The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Germany, in the Middle Ages. A narrative in the 16th Century said, the Piper dressed in pied or multicoloured clothing and had been hired by the town to lure the rats away with music from his magic pipe.
After he wasn’t paid for his services he indeed made a return visit. With a twist in the tale this time not for rats or mice but he infamously turned his sensuous and irresistible music onto the ears of the children of Hamelin and led them mesmerised to their ultimate destruction. As one watches Christian Television one cannot help but notice that there are countless accounts of revivals and news of exponential Church growths. The testimonies chronicle mighty exploits in the land plus many more far and beyond . Indeed revival has darkened our shores again is the mantra. Yeah, the church seems to be depopulating hell at a rate that is astounding. But…I must say, its not long ago that I took road trips to get at least a whiff or a splutter of an out pouring onto my humble moustache. Call me gullible but when the word of God gets scarce on the pulpit a deep urge and desire for the sacred begins to consume the inner most innards. The fatality in this faux pas is going on spiritual escapades with lack of knowledge. Lack of Biblical knowledge and immaturity like Paul said causes one to be ” tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” It behooves us therefore to at least stump out scriptural illiteracy by being more discerning and asking “How much of our revivals and moves of God are genuine and Biblical?”
There are plenty of communicators in the modern evangelical movement, but today’s sermons tend to be short, shallow, topical homilies that massage people’s egos and focus on fairly insipid subjects like human relationships, “successful” living, emotional issues, and other practical but worldly –and not definitely biblical-themes. Like the ubiquitous Plexiglas lecterns from which these messages are delivered, such preaching is lightweight and without substance, cheap and synthetic, leaving little more than an ephemeral impression on the minds of the hearers. – John MacArthur, Fool’s Gold?
Jesus said, “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6: 47-49. A Barna Group Survey in 2009 revealed:
“Consequently, more and more people are engaged in hybrid faiths, mixing elements from different historical eras and divergent theological perspectives,” Barna stated. “In some ways, we are creating the ultimate ecumenical movement, where nothing is deemed right or wrong, and all ideas, beliefs and practices are assigned equal validity. Everyone is invited to join the dialogue, enjoy the ride, and feel connected to a far-reaching community of believers. Screening or critiquing what that community believes is deemed rude and inappropriate. Pragmatism and relativism, rather than any sort of absolutism, has gained momentum.”-Barna Group 2009
Some of the survey findings that related to this theme included: • 71% say they will develop their own slate of religious beliefs rather than accept a package of beliefs promoted by a church or denomination • Three-quarters of adults (75%) believe that God is motivating them and others to connect with Him through different means and experiences than were common in the past. God who determines His church, draws His church, regenerates His church, justifies His church and brings His church through sanctification to eternal glory. It’s not long ago that the Lakeland Revivals drop kicked us through the goal posts of evangelical surrealism. Beginning on the 2nd April 2008 in Lakeland, Florida its estimated that over 140,000 people from over 40 nations had visited, and 1.2 million had watched via the Internet. By June 30, over 400,000 people from over 100 nations had attended but the revival ended in much controversy and scandal. The most memorable person from this infamous revival was not the short bald heavily tattooed evangelist. His language was at times brash as he beckoned people to “come get some” as miracles were supposedly “popping like popcorn” as he yelled “Bam!” and they collapsed in a domino effect and he proclaimed them cured. Attendees danced in the aisles, shouted to heaven, laughed, shook violently and cried. The biggest shocker was the person who the man of God attributed his healing powers to-an angel called EMMA. The clue to this cryptic persona lay in the deciphered meanings of his Japanese inscriptions on his trunk and limbs. EMMA was hidden in plain sight. EMMA read more here.
The best after thought was made by AOG Superintendent George O. Wood when he said, “Miraculous manifestations are never the test of a true revival – fidelity to God’s Word is the test. Jesus Himself said there would be many who would do miracles in His name and even cast out demons, but he does not know them. Jesus warned that ‘many false prophets will appear and deceive many people’.”
Whether a preacher boldly proclaims the Word of God or not is ultimately a question of authority. Who has the right to speak to the Church? The preacher or God? It is a prideful thing to usurp the authority of God and substitute anything for the preaching of the Word. David Wilkerson the founder of Time Square Church lamented in an article Its time to get right with God:
Jesus warned that many believers would turn away and grow cold: “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). His message is clear: Many who have been on fire for the things of God are going to fall away. They will drift into a spiritual coldness. And some will turn to their old fleshly ways. When will this happen? It will take place at a time Jesus called “the beginning of sorrows” (24:8). All of the backsliding we see today — the turning away from faith to unbelief — comes at a time when you would least expect it. Rather, you would expect people to be drawing nearer to God. We are at the beginning of those days of “great sorrows” that Jesus referred to. Even prominent voices in the world agree: These are days of unspeakable wickedness, marked by uncontrollable greed, rampant sexual perversions, multitudes giving themselves over to addictions of all kinds, from drugs to alcohol to pornography.
I kept searching history books to see if there was a time when people got out pourings of God’s sovereign move or revival. Not many have heard of the East African revival of 1929. Lee Grady of Charisma Magazine reported that historians trace it to a prayer meeting on Namirembe Hill in Kampala, Uganda, where a missionary to Rwanda, Joe Church, prayed and read the Bible for two days with his friend Simeoni Nsibambi. They felt God had showed them that the African church was powerless. He further recounted that it is impossible to explain exactly what happened after this prayer meeting or how the resulting spiritual fervor spread. Within weeks after the Rev. Church returned to Gahini, Rwanda, Christians gathered to pray and confess their sins openly.
