Revolution. The word hangs in the air like an ominous cloud. Discontent for government, any government, has spawned a global mood of revolt. In America, the flagship of democracy, some are threatening a call to arms if the vote on November 8 does not go their way. Allusions to the glory of the American Revolution and the Civil War paint a distorted picture of the value of an armed insurgency as some sort of saving grace.

The “Arab Spring” points to the reality that between fall and spring there is always a winter. In a classic book “The Anatomy of Revolution”, Crane Brinton describes the four stages in a revolution

1) legitimate discontent with the present order and government

2) Organized attempts to remedy the deficits are radicalized, as united against does not mean there is a cohesive agreement on what should take its place

3) The fall of the old order begins with a new hope, but ends in a “reign of terror” as the lawlessness follows a logical progression

4) A reaction to the excesses, the power vacuum, and disorder paves the way for a dictator and an autocratic government and ultimately war.

Revolution creates an opportunity for unrestrained evil that is a horror for most of the people. Deliver us from that evil!

What is particularly disturbing is that a large segment of the church has embraced the spirit of revolution as a God sponsored judgment. In his recent book, Lance Wallnau, whose opinions I respect, sees Donald Trump as “God’s Chaos Candidate”, a “wrecking ball” and the modern day “Cyrus”. His arguments are compelling, yet if this is true, I do not see how any of those comparisons are worthy of a celebration, and I doubt God would lay claim to being the Cause. Lance Wallnau sees America as entering “the fourth crucible” of testing. The first three were the American Revolution, then the Civil War, and then World War 2. As each one is increasing in its intensity, what would be the fourth fiery trial? World War 3.? We should be praying against this apocalyptic trend not waving a welcome flag.

America was birthed in the spiritual climate of the French Revolution. There is a remarkably similar mood now. Most of Western Europe succumbed to the revolutionary fervour of the times. Britain was the exception. Many attribute that to the revivalist brothers John and Charles Wesley, and the Methodist movement. They imparted the power of the gospel into the hearts of more than a million people, worked to alleviate poverty, taught people to exchange immorality with responsible parenting, and a good work ethic instead of dissolute drunkenness. The redemption lift that followed took the edge off poverty, the driving force behind revolution, and inspired social conscience in the elected leaders that ultimately led to the abolition of slavery. The outcome was no revolution and no civil war in Britain. The revival won the war in heaven and prevented the war on earth. That seems to me to be a better strategic model for the church to embrace. I would like to explore that in my next blog.

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