To My Valued Court Street Baptist Family:
After we watched ‘worship service’ at Court Street Baptist Church Sunday morning, Barbara and I happened across an internet link to a recent version of Andrea Bocelli singing ‘Amazing Grace’. In this version (part of his recent Easter concert of hope) he appeared to be singing alone in front of the Duomo cathedral in Milan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0l5dGiaXCo During the singing of that glorious and revered classic hymn by one of the great tenor voices of our era, the video panned across the great open plazas of the cities of the world. Every one of those great open spaces was hauntingly empty of the crowds of persons usually filling them.
I was powerfully moved by this presentation, not only because of the artistry of the performance and the visual statement presented – but because I sensed in it something profound and prophetic. When I say this I am not saying that I am party to some inside secret regarding the unfolding of end time prophecy. The Bible gives us many plain statements about signs and events we may look to for answers. The TV preachers who stand in front of their wall sized prophecy charts, claiming to have had visions or special insights of the end, often leave me a bit cynically skeptical. I guess that is because Jesus Himself told us that we would not know the day of the hour of certain end time events but instead, implored us to be ready. ‘To this he replied, “You cannot know times and dates which have been fixed by the Father’s sole authority.”’ (Acts 1:17 Phillips NT)
Don’t misunderstand me. I certainly don’t think I have a monopoly on the truth, nor do I malign TV preachers in general. I believe that God can and does speak through His servants today through the ‘foolishness of preaching’ (I Cor 1:21) – otherwise I’ve been wasting my own time preaching two thousand sermons in the last forty-three years! However, I do know a few things for certain – and one of those is that whatever is proclaimed in Jesus’ name must be verifiable by Jesus’ own teachings and the Book He gave us. So I always tread carefully whenever I am in a conversation about something being a ‘sign’ of the end. I am not quick to say that this event or that one points us to end time events.
Having said all of that, I want to say that in my spirit I do feel that something profoundly spiritual and behind-the-scenes is unfolding in the world’s current events. I know that some of you feel this also because you have mentioned it to me. Many other followers of Christ agree with us and share with us that same sense of things. Just what the current lessons or prophetic fulfillments may turn out to be, are squarely in God’s purview. People want answers, and so those with spiritual interpretations will be marching forward in droves with their explanations to fill the need. I am not saying they are all wrong. What I am saying is that while we are waiting on God to define our times clearly and biblically, perhaps we ought to prayerfully listen to The Spirit of God before we wax too eloquent in declaring what we think we are seeing. As is always the case, balance is called for.
On the way into the office to ‘preach’ on video last Thursday, I passed a tall animated gentleman near the bridge who himself was wearing a medical mask – and also flailing one around in the wind. I was not sure if he was trying to sell the loose mark or infect the passing traffic. My car windows were up. Now, if he was attempting to market a mask, it was a very dubious method of marketing. Likewise, we live in a world where there are innumerable voices prepped by the ‘deceiver’ of humankind into making fictitious statements of a spiritual nature. In a world full of false spiritual ‘entrepreneurs’ it is good for us to recall where the genuine truth about what God is up to, may be found.
‘Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true’. (Acts 17:11)
Your Servant in Christ,