I try to be a student of history. More specifically, I am fascinated by the history of revival, and yet I long to see it for myself.
My generation has no contemporary knowledge of what it looks like when revival begins to sweep through a city, region or nation. At least, not in the West. The years have ticked by, and those with firsthand knowledge—the eyewitnesses—have passed away. All that remains are their letters, notes, journals and teachings. Selective and revisionist history-telling minimizes and even omits the moves of God from the national storyline. Without it, we lose the context of moral and cultural reboots that have carried us into, through and beyond crisis.
I believe America’s response to abortion is being weighed right now in God’s scales. More accurately, the church’s response is being weighed. The current thrust of pro-life legislation in states like Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas has brought the life issue to the forefront yet again.
For three consecutive years, we have experienced a truly unprecedented advance in efforts to protect the lives of babies in the womb as well as their mothers. 2013 is the most encouraging year yet. At the same time, the jury is still out on the Kermit Gosnell “house of horrors” case in Philadelphia. Late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart has just been exposed on video referring to a murdered baby in the womb as “meat in a crockpot.” Abortionist Cesare Santangelo has been exposed on video saying that if a baby were to be born alive in his facility after an attempted abortion, he would not do what is legally required to save the life of the baby. There are many other examples. Many!
It bears repeating that these atrocities are not limited to individual doctors. Planned Parenthood representative Alisa LaPolt Snow in Florida recently argued before legislators, on March 26, for infanticide in the event that a baby was born alive after a failed abortion. This is inhuman.
Also bear in mind that Carhart is continually hailed as a hero of the entire pro-abortion industry and was recently honored in the pro-abortion documentary After Tiller. So-called “pro-choice” Americans have to own up to these atrocious actions and murderous mindsets.
What does this have to do with revival? I believe these events are tied directly to whether or not revival will be hindered in the United States. Our response to them is key.
As a pro-life leader, I’m prayerfully watching this play out right now. I rejoice at all the exposure taking place, and yet I also wonder who’s paying attention. Yes, the media admittedly is selectively not reporting on some of what’s happening. The Gosnell case has proven this. And yet the pro-life community has thrust it forward regardless via social media and public outcry demanding that the information be covered. Reluctantly, more and more detail has emerged. Light is being “thrown in upon the minds” of all Americans.
What does the church have to say right now about all this? Do we have anything to say about it? I’m not talking about the stalwart pro-life activists who continually blow the trumpet. I’m talking about the approximately 350,000 congregations in the United States. What do the overwhelming majority of Christians have to say about infanticide? Statistically this is a small percentage of the overwhelming number of abortions that are done legally in our nation, but it is without a doubt the most horrendous.
Are our pulpits and fellowships discussing this and our need to act? I believe God is using infanticide right now to weigh our response. Will we ignore even this?
How does our answer to the infanticide question develop into a rational, logical and sound theological conclusion on abortion as a whole? We must answer this question now, without any further delay.
I leave you with the words of Charles Finney, the central figure of the Second Great Awakening in America. These words are taken from a message titled “Hindrances to Revivals.” I hope to expound more on this in another post, but let me leave this with you, relating it to what’s happening right now in the nation:
"Revivals are hindered when ministers and churches take wrong ground in regard to any question involving human rights. Take the subject of slavery, for instance. The time was when this subject was not before the public mind. …
"So ministers and churches, to a great extent throughout the land, have held their peace, and borne no testimony against this abominable abomination, existing in the church and in the nation. But recently, the subject has come up for discussion, and the providence of God has brought it distinctly before the eyes of all men. Light is now shed upon this subject. …
"Facts are exhibited, and principles established, and light thrown in upon the minds of men, and this monster is dragged from his horrid den, and exhibited before the church, and it is demanded of them, 'Is this sin?' Their testimony must be given on this subject. They are God’s witnesses."
Matt Lockett is a full-time missionary serving as the director of Bound4LIFE and the Justice House of Prayer DC. Follow @mattlockett on Twitter.
For a limited time, we are extending our celebration of the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!