Shaking and Sifting

I wrote the article in the link below at the beginning of April. I feel that a lot of what I’ve seen and heard recently confirms the validity of it, with some of the controversy being created over restrictions to church services.

On YouTube there have been countless videos about John MacArthur’s challenge against the Californian government’s regulations regarding gatherings of large groups that are affecting his church. The commentary I’ve read about the situation in California has included some of the most abusive, rude attacks on other discussion participants that I’ve seen from professing christians.

In Australia, there are restrictions on congregation numbers dependent on the size of meeting place, as well as apparent bans on congregational singing. The strictest situation is in the state of Victoria where a second wave of covid-19 has led to the harshest lock down in Australia since the pandemic first hit. I’ve seen professing believers from Victoria berating the state’s “wicked, totalitarian government” because of the inconvenience.

I have also seen a growing devotion to conspiracy claims being made about the corona virus; that its a media hoax; it’s a left wing conspiracy; it’s danger is being exaggerated to control the population; the restrictions and lock-downs are an attack against religious freedom – it’s persecution. (See the above reference to John MacArthur who has also stooped to promoting QAnon conspiracy claims picked up from a Donald Trump tweet).

A significant irony is the way devotees to the extreme charismania (Rodney Howard Browne), and anti-charismatics (MacArthur) are becoming unlikely allies, brought together by political ideologies and their opposition to restrictions affecting their church meetings.

I see something very significant at play – a widening separation of man’s religious systems and its concerns, and the opportunity to experience and practice a type of gathering together that I believe has a greater biblical legitimacy.

Instead of large congregations lined one row behind another, all facing and listening to one man on a stage or behind a pulpit, smaller groups in homes can genuinely encourage each other (as per Heb 10:25) when they come together; each having a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation, all done for edification. Home groups involved with community ministry sharing a the gospel confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is happening now is a mild foretaste of what is ahead, so how will we survive something worse if we’re shaken by this? We need to prepare for change and be willing to embrace it. The old ways and structures of building centred, leader focused activity won’t be suited to the changed world.

It is not the time to be angry about being denied the comfortable familiarity of a professional clergy dominated, often theatrically presented service where anonymity can be maintained if desired. Now is the time to take the opportunity to establish ourselves and our relationship with Jesus on a very secure biblical foundation. Making the most of the strange times and the upheaval being experienced to focus on GOD’S agenda and HIS ways, and not be distracted by worldly concerns.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


Beware of Which Voice You Are Hearing.

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