed what you hear”. This could be used as a defense to Sandi Hobbs but I found nothing in her commentary of Loren to be so off course that it was worth her time objecting to it. I am very careful who I listen to and where that lands in my soul.
I had so much respect (not always agreed) of my physical Father that to levy this kind of criticism couched in “I love and respect” would have not been an acceptable response to him ever. I am the same with the Father of a Mission. I do not have to fully agree but wisdom is silence and prayer where I defer to “heed what I hear from the Lord”.
Thanks for those very good insights from Loren. I agree with him totally and he seems to be a rudder steering us in the right direction of thought in the midst of many false cross currents.
Actually if anything I would say Loren’s comments were more moderate. The situation is likely even worse.
A small minority of us believe that the Covid-19 vaccines will be quite harmful to health. It was pushed through at breakneck speed and there are valid questions about the long term effects of RNA and what ingredients will be in the vaccines. Will we who wish to opt out be unable to travel then? Meanwhile the globalists are now talking increasingly about “The great reset” which some say will be “an economic collapse with a smile” combined with more international government controls.
As for myself, our supporting church did not cut missionaries by 20 percent but instead by 100 percent! That is often the first part of the budget to go. But we are fine as God is faithful and provides. And there seems to be quite a sense that in 2021 there will be a great revival. I plan to be a full participant and even if that revival does not occur as projected I plan to go ahead with my own revival. Yes, let us all push all the more onward to spread the Gospel and the Word of God!
I have many thoughts about this piece that I am still processing. A “Sons of Issachar” message that doesn’t acknowledge the growing influence of right-wing thinking within the Body of Christ is not a little disquieting.
Chief among my present concerns is the author you mentioned: Eric Metaxas. I don’t know if you are aware of his activity on Twitter and his radio show, but he has been quite a loud voice of rejecting the apparent US election outcome, hosting many prayer meetings, propagating the most wild conspiracy theories, and, just today, amplifying a call for President Trump to suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus and establish military tribunals so that “justice” can be achieved against an act of “insurrection.” I don’t know of another influential Christian leader who has so fully and so publicly embraced these ideas. As a YWAMer who voted in Pennsylvania, I can tell you that while there were indeed some concerning testimonies from various polling places and counting centers, the wild mass-scale stuff that has been suggested has no basis in fact (nor has any claim of fraud even been brought to court in PA). Even before the election, I noted a couple instances where Metaxas was willing to compromise the truth in order to make a political point (see below).
I am quite angry about Christian involvement in the “stop the steal” movement. But I am also concerned for the Bride. Isaiah 62 reminded me to contend for the beauty of the Bride, and not seek to denounce, even as this behavior does merit a response.
So here is an unusual proposition. You, Lynn, may have the position to encourage a respected leader to privately approach Eric Metaxas and try to restore his perspective. I don’t know of any interaction Metaxas has with YWAM specifically, so I was thinking of someone like Franklin Graham. But it could be others, maybe even Lou Engle, if he decided to accept the apparent election outcome. Perhaps you could champion such a meeting, as a service to a man in need, and the Body at large.
I don’t expect you to publish this, but I hope you read and consider it. And please do check out Metaxas’ Twitter feed. It is sad and scary, unbecoming of a Christian thought leader. I hope to submit a more full response to your blog soon.
In His Grace,
Lebanon Penn. 2010-2016
My own observations of two instances of Metaxas’ recent deceptiveness:
1) In a pre-election debate with David French on a college campus, he emphasized a PragerU claim about the 1964 Civil Rights Act being “mostly” supported by Republicans and “mostly” opposed by Democrats. The Act was championed by Democrats, opposed by Democrats from the former Confederate States, and required dramatic bipartisan cooperation to overcome the filibuster. Metaxas is ostensibly a historian, he is smart and resourced enough to know better.
2) He described radio show guest Lance Wallnau as a “strategist / consultant” to whom God suddenly spoke in 2015. In reality, Wallnau has been a fixture of the “prophetic movement” for a decade, even publishing Invading Babylon with Bill Johnson in 2013. He’s exactly the kind of person who might receive a “prophecy” about President Trump, but Metaxas presented him as if the prophecy were a surprise, artificially adding some gravitas to the case for reelection.
Why would you expect that I would not allow this to be posted? I have written below that I will post dissenting voices, but not those who make personal attacks on me or other participants.
Have you read the Metaxas book, “If You Can Keep It”? If you have and wish to critique that, please go ahead. When I mention that book, it does not mean that I identify with everything he writes and says. I am not aware of his activities in relation to the election. I am sure you, like me, have learned lots from people with whom we also have some disagreement.
Your response seems to me to emphasizes one of the difficulties we face with online communication. It is all too common that we identify something written by an author, then disagree with that and thereby think we can dismiss everything they say or write. He was the lead writer for Vegetales; should we tell our kids to avoid those stories too?
