A Call to Revolution
It is the year 2008. The gospel has been spreading and the Kingdom of Christ has been growing for nearly two thousand years. But not without setbacks. For almost a thousand years, in the middle ages, the gospel was slowly obscured by the corruptions of a satanically-influenced medieval church. The light was almost entirely extinguished. But then God raised up a man, shaken to the core by a sudden insight into the inexpressably glorious truth proclaimed in Romans 1:17, â€œThe just shall live by faith,â€ and the whole world was again turned upside down with the divine power of the gospel. Two hundred years later, when hypocrisy and self-motivated will-religion had nearly swallowed up the good effects of the Reformation, a diverse and unlikely group of men, including John Bunyan, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and even John and Charles Wesley trumpeted the joyful news that once again shook up the sleeping world, and fueled a missions movement that has reached across the globe for the sake of the Name. And now, more than two hundred years later, the gospel that has once more been attacked and suppressed, and has given way on many fronts to the false gospels of prosperity, self-esteem, inclusivism, and tolerance, is on the rise again. The heavenly insights of Edwards, Owen, and others on the sovereignty of God, his unconquerable grace, and the joy which his glory produces in those who are his has fueled another generation of outnumbered but unfailingly victorious men and women ready to give up their lives for the King. A last, great missions-minded movement is preparing for a final thrust into the heart of unconquered territories, and the trumpet sound which announces that the kingdoms of this world are the kingdoms of our Savior can almost be heard.
But this movement, as all the other Kingdom operations before it, will not be without trouble. If we would be involved, we may well claim the assurance of the apostle that we must with tribulation enter into the Kingdom. The bloody persecution of thousands in China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and many other places, is on the rise. The satanic lies of Word of Faith, secular humanism, and many other devilish deceptions are abounding. Great opposition calls for great discernment, great effort, and great reliance on the great King of kings.
Would you be involved? It will not be easy â€“ but know that you are fighting on the side which has already won! In your struggle, which seems in every way to be set against you, you are more than a conqueror! Trust in the prevailing Christ, and your victory is already certain.
But be sure you move wisely. A wise battle plan will take into account both the operations and stratagems of the Enemy, of whose devices we are not ignorant, and the stratagems of godliness that cannot fail to overcome him. As we move into the next, and we hope in God's grace, the last phase of redemptive history, we must be aware of our status.
In the midst of growing Christian persecution and terrible world calamities, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004, hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Pakistan, and most recently the terrible cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China, and as we look ahead to all the fearful disasters which might yet be coming, we may be certain that the end is approaching, with all the prophesied disasters that it will bring ready to burst upon us with a terrific force. Let the nearness of the time fuel our efforts â€“ this generation might not have passed before the appearance of our great God and Savior!
Let us then be strategic in our efforts, both geographically and ideologically. Geographically, the great remaining battlefield, and the last and fiercest front for the battle of the ages, is Central Asia, the stronghold of Islam. Let us rise up in the strength of our King, and snatch a horde of sinners from every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation out of the ravages of the false god of Mohammed and into the glories of the true God of creation, Jesus Christ our Savior, and the eternal Father and his life-giving Spirit.
Ideologically, we must take stock of our position as well. Just recently, we have seen much rich fruit, that had been dormant for many years, spring up again in verdant lushness from the past labors of the Puritans. Men who have read Owen and Edwards have recast and trumpeted the truths which they gleaned from the scriptures, truths of God's unstoppable sovereignty and overcoming grace. Arminianism, Easy-Believism, and so on, are all around giving way before the glorious truths of Edwards' great masterpiece, On the Freedom of the Will, and Owen's indisputable tour de force, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Modern day reformers such as John Piper and J. I. Packer have spread abroad in current terminology the rich insights of such theological treatises as Jonathan Edwards', The End for which God Created the World, and The Religious Affections.
But now, we have the need for another such truth as God's sovereign grace, a truth which has long been dormant, to come again into focus, and shake the evangelical world to its roots. A resurgence of reformed theology, drawing much sustenance from Edwards' now-termed â€œChristian Hedonism,â€ is already shaking the world, and destroying the deadening effects of Arminianism and man-centered theology. But a new resurgence of Edwardsian theology is now most pressing, which cannot fail to shake the foundations of a naturalistic and Christ de-centralizing hermeneutic: and that is, a biblical theology which derives from a reading of his great masterpieces, A History of the Work of Redemption, and Types of the Messiah. Arminianism and anthropocentrism have been waning, and this has greatly factored into the evangelization of the nations. But now, Dispensationalism and modern naturalistic hermeneutics must also be defeated, for this will be the factor that will energize the evangelization of the remaining nations of the world, which still lie crushed in the hegemonic grip of Islam.
The simple observation of Edwards, that God is most glorified when his glory is not just understood, but delighted in, has suddenly sprung up anew in this age and has destroyed much anthropocentric theology. The indisputable syllogism of Owen, proving the particular redemption of Christ, coming to the attention of this generation once again, has thoroughly cut off the legitimacy of any Semi-Pelagian or Arminian ways of approaching the gospel. And yet, in spite of the overwhelming example of Edwards, Owen, and countless others before them, the Old Testament is still read today as one might read Homer or Plato, with a mind to discern, through humanistic canons, what the original author might have intended the original audience to understand, without taking into account the divine super-intendence of the whole. What Evangelicalism-shaking effects might the clear teaching of Edwards have, that the chief mode of instruction in the Old Testament was typology, and that this typology was without exception focused on the Christ? If his treatise on the end for which God created the world, getting into the heart of one passionate servant of God in this generation, has been so fruitful in a very barren field, might we not expect that same fruitfulness in the barren field of modern, post-Enlightenment, Dispensationally-influenced Old Testament hermeneutics if another such servant, getting into his heart the vision of Edwards for redemptive history, went about to certify Christ's statement that all the scriptures testified of him? There have been a few lone voices urging such a hermeneutic â€“ but the dam has not yet burst, which will flood the world with the unspeakable glory of a Christ-centered way of understanding all the scriptures, all of history, all of reality. God grant that such a soldier of the Kingdom might arise today.
Christians of the twenty-first century, turn to Christ as the focus of the universe, of world history, of all redemption, and especially of the Old Testament! You have the last great bastions of Satan to conquer, the riches of Central Asian kingdoms to draw into the Kingdom, and nothing to lose but your earthly bodies, which will soon be replaced with glorious bodies like the resurrection body of our Lord!