Do you understand that the urgent warning of the Holy Spirit to the Church today, (via His trumpeting call to prioritise knee-worn, gut-wrenched, tear-soaked, repentance), pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic and was sounding long before vaccines and face-masks were part of our national landscape?
U.K. Church leaders today who bleat to applause about a “call to repent”, who pivot from the complicity of many churches with corrupt governments, all the while failing to adequately repent themselves regarding the chaos of the Church irrespective of these recent realities, are prophesying falsely and distracting the preparation of the Bride for His return.
U.K. Church leaders today who call governments to account before the Church, whose Twitter feeds are filled more with ‘anti-vax’ chat than their grief regarding the very idolatry in the Church that has paved the way for such abhorrences, are grievously missing the mark.
These church leaders are in fact perpetuating our corporate idolatry by displaying the bluntness of their profound prophetic impotence.
Iron sharpens iron,Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
and one man sharpens another.
And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!Mark 7:9 (ESV)
Rather, the genuinely Spirit-wrought call to repentance of this hour must integrally feature the call to repentance from an arrogant attitude of superiority regarding what truly constitutes the ekklesia.
Brothers This Should Not Be
Here is one symptomatic (but critical) example of the false, half-baked call to “repentance”, currently gathering steam in the UK:
What is it that biblically constitutes ‘godly character’?
Not for one second withstanding the safeguard of Proverbs 11:14 etc., does it necessarily stand to reason that one’s character is godly because one is “submitted to another man” or because they attend a local congregation?
Conversely, does it necessarily stand to reason that one’s character is not godly because they do not submit to another man or because they do not attend a local congregation…indeed because, under God, they can not?
Commonplace thinking like this (reasoning to the affirmative) while still calling the Church to ‘repent’ (the Bride to prepare) reveals a profound prophetic ignorance regarding the Holy Spirit and the kingdom of heaven (let alone biblical illiteracy).
Brothers, forget losing sleep over mandatory vaccinations and deliberately skewed health statistics, this absurd form of christian spirituality (that divides and rejects over the presupposition that one brother is false because he is regarded as unconventional) is what the LORD first calls us to repent about!
Why? because it is precisely indicators like this that have prepared the way for these other pictures of the LORD’s judgment (muzzled, socially-distanced worship) to emerge and take root.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”Luke 6: 46,49 (ESV)
Kingdom at Hand
The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you can not bear to hear my word.Luke 17:20-21; 18:17; John 8:43 (ESV)
In the first place, (for both Christian and non-christian), it is the intimate proximity of this kingdom to us that explains the urgency of His command for us to repent.
Are our repentance-calling church leaders today understanding the kingdom of heaven even slightly?
If you are calling the Church to repent from your lofty pulpit without truly seeing or discerning the kingdom of heaven, while not eagerly desiring the gifts of the Spirit, (especially prophecy), you are prophesying from your carnal mind. If you are calling the Church to repent while refusing to live peaceably with brothers who do not conform to your rigid understanding of godly character, you are a pharisaical hypocrite.
Forget the masks and the vaccines, chaps! Focus on your unwillingness to be honest and truthful in emails, your reticence to be humble so as to listen or, indeed, rejoicing in the presence of olive branches when it is gently acknowledged that, sometimes, we all get some things wrong.
And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”Mark 7:5-8 ESV
Appeal to Listen
It is right to pray that the Spirit of God would stem the rising tide of pastoral brothers inside the denominations (and para-church organisations) who are unwilling to truly listen to (nor thoroughly read) their prophetic brothers outside of them.
It is a cosmic joke that pastoral brothers inside the denominations are calling for repentance in the Church while balking from the sincerity of prophetic brothers outside of them, who have paid (and are paying) a cost that they know not of.
It is a kingdom disgrace that pastoral brothers inside the denominations ostracise prophetic brothers outside of them for their conscience-conscription and, if needs be, for their willingness to stand utterly alone.
Dear pastoral brothers serving inside the denominations, please would you stop and listen? You may feel that you are ‘on fire’, lauded and received, but if you do not listen you will surely calcify.
It is the abandonment of the five-fold ministry in the local church that explains this death and dearth of spiritual authority in our land.
Tradition trumps kingdom; denomination trumps Spirit.
The Church will only come to truly repent regarding infinitely lesser issues (such as heinous face-masks and sinister vaccines) when we first come to repent about the chronic, long-term sullying of His glorious Name in our midst.
Our repentance is not initially to busy itself by recognising our obedience to the anti-Christ, our silent complicity regarding abortion, our ensnared fear of evangelism and lethal lethargy concerning prayer.
Our repentance is first and foremost to be fully absorbed by the dire reality that He has long since withdrawn His glory from us (ICHABOD) and that we have not even noticed so as to enquire as to why.
Before preaching repentance, first we must thaw from the ice, cover our mouths and practice repentance.
“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouthJob 40:4 ESV
All denomination (and it’s hydra-headed species of pride) must bow to the coming King Jesus and not shoehorn their preaching about repentance into their systems that have required it.
In the words of J C Ryle who, (particularly in his later life, distressed as he was from the threat of both evangelical liberalism, legalism and counterfeit Catholicism) was a man who truly understood what it meant to personally repent for himself (and his broken family), to authentically call for national repentance in the comatose Church, to genuinely fear God and not man and, if needs be, to stand utterly alone.
“We want more boldness among the friends of truth. There is far too much tendency to sit still and wait for committees…We want more men who are not afraid to stand alone. It is truth, not numbers, which shall always in the end prevail. We have the truth, and we need not be ashamed to say so. The judgment day will prove who is right, and to that day we boldly appeal.”J C Ryle