Finally: no, Loren did not address the Christian far right element. That does not mean he has no concerns about it. It was just one of many related subjects he did not address.
I agree with many of your concerns about overreach and disproportionate government control. However, it is problematic to compare other pandemics, for example Spanish flu, with Covid-19: (i) the global population is nearly 4 times what is was in 2018, (ii) the world has become a lot more interconnected (iii) they didn’t have modern medicine or understanding of spread of disease that we have (iv) spanish flu is over, covid is not yet. With appreciation of these factors and assuming the same infection rate as Spanish flu it is not unreasonable to assume that hundreds of millions would have died but only comparatively small number (1.4 million), have so far because of the interventions which have been possible.
I am not denying that there are lots of assumptions and scientific claims which need to be challenged, not least how deaths are being counted. I too am disturbed by the level of government control from policy that is not evidenced-based, inconsistent and rushed into being with very little contest. I think we would do better to put forward a challenge based on scrutiny of the data and the value of political and religious freedom.
Presenting comparisons with other pandemics is no way credible, it sounds sensational but there is no sound basis for it – something we might like to accuse governments of – so we need to be a better basis to argue from.
Read the comment above, from J Stateham. I fully agree with his/her points. As for comparing the Spanish Flu with Covid-19, I’m just pointing out that the way media and government are fanning the flames of fear, you would think that this is the most awful development in centuries, but what we have is an infectious disease that might well effect 10% of the population of the world, but with a 99.9% recovery rate.
Here is a broad based statement by thousands of Christians addressing the polarization, politicization of this issue and the right and wrong kind of skepticism towards science in some of the issues being faced due to COVID. I have signed it and post it here for your consideration. https://statement.biologos.org/
It would be a very good statement if it weren’t for the substantial number of scientists speaking within their expertise and disagreeing with the official line. They are nearly always censored or banned from the various usual platforms. Two examples: Note that the “mainstream” magazine, The Spectator, was bold enough to run this article. Prof Heneghan is one who consistently questions the official line.
I read these articles and many like them and wonder what is really going on. I don’t believe this is some grand conspiracy, but things just don’t add up. You may think that is dangerous thinking Tim, but that is where my honest and pretty wide reading leaves me.
Hi Lynn, thank you for collecting these notes.
The Spectator article mischaracterizes a key (missing) piece of the “Danmask-19” study. Notably, it does not comment on how (/if) masks reduce infection *from* those infected with covid. To say “…the evidence shows that wearing masks in the community does not significantly reduce the rates of infection.” is a misrepresentation of that study.
Regarding the video with Dr. Yeadon, I took his advice and fact checked his total deaths claim. It is not true. The last recorded week had 20.8% more deaths than the 5 year average https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending20november2020. (You can go back in time and see that deaths are way up in previous weeks too; for instance, up 18.4% for the 46th week of the year, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending13november2020 and 14.3% for week 45.)
The claim that deaths are not up year over year is, of course, lynchpin to his entire argument.
There is a whole lot more to his argument than that, but I don’t have time to go into it now. Other articles will point out that we have had two years in row, not uncommon, of very low death rates from flu. When that occurs, historically there will be at least one year of higher than usual flu deaths, but flu deaths remain exceptionally low this year. Add Covid deaths in and the graph looks similar to previous historical flu trends. SO MANY FACTORS TO THESE DISCUSSIONS! I have to agree though, that the current wave could push deaths up to a much higher level. We will wait and see. These factor are why it is hard to say that the current official strategies (in the UK and similar in many states in the US) are just following the science. Too many experts disagree. Looking on the bright side, perhaps it will serve to illustrate that our trust in science can be misplaced to some extent.
This article addresses the Danmask study you refer to. I am posting for you and others to read in case it has not been seen though I suspect you have. https://www.factcheck.org/2020/11/danish-study-doesnt-prove-masks-dont-work-against-the-coronavirus/
Those who know (or take the time to find out) who Francis Collins is, will find the following a helpful blessing:
Also, remember that there is also “considerable disagreement” about who Jesus is.
Concerning a “pandemic among missionaries”: remember that a “culling” of troops not only did not defeat Gideon, but greatly glorified the Lord. Regarding comparisons with the Spanish flu and the Hong Kong Flu: how many Covid deaths will it take to justify aggressive actions?
While I agree that a Gideon (pruning) scenario isn’t out of the question and I’m sure we’ve all heard Joy Dawson’s message on the pioneering minority plus God, historical precedent is crystal clear—when fewer workers are sent, less work is accomplished. The Church has not grown linearly or steadily, it has experienced seasons of intense growth followed by prolonged seasons of contraction and decline. We know God will win the war, but the Church has not won every battle. Gideon was certainly a Biblical precedent, but Jesus’ words in Luke 14:31 regarding calculating your resources before going into battle are a Biblical principle. We cannot complete the Great Commission in this generation if we allow the current decline in missions giving and going to continue.
