“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Jdg 17:6
The book of Judges is a solemn warning to any nation that rejects divine revelation and the absolute standards of biblical truth. The drift into relativism is gradual—yet deadly—for any people, as history proves over and over. Whether due to the absence of authoritative leadership (as in Israel’s case) or to the total lack of leadership due to “political correctness” or spinelessness (as in America today) the end is the same—an age of anarchy.
I was interested in two recent articles that appeared on the internet. The first had to do with the LIBOR scandal rocking Great Britain. Apparently, a large number of banks, along with government officials, have been found guilty of fixing London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) for personal gain—a massive fraud of the British people. In addition to the angle of personal gain, the involvement of British government officials appears to have been aimed at presenting an image to the world of a financial stability that did not exist. Investigations are ongoing. The article (found at the blog: www.the-american-interest.com) was interestingly entitled, “The LIBOR Scandal: A Crisis of Faith.” In looking at the downward spiral of morality and integrity in this present generation, the author concludes with this ominous paragraph:
“This vicious cycle has already begun. The only question is, how far down the spiral will it take us? Much of our national business elite is losing its morality. A generation ago, it lost its faith. Unless something changes, loss of freedom will follow.”
In the second article, entitled “The Coming Middle-Class Anarchy” by Gonzalo Lira (at gonzalolira.blogspot.com), he gives a chilling look into the growing numbers of people who, because of loss of confidence in government in general and politicians in particular, have decided to stop playing by the rules. He cites the case (a true story) of a couple, Brian and Ilsa, upper-middle-class, law-abiding citizens. They are described as the kind “who follow every rule, fill out every form, comply with every norm. In short, they are the backbone of America.” They would never think of defaulting on their payments, even though their house is “upside down” due to the housing crash.
With both Brian and Ilsa being hit with unexpected health problems, they decided to apply to HAMP (the Home Affordable Modification Program) for a mortgage modification plan. After months of going from one official to another, they were finally qualified for a 40% reduction on their payments, though their principle remained the same. They were happy with this relief, until three months later, when they were contacted by their bank saying that after further review, they did not qualify. They were told they now owed three months’ back payments, plus a “penalty for non-payment.” (Believe it or not, I know people who have personally almost lost their homes by this scam.) Brian and Ilsa’s situation speaks for millions across America, “We’ve done everything right, we’ve always paid on time, and this program is supposed to help us … but people who bought homes they couldn’t afford get to squat in those McMansions rent free. It would have been smarter if we’d been crooks.” Their final conclusion is: “No more playing by the rules.” Again, allow me to include the final paragraph:
“Brian and Ilsa are such anarchists—grey-haired, well-dressed, golf-loving, well-to-do, exceedingly polite anarchists: but anarchists nevertheless. They are not important, or powerful, or influential: They are average—that’s why they’re so deadly: Their numbers are millions. And they are slowly, painfully coming to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it anymore. Once enough of these J Crew Anarchists decide they no longer give a ____, it’s over for America-because they are America.”
These two articles, taken together, do more than lay out a bleak scenario for this nation’s future. They define the cause as well. The rejection of moral absolutes—based on the authority of Scripture—produces an elite class of criminal leadership who have nothing but contempt for the rule of law. This is one case where the “trickle-down” principle works with a vengeance. Because when a people lose all respect and trust in their leaders and begin, as a sort of collective self-defense, to ignore the laws being imposed on them by a lawless leadership, the stage is set for anarchy of one form or another. Apart from spiritual revival—beginning with personal and individual regeneration through faith in Jesus Christ—such a generation has no hope of escaping the awful reaping of what has been sown. It is this kind of generation that ends up with “everyone [doing] what is right in his own eyes."
The book of Judges is a warning of what lies ahead for America, barring spiritual revival. It is also filled with lessons for every child of God living in such a time on how to fight for and uphold the cause of both spiritual and national liberty. These considerations will be the topic of our Southern California conference, “Lessons on Liberty from an Age of Anarchy.” Check out the details on our website, and be looking for the lessons as they are posted online.
We had a very successful mission to Zambia and Zimbabwe in late April and early May. In both countries, we held seminars for pastors and teachers, as well as a women’s seminar in Lusaka (see Nan’s report below). In Zambia, we met in Mazabuka, where Pastor Happyson Mwashamputa resides. He is the leader of Redemption Evangelistic Ministries, which represents over 100 churches in Zambia and Tanzania. He has been a faithful co-worker with us for many years. We were joined in our effort by Perri and Mandy Rahrer, Logan Carnell, Blair Buselli, and Elizabeth Preston.
The ladies joined Nan in Lusaka for the women’s conference, while the men and pastors met in Mazabuka.
The thing that stood out for me personally was the concentration and interest in the presentation of God’s Word by the pastors. They were busily writing notes, and asking some very thoughtful questions, for several hours each day. Even when sessions ended or we took a short break, questions were often brought up about the content of the classes.
After the conference in Zambia, we went on to Zimbabwe to teach pastors and workers of Pastor Kenneth Mawire. Pastor Mawire is 83 years old, and is still reaching remote villages—often walking long distances to minister. With his wife Grace, he oversees Trans-Africa Evangelistic Missions International, which involves many churches in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and other nations.
In both these areas, it was good to have Perri, Logan, and Blair to share the teaching load. Classes usually run all day, and it is not only a rewarding opportunity for each of us, but it is good for the pastors to hear from different men, having different teaching styles and methods. Yet, at the same time, they are able to see a solid and consistent doctrinal front coming from the team as a whole. In Zambia, we had one pastor who displayed an earnest and eager attitude. Upon talking with him, we found that he was a former Jehovah’s Witness. He told how he had a constant sense of emptiness until he came to know Jesus Christ as the God-man and Savior.
