What is God Doing?
If we look at the world as a whole, as we start the 21st Century, what is God doing? Especially, what is he doing that is special to these times, and that he has not done before in quite the same way? What 'new thing' is he doing?
For explanation of this page, see below.
Also, when you have read this, see second version, written ten years on from this one.
God is saving people - as he always has been. However, he is concentrating on those who have never before had the opportunity to be saved, those whose cultural and religious situation have oppressed them. He is a God of justice who does not want anyone to perish, so on a global view he does not want any part of the world to miss out on revival. So, across the centuries, God's revival moves round the world, until all have experienced it. So we see great revivals in non-Western cultures. It is likely that God will not, in any major way, send revivals to those places that have already experienced them in the past. Revival is petering out in the West, and might never return.
- Scripture: None yet; This is to date only an intuition based on God's character as revealed, and also on the observation that the revivals that several people have promised for Britain have not come (e.g. by Jean Darnell).
- Implication: We too should see and go along with this, rather than expecting revival to happen in UK or USA etc., where God has already sent revivals and we have let them deteriorate into religiosity and injustice and so have come to the point where we grossly misrepresent God.
(See also a discussion of revival.)
God is humbling our pride and showing our idols to be worthless and untrustworthy. As he often has, but in these days of the fall of a semi-corrupt Christianity into paganism in the West, he has more opportunity to do so than he did before. e.g. Black Monday stockmarket collapse. e.g. American voting system. e.g. science being shown wrong or technology losing its credibility. e.g. Modern World View being overturned in the hearts of many people.
- Scripture: e.g. Dagon image falling before the Ark of God. e.g. "And you will see the difference between those righteous and the wicked" is becoming more true. e.g. the felling of Herod (?) in Acts.
- Implication: We should start to critically analyse what we assume to be Good or trustworthy or to be aspired to. Not just personally, but are we acquiescing to a general idolatry and pride? e.g. America is the MegaPower, and so should NOT be looking first to its own security and prosperity. (See also 'word' re. USA given in 2001.) This stance will involve politics of a certain kind (not left-right politics, but a seeing of what is going on.)
God is correcting long-held wrong views, especially amongst Western Christians. In particular, God is telling us that he cares about those parts of his Creation that are beyond human beings. The error, that the Rest of Creation is of no ultimate value, is a heresy but is held unknowingly by millions of Western Christians who otherwise hold good doctrine. And increasingly be African and Asian Christians. The view comes more from a dualistic kind of pagan view (the Form-Matter and Nature-Grace ground motives) than from God's revelation. And especially from what Mark Green and others call the Sacred-Secular Divide.
We can see God doing this in the warnings he is giving (below), by the growing awareness in many Christian circles that we have for too long ignored important themes in Scripture, and a growing interest in these themes, and also a growing concern throughout the world about God's creation, even if the concern is misdirected or used by the Enemy to ensnare people in the New Age movement etc.
God is involved. He is the Living God, not just an object of worship, a theological concept or a figment of the mind. He loves his Creation, not just letting it go to destruction while he rescues a load of people for heaven. He is showing us again that he is the Living God. He is preparing Christ's inheritance for him.
- Scripture: References to 'Living God'. Heb.1:2. Jonah was sent to Nineveh because God was wanted the people there to repent - and to protect many animals. God raised up Cyrus for his purposes. God felled Herod when he accepted worship. God
- Implication: We too should care, after 1000 years of believing that things of the Rest of Creation are of little eternal significance. Long term, but we must build a new theology that is faithful to everything that God has revealed, not just half of it.
See also 'Understanding the Times': new planetary, religions, economic, communicational, philosophical and aspirational situations.
God is giving warnings about our human responsibility to look after the Rest of Creation for him. Ozone layer depletion arriving faster than expected. Climate change, floods in England in 2000, which robbed the fuel protestors of their support. Is God showing mercy for a time, giving signs in the hope that people will turn and repent? God's warnings are part of his love.
- Scripture: Noah's flood, Babel, Egypt, destruction of Assyrian army, etc. Jesus said "You can tell the weather, but you cannot see the signs of the times." God often gives mercy-warnings first, before the real destruction, II Peter 3:15. e.g. the ups and downs of Israel's history in the O.T.
- Implication: We should stand back and see the warnings. At the moment we are so closely focused on how we run our churches etc. that we fail to see them. We should see these warnings not just as unfortunate events to cope with, plan for and prepare for (e.g. flood barriers) but as warnings from God that we repent over; we should change our lifestyles. We are unwilling to change our lifestyles. e.g. Perhaps we should seriously consider "Do I truly need that second holiday, that second or third car for my kids, that better phone, etc. What would happen if I did not spend my time and money on them?"
