Is The Best Yet to Come?
By Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
CBN.com It's interesting to look back over the Twentieth Century and to study presidential elections in America. Beginning with the boisterous enthusiasm of Teddy Roosevelt who set the tone for what became 'the American Century," optimism and vision have always won the day.
In the depths of the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover had all but given up hope, telling the people they would just have to tough things out until times got better. Franklin D. Roosevelt disagreed and through his campaign song declared “Happy days are here again.” In his inaugural address he cast the vision over the nation that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Later, in the midst of skyrocketing inflation and interest rates, as American hostages were being held by Iranian Muslim terrorists, Ronald Reagan came to office declaring that America was "a shining city of freedom on the hill for all the nations to see.” Jimmy Carter had called the American public to tighten their belts in what became known as “the malaise speech.” But Reagan said, “We can do better,” and he won the election, the hostages were freed, taxes and interest rates were dramatically cut, the economy roared in the 1980s and the Cold War came to a dramatic end with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
After George H. W. Bush complained that he didn’t know why the country was so fixated with, as he put it, "the vision thing," Bill Clinton introduced his campaign song, “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow” at the Democratic National Convention. He called Americans to “build a bridge to the 21st Century” – and he was elected twice.
It is time for the Church to stop complaining, whining and wallowing in self-pity and instead move out in the anointing, energy, provision, protection and creativity that is ours both through the Edenic Covenant – “Let us make man in our image and let them have dominion” – and also the New Covenant in Christ – “I have been given all authority, now go into all nations and make disciples…”
Franky Schaeffer calls the Church to use all of the creativity and energy it has as Children of God to shine the light in this darkened world. “If there is one area that surely sets man clearly apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and gives meaning to these words ‘made in the image of God,’ it is the area of creativity, the capacity to enjoy beauty, communicate artistically and through abstract ideas. The area of creativity therefore is no minor footnote to the Christian life, but is an essential.”
Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II will go down in history as the men who through the casting of vision on the one hand, and the constant implementation of political pressure on the other, helped to bring down the Berlin Wall and collapse Communism in Europe. Not long before the end of his presidency, and before the end of the Cold War, Reagan gave students at Moscow University a preview of what was coming on the Earth when he said, “Like a chrysalis, we’re emerging from the economy of the industrial revolution – an economy confined to and limited by the earth’s physical resources – into the economy of the mind, an era in which there are no bounds on human imagination and the freedom to create is the most precious natural resource.”
Across the globe we are seeing hopeful signs, even amidst the dangers of the War on Terror – even amidst the strongholds of false religions in Asia and Africa – even amidst the stronghold of secularism in Europe and America.
There is an historical shift of nations toward democracy. Across the world the religious walls are coming down, making way for the gospel to be preached to all people groups. Technology is making it possible for the gospel and Judeo-Christian cultural ideas to be spread through the Internet, satellite television, radio and print communication. Contemporary travel allows people to move quickly across the globe and to see the wonders of the world – to be exposed to new ideas and to the freedom that comes through the Christian message and Judeo-Christian ideas.
People who encounter these ideas are no longer willing to be kept in religious and political prisons. New winds of freedom are blowing and mankind is shaking off the shackles of secularism, communism, false religion and totalitarian government. Modern medicine and well drilling are curbing the spread of diseases. Modern farming and food preservation techniques are eliminating hunger in most of the world.
E. Calvin Beisner points out that “on the average people produce more than they consume in their lifetimes. That is why growing human populations, far from threatening to create poverty and to exhaust natural resources, promise instead to create wealth and to multiply resources. Remember this: on the average, every mouth born into this world is attached to two hands – and, more important, to a mind made in the image of God to be creative and productive. That is why wealth is increasing."
In the groundbreaking book, Discipling Nations, Darrow Miller comments on Romans 8:19-22, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."
Miller gives this optimistic interpretation. “Here we learn several critical facts: (1) creation’s fate and ours are inextricably bound together; (2) God’s work of restoring all things to Himself is a process, a story, that will one day be consummated; (3) man has been commissioned to be a part of that process; and, by extension (4) science and technology are tools in this process.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t think it is getting darker and darker in the world and that the Devil is alive and well on planet Earth. I agree with Larry Tomczak’s observation, “The Devil may be alive, but he’s not doing well. In fact he knows his time is short.”
I believe now is the time for the Church to rise up into its proper place of dominion and creativity – believing God for strategies to reach the nations with the gospel so that all may know of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus said, “…the Kingdom of God suffers violence and those who take it, take it by force.” It is time for the Church to take possession of all that has been promised to us and like Caleb said to Joshua, declare that, “We’re as strong today as when God promised this land to us, so give to us this mountain!” (Joshua 14:11-12)
In Christ and for the Church and the world, I believe that the best is yet to come!
Related article: Is it Sunset, or the Dawn?
Message Board: Tell me what you think: Are things getting progressively worse, or is there hope ahead for the world?
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Resources from these articles:
Discipling Nations by Darrow Miller
The Present Future by Reggie McNeal
The Road Ahead by Bill Gates
Carpe Manana by Leonard Sweet
von Buseck is Ministries Director for CBN.com. Send
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