The church was in the news in 2011, perhaps like never before. Some of the news was good, some of it was shameful. What I took away is that God is terribly patient with us!
So why even reflect? I think we can learn from reflecting. It encourages us to be thankful and to correct our course. Maybe the same mistakes won't be made this year. Or, there may be fewer of them! Trends are interesting. I have compiled the top 15 stories of faith from 2011 by gathering information from other ministries, perusing news stories on my