Anger and Courage

A call for action

“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” – St. Augustine

Most of us know anger quite well. Talk to someone who is involved with the repentance scene and you will likely hear it in their voice as they talk about the state of the church, you will see it in their eyes as they explain the wrongs associated with the hyper-prosperity, once saved-always saved or the seeker sensitive doctrines. Anger at the way that things are has been at the heart of the repentance community and is something that most of us are well aquainted with. Anger by itself is not bad, it is a tremendous motivator for the person seeking to change things. But when anger is left alone and is not coupled with action, it must end in the destruction of the ones who embrace it. Because anger must be answered, that is its nature. It demands that a wrong be addressed and if no solution presents itself, anger will inevitably lead to frustration, withdrawal and ultimately a martyr complex that can only destroy a Christian life and that is absolute poison for any move of God.

We have seen that this frustration will many times introduce a little known companion to anger named apathy. When the source of frustration seems to be such that there is no ready answer for it, apathy comes along as a form of learned helplessness. “I used to be angry about such-and-such but then I just gave up, it is never going to change anyway.” And apathy crouches right now at the door of the repentance community, stealing our resolve to see change and sapping our strength for the battle ahead. I hear from people from all over the world because of my ministry email list. And the impression that I am getting more and more often of late is that they are tired of hearing about everything that is wrong. People in the community have grown tired of hearing about what is wrong with them, with the church and with the world. Not that they do not see the truth in what is being said, it is just that there must be an answer presented as a solution to the problems that are being exposed.

If a public leader or politician began listing the wrongs of a certain country that he viewed as an enemy, it would certainly be possible for him to generate a public frenzy in response to all that he has to say given the proper platform. But if he were to present no ready answer, no clear path to dealing with the situation, people who were excited would quickly tire of the rants and quietly excuse themselves from his rallies. That is human nature and it is no different in this movement. We have cried foul against the current system and the problems that we and those that came before us have been exposing are very real. But without a plan to change things, all of those people who allied themselves with us, even the most ardent of our supporters, will eventually fall victim to apathy. And apathy is the death rattle of any movement, the sound that says that the end is inevitable.

Anger at the current state of things has carried us all this far but it can not take us any further. The diversity of the issues that face us when combined with their sheer size all but guarantees that they can withstand our anger by simply ignoring us and keeping us in obscurity. The tactic employed so far has been to ignore us completely and when they find that they must give an answer to our claims, they simply relegate us to being only the marginalized fringe, conspiracy theorists and heresy hunters who are not worth considering in the grand scheme of things, or fanatics that suffer from too much intensity and need to just settle down.

Some people who would support what we do hear us and it all rings true to them but what we offer as an alternative is so one dimensional that it can not hold public attention long. Imagine if the reformers would have contented themselves with exposing the error of the Catholic Church and then went no further. After awhile, crowds would no longer have clamored to hear these upstarts because they would have heard it all before. Thank God that the reformers did not stop there but they presented real solutions, else we would not be here today but would still be under the domination of the Pope and that hellish system of indulgences.

The goal of any revolution is to supplant the current system. But we have been hesitant to move in this or any other direction in the repentance movement. Some parts of the group hate anything organized while others hate any leadership at all in the church. Some think money should have no part in religion while still others believe that we do not need buildings but that it should be totally street or home based. Some hate denominations and some even seem to hate America in general and want to see it judged. I can’t say that any of those things are what I believe but I have seen people who certainly do believe them in the last few years.

And with a lack of official central ideals to follow, no one knows what to believe and so we do nothing at all and chaos reigns. If we continue as we are without a central identity to call our own we have zero chance of affecting any real change. The bible says that every seed reproduces after its own kind and yet we don’t even know what we are, we only know that we aren’t “them” and have contented ourselves with that. It is my opinion that many of the ideas that we tolerate in this group are simply utopian ideas with no hope of practical application whatsoever. And some of the ideas are just plain crazy and should not be tolerated at all, lest the integrity of the movement itself suffers due to our silence as the lunatics run the asylum.

What we desperately need right now is a practical plan that answers the heart cry that we all share, not utopian ideals that would have a tough time happening even in a perfect world.

Our trumpets have been sounding an uncertain and even disjointed sound and how can the people of God answer that? There are many preachers out there preaching similar things, many of whom I know personally. Some of these same men also have something against other preachers who stand for things very close to their own core beliefs. They will not work together, preach together or stand together in any way and some will even go to great lengths to distance themselves from these others.

When a spirit of fratricide is evidently running free among our ranks, how could God ever trust us with revival? We will only bite and devour one another in the midst of it and kill the work. That being said, is it too hard of a question to ask what is it that draws us together? What are the common threads that we recognized that caused us to gravitate to one another? What do we feel that God wants us to do in our time here on earth as a group, if anything? This is not ecumenical agreement that demands severe compromise in order for it to occur but simply the agreement of brethren who desire to join together to accomplish more than they could as a lone individual. It would seem that the core goals that we all seem to desire the most are:

We want to see real Christianity established in the place of the humanistic Gospel of the last half decade.

We want to see the power of God again and not this spirit of Adonijah that parades itself in our day.

We want to see revival change the course of history in our time.

As for me, I want to see the real enemy and his work destroyed every chance that I get. I have at times forgotten about satan as I focused on all of the wrongs in the church system. I have told myself that he was behind all of the problems and so by going after the church system, I was going after him. But then one day I woke up and saw that in all my fighting, I had forgotten how to fight him. And I vowed in myself to never make that mistake again.

Courage is the other daughter of hope mentioned at the outset of this article and it is the one that has been most missing in what we do. And it is the one that must come to the forefront now if we are ever going to see God move in our day. We must do something now before this brief window closes and there is no more need of the watchman because the enemy is already at the gate. We must decide what it is that we stand for, cut loose everything that we do that does not directly apply to our vision no matter how good it seems to be and begin to march together towards our goals. We must put aside pet doctrines and differences that divide us and rally around the principles that we all agree with. We must work with one another to present a united front and a depth that people can embrace. We must become a movement in every sense of the word, moving together with all of the different parts that we offer to a common goal.

And we must have the courage to remember that none of our stances or projects really matter in the end, only what we truly do for Jesus matters.

We will make the decision now whether this movement will have any impact or not. If we can not move forward together then we will lose this incredible moment in history when real change could have occurred. I would remind you that we have come into the kingdom for such a time as this and that not one of us should delude ourselves into thinking that we will escape in the king’s house any more than anyone else. That if we do nothing then deliverance and enlargement shall arise from another place, we can be sure of that. But we may have missed the one moment that we were born for, the war that would have given us our identity that we could have only fought together.

James Smith

American Pentecost

Houston, Texas U.S.A

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