As for how many deaths it would take to justify aggressive action, that would depend on what your definition of “aggressive action” is. We’ve already taken the most drastic and aggressive action ever—at no other time in history has the entire world shut down their economies, mandated private businesses to close up shop, restricted freedom of movement and travel, and forced free citizens to comply with draconian emergency powers of state over a virus with such a low case fatality rate. Given that such an aggressive action has never before taken place and has clearly been quite ineffective (even mainstream experts are advising against a second round of lockdowns at this point), I am quite reluctant to give more power to the state and just go along with whatever restrictive policies select experts and politicians come up with. Especially when their strategy has largely been to throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. However, there is *no* amount of deaths which would justify restrictions on religious freedom. Period. This is a well-known biblical and historical principle which seems to have largely been lost on modern nanny-state societies: that freedom is more valuable than life and that there are far worse fates than death. It is impossible to read the Bible or history and conclude that safety and security should be our highest priorities in life.
“Also, remember that there is also “considerable disagreement” about who Jesus is.”
Not among believers, who are the only “experts” in that regard. But this statement seems to imply that in any particular field of science, there is a single true or valid perspective while all others are fringe, unsound, and invalid. This is simply not how science works (I do have a degree in an unrelated scientific field). As Plato said, “Science is nothing but perception,” meaning that human bias is always at work in our observations. The scientific method attempts to mitigate that effect, but it cannot completely negate it. Truth (scientific, philosophical, or theological) is not determined by majority vote. There have been countless times when the scientific consensus has been wrong and when fringe, minority views have turned out to be correct (or at least more accurate than the dominant views and models). An argumentum ad populum or the “bandwagon” argument is a logical fallacy, even amongst experts. Good science requires dissenting views, a free market of ideas, and an open forum for debate in order to produce something with even passing resemblance to truth. Dogma, catechism, and the persecution, derision, and silencing of other views is antithetical to the scientific process. But in a largely post-Christian, secular, and materialistic society, science becomes a religion, scientists the new priests, lab coats the new ephod, and studies the new scripture. It all looks and sounds quite impressive and authoritative, but underneath it all are feet of clay. I’d recommend reading the expose, “Saving Science” published in the journal The New Atlantis back in 2016 to really put our blind faith in science into perspective. It’s a pretty harrowing reality check of the state of modern scientism and references the metascience work of the most cited scientist in all of history, John Ioannidis—who coincidentally happens to be a dissenting voice in the current pandemic (he’s a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and public health at Stanford University and arguably the world’s most respected scientist).
Too many words, brother. Disagreement about the value of mask-wearing is irrelevant, just as is disagreement about who Jesus is. “Culling”, if from God , is a blessing to His glory; we are not doing work for God, but allowing Him to do His work through us. If not of God, the He will “work all things to the good for…”
Here’s a pandemic question to ponder: If only one thing were different might people think and behave differently? That one thing is this: if over 90% of Covid-19 related deaths were 6 years of age and under, instead of age 55 and over.
Sorry Stu, I’ll try to be more concise.
“Disagreement about the value of mask-wearing is irrelevant, just as is disagreement about who Jesus is…”
I agree—it’s largely an issue of conscience. Which is why I feel it odd that many in the church are discussing shaming and condemning those who have a different perspective. If it is law, then we should respect the law, however we don’t have to agree with it and support such policy if we honestly feel it has adverse effects. It’s clearly a controversial subject in the realms of science and medicine as well as politics and law enforcement, so I don’t think believers should feel pressured to take a particular stance or else have their character and motives called into question.
“‘Culling’, if from God , is a blessing to His glory…”
That’s a big “if” and not a presumption which I’d feel comfortable making by default given the Church’s historical attitudes, diligence, and commitment to the task.
“If only one thing were different might people think and behave differently? That one thing is this: if over 90% of Covid-19 related deaths were 6 years of age and under, instead of age 55 and over.”
I believe Lynn has already pointed out that many of the deadly diseases the world has dealt with do typically claim more lives of young people. But regardless, the answer is “no”— sentimentality does not change biblical priorities or mandates. Countless missionaries have taken their wives and children to the field knowing full well the risk such obedience entailed. Their love and sentimentality did not change their decision, and many have paid the ultimate price with no regrets. Our obedience cannot be contingent upon circumstances and agreeable risk assessments.
Have you rejected my comments? Were they untrue? Disrespectful? Unloving? Just remember that some folks think that I may be a direct descendant of a great Old Testament hero…Balaam’s donkey!
Biblical Financial Coaching
YWAM Mission Builders
It has been a few days since I visited my dashboard for this site. Nothing personal.
Hi great readingg your blog