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Is There Hope for Christianity in the Twenty-First Century?

Wars rage. The vote south of the border has wounded evangelicalism (but hope for reformation lives). The reformed (and broadly reformed) churches battle over the TrinitySimplicityGenderGender Roles, Social Justice, and more. From an outsiders point of view, the situation looks dire.

But from the throne room of God, the situation looks far different. In heaven, God sits enthroned and his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Rev 4–22).

Something new is happening. While cultural Christianity declines, conservative Christianity is on the rise. While battles over doctrine rage, people are nevertheless thinking about doctrine. 

Is this the beginning of the end? Or the start of something new?

My answer involves an apocalyptic reading of the church’s present condition.

The ark of salvation trembles before God because he is enfleshing many dead bones, giving them new life. But others remain dead, sprawled out in the dust. Conflict is inevitable, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Pet 4:7). And while the household is being cleansed, the beast and the dragon rage against the woman and her children.

And yet: what is the outcome for the one who endures until the end? This one will receive a crown of life (Rev 2:10). This one will worship the lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.

Far from the death throes, the church is re-awakening. The recent interest in the Trinity, which is to say, the interest in eternal life (John 17:3) gives the church hope, not fear.

The Alpha and the Omega says, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev 1:17–18).

So despite the trials and our descent into chaos, let’s put our hope in the one who descended into Hades and earned the keys. His will must be done. And his will is for the Gospel to be preached to everyone under heaven and for the church to revive in true worship of the one “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8).

 

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