Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The overwhelming majority of people do not care about Jesus and His "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14. Especially in places where once upon a time the Holy Spirit worked with great power: Germany (where the Reformation was born), Scotland (where John Knox preached), New England (the Great Awakening), yes, England itself where some Anglican churches now stand nearly empty on Sunday mornings.
In comparison with how Luther's message shook Europe or how Paul's message turned his "world upside down" (Acts 17:6), our best endeavors today seem to be pale. Everywhere Paul went, one of two things happened: either a riot or a revival! Well, almost. He preached in the highly intellectual university city of Athens and not much happened (vss. 16-34). But to be fair we must remember that was the one time that Paul failed to preach what later he preached everywhere--"Christ and Him crucified." When he came to Corinth (1 Cor. 2:1-4) he turned the city "upside down" preaching the cross.
How can God judge modern multitudes who have never heard the message, whose prejudices block all efforts to reach them? We try to preach in Europe and sophisticated America, and little happens in comparison. Is God giving up on the "first world"? And will present-day "revivals" in Third World cultures eventually repeat the history of great spiritual movements that have been replaced by pleasure-seeking materialism? Is poverty necessary for the success of the gospel proclamation? If so, it would seem appropriate for the church to pray for another Great Depression.
But wait a moment: history proves that even disasters don't produce permanent revivals! Just one example--World War II.
Revelation 18:1-4 suggests an answer: a Voice from heaven will indeed reach every honest-hearted person in the world when the message is clarified as "light" that can "lighten the earth with glory." The final work will not be so much noise (a "loud cry"), as clearer "light." God grant us to see it.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 16, 2001.
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