I write this final section of my book as a momentous year (2020 – and it would not be hyperbole to say this could be the most momentous of my entire life) draws to an end, and I wish to raise what I consider to be an important subject.
Right from the beginning of the year things were happening in the world to draw our attention, ranging for bush fires in Australia to plagues of locusts in Africa and, from a British perspective, the UK formally announcing it will leave the EU (deal or no deal) and thus honour the 2016 EU Referendum decision. But in my view, there are two stories that stand out and both have yet to fully play out. The first involves US President Donald Trump. The year begun with his, as it turned out, unsuccessful impeachment trial; the year ended, following the US Presidential election, with his opponent Joe Biden claiming victory and Trump alleging fraud and disputing the result. As I write, the world awaits for final confirmation as to who will be inaugurated the next President on January 20th 2021. The second involves the Corona crisis. It would not be overstating it to say that this has had a huge, dramatic effect on the whole world and, just like the Presidential election, we do not know who it will end. In a strange way these unrelated ongoing events are more related than it seems, with opinions divided.
As many who have read so far will know, a lot of 2020 has been taken up with my writing this book, which focuses on Bible exegesis and, at least in the main chapters, avoids subjects like commenting on the events such as highlighted in the previous paragraph or on modern day prophets, which is tempting given the amazing events taking place around us. I can elaborate but other than what I write in the remainder of this section, I will resist doing so. If people want to know what I think about Trump and Corona, I refer them to my blog. My own Christian upbringing, while in the main dismissive of modern-day prophets, often tried to relate events unravelling around them with the prophetic scriptures, particularly concerning the End Times. Again, I will resist that temptation, other than re-iterate my view expressed earlier that what we now see points to the end is near. I cannot help but wonder what the prophets of old would have made out of current events if they were standing in my shoes today.
I can only speak for myself here. While there are a few friends on my page, so to speak, most are not, including people from my own church. One leader has gone on record to say we are a people of praise, not politics. I say we are both and one leads to the other. Given the stakes are high, it would be wrong if Christians adopt a head in the sand mentality, because that would consign many to unchecked evil and is unbiblical and anti-God because it means we break the second Great Commandment, which is to Love Thy Neighbour. I should add for the record: I am neither Conservative nor Labour; neither Republican nor Democrat. Rather I am a nobody, a brand plucked from the fire, that has responded to the call of being a Watchman on the Wall, who watches and prays.
In my recent Red pilling others, especially Christians blog, I asked the following questions:
- Is Trump better for the USA and the world than Biden?
- Was there an attempt to steal the recent USA election?
- Is China the major threat when it comes to world powers?
- Is Islam the major threat when it comes to religion?
- Is Abortion the most important social justice issue?
- Is Climate change something that is wrongly hyped up?
- Is there a concerted effort to destroy marriage, family, religion?
- Should we be concerned about imposition of Covid vaccines?
- Should the UK leave the EU with no deal should it come to it?
- Is “global reset” about empowering elites and enslaving others?
- Is globalism / socialism worse than nationalism / conservatism?
- Should we be concerned with 5G and merging man and machine?
- Is the demon of political correctness trying to suppress truth?
- Are Gates, Soros, and many politicians (all sides) villains?
- Should we be more concerned with groups like BLM, Antifa?
- Is much of mainstream media fake news?
- Is big tech, like Facebook, trying to censor conservative voices?
- Is the recent interest in racial justice an unhelpful distraction?
- Is the professing church largely led by hireling shepherds?
- Should Christians be concerned with the above?
I confess that my answer is YES to all these questions but I recognise both that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, including some reading this book, may answer NO and may raise important questions themselves and where we may disagree. Moreover, since following the Lord Jesus Christ, promoting His Kingdom and making disciples should be that which unites us, this should not be a cause for division when in reality and regrettably in my experience IT IS.
Again, speaking for myself, this has been a challenging time in my own life. I can hark back to my youth when a spiritual mentor pronounced God was at that time into the business of shaking, especially the church. It seems to me, now at this time this is particularly so, as we see the professing church fall short, led by hireling shepherds, yet the true Church is arising – albeit a remnant (it has ever been thus). It has been a time to get my own house in order and rise to the challenge of practicing biblical holiness, and is something that is ongoing. It has also been a time when I have experienced deep depression and I have been tempted to lose hope as my nation, supported by an inept church, acquiesces to its enslavement and allows the bad guys in to hold sway in our world.
There is much to disturb us, although I still see many examples of human kindness, especially in my own sphere of activity, helping the homeless. Top of the list of disturbing matters (and the list above shows there are many) is the way Covid-19 is being handled, with ongoing lockdowns and every indication that the forthcoming vaccine is likely to be mandatory if we want some semblance of freedom. While for me, time is running out as I approach my allocated three score and ten years, with a measure of health and compos mentis, I find by God’s grace there is still work for this unprofitable servant to do, including writing his book, raising the alarm, passing on the baton, showing kindness and doing good. Moreover, there is a world to save from a Christless eternity and sheep to be rescued from the hireling shepherds.
Regarding modern day prophecy, I confess there are some I listen to but always with the “Test and Weigh” caveat, which I believe is biblical. Many I believe are False Prophets, just as Jesus predicted, notably those promoting prosperity teaching. Some are endorsed by charismatic churches who believe rightly that God guides His people, including through the gift of prophecy, and yet may oppose the sort of views I offer above and opposes my third group, which I will call the political prophets, who may be in good company, along with my favourite prophet, Jeremiah. Among other things, some have predicted Trump will get a second term as President, with their detractors, with an ear to mainstream media, that has already crowned Biden as King, saying if their prophecy does not come to pass, they must be false. (I devote a chapter of what makes a false prophet in my book!) I should add: Bible prophecy, e.g. the Book of Revelation, and modern-day prophecy is increasingly aligning.
Regarding the prophetic, while my background is Non-Conformist, gifts of the Spirit sceptical, I am broad in my theology. Twenty years ago, I wrote a paper titled Who are the Brethren and concluded: “At the risk of being dismissed as a spiritual schizophrenic by my readers or a heretic by my (Plymouth) brothers, I am inclined toward a vision of the church that is Catholic in spirituality, Liberal in social activism, Reformed in doctrine, Charismatic in experience, Evangelical in zeal, Puritan in living, Methodist in organisation and Brethren in ecclesiology, but above all passionate for Jesus. Finally, although an enthusiastic researcher of Brethren history who is keen to “get it right”, I am much more concerned that men and women, and boys and girls, walk the way, trust the truth and live the life of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14v6); and may He be exalted, by whatever instrument He chooses, Brethren or otherwise. And may all God’s people receive a touch from heaven so that they may touch earth in His glorious cause. O Lord grant us grace to lose what is dear, so we may gain Him who is dearest, and may Thy Kingdom come!”
Watch this space:
I am planning to produce a second edition of my book. Prophets of the Bible. in the new year, to include a final section with this title, and am inviting friends to contribute. The big question that has yet to be answered is who will be inaugurated President of the USA on 20th January 2021. The outcome will have a huge bearing on which way the USA and the World, including issues like the Great Reset, the handling of the Corona crisis, and about my twenty questions will resolve and it will direct the content of my final yet to be written paragraph.