The “New Thing” Is Coming!
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men... "2 Cor 5:11
What are some of the signs of the times, to use a Biblical phrase?
I think I see them everywhere. It is a lottery of $100 million in religious Pennsylvania. It is 200 black Baptist churches in Detroit deciding to clean up the city--- and inviting Lutherans, Methodists to join them... It is the totally unexpected appearance (even possibility) of "fusion." It is "the morality spasm" in Washington, and the belated unveiling of the morality of JFK.
But it is not just the "absolutely unbelievable diagram" (as one highly informed person told me) which we repeat again on page 17, nor the "State of the World" portrayed in our new poster (pages 14-15) and in the detailed table made up for the midpoint of 1990, on page 16.
No, no, no. I am not talking about just unquestionable mission breakthroughs, nor about just strange, unprecedented secular events. IT IS THE COMBINATION OF THE TWO.
For anyone who is living pretty much in distraction today, heedless of the signs of the times, there are going to be some great shocks up ahead, soon, I believe.
The "terror of the Lord" Paul was speaking about was not fear but a holy awe and reverence. It was a vivid, personal sense of the reality of God. It was the kind of holy fear with which Wil Norton is praying (see box). It is the clear-eyed vision we see in Larry Tomczak's sermon on page 11.
Take "fusion" for a moment. Once again the scientific community is taken by surprise. The jurisdictional lines between chemistry and physics, long precise, are nevertheless more and more meaningless.
But, wait! Even if this "incredible" fusion thing goes through... what is the value of a new, boundless source of power in an already power-burned planet? Increased power in the hands of man, in an already ransacked planet, battered and despoiled and torn up because of the uses we are already making of the power we have... what is the value of oceans of new cheap power just now--- or 20 or 30 years from now?
Will more power help us retain the essential ozone layer we are seeing disappear before our eyes? Will more power help us slow the destruction of the world's last remaining rain forests?
TIME IS RUNNING OUT. Everywhere you look. Looking into the atom, scientists learn more every day--- but are more and more confused by what they find. Looking out into space, scientists learn more and more every day--- and are more and more jolted and amazed at how much more there is to learn. A recent conference honoring Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel laureate in theoretical physics, talked of this age as one "in which through these gaps in the clouds we've seen our first glimpses of a wonderful new landscape, which is still largely beyond our imagination." There is a new humility in the highest levels of scientific thinking.
In medicine it is the same. Every lengthening of the diameter of our knowledge unfolds a much greater circumference of our ignorance. We have figured out how to type the DNA structure of a single piece of human hair. But we don't seem to find out how to prevent the violent murders that make these techniques so necessary.
The man who told me the diagram on page 17 "couldn't be true... everyone knows the world is getting worse and worse... " was perfectly correct about the mounting evils of our world. But had he not seen--- or perhaps sufficiently absorbed--- the evidence of the New Thing God is doing in our day?
Dear reader, have you?
"Much work needs to be done by the year 2000... Father, these tasks stagger us... strapped by our established lifestyles, value structures, and self-centered priorities.
We confess our weakness (in) family prayer... Seldom... do spouses work out substantial times for Bible reading and prayer together...
Lord, we fear there won't be a final push to reach the 12,000 unreached people groups by the year 2000"--- Dr. Wil Norton, Sr.