A heavy spirit of conviction fell on the people. Whenever they repented for their sins and failures they would weep uncontrollably, ask others to forgive them and pledge to make restitution. Its claimed that the weeping spread to farmlands and open fields. Unbelievers who visited these gatherings were converted after they witnessed the sincerity of the Christians. Repentance went deep. Husbands publicly apologized for adultery and farmers repented for stealing cows from each other. Eventually, as the revival spread from Rwanda to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi, even the centuries-old tradition of polygamy (which was still common among professing Christians) was unraveled in some areas. In a 1986 article for Christian History, Michael Harper writes of the revival: “It’s effects have been more lasting than almost any other revival in history, so that today there is hardly a single Protestant leader in East Africa who has not been touched by it in some way.” I spent the past two weeks ministering in Uganda and Kenya, and everywhere I went I met people who still talk about the East African Revival—80 years after it began. -Lee Grady, Charisma Magazine
However my curiousity led me scouring several blogs and articles on this demonstration-I stumbled across a blog of a little known pastor in Uganda.
For those of us who have grown up in Uganda, and preached the gospel in Uganda, there is no Revival in Uganda, not even a remnant revival! What is happening is a rapid acceleration towards apostasy in Uganda and unless something is done, Evangelicalism (Balokole-ism) as we know it in Uganda ended years ago and all is left is a dead religion but still with the Pentecostal effects like shakings, goose bumps, overnight prayers, large gatherings etc…these things are mistakably called Revival by unsuspecting two week visitors to East Africa. The Balokole (Evangelical or Saved ones, as Lee Grady calls them) have largely been invaded by the very same ills and debacles that Lee Grady writes about in Charisma Magazine, from the Prosperity Gospel, Sexual Abuse, Divorce, Greed, Materialism, etc, to other weird doctrines of devils and demons. On Christian TV and Radio Stations, messages of repentance are extinct, instead messages of materialism and wealth are proclaimed. –Kato Mivule, yesumulungi.com
Well I couldn’t agree more with this obscure preacher. Repentance, sin, judgement and righteousness are not preached with fervour and urgency to a world that is bent on eliminating the Ethos of God.There is none righteous and none who seek him and instead there are those in the Church who are blending the gospel message with paraphernalia to make for a form of godliness but denying the power there of. The world is sleeping in the dark; the church is sleeping in the light-and heaven just weeps was the parallel that a singer called Keith Green sang. Para-church groups like youth ministries are becoming havens for a breed of prodigal brats that disdain the very name they claim to be upholding. Christian conferences attract more unbelievers than believers because they are escapist sessions where cars are touted by game show hosts and a whole programme load of material and sensuous packaging in the name of modern-day gospel-its best summarised in the scripture “they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” Exodus 32:6
You are the Vine, I be thy branch
This form of comfortable sensuality and materialism that Paul described as having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof has permiated not only the element of Christian living and culture but is becoming the permissible expression of Christianity. There appears to be a deliberate omission and blatant elimination of any thing righteous or godly or spiritually edifying to the body of Christ even in the of top most musical echelon that humbly started as Christian. The Pied Piper’s tune parades glamorous and post modern mindsets with self help and motivational lessons to prosperity principles so as to appease anybody and every body. Materialism is used to attract followers and to maintain the numbers more innovative ways are concoted to keep them coming hence the trendy short sermonettes, plush cafes in church foyers, games consoles in prayer rooms and the list goes on into dance routines (Yes even, Belly dance for God). The things of God hardly appeal to a people that have gone in their own slip roads in droves while listening to the tunes of their Pied Piper. Jesus said he is the vine and we are the branches and if you are not attached to him you cannnot live. Lets take a random look at the most popular music and its lyrical content. I am not against any music group; I would rather like Paul “consider everything as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”-Phil 3:8 The 52nd Grammy Awards saw the gong for the Best Gospel Song go to a song that had the following lyrical content:
Church Gurl Fashions?
From the sweat suit to the white tee to the gucci You can probably say people wanna get like me You see her style you think she nice You look at her whip you say the whip tight You look at her crib you thinks she’s paid You look at her life you think she’s got it made When it comes to money she can be a hero She writes them checks with a whole lot of zeros.
In the same vein, I draw a deep contrast as I read through the lyrics of another gospel song. Many a young people may not know Charlotte Elliott (March 18, 1789 – September 22, 1871) but she grew up in Clapham, England. She wrote over 150 hymns and poems some of which were printed anonymously. No Gucci or bling graced her chest but a deep desire to worship God consumed her life-her lyrical content is deep, rich and bountifully encouraging. she was described by a contemporary Dr John Julian as: “Though weak and feeble ….her verse is characterized by tenderness of feeling, plaintive simplicity, deep devotion, and perfect rhythm. For those in sickness and sorrow, she has sung as few others have done.” Charlotte Elliott was the invalid who wrote the hymn Just as I am.
Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind- Sight, riches, healing of the mind, Yea, all I need in Thee to find- O Lamb of God, I come, I come.- Charlotte Elliott (March 18, 1789 – Sept 22, 1871)
Illusions and showmanship
God determines His church, draws His church, regenerates His church, justifies His church and brings His church through sanctification to eternal glory. Jesus added that whoever causes one of these who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Our relevance lies in not being like the world but being like Him who called us. It is God who does the conversion work by the power of the Holy Spirit and it is only God who sustains you and will revive us again. If revival is to grace any shores again, it has to be a Sovereign move of God and not dependent on a mere man’s charisma. Every so often there will be a Pied Piper who has perfected a technique of conjuring up a sign and a wonder to even deceive the elect. More than ever, keep your ears tuned to the Word of God that you will recognise God’s voice. If revival tarries, keep watching and waiting. Do not fall asleep. Keep in the Word of God-know the voice of the Good shepherd, fall in love with God afresh. The next time you hear that other sensual falsetto you can smile and boldly assert, “Shush…its the Pied Piper!”