Hinges of History30 September, 2016
In the next five weeks, the United States of America will have a new president. It’s been described as the most pivotal and watershed election ever in U.S. history and whichever way the Americans will vote, one thing is for sure – America will never be the same again. They’ve crossed the Rubicon, so to speak.
But not only are there going to be seismic changes for the American people and their way of life, the rest of the world will go through similar great upheavals. I’m predicting that 2017 will mark the beginning of the most tumultuous times in our generation. The great prophet Isaiah prophesied that darkness and gross darkness will cover the earth. That’s a given. But while we know the world is spiraling downwards into chaos and great confusion, we also know that great glory is coming to the Church. We’re going to see the greatest harvest ever in our 2,000-year history of the Church and we must be prepared for this. That’s also a given.
Next year is also the 500th year since the Reformation and I believe it’s very significant. The greatest reformation leader undoubtedly was a German monk named Martin Luther. He was often described as a blunt, crude, rough, and often shockingly harsh individual, especially to his enemies and those who opposed him, but it was Martin Luther who launched the “gigantic revolution” in the history of the Christian Church. He was the iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation.
When Martin Luther nailed those 95 theses on the door of the Wittenburg Church in 1517, he unleashed a force so great and powerful that it shook the very gates of hell itself. It sparked the Protestant Reformation and brought us to where we are today. He once wrote a tract that said, “I’ve been born to war and fight with factions and devils. I must root out stumps and stocks, cut away thorns and hedges, fill up the ditches, and the rough foresters, to break a path and make things ready.”
We’re in a pivotal moment in time not unlike The Great Reformation of the 16th century. It seems that every 500 years, the Church feels compelled to have a giant rummage sale. Scholar Tom Cahill calls these movements “Hinges of History”. These 500-year epochs are essentially crises of authority. It seems that it’s in the nature of western religious tradition that it takes about 500 years to institutionalise our faith to the point that we can no longer bear the weight of its institutionalisation. So we tend to throw out the old authorities and institutions and replace them with something that feels more authentic.
I recently got invited to speak at a Convention in Geneva, Switzerland in 2017 that would essentially be celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Geneva was chosen of course because of John Calvin, another iconic figure in the Reformation. When I found who else were invited, I immediately said YES. But it’s more than that. I was reading something published by Richard Mogey, Director of Research for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, who has worked with leading academicians and scientists from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford Universities; as well as other global institutions to build archives of cyclical data spanning 5,000 years.
According to Mr. Mogey, who has dedicated his entire adult life to studying the natural cycles that govern the universe and all of human existence, including the cyclical ebb and flow of stocks, currencies and commodities, within the span of every 500 years, there’s a geopolitical power shift moving east to west or west to east. That’s staggering to think that it’s already begun. The financial power base has shifted from the West to the East with China and the Asian Tigers taking the lead. But the debate between the financial analysts (wealth is moving to Asia) and the geopolitical analysts (the U.S. will remain a dominant world power) will be interesting to watch. Depending upon the outcome of these cycles, the U.S. may very well feel as if an apocalypse has occurred.
I believe it’s exciting to be alive during one of these “hinges of history”. Within the apparent chaos and conflict, God is working with renewed purpose and creativity. For those of us drawn to the Western Church, it’s the opportunity of our lifetime to witness and contribute to the spiritual rebirth that God will accomplish. But for those of us in the East, I believe we’re about to witness the greatest move of God in our generation. It’s the RIGHT place to be in right now! Solomon explains that there’s a time for every purpose under heaven. God’s grandiose purposes for our generation is now being unfolded and we all have a part to play in this great end time unfolding of His will.
Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong