It is about God
“And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 1 Acts 1:8
EVER SINCE the cost of staging the Benny Hinn two-day crusade on June 21 and 22 was highlighted in the media, everybody has been literally washing their mouth on the church and its work in Barbados. It is so unfortunate.
Over last 30 years or so, promoters in the secular have brought all kinds of artistes to our shores. Most promoters do not publicly state the cost of bringing in these world acclaimed “stars” or entertainers.I am not a promoter myself and I have no competence in this area. Is the issue one of accountability? Is it one of jealousy? Or is it a question of another of our favorite pastimes? We are great talkers. Someone has said: “We are a nation of talkers.”
Having been a talk show host myself, it is stories like these that get callers all riled up and to be experts in areas in which most of them are not knowledgeable.
I guess, we talk about politicians, we talk about lawyers, we talk about teachers, nurses, trade unionists, we talk about almost everybody. That’s what call-in programmes are about. Every social entity at some point or other comes under the scrutiny of the public.
There was a time not too long when I would be condemnatory in my writings on an issue like this one. I probably would have simply said: “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” (Psalm 105:15). I might even have told them what the Rt Excellent Errol Barrow told a former bishop: “I do not exercise myself in matters that are too high for me.”
Christian writer David Wilkinson describes this brief verse – “touch not the Lord’s anointed and do his prophets no harm” – as a powerful warning from our Lord. And he means every word of it: In fact I join him in declaring “woe to any nation or individual who lays a hand on those who are chosen of God and woe to anyone who does harm to his prophets”.
This severe warning has a dual application. First, the “anointed” and “prophets” here refer to natural Israel, God’s people of the Old Testament. Yet God’s warning not to harm his chosen continues to apply today. It also covers his spiritual Israel, that is, his church. We mainly think of this warning in reference to Old Testament prophets or present-day ministers who stand for truth. It appears to be a declaration of God’s protection over his servants.
However, my purpose in this week’s column is not to condemn anyone. Social commentators who cannot claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ cannot understand the things of God. Unless you have been “transformed by the renewing of the mind” you really cannot understand or appreciate how God works. God can use anyone or anything to achieve his purpose.
Barbados is in crisis, as indeed is the wider world, Economies are in shambles. Right now as I write, the International Monetory Fund is in our guest room. When one looks at the moral, social and political landscape globally, one might conclude: “The world gone mad!” A sense of hopelessness pervades as companies downsize to avoid going under. Governments and trade unions contend over lists of which worker to retrench and who to retain. The stark reality is that politicians, economists, political scientists, legal luminaries are bankrupt of ideas to turn things around. None of these groups or entities can claim to have the answers to the present economic and social crises.
The atmosphere over our country has been polluted and contaminated by visiting artistes who have been paid large sums. The stuff they release into the atmosphere has given our youth a warped sense of themselves and their sexuality. All of this stuff comes under the guise of entertainment. As a Christian, I boldly affirm that the only entity that can change the spiritual, social and moral atmosphere over this country is the Christian church. Yes, the church with all its flaws. Yes, the same church at which we level criticism, both warranted or otherwise.
While the bumper crowds attending Christian organised events in and of itself do not say a lot, it is clear that when crisis looms and recession lingers, people turn to the church for answers. The church is like a hospital. It is a haven for the sick, the hopeless, those who are socially and morally decrepit. Jesus did not come for the righteous; He came for the broken.
So let’s welcome Pastor Benny Hinn to our shores. I can’t wait to experience what God is going to do through this crusade. In the final analysis, it is not about Pastor Hinn; it is about God and his transformative power to change lives and ultimately to change the world. As Isaiah 55:11 declares: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” C& B there!
• Matthew Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum on Education and a social commentator. Email [email protected]