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(Please note: I won’t be posting an article here until November 18.)

A persistent falsehood has run through the evangelical church for several years. It is that a believer must find his or her vision, a vision for life. This has, of course, inevitably, resulted in people in small groups (Gotta have ‘em, you know.) sitting around talking and “visioneering.” This is just alternative language for finding one’s purpose or dream via human reasoning. If you haven’t caught on by now, you should know that such activities are the same that businesses and corporations do to increase production or sales. In Christian leadership conferences, pastors are told they must “cast their vision” to the church. After all, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time,” as the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously said. All this has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible. Well, it has nothing to do with the Bible unless one throws in this one verse from Proverbs—which we must do, of course, since we must be “preaching from the Scripture”—which is supposed to justify this useless visioneering activity: “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18).1

Prophetic vision. We all know where prophetic vision comes from, right? It comes from the Lord, by His sovereign will. We don’t receive prophetic vision by sitting around in small groups talking about our “visions,” so we can hit our growth targets in the church and goals in our Christian lives. No, this verse from Proverbs tells us that without a prophetic vision from God, people start sliding into lawlessness. A great example of this casting off restraint is what Israel did in the Book of Judges. Feel free to read those too-often dreadful accounts yourself, but within those pages we discover the terrible things that Israel did because they disobeyed God’s law. By the end of the book, the entire tribe of Benjamin is almost entirely wiped out—murdered by their own Israelite brothers. Then, realizing their senseless anger and folly, the remaining tribes attempted to solve the problem they had caused by kidnapping women from other tribes. Israel, at the time of these acts, had no God-inspired judge to lead them to obey the Lord. Thus, they cast off restraint. Those who lived in this lawless time obeyed the law and turned from sin were blessed because they kept the law, as Proverbs 29:18 says.

Which brings me back to the evangelical church in the United States, where prophetic and visionary voices have been silenced in favor of topical, how-to messages. The topic is set, verses are found to support the topic—as is the case to promote finding one’s vision—and the saints of God hear vapid, non-prophetic, non-visionary, non-challenging teachings. And thus, the people begin to cast off restraint. How, you may ask, have evangelical Christians begun to cast off restraint? Today, the evangelical church is under cultural pressure to cave to LGBTQ, gender, and racial agendas. For example, the recent leadership meeting of a well-known para-church campus ministry was basically a celebration of critical-race-theory wokeness. Am I hopeful the evangelical church will be strong enough to stand against this cultural onslaught? Not without biblical, prophetic voices. As I have written many times on this site, Christians must remember that Israel was compromised by the culture in which they lived. It was too strong for them. They caved and were thus defeated, becoming slaves to other nations and their gods. But God’s instruction for His people was uncompromising and remains so. Thus, Christians, in the absence of prophetic vision, must remain obedient to the law. What law? Love God and neighbor. How will keeping the law to love God be a blessing for those who adhere to it? I will leave it to the reader to cogitate upon that, but here is an enormous hint: If you love God, you will love what He loves and does not love. And if you love people, you will love them enough to steer them away from sinful lawlessness because sin brings death. Eternal death.

Please pray for the Church in the Unites States. Pray that the Lord will raise up biblically right and true prophetic voices.

 

1The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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