I write this newsletter from Cape Town, South Africa, a most beautiful country with enormous social problems. I have lectured in all kinds of churches here; various types of Baptist churches, some charismatic churches, independent Bible churches, and many different kinds of Anglican churches, some “in communion” with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican church worldwide. I also gave a plenary address at the international congress of the World Reformed Fellowship in Johannesburg earlier this month, and there met many Christian leaders from Africa, Europe and Asia. I also had the privilege of excellent conversations with the solidly evangelical Archbishop Peter Jenson of Sydney, Australia. Peter Jensen left Johannesburg to preach two days later to the Queen of England in Melbourne, Australia at the beginning of the Commonwealth Games.
As I come to the end of my month–long lecture tour, my mind is filled with thoughts about the Church global.
We now live in an era of globalism and we witness daily the first signs of life in the planetary community. Already the multi–national companies no longer see themselves as related to any particular country but have a presence in key cities all over the globe. Technologically, global communication is breath–taking. Yesterday I sent an e–mail to the States from South Africa and two minutes later received a reply. It was faster than the e–mails I get back home from my wife on the other side of Escondido! Geo–politicians already speak of the end of the nation–state and eagerly espouse the notion of “global governance.” I am presently working on a book which will attempt to indicate the major elements of the neo–pagan world view for the planetary era. Intellectual pagans have developed an all–inclusive plan for life on the planet that will join together all the religions and all humans in a utopian global community. Pagan religion will be the deeply spiritual inspiration for a new, integrated understanding of all the areas of human life: politics, law, education, science, philosophy, morals, sexuality, and the environment. The “New Age” is no longer passing, minor cult, to go the way of the hoola hoop and bell–bottomed pants. It has morphed into a master plan for the world community of tomorrow.
This constitutes perhaps the greatest challenge to the Church since the Greco–Roman Empire of the first century. Without an equally comprehensive world view based on God’s self–revelation in Scripture, we will have nothing significant to say. In addition, the time of globalism is a time when the church needs to realize that it is a genuine global community–perhaps the only one–and that all expressions of the church throughout the world need to be in some kind of meaningful communion with each other. Gone is the time when the West was the sending nation, taking the Gospel, from a position of great strength, to the “benighted” nations and peoples of the world. Now the West is entering a period of deep spiritual darkness, and the help is coming from the most unexpected of places.
It is the African bishops who are opposing the apostate forces in the Western church in their attempt to normalize homosexuality. At the World Reformed Fellowship congress, I was asked to introduce a seminar paper read by a black Nigerian scholar, Dr. Ysufu Turaki. Dr. Turaki gave a brilliant analysis of African tribal religion. In Africa, as I learned this month, one of the major problems in the black churches is the blending of biblical Christianity and tribal religion. When the Gospel seems ineffective to solving problems, people turn to the worship of the departed elders for supplementary sources of power. During his lecture, something amazing dawned on me. What Dr. Turaki said about “primitive” African spirituality is precisely what I have been reading in the most recent developments of Jungian, transpersonal psychology in western neo–paganism. One more time, this so–called “new” spirituality reveals itself as merely the old in new dress.
How important it is to know this. How important it is to be able to put modern paganism in this kind of perspective. But it can only be done as Christians from all over the world compare notes and understand the situation from a global perspective. Such contacts, and many more that must be developed in the future, help the Church universal to address the world–wide reemergence of pagan religion. Such contacts will more and more show that the common enemy of the church world–wide today is the same as what the church faced in the first century, what Paul calls “the lie,” the worship of the creation(Rom. 1:25).
Such contacts will also serve to strengthen the Church and stimulate Christian believers world–wide in the true worship “of the Creator who is blessed forever, Amen.” Pray for truthXchange as it seeks to help make this vision a live reality.