One man who stands out from Zimbabwe is known as “little John,” who comes from a remote village. The attendees would often sing several songs before each session. At one point, Little John stood up and said, “These men have come half-way around the world to teach us, and we are taking up too much time singing. We can sing at any time, we should give more time for the teaching of God’s Word.”
There are always various levels of interest and response in any conference. However, it is always a fragrant memory to look back and remember those who stand out for their spiritual hunger and zeal to implement the things they learn. As the years go by—in country after country—it becomes evident that where the truth of God’s Word is taught accurately and faithfully, the church members grow and the church becomes more effective as a base of missionary outreach for the truth of Jesus Christ.
In each of these areas, where both Pastor Mwashamputa and Pastor Mawire serve, the areas covered are large, the travel is incessant, and both of these men are up in years. The one request each made separately, was that we pray and see if we can help their ministries with a vehicle. We have committed to work with them on this project, even to the point of cutting back on overseas travel, so that funds can be used for these vehicle needs. We ask that you join us in prayer for the ability to meet these needs.
Women’s Conference—Lusaka, Zambia
While Gene and the other men were training pastors in Mazabuka, Mandy, Elizabeth and I had the opportunity to “camp out” with over 100 African women from around Zambia at a vacant grade school in Lusaka. The student desks were all hauled outside under a tent cover, and there we met for classes and worship. Then the empty concrete floors of the classrooms became our bedrooms, and everyone rolled out their blankets and pillows for a five-day “sleepover”! We were in one classroom with about 15 pastors’ wives, and we truly enjoyed this time of fellowship as we bunked next to our sisters in Christ. Of course in every culture something is different, and we learned to sleep with the lights on … all night long!
The theme of this conference was “Growing in The Lord.” I shared the teaching with many other pastors’ wives from Zambia, and it was very encouraging to hear their classes as many contained great content and understanding of God’s Word. We were especially encouraged by a class given by Matilda from Livingstone. This young woman taught with understanding and conviction as she challenged us all to be more diligent in the use of the gifts God has so graciously given us.
Nelly, another young pastor’s wife, was given the role of caring for us. She did such a wonderful job, and we enjoyed making a special bond of friendship with her and her family.
As we had the opportunity to talk with these women over the course of the conference, we found so many of them had deep trials and needs in their lives. Our God is the All Sufficient Lord, and we leave them in His Hands of care. But please join with me in prayer for the women of Zambia as they seek to love and serve the Lord, raise their families by His grace, and be true witnesses of Jesus Christ to their world.
Bible Conferences: May–June
We enjoyed our Bible conferences in Denver, Colorado (hosted by Ron and Gloria Bassett) and in Kalispell, Montana (Hosted by Doug and Kristy Wray). In Denver, our theme was “Learn to Discern,” on the spiritual skill of discerning good and evil. In Kalispell, the theme was “Walking in Integrity." While I taught all the classes in Denver, the teaching responsibilities in Kalispell were shared by several teachers, including Pastor Roger Thiele (WA), Pastor Perri Rahrer (SC), Pastor Bob Norris (KS), and Pastor Doug Wray (MT). Please pray for each of these men, as they all face the inevitable opposition that comes with the ministry of truth. Even as I write, Roger, Doug and Kristy are in Numba Village in PNG, and Perri is standing in for Doug in Kalispell. Please keep them all in your prayers.
Youth Camps: June
Two youth camps kept us busy in June. The first was the Arkansas Youth Camp, where Perri and Mandy served with us in joining Pastor Mark Goad for a great time with a large number of young men and women. The theme here was “Tap-in to a Greater Love." As always, Monty and Cheryl Watkins, with the team from Grace Bible Church in Hot Springs, did a wonderful job of running the camp. We all rejoiced to see 10 kids come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Our second camp was something new: the first annual Basic Training Mission Boot Camp. This was held at a great facility in West Virginia, which is run by a crusty old Marine named Dayton Meadows. Dayton had a surprise for me and all the young folks and staff on Tuesday. We had a surprise visit from Hershel “Woody” Williams, Medal of Honor recipient from Iwo Jima—the last living one of 27 men so honored from that theatre. Hershel is 88 years old, with a spring in his step and a gleam in his eyes. He held us spellbound as he spoke of his battle experiences and shared his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so eloquently. Not only did he come all the way to camp to speak to young men and women interested in reaching their world for Christ, but he spent hours after speaking, pouring himself out to each and every person who came up to speak to him, request an autograph, or just thank him for his service.
Classes at the “boot camp” looked at the missionary methods of Paul (a full set of classes on this topic will be recorded in Brisbane, Australia in September), and activities included security briefings, biblical approach to indigenous people, bush-craft skills, first aid, knot tying, navigation, etc.
Coming Up: Peru Mission
We leave on July 26 for Peru, to meet up with Julio and Betty Ceasar—our great team working in Chulucanas and many other areas. Julio has been teaching the Basic Training Bible Seminary for two years now, as well as building a large children’s ministry with his wife Betty.
We have a large team going with us this time: Cindy Garcia (translator) and her son Ben, Joan Wainer (translator), Jeannie Albers and her daughter Madison (children’s ministry), and Jonathan Gallo, who will help with children’s ministry as well.
This year, in addition to a conference in Chulucanas, we will travel to the headwaters of the Amazon, to the town of Saramarita. This conference will host pastors who will come in from remote jungle churches, traveling on the river. Please pray for us to be effective in meeting the needs of these brothers and sisters in Peru. Also, continue to pray for Julio, who is doing a great work reaching out across Peru with sound doctrinal teaching.
We thank God for your prayers and participation in the Gospel! Phi 1:3–5
Gene and Nan