ADVERTISING
 
Friday, September 22   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
Nature
Is creation care seen as a priority in your church?




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
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
“It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation” “It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation”

In creation care, “we need more people who lead by example”, says well-known Brazilian politician and activist Marina Silva. 

 
Human traffickers recruit girls and boys online Human traffickers recruit girls and boys online

The new video of the European Freedom Network addresses the dangers of social media. 

 
“Remember you are dust” “Remember you are dust”

Vaughan Roberts speaks from 25 years of ministry experience to share four lessons on staying the course as a Christian, despite ongoing battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil.

 
Walk Walk

A two-minute video on the meaning of Jude 24.

 
Playmobil animation on Luther’s life Playmobil animation on Luther’s life

British video platform GoChatter uses 4,000 individual photos to create stop motion video on Martin Luther's life.

 
Individualism: from the Protestant Reformation to 21st century capitalism Individualism: from the Protestant Reformation to 21st century capitalism

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi on how the Protestant Reformation underlined individualism as a means to please God, and how secular Europe corrupted it.

 
Students in Europe: “We are present” Students in Europe: “We are present”

A summary video of the IFES Europe conference which brought together 1,700 students from many countries in Aschaffenburg (Germany) to reflect on God's mission in society.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
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.