‘THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

So sang the celebrated musician Bob Dylan in 1964. Dylan was one of the prophetic voices during the American Civil Rights and Anti-War movements. Born Jewish, he professed to be ‘born again’ at one stage of his career but then seemed to go back on that profession in 1984. In May 2012 President Obama honoured the singer with a Medal of Freedom. Dylan wrote unwittingly and prophetically, I believe, for a future group of people around the globe burned out on ‘churchianity’ but inflamed by its founder…

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won’t come again

And don’t speak too soon

For the wheel’s still in spin

And there’s no tellin’ who

That it’s namin’

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’.

 

Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside

And it is ragin’

It’ll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’.

 

The line it is drawn

The curse it is cast

The slow one now

Will later be fast

As the present now

Will later be past

The order is

Rapidly fadin’

And the first one now

Will later be last

For the times they are a changin’.

 

In previous blogs I have written about the sunami-like changes facing our world and the Church of Christ as we have known her. Analysts like George Barna and others have written much on the melt-down of the traditional Church in the USA. Institutionalism and traditionalism are giving way to simplicity and grassroots Christ-headed movements, and this all over the world. My Master’s dissertation of four years ago substantiated these things but is already in need of an update, so much has happened since then. In many ways Dylan’s song is hugely prophetic to the Church worldwide at this time…

Here’s an example very close to home for some of my readers. A good friend recently passed on this article to me, printed in Prophecy News Watch of September 2012:  Florida Family Targeted by Community Over Home Bible Study. It details how another US community is fining a family for the ‘crime’ of conducting a home Bible study without getting the ‘proper permits.’ The Roessiger family face a fine of $250 a day from Venice, Florida, after officials determined that the couple were conducting an unauthorised ‘house of worship’ at their residence because of the Bible Study that brings six to ten individuals there every Friday night. The couple run a small Christian outreach ministry, and the mistake they made was to get their mail at home rather than a post office box (this has since been rectified). The family, in addition to prayer and Bible study, has food outreaches in the community and engages in foreign missions work. The latter includes ministering to people living in garbage dumps through providing meals and religious services. PJI’s President Brad Dacus told Fox News that such a heavy-handed reaction was completely out of line:  ‘It’s the same kind of Bible study that occurs in households across America.’ In the most recent development, city officials issued the Roesiggers another citation – this time for having a small sign in their yard that reads, ‘Need Prayer?’ and lists their ministry phone number. The fine for this ‘illegal’ sign is $250 a day. Apparently this is not an isolated case, as a family in San Capistrano, California, was fined $300 the previous year for holding Bible studies and Christian get-togethers in their home. [Will my wife and I also be fined one day for operating organic house churches in our city?]

Of course this was every-day stuff for those earliest followers of Jesus in the first three centuries AD. For three hundred years Christian families and friends met in homes and under trees and by river-sides for worship and prayer, despite persecution by legalists and imperialists. And it’s every-day stuff for the estimated 100 million Chinese believers meeting in underground venues and homes as I write… Was it not Jesus himself, when talking about discipleship and stewardship, who came up with the maxim of reversal, ‘Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first’? (Mt. 19:30, 20:16). In my own city there are many very affluent traditional churches and ‘apostle-led’ mega-churches who could not possibly imagine that the Lord, in expanding his kingdom on earth here in our neck of the woods, might just by-pass them and their programs and use those rather non-descript groups meeting in Jesus’ name in the poorer parts of our Metro where they have to trust God every day of their life for a slice of ‘daily bread.’ We can never put the King of the kingdom in an ecclesiastical box!

It’s going to take a special brand of follower, all over the globe, to usher in God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. During the days of Conmmunist oppression in Romania they were nick-named the repenters. They belong to (as I was reminded recently by a fellow-blogger) what Bonhoeffer called ‘the fellowship of the crucified.’ They will need to be adaptable:  to the gospel of the kingdom once entrusted to the saints (Jude v. 3) and to a current global situation in constant flux. Let me illustrate… Scientists have recently been overjoyed to find that a beautiful bright yellow and black butterfly, the Quino checkerspot butterfly found in Mexico and California and considered on the brink of extinction, has saved itself by shifting to a higher altitude and picking a new species of plant for food and laying eggs. Six years ago, Prof. Camille Parmesan of Plymouth University, suggested the endangered Quino species could be a prime candidate for ‘assisted colonisation’ to be moved to cooler, unspoilt habitats north of Los Angeles. To her and her fellows’ amazement the butterfly did not need human help but miraculously re-appeared on higher ground to the east, where its caterpillars are feeding on a flowering plant it has never eaten before! A parable for the church in our day, don’t you think? The Lord has a faithful remnant, and He will do it!

Will you and your faith group be a part of this magnificent, supernatural and gracious Jesus revolt?

 

 

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4 thoughts on “‘THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

  1. Thanks Errol, for yet another prophetic post. We may be in different locations, but it is one and the same Spirit! Please let me know if you are going to be in the area. There’s a lot of good things happening in Bloem, and we would love to meet, share and hear what’s happening down there by you guys.

  2. Thank you for your kindred spirit, Tobie.

    I am so happy to hear about progress in Bloemfontein! If the Lord takes us in that direction, I would love to have fellowship with you and your fellow saints.

    Love to all…

  3. Thanks for this post, Erroll. I want to echo what Tobie said, “We may be in different locations, but it is one and the same Spirit!” In the context of what I had just been doing, your post came as a strong confirmation from the Lord. I happened to read it right after working on part 3 of “Rebels, Refugees and a Returning Remnant” which focuses on the parallels between the returning remnant under Zerubabel, Ezra and Nehemiah and the end-time returning remnant. In particular, I was writing on the opposition that they faced by those who wanted to shut down the rebuilding, some of which came by official decree. Reading your post immediately after that, was incredibly prophetic and poignant!

    The Lord is truly calling out a remnant today, as He did back then, to return to the simplicity of Christ and a restoration of His House according to Christ alone. There is also the same type of Satanic opposition in our day as they experienced. We should take encouragement that this is all part of God’s end-time plan of restoration that He is doing all over the world in our day! Thanks again for this piece. It was an encouragement from the Lord!

    Love to you and yours!

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