Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Few Thoughts at Year's End

At the close of every year I wonder how much longer it will be until Jesus comes back for His church. We know when the year ends but we do not know when the end of the age will be. Perhaps there are only days left, as there are in the year.

Are you ready?

I am.


(This is a bit sardonic. Apologies in advance.)
I have always liked Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things." I just wanted to note that 'cute' and 'adorable' are not in this list.
It is hard to keep one's mind on these things. The world has nothing that fits all these criteria.


Oral Roberts, RIP.

In my Sunday School class I am teaching church history. We are discussing historical figures and how history will judge the impact of a person on the world. Now I am not saying that we judge the individual (that is forbidden by Matthew 7:1) or that we judge their ministry (that is forbidden in 1 Corinthians 4:5) but what their effect, for better or worse, is upon the church (in this case) or the world.

I use the example of Thomas Jefferson who authored the Declaration of Independence. Some have said that he was bad because he owned slaves. Okay, but what effect did that have on history? None. Many owned slaves in that time and place.
But his authorship of the Declaration and his other activities associated with the founding of our nation have had a tremendous effect on our nation and the world.

Let's look at Roberts from this perspective. Look past his faults and examine his effect on the church. Nobody besides Billy Graham has had as much impact as Oral Roberts had in the second half of the 20th century. He brought knowledge of divine healing to a skeptical church. If you pray for the sick to be healed by the direct action of God you probably should thank Roberts who did it very publicly. Whether you liked him or not you ought to acknowledge that divine healing and Pentecostal Christianity were made respectable to most of the church by his ministry. He also pioneered spreading the gospel by television when other Christians cursed "the Devil's box".

When Roberts began preaching in the late 40's, Pentecostal Christians were marginalized and generally despised. Today they are the most dynamic, and numerous, group of Protestant Christians in the world. (The numbers are now estimated to be over 500 million.) It is easily the fastest growing Christian movement in the world and shows no sign of stopping. It is hard to imagine this happening without Oral Roberts.


A Happy New Year to all!

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