I have just read an article about the growth of the church in China. Amazingly a key factor in this growth was the terrible Communist repression of Christians and the inability of Christians to get help from outside. The sovereign God used this to superintend one of the most amazing spurts of the growth in the history of the church. And now, according to this article, Chinese Christians are having huge dreams about missionary involvement (Brian Stiller, “Unintended Consequences,” https://dispatchesfrombrian.com/2016/10/10/unintended-consequences/).
This makes me think of the church in the west. I visited western nations for ministry three times this year. We are seeing a rapid rejection of the Christian values which contributed so much towards making the west great. Laws are being enacted that are inimical to the Christian way of life. Christians fear that there is more of this to come.
Yet the Lord is still in control of history. My prayer is that out of all this loss of “influence” the church will grow deep and learn to live by theological convictions in a hostile world. Facing hostility is normal for Christianity. This theological grounding will help the church to thrive without looking for support to government power which in history has resulted in the church becoming arrogant, corrupt and selfish.
Christian spirituality is cruciform (cross shaped) and its power is unleashed most when we are weak. In this age when people worship power this is one of the most countercultural things about Christianity. Great Christians emerge out of a life of hardship and opposition. Perhaps the depth coming out of the pain would open the door for a genuine revival which is so needed both in the west and the east.
I pray for genuine revival in the west. I pray that, without panicking, Christians would pray for revival, teach the Word faithfully, and engage in deep and penitent pursuit of holiness. These usually serve to create an environment upon which the Spirit moves in revival.