God, the West, and People Power

You would probably not know it if you simply rely upon the mainstream media but there are some remarkable scenes unfolding all around the world right now – mainly in the non-Western world. Massive people power movements are engulfing many nations, such as Egypt, Brazil, Bulgaria, Turkey, France, and so on.

Some of these are Christian movements, while some are just general uprisings by people fed up with their governments. But they show that people power is still effective, and in some nations, people are willing to stand up for what they believe in – even at great cost.

In Egypt it is said that the largest protest movement in human history – involving an incredible 17 million people – has been taking place. They are protesting the Islamist Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Also, millions have been rallying against homosexual marriage in France. And Turkey has seen mass protests against the Islamist Erdogan.

I have earlier written about some of these mass marches, for example the ones in France and Egypt:
billmuehlenberg.com/2013/07/01/egypt-islam-obama-and-freedom/
billmuehlenberg.com/2013/01/14/marriage-sanity-in-france/

Then there are massive street marches in places like Brazil and Bulgaria, yet most of us are not hearing much about them in the West. Let me mention each of these briefly. In Brazil mass marches by Christians – mainly evangelicals – have gone largely unnoticed elsewhere.

As one report states, “Two million Christians from all over Brazil trekked the streets of Sao Paulo over the weekend to join in on the country’s largest religious gathering, ‘March for Jesus.’ The annual event, organized by Pastor Estevam Hernandes of Renascer em Cristo, or Reborn in Christ Church, and other Pentecostal churches, included speeches and prayers from pastors, political figures, and entertainment from various Brazilian gospel artists….

“The ‘March for Jesus’ event, considered to be the largest of its kind in the world, according to organizers, continues to grow each year in the predominately Roman Catholic country. ‘March for Jesus’ almost doubled in size this year compared to 2012, and is also known to draw larger crowds than some of Brazil’s popular carnivals, including Sao Paulo’s Gay Pride Parade and the Salvador Carnival celebration.”

Could places like America or Australia ever hope to get such crowds? I doubt it. Most people there, including most Christians, could not be bothered to get off their bottoms and actually get involved in something like this. Indeed, we do have annual Easter marches in Australia, but they only attract hundreds of believers at best.

The churches here are stagnant, apathetic, compromised and carnal. Their members will happily tag along to a football game, but could not be bothered publically standing up for their faith. And on vital issues like abortion, annual right to life marches in Melbourne manage only to get around 3000 marchers – they should easily be getting at least 30,000.

Things are not much better in America. Not all that long ago a march for marriage was held in Washington D.C.. Hundreds of thousands should have showed up – as we have been seeing in France – yet less than 10,000 came. The life of comfort, entertainment and selfishness is what predominates in the US – and in most US churches.

The other major people power movement which most of you would never have heard about is occurring in Bulgaria. There for almost three weeks now mass protests have been taking place. As one news item puts it: “For an 18th consecutive day, protesters gathered in front of the Council of Ministers building and the President’s Office in downtown Sofia, as well in other big cities, to demand the resignation of the socialist-led Cabinet.

“By 8.30 pm on Monday, the rally in Sofia was attended by some 5500 demonstrators yelling ‘Mafia’, ‘Resign’ and ‘Red Thrash,’ according to reports of Interior Ministry, as cited by the Focus news agency. The disgruntled citizens carried banners reading  ‘Freedom or USSR’, ‘Stealing is not enough, you’ve got to have brains’, ‘Oresharski, You Have Grown Dependent on Citizens Too’, etc.”

While the numbers may not be great, their persistence certainly is. I can’t imagine such non-stop demos happening in most other Western nations. The point is, while many millions of people are standing up for what they believe in, in apathetic and more or less comatose nations like America and Australia, you would be very hard pressed to get such massive protests.

Most Americans and Australians are far too apathetic and indifferent – they are far too glued to their TV sets to be able to stand for anything which is really important. They will scream their heads off at a football game, but will remain silent over the abortion holocaust, or the destruction of marriage and family, or the Islamisation of their own culture.

God will certainly complete his task on planet earth – that is the good news. The bad news – at least for the West – is that the centre of Christian gravity has well and truly shifted from the West to the non-West. The greatest growth in Christianity is now clearly occurring in the developing world.

The West as a whole continues to become more and more secular, with Christianity at best a nominal affair for tens of millions. And as the West continues to abandon God, it appears that God is abandoning it. That of course is a biblical truth, as expressed in passages such as 2 Timothy 2:12: “If we deny Him, He also will deny us”.

I am of course generalising here. I am not saying God is no longer at work in the West, and yes many great things for the Kingdom are still occurring here. But anyone with a bit of perspective and humility can see that much of what is taking place of importance around the world is now occurring in the non-West.

Some of the great moves of God and outpourings of His Spirit are taking place in non-Western countries – as are these massive protest movements. Places like America and Australia are being passed by; they are filled with morally indifferent and socially inactive couch potatoes who would rather be amused and entertained than get involved in what is of major importance.

So while some of the once great nations are going down the tubes fast, God is at work in unexpected quarters. If he can move mightily in Brazil or Egypt, there is hope yet for the world. Places like America and Australia are no longer lights on a hill – they are nations heading into oblivion in so many ways.

So let us be thankful for people power and God power at work elsewhere. We certainly need it.

www.democracynow.org/2013/7/1/sharif_abdel_kouddous_millions_protesting_morsi
www.christianpost.com/news/2-million-brazilian-evangelicals-shut-down-sao-paulo-during-march-for-jesus-event-99147/cpf
www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=151683

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11 Replies to “God, the West, and People Power”

  1. Oh if only we could get several million on the streets in Britain, on a regular basis. But you are right, countries in the West have just gone into doze-mode. I find it impossible to engage people in discussions on controversial issues, even within my own family; all they want to do is talk about “nice things”. I wonder whether it’s due more to some sort of fear than apathy.

    I do not want to see my country hit with some enormous evil but I see it coming down the line at considerable speed. There are certainly good folk here with influence, standing up for what’s right and with plenty of supporters; but there aren’t enough.

    Chris Dark

  2. “Where there is no vision the people perish”: Proverbs 29:28

    When the early apostles spoke to the crowds in Jerusalem they gave them a vision of where they had come from, where they were and where they were headed. It was only when they had got them to that point that the crowd cried out “So what must we do to be saved?”

    The Church in the West has ceased to paint a picture of the true state of our nations, leaving their congregations in blissful ignorance and complacency.

    http://www.letgodbetrue.com/proverbs/commentaries/29_18.php

    http://www.fbbc.com/messages/sermon_no_vision.htm

    David Skinner, UK

  3. I could not agree with you more Bill on your summation of our Western democracies and their apathy. I will never be ashamed of being a Christian, but I could be ashamed of being an Aussie with the peoples attitude to all the most important issues of our time.

    Leigh Stebbins

  4. We’re too fat, comfortable and apathetic to get off our sofas. The typical attitude of: “It doesn’t affect me, so why should I give a damn.”

    Hanging around Bill’s blog is certainly stocking the fire in my belly. So, thanks Bill, your writing is not in vain.

    Matthew Patchon

  5. I am reading Why v Why: gay marriage, where Bill goes head to head with Rodney Croome. Now I just have to vent my rage for a moment, so sorry if you see my spleen.

    Marriage has never been a Right; it has always been a Privilege. So long as you follow the rules, anyone can marry.

    So successfully has the Gay Lobby angled the argument as a Right, even the Law Courts and spouting this same nonsense. Aargh!

    Matthew Patchon

  6. On July 1st, a brother and I were preaching on the edge of Dundas Square, one of Toronto’s big gathering spots. People were there to celebrate Canada Day, the anniversary of our founding back in 1867. We were calling people to make a decision for Jesus and to tell their children about Him. A few did respond, but the worldly celebrations appeared to be more important, for most, than the faithful warnings of ‘Christian fanatics’. Perhaps as with the prophets of the Abrahamic covenant, only a remnant will be saved by heeding the call.

    Richard Bunn, Canada

  7. Very true, Bill, but I believe this is a spiritual condition. Just as it was in decades of the history of Israel where people followed idols rather than the true God. All we like sheep go astray. The people are not renewed in their minds and dull to the promptings of their own spirits. They don’t know exactly how to overcome this malaise so they live out their lives day after day hoping that something will come along to change it. And just like it took only one David to confront the Goliath and raise the morale and vision of the people of Israel, it could take a tiny handful of people of vision to get on our faces and cry out to the only One who can deliver the masses from their apathy. Just one person who is intimate enough with God to get the keys to unlock a nation.
    “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” Revelation 3:17

    Dee Graf

  8. While all you say about western apathy is true, unfortunately even Christians who do hunger to see righteousness prevail, we in the west do not find out about such things as the march for the unborn until after they have occurred, simply because the mainstream media refuses to cover these events. In truth, if it were not for people such as Bill, I would probably have never heard of the march last year! Is anybody able to confirm when it will occur this year?
    Mario Del Giudice

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