Volume 20 Issue 11
When one visits the grand and magnificent Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side he may walk up to the edge and jump. There are no rails, no signs, no national park guides, and no warnings of any type. Walk up, walk out to the edge, and if you are so inclined –jump. In fact, unless it has changed since my last trek, visitors approach undramatically by following the water’s roar and rainbowing mist that is so bold in its coloring that it appears artificial. Then, without warning, there you are trembling weakly on the edge of the rushing deadly plunge of the Zambezi. And you arrived there on a nondescript dirt footpath guarded loosely by baboons. It is the most contrasted example of serenity and unspeakable power I have ever seen.
Something like this has been going on in our culture, in our families, and in our churches. One could make the argument that we have casually walked through the years down a footpath thoughtlessly approaching the abyss called the future. There were no warning signs, no voices strong enough to transcend the roar to offer clear advice. The few voices of wisdom and warning, which may have been heard for a moment or so, were quickly drowned out or ignored, not altogether by the decibel factor, but more so by the alluring sound of rushing water and the cooling mistiness – not to speak of the rainbows. So we walked to the edge and have been swept away by seduction, faulty steps, mindless carelessness, or gung-ho hubris into a future that in many ways has discarded God. Maybe we jumped. Sam Harris describes the moment as “the end of faith,” in his book of the same name. In his latest book, The Moral Landscape, he is more emboldened in expressing his vision of science (neuroscience) and its role in creating a “utopian” world without God. Here’s how the renowned atheist Richard Dawkins describes Harris’ latest view of the future, “As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris.”
Make no mistake — the future is here. It’s not on its way. It is here. The paradigm shift is complete. The cultural meme has unfolded. We are no longer standing on the edge of some imagined future, but we are already into the future and the edge is now behind us. We have traversed the matrix, and the hope that we can hold the peripheral ground of Judeo Christian norms has been lost. The future is now. Extreme scientific knowledge is now (Daniel 12:4). Previously unthinkable dreams are presently possible.
Most of us see futurity and new paradigms revealed through the power of the computer and Internet, which is like a mainspring pushing the potential and the direction of our times. Consider a quote from “Living on the Future Edge” (inspiration for my title), a collaboration from Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, and Lee Crockett: “The Internet Revolution has just begun, yet it is starting to overwhelm us, outstripping our capacity to cope, antiquating our laws, transforming our morals, reshuffling our economy, reordering our priorities, redefining our workplace, testing our constitution, shifting our concept of reality, and making us sit for longer periods of time in front of glowing screens.”
Dare to imagine this from the same source, “By 2022, the power of an off-the-shelf computer will exceed the intelligence of a human being. By 2030, children will carry devices in their backpacks or their pockets containing the sum total of all human intelligence with any single piece of information accessible in a fraction of a second.”
I don’t believe that people of faith are trying to deny the future, with some exceptions of course, nor are we trying to roll back what the world at large has become. Going back is an impossibility, and theologically we acknowledge the present elements as part of the endtime. I do believe that the Apostolic church, more than anything else, is trying to seize the moment for the glory of Christ. We did not choose this situation, its direction or its design. God has trusted us with the revelation of His name and the transforming anointing of the Holy Spirit. He has called the Church to bring His truth to bear on the consciousness of people who are living in this moment.
Call it modern, postmodern, futuristic, secular, worldly, ungodly, or whatever – but this is where we are. If we are the thoughtful, spiritual, loving, hopeful and committed people of God we should be asking, “How should we then live?” (Ezekiel 33:10). The historical stream of humanity may have come to this moment on a dusty dirt path, stumbling most of the time in darkness and godlessness, but now here we are today – captured in the swirling waters of an uncertain future. Yet, thankfully the Church has not been left with uncertain faith or an uncertain cause.
For the secular world, the ruling elite, the intellectuals, and academia the long-awaited break from “religious oppression” has finally come. They believe that from now on human destiny will be in the hands of mankind, who through science alone will win the day, forge the future and create at last a real utopia here on earth, or at least somewhere in the cosmos. Confident that the corner has been turned many boast about how the foolishness of faith will be crushed by man’s ever increasing knowledge.
The past is irreclaimable, and so we are left to contend with the present. The Church stands on a frontier so uncertain that one dare not attempt to extrapolate the outcome from even the best current analyses. But the solution is future proof. There is that great promise, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”(John 12:32). The Cross will prevail. Jesus is Lord. The eternal Word is manifest in flesh. Those called to preach this message, must PREACH! Avoid the trap of intellectualism, rationalism, and relativism. Hold to the Apostles’ tradition of bold confrontation of false messages and false doctrine.
Be Apostolic at all cost. Separation is a doctrine. Holiness is a necessity. One Lord, one faith, one baptism is a certainty. Preach in His Name. Baptize in His Name. Cast out devils in His Name. Denounce and publicly refuse fellowship with any effort to compromise the faith. Wake up the sleepy, challenge the weak. Stand against all liars. Shine the light into dark places. Denounce hype and theatrical religion. There is no other way. If the Apostolic Church is not ready NOW to confront the future, when will it be ready? If the revelation of the mighty God in Christ is not complete, then what version of the Trinity should we embrace? The future is here. We have crossed the Rubicon. And this is the day that the message of Christ will confront the greatest dangers and deepest darkness ever. Perilous times have come. We cannot go back.