As we stumble into President Biden’s Dark Winter I want to speak to my fellow believers. Don’t despair. Don’t allow being outmaneuvered in a partisan political process to crush your spirit. Our God, the God of all creation, the God of Angel Armies has spoken to us and His Word shall forever be true. Weeping may endure for an evening but joy comes in the morning. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
Often a look at History opens the mind to see the future.
The First Great Awakening occurred in the 1730s and 1740s in Protestant Europe and British America and especially the American colonies. This move of God brought revitalization and an increase in evangelical zeal to the Protestant church. It has had an especially powerful and lasting impact on American Protestantism.
This mighty move of God came at a time when secular rationalism, or as we call it today secular humanism with its reliance on human reason was being emphasized, and most of the passion had evaporated from organized Christian religion. Legalism had taken the place of spiritual vitality.
This first Great Awakening is attributed to powerful preaching by such leaders as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Their preaching birthed a deep sense of personal revelation and of their need for salvation by Jesus Christ. Though both ordained ministers and pastors they taught that the church needed to pull away from ritual, ceremony, sacramentalism, and hierarchy. They sought to make Christianity intensely personal to people by promoting spiritual conviction, the need for redemption, and by encouraging soul-searching and individual commitment to a purely Bible-based standard of morality.
This was a widespread movement sweeping all along the east coast and penetrating deep within the British colonies. Other prominent pastors and leaders during the First Great Awakening included David Brainard, Samuel Davies, Theodore Frelinghuysen, and Gilbert Tennent. The backgrounds of these many leaders differed; however, their messages all served the same purpose: they sought to awaken the Church and return it to a religion relevant to the people of the day.
Some of the major themes of the First Great Awaking included:
- All people are born sinners.
- Sin without salvation will send a person to hell.
- All people can be saved if they confess their sins to God, seek forgiveness and accept God’s grace in and through Jesus Christ.
- All people can have a direct and emotional connection with God through Christ.
- Religion shouldn’t be formal and institutionalized, but rather casual and personal.
The Second Great Awakening 1795 to 1835
After the Revolution and the founding of the United States many people no longer attended church on a regular basis. There were several reasons why this occurred. Some people thought God was not interested in their everyday walking around life. They felt that God was unconcerned with a person’s church attendance instead they would be judged on how they lived their life. To them there was a scale. Did the good outweigh the bad? This was their standard thus seeking salvation through works. Others became consumed with earning a living and felt they had no time to worship or even acknowledge God.
To combat this spiritual falling away many denominations sponsored revivals. These were held in churches and especially in rural areas camp meetings where people would bring their whole families and often stay for days listening to various preachers call them to return to Christ. These revival preachers emphasized our utter dependence upon God, that we would not be saved by works or religious ceremonies but instead by faith.
Charles Finney, who is often called “America’s foremost revivalist,” was the acknowledged leader of the Second Great Awakening. After experiencing a dramatic personal conversion from rationalist skepticism to a burning and vital Christian faith he employed his training as a lawyer to convincing his audiences of their personal guilt and their need for Jesus Christ as their Savior. His methods, which he called the “scientific method” or “New Measures” have served as a template for revivalists ever since. He led a shift in American religious practice from “wait on the Lord” to “make your decision now.”
Finney was best known for his extemporaneous preaching.
He didn’t come across as some super spiritual theologian pontificating from on high. He spoke to the people as an attorney for the Gospel. He outlined his argument just as he would have to convince a jury. He used logic and persuasion as he played on the people’s emotions of hope and fear. He rejected the view of the Gospel as complex theology, and instead presented it in a simple form. One early admirer is reported to have said, “Bro. Finney doesn’t preach; he just explains what all the other fellows are preaching about.”
According to Finney the gospel taught that people were not saved by works but once people were saved, they had work to do. He and his followers took this to mean cleaning up America’s overly secularized society so he and those who listened to him began working to make the United States a Christian nation.
Taking what was a brave and controversial stand for the times Finney, a strong abolitionist himself, encouraged all Christians to work tirelessly in the antislavery movement. Following his lead Christians began working to become leaders in many areas of American life such as education, prison reform, temperance, and women’s rights. This large influx of Christian workers for social reform became so influential they and the organizations they founded became known as the Benevolent Empire. The Second Great Awakening had a greater effect on society in America than the First.
The Dark Winter is coming. The levers of power are all concentrated in the hands of a party that believes government is the answer to every problem. And unfortunately, anyone who opposes them seems to be the problem. According to the language of the The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, The new regime will create “dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism.” And by domestic terrorism they don’t mean the Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) people who have been rioting throughout America for many months. Instead, they mean all MAGA supporters.
This all may sound scary and it is in the natural. The power of the state is enormous. They have the sole right to use force against their opponents. And seeing the speed with which they’ve been rounding up people who entered the capital as opposed to the way in which the Antifa and BLM people have been ignored it appears they’re dedicated to doing what they want to do and do it quickly.
Some people who actually believe the public statements of the most radical of the leaders of the Democrat party about compiling lists, de-programming, and re-educating MAGA people can’t be blamed for looking forward to a midnight knock on the door, a ride in a Black Maria, and a free vacation in a government camp. Whenever a socialist one-party regime has been imposed on a country whether through revolution, conquest, or election there has been a purge of anyone seen as standing in the way of the long march to a worker’s paradise.
While this is called the stuff of conspiracy theories it’s hard to see it as such when the people in power are the ones talking about it openly. And though these thoughts are chilling, which is what they are meant to be, they should not be debilitating for those who are members of the Body of Christ. For we can rest secure in Him since no one can snatch us out of His hand. And we know that no matter how it looks He wins in the end. And no matter how bad it gets we should pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
And no matter how much anyone will try to hem us in, tie us down, or persecute us we know we are free. Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
No matter what those who wish us harm may do we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
So be of good cheer, God has a plan for us plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. And we also know the way out of this Dark Winter, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
If we will do this, and I believe we will, this will bring about the Third Great Awakening. As the people of God finally discern the hand that is behind all of this they will cry out to their Father through His Son and He will deliver us. Believe with me for a born-again nation giving glory to God and together we shall watch the rising of the Son.
As far as all the chatter on Fakebook and Quiver dripping with anger and hate we can find better things to do than read it or respond to it. Don’t waste your time arguing with fools it only makes you look foolish. For the fool has said in his heart there is no God not knowing that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. For when all is said and done, we will see that it was all done just like He said.
Keep the faith. Keep the peace. We shall overcome.