Daar word op die oomblik in die kerk meer gepraat oor self-ontplooiing as oor self-opoffering.-Anon.......As ‘n kerk haar woorde begin devalueer, dan word die kerk ‘n ramp vir die volk. - K Schilder


...If the devil takes over....

What, do you think, will happen if the devil were to take over your town? I'm fairly sure you will say "Oh dear me, lots of mayhem, immorality, lawlessness, suffering of believers," etc.

Quite sure?

Here are two scenario's:

It has been calculated that between the first persecution under Nero in 64 to the Edict of Milan in 313, Christians experienced 129 years of persecution and 120 years of toleration and peace.

We all know that the church grew exponentially during those first 300 years. I know there are many reasons - foremost it was te Spirit of the Lord who made it happen. But, in some respects it was also because the church could offer an alternative to the then current social and religious decadence.

During Old Testament times Israel was repeatedly warned to mend its ways, but Ii peresisted in idolatry, persuing materilalism and prosperity at the expenxse of "God-centredness", exploiting the poor, etc.

Christians offered a change, which many accepted.
The Israelites were content in their sinful ways and did not want to change.

The devil has tried persecution, etc and it did not seem to work for him.

So what will happen if he takes over? He wil not want people to change and become christians. He will not want christians to be Christ-focussed. He will create a society of contentment, because if you are content, why would you want to change?

Society, including christians, is materialisitcally and prosperity focussed these days. We are so taken up with self-esteem, self-improvement and self-help recipies, living the "golden rule," being humanitarian, etc.

Crime will dissapear, prosperity will ensue, the churches will be full hearing sermons with themes like "Seven Biblical principles for a better self-esteem." Or "Nine ways to improve your relationships based on the Bible." Or "Biblical perspectives on the environment." Or "What the Bible says about reaching out to people." Or "On the virtue of being tolerant towards blasphemers because their blsaphemy is not directed towards God (after all, He is almighty, so He can protect His holiness, can't He?) - it is directed at christians to irritate them." Or "On being patient with those who differ from you in their faith - it is not heresy, it is a new way of contemplating faith or God." Or even more of the "health and wealth" gospel that we know so very well. (Some say "blab it and grab it" gospel) This gospel gives you some "biblical" formula that you must follow to the letter and you are guaranteed to be healthy and wealthy, and of course if it doesn't happen, you didn't follow the formula correctly of do not have enough faith, etc.

Does all this seem familiar to you? But don't you miss something crucial?

I know this is all in the Book of Revolutions only. The New Testament paints a different picture - or does it? Anyway, to me it is a sobering thought.


Henrietta said...

Thanks for this thought provoking posting Yf! Yes, for sure the wily evil one will use all kinds of strategies, and many people are unwitting instruments in his hand.

You mentioned “the church (Christianity?) could offer an alternative”. Proof of this is what happened in Haiti after the earthquake. Remember in a previous posting we mentioned the man who related Haiti’s past, about their belief in voodoo, and the country being dedicated to the devil? Well, here is some really good news!

Jericho Walls Prayer newsletter reports that thousands of Haitians turned to God after the quake.

“A reported 40,127 Haitians have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ since the January earthquake. People were in the streets begging God for forgiveness and mercy. Also in February during a citywide holiday observance in Cap Haitien, thousands upon thousands filled the streets seeking God and asking Him to spare them from what happened in Port-au-Prince. The total for professions of faiths reported is based on written reports by churches and pastors forwarded to the director of ministry. The regional missionaries provide numbers of professions of faith and baptisms as part of their reports on disaster relief ministry. (Website: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=32370&ref=BPNews-RSSFeed0225, 25/02/10). Praise and thank God for the spiritual evidence of His presence, and pray for complete renewal of Haiti.(Ps.104:30). “

Yf said...

Hallo MOTH
There are at leest two books (that i know of) that discuss this matter Christless christianity (forgotten the outhor) and Uitverkoop by prof. Ernst Conradie. (Which I have just heard of, but haven't read)

Henrietta said...

Yf, I think the book is Michael Horton's "Christless Christianity: the alternative gospel of the American church"

Yf said...

Quite so, thank you, MOTH, how did you know? The book focuses on hte US but it might just as well be SA.

