A Spiritual Renaissance
Robert Walker Comments on the New Orleans Congress
by Robert Walker
Robert Walker is president of Christian Life Missions in Wheaton, Illinois, and editor emeritus of Charisma & Christian Life magazine.
From his earliest days, man has attempted to forecast his future. Obviously, he would have much to gain if he could count on the accuracy of his predictions. But events have proven his accuracy is spotty at best
Among Christians this has been especially true in the many efforts through the centuries to predict the date of the return of Christ. Some of these prognostications not only have led to spiritual error, but often to social, financial, and physical disaster.
But what about prophecies forecasting times of moral decadence or spiritual renewal? Is this legitimate?
Several years ago, leaders of the three major (international) Christian radio broadcasting groups (Ron Cline of HCJB, Bob Bowman of FEBC, and Paul Freed of TWR) met and agreed on the goal of providing every man, woman, and child on earth the opportunity to turn on the radio and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in a language each could understand. They plan to complete the task by the year 2000.
The General Congress on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization concluded its conference in New Orleans this past July. From it came the announcement, "Between 35,000 and 50,000 members of more than 40 denominations, ministries, and fellowships are planning to work together to preach the gospel to all nations by the year 2000."
Not to be outdone, Roman Catholics are planning a $1 million project called "Evangelization 2000." Their IO-year project will culminate with a "worldwide satellite telecast on Christmas in the year 2000 when Pope John Paul II or his successor will speak to a potential audience of at least 5 million people."
Thomas Wang, international director d the Lausanne Committee on World Evanjization, suggests that God is trying to tell us something through these reports coming from a wide variety of denominational, parachurch, and Roman Catholic agencies÷al targeting A.D. 2000 as the time the entire world will be evangelized.
While all of this is developing, some segments of the secular media are implying that Christians seeking public offices are incompetents, that all religious TV personal ties are charlatans, that religion on both radio and television must be curtailed to clean up the financial mess which dominated the media in the summer months, that Christian moral and ethical values should not be taught in public schools, and on and on.
. . . (While) we must be prepared to cope with spiritual aberrations in the Christian community. "If we confess our sins He (Jes Christ) is faithful and just to forgive us oil sins and to cleanse us form all unrighteous ness" (I Jn. 1:9). This has been our hope ages past. It must continue to be.
As to a spiritual renaissance by 2000 A.D., more is needed than renewal hype. The massive evangelistic programs being readied by denominations and parachurch groups alike are indeed impressive. But w( must remember that history and Scripture i mind us it is "not by might nor by power" that spiritual objectives are gained, "but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty" (Zech. 4:6).
Basic lo revival is prayer. Basic to effective prayer is confession and repentance. And the fruit of these ingredients is holy living based on recognizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all. This and a liberal admixture of the grace of God could make the days just ahead the most exciting times of our lives.