Wednesday, November 08, 2006

An awakening?

I was reading an interesting article yesterday about what is wrong with the Society of Biblical Literature. In the midst of the article, he made the following comment:

As for the Bible, well, it is living large again because America is in the midst of a religious revival. What some call the Third and others the Fourth Great Awakening is born of the resurgence of conservative Christianity. Among evangelicals, fundamentalists, neo-evangelicals, and Pentecostals, the centrality of Scripture to Christian life is taken as a given. It is estimated that these groups make up roughly 25 percent of the electorate. They also appear to have been the vanguard of the so-called "values voters" in the 2004 campaign.

<idle musing>
Personally, as much as I would love to think we are in the midst of an awakening, I doubt it. The hallmarks of an awakening/revival are an increased sense of awe and an intense desire to be holy, as He is holy.

All I see is an increased sense of greed! Give me all I can get; if god can give me more, then I want him, too. The latest Barna surveys show that there is no difference between christians and nonchristians in ethical actions. The only difference is in rhetoric. Well, Paul dealt with that already in I Corinthians 4:19, "I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power."

People love to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." But, most forget that this is a conditional sentence. God lays out four conditions:
* Humble themselves — Fail, as evidenced by the intense hubris of nationalism amongst evangelicals
* Pray — barely passing.
* Seek my face — barely passing, at best
* Turn from their wicked ways — Fail.

Looks pretty bleak, doesn't it? But that is a good thing. Maybe now we will begin to realize that it is God, and not man, that causes genuine revival. Programs don't work; intense religious activity doesn't work; only God can make it happen. We can set up the conditions, as is evidenced by the conditional statement above, but only God can do it...
</idle musing>

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