South Africa, for example, where repentance and forgiveness appeared and worked. Contrast this with Israel, and many places where we are trying the route of compromise and mutual self-interest - they just won't work.
God is looking after the Jews, and may be getting them ready to represent him again properly, after centuries in which their role has been dormant. Even though they might not be at all like God at present, and perpetrating many injustices, God made a covenant with them that he keeps.
- Scripture: Various passages about God's faithfulness to and future for the Jews. Romans. Leviticus etc. about what God wanted his people to be like, especially welcoming the 'foreigner' to live amongst them.
- Implication: Don't be zionist, but seek the repentance of his people and a turning to him in repentance. God wants his people to have a heart for the 'foreigner', and so they should welcome the Palestinians and treat them with genuine respect. Remember the Psalm which tells of the surrounding nations being one with the Hebrews.
God is not keeping himself to so-called Christian cultures and religious systems. His is the whole earth, and he is the health and hope of all peoples, whatever their culture or religious system. Even though they are in error, he is working in and through people of other religions or religious systems - though not to affirm those religious systems but to lead people to himself. (Including atheism, marxism, nazism, etc. as well as Islam, Hinduism, etc.) God speaks into even those cultures, to lead them to himself. See, for example, Don Richardson's book Eternity in Their Hearts which outlines some ways in which God spoke into cultures across the world. The fruit of what he describes is seen in South Asia, South America, etc. today.
Some weeks ago Roy Moss spoke from Isaiah 2-4 and emphasised the need for people to "see what God is doing". He linked it with transparency, being open to God. That spoke to my heart. In all honesty and not wanting to boost myself, I have been wondering over recent months if I can 'see what God is doing'. And I have, for years, tried to be open and transparent before God, knowing that he knows everything and that all truth belongs to him, so that there is just no point dissembling before him. Then one of the leaders of our church, Richard Spilman, prayed that I would have clarity.
I have been feeling that my view of what God is doing is a bit different from most views of what God is doing. I could see things clearly in my own intuition, but not spell them out. But after R.S. prayed, the next morning I could set things down on paper. So I did, and this page comes from doing that. (What I wrote then in 2001 has remained as it was, though today 16 January 2011 I have updated some erroneous links, added a few links that I trust will be helpful, added a few Scriptures, and made a few minor changes to phraseology.)
It might be that I am just a maverick who has fixed on his own ideas and just sees through the spectacles of his own worldview. But it might be something the Holy Spirit has placed there. What I find is that in lots of ways God seems to be acting as is recorded down through Scripture that he has done so, and in accordance with what he has revealed of his character. But is this spectacles that distort, or is it the result of transparency that has allowed the Holy Spirit to open up areas of my thinking and perception that have not been opened up yet in others? I do not know. I do not want to misrepresent God, but nor do I want to draw back if he is pulling me to set out something. All through history God has drawn people to see things in new ways - and he might or might not be drawing me. (Since that time, I have, with inner urging, begun to develop 'A New View in Theology and Practice', a theology that makes sense of many of these things, especially God's interest in Green thought. 16 January 2011)
So I am placing these thoughts in the public domain so that they can be prayed about, considered, tested and, if appropriate, used. Though I retain Copyright on what is written here, for legal reasons, please use it as you honestly see fit. (If it is from God, then of course perhaps he should have the Copyright! But I would not dare say that yet!)
I have set down the major points. Some will merge in future, and other points will emerge. But, in order that readers can see the significance of what I am saying, and not just think "There's nothing new here" to some of them and "Rubbish~" to others, I also set down where I think this is in line with God's character or how he has acted in the past (under 'Scripture:') and what are the broad implications for us today - our activities, our prayers, our ways of seeing things, and what we value and aim for under God. The latter is under 'Implications:'.
One thing to notice is that though I have separated out several things that I see God doing, they are all interlinked, and support each other. Also, remember that this is broad-brush; there are exceptions to each and every one. God works in wonderful ways that are beyond our understanding.
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About This Page
Offered to God as on-going work, this page is designed to stimulate discussion on various topics, as part of Andrew Basden's pages that open up various things from one of the Christian perspectives.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden at all the dates below. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.
Written on the Amiga with Protext.
Created: 25 March 2001.
Last updated: 16 January 2011. .nav,end; corrected links, added links esp. to New View, and some Scriptures and notes, and made a few changes to phraseology. 27 April 2014 moved to discussion/, new .nav,.end, corrected ssd link, link to WhatIsGodDoing. 7 July 2015 new .end.