ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, August 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
New season
What kind of contents do you enjoy most?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jeff Fountain
 

Looking forward

We should not only see the tares or weeds, the negative, but also remind ourselves of the positive things God is doing, the wheat.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 12 JUNE 2017 10:40 h GMT+1

In the cool of the Schuman Salon during Brussel’s tropical heat, the discussion centred around our view of the future. What had our various church backgrounds taught us?



From six different nations, participants of the European Studies Course reflected on our expectations of the future. Mostly, it seemed, we had picked up negative views of the future.



American “Left behind” eschatology, which assumed Europe would become the ‘beast’ of Revelation, still influenced many evangelical and charismatic Christians. An earlier generation had been raised on “The Late Great Planet Earth”-hype of the ’70’s, which fostered short-sightedness and wide expectation that the end was nigh.



Low future expectations corresponded to a lack of teaching about how to face the future, other than a vague belief in the return of Jesus and of the faithful ‘going to heaven’, wherever that might be. Just what we should expect and what we should be praying and working for between now and then was rarely addressed.



We hear plenty of reasons to be negative about the future, of course. Climate change (for those who believe in it), the islamisation of Europe (for those who believe in that), the loss of traditional values and national identity (whatever they ever were), the fear of terrorism, falling birth rates, an increasingly intolerant secularism, the undermining of democracy, the rich-poor gap and much more.



So how can we live as people of hope in the midst of such negative trends?



Download



We talked about four ‘apps’ or concepts to be grasped or downloaded into our hearts and minds.



The first ‘app’ is to understand that it is always God’s will for God’s will to be done. In other words, it is never God’s will for his will not to be done. If that is our starting point, there is no room for fatalism. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done.



That means he really wants it to be done. It is not God’s will for things to go downhill in Europe. In fact it may be through failure on the part of God’s people that that happens. After all, it is our responsibility to be salt and light in society. Whose fault is it if things are getting worse?



The second ‘app’ is that of ‘the wheat and tares’: we should not only see the tares or weeds, the negative, but also remind ourselves of the positive things God is doing, the wheat. Too often news is focused on the negative, not on what God is doing, even here in Europe.



App three is the realisation that Christianity is all about death and resurrection. Christian history does not resemble a cannon ball trajectory, peaking sometime in the middle ages and doomed to disappear over the horizon. Rather, it is an up and down pattern of apostasy and renewal, apostasy and renewal, much like in the book of Judges.



Even if we are living in times of spiritual decline, we can look forward to the next thing the Spirit of God will do. Our hope is not based on current trends, but on God’s character and his purposes, two unchangeable things (Heb 6:18,19).



The fourth ‘app’ is that God has always worked in the Bible and in history through faithful minorities to bring transformation. When we see that challenges our spiritual ancestors often faced in the past–like Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others–and the renewal and transformation they brought, it builds faith and hope for what God can do again.



Liberated



In his second letter, Peter writes three times in chapter 3 about ‘looking forward’ to God’s future (vv 11-14). This is in a chapter often interpreted to mean that God will destroy this earth and create a new heaven and new earth. Many conclude that there is no purpose therefore in creation care, and no future for this planet.



More accurately, Peter is writing about a renewed and restored earth and a renewed or cleansed heaven or spiritual realm to which we can look forward. This is in keeping with Paul’s passage in Romans 8 about creation itself being liberated from its bondage to decay–not destroyed.…! (v.21)



Jeff Fountain is Director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies, and speaks on issues facing Christians today in Europe. He writes at Weekly Word.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Looking forward
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
VIDEO Video
 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
Being a peacemaker Being a peacemaker

Ken Sande, Founder and President of Relational Wisdom 360, develops a practical systematic theology for pursuing peace and resolving the conflicts of real life. 

 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.