Dark clouds are rolling in from the sea and over the land.
The season of favour and privilege has come to an end.
A season of hostility, hatred, harm and harassment is beginning.

A sword of persecution will come against preachers
who go hard against sin with salvation by law.
When church leaders campaign hard
against abortion, euthanasia, LGBQT and cannabis,
the world will react with hostility.
Preachers will be accused of stirring up hatred and hostility
towards those who are hurting and helpless.
Pastors will be labelled as lacking in kindness and compassion.
If fear, anger and hatred squeeze out their love and empathy,
the world will react with hostility.
(See Catalyst for Season Change below)

When church leaders use the sword of the state against sinners
and forget that sin carries its own punishment,
they will find that sword turned back against them.

A sword of persecution will rage against preachers
who go hard against sin with salvation by law.
A sharp division will come between political leaders and church leaders.
Hostility will rise up between them and feed into hatred and harm.
Some facilities will be closed to voices speaking loudly against sin.
Some Christian leaders will be hounded from their position by dodgy accusations.

A sword of persecution will come against church leaders
who have allowed themselves to be put on a pedestal,
who have taken the place of Jesus.
When their pastors fall,
sheep will be scattered across the city,
afraid to return to big meetings.

After an explosion of anger and hostile threats,
some Christians will be afraid to come together in crowds.
When the sheep hide together in their homes,
something amazing will happen.
The Holy Spirit will make his home amongst them.
He will heal those who are sick and broken
and many people will choose to follow Jesus.

God will raise up helpers from within their homes
to watch over them
to teach them the way of Jesus
and to bond them into his body.
They will gather to love and support each other in their homes.
Elders with balanced giftings will arise from within their midst
to watch over them.


Catalyst for Social Change

The date for the NZ general election in October has been set. Many New Zealanders seem to be a bit bored by it, but Christians are really stirred up about it. They see it as an opportunity to push back on the Big Four Social issues. A couple of them will be the subject of a referendum in parallel with the election. The big four social issues are:

    • Abortion
    • Euthanasia
    • Marijuana
    • LGBTQ
Focus on these issues is a mistake and a distraction for followers of Jesus.
  • Changing the law to outlaw behaviours that we do not like is salvation by law. Christians know that salvation by law does not work, and we do not believe in it, so it does not make sense that they are trying to use political power to bring social change. Advocating salvation by law is wasted effort.

  • The church has an amazing gospel and the Holy Spirit. These together are far more effective for bringing social change. The gospel can transform human lives and society. The gospel and the Spirit are our weapons for changing lives.

  • The reason that evil is spreading in the world is that sin has become so widespread. The reason that sin is widespread is that we have not shared the gospel of Jesus effectively. For example, abortion is morally wrong, but we must not put the blame on the young women who feel their only option is to abort their babies. We have failed to share the gospel that could change the hearts of the men who practice casual and irresponsible sex. We must not blame the world for our failure.

  • If the majority of the NZ population is not Christian, we should not expect them to elect Christian MPs. If the majority of MPs are not Christian, we should not be surprised if they change laws in a way that Christians do not like. Forcing them to apply Christian principles is not an option. The answer is to change the hearts of the population by proclaiming the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

  • The moral horse has bolted in New Zealand. Society has already decided where it wants to go, and is going the other way. Most people are glad that the shackles of religious constraints have been thrown off. They do not want to go back to the old world of religious condemnation and shame.

  • The four big social issues are suckering the church into supporting right-wing political parties. They will use these wedge issues to entice voters to gain power, but will give very little back. Political power is a trap and disappointment for the church.

  • God does not care about these social issues as much as Christians do. He is sad when people reject his love, but he is not surprised when they sin. The big four social sins that concern Christians so much are normal in societies that have turned away from God. The solution is proclaiming the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

In the New Testament, Jesus did not challenge the religious and political powers to bring in laws to eliminate abortion, euthanasia and sexual immorality. Instead, he went around proclaiming the good news and demonstrating God's love by healing the sick and casting out demons. Paul explained to the Roman Christians that increasing sexual immorality is the normal consequence in a society that has rejected God's presence (Rom 1:23-27).

With randy Roman soldiers tramping around Judea, unwanted pregnancies would have been common in Jesus time. Many young women would have been raped (people assumed that Mary had been in a liason with a Roman soldier). A secret abortion would have been the only way for a Jewish family to avoid terrible shame and ostracism. Homosexuality was common amongst soldiers too. Jesus did not agitate for the Roman senate to pass laws that would stop these practices. Instead of advocating changes to the law, he urged his followers to preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that people's lives and their society would be transformed.

Jesus was far more concerned about a different set of sins. He was particularly concerned about the sins of religious people and religious leaders than the sins of the world. When challenging sin, Jesus focussed on:

If the church persists in agitating on the big four social issues, there will be a harsh and hostile reaction. This will happen quicker than expected.

If pastors push hard on these issues in the lead up to the election, there will be a backlash from the media and activists that see them as a threat to their agenda. They have political support, so the fight could get really nasty. The social activists who have pushed these causes are tired of being pushed around and put in their place by the church. They feel like they have escaped that pressure in recent years, and they will do anything to avoid losing the ground that they have gained.

The experience of Isaac Folau is a warning. What the pastors in New Zealand churches are teaching is not much different from what he was teaching. Many are secretly saying, "He is right". The only difference is that he is better known, but if the pastors and leading Christians in New Zealand stand up on the parapet during the election, they will face the same vicious onslaught from the media and other social activists.