Liza said...

Is julle twee op die oorlogspad?

MOTH: Memorable Order of the Tin Hat - 'n Windhoekse-oorlogsveterane-organisasie...:))

Yf said...

Hallo Liza.
Hoe ken jy ons? Die Latynse stamwoord vir Henriëtta beteken "Mistress of the house" Vandaar die MOTH - vinniger as Henriëtta.

Wat beteken Liza?
Vrede daar.

Liza said...

Elizabeth: Hebrew - 'God's promise'

Henrietta said...

En kan ons hoor wat beteken "Yf"? ;)))

Yf said...

Die naam Yf was oorspronklik Ijf. "Afgeleid van het Germaans met de mogelijke betekenis: de boog, de wilgetak, de buigzame. Op 19 mei is er een feestdag ter ere van Ivo, in de 12de eeuw een Franse weldoener der armen." (aldus: http://www.starmanproductions.nl/namen/nameni2.html#Ivo) Dit is ook die naam an 'n sekere boom, in Engels genoem die Yew. Hierdie boom is nie net sommer nog 'n boom nie. "Most parts of the tree are toxic, except the bright red aril surrounding the seed, enabling ingestion and dispersal by birds…The foliage remains toxic even when wilted or dried…Symptoms include staggering gait, muscle tremors, convulsions, collapse, difficulty breathing, coldness and eventually heart failure. However, death occurs so rapidly that many times the symptoms are missed…The wood remains poisonous after it is cut…Fatal poisoning in humans is very rare.

Uses and traditions:
In the ancient Celtic world, the yew tree (*eburos) had extraordinary importance… In Asturian tradition and culture the yew tree has had a real link with the land, the people, the ancestors and the ancient religion. It was tradition on All Saints Day to bring a branch of a yew tree to the tombs of those who died recently so they will find the guide in their return to the Land of Shadows. The yew tree can be found near chapels, churches and cemeteries since ancient times as a symbol of the transcendence of death…(daar is insidente opgeteken waar Rome se vyande hulleself eerder vergiftig het as om aan Rome oor te gee. Interessant dat 'n plant wat die dood veroorsaak hierdie simboliek kan aanneem)…

Germanic folk too, have thought the yew tree important, as the World Tree Yggdrasil is often said to be a yew…

Yew is also associated with Wales and England because of the longbow, an early weapon of war developed in northern Europe, and as the English longbow the basis for a mediaeval tactical system. Yew is the wood of choice for longbow making; the bows are constructed so that the heartwood of yew is on the inside of the bow while the sapwood is on the outside. This takes advantage of the natural properties of yew wood since the heartwood resists compression while the sapwood resists stretching. This increased the strength and efficiency of the bow…(En hierdie boog was die gevegwenner van sy tyd. Baie beter as enige ander langafstand handwapen met 'n reiwydte van 282 m. ('n moderne kruisboog skiet 800). Daar word vertel dat dit deur 'n ridder se been, deur 'n perd en deur die ridder se ander been kon skiet.)…

En raai wat is my sterreteken (As mens nou in sulke nonsens glo)? Boogskutter. Die fataliste sal seker ook sê dis geen wonder nie. Weerspieël 'n mens se naam jou persoonlikheid?

Nou nie juis so grênd soos 'n naam van Bybelse of Latynse oorsprong nie maar darem 'n "conversation starter." Julle sal nie glo hoeveel probleme my voorletter my al gegee het nie.

Eenkeer by die Botswana grenspos, en tale sonder maal by veral banke of dokters:

"What's your initial?"
"I must have your initial"
"I represent my government, (this compony etc) and I must have it otherwise we cannot proceed!"
"Y - it really is Y. Here look at my identificaiton"
"Oh what's your full name?"
Nou baie ge-aggiteerd: "Not your initials YOUR FULL NAME!"
"It is my full name"
"Ha, ha, ha. That's funny - it contains two alphabets"
Ag, mens kan ook net nie wen nie. Ek was al lus en vra vir die beampte "en wat is jou naam" en om dan net so hard te lag, maar mens wil ook maar moeilikheid vermy.

So, nou weet julle alles van my af.

YF - your friend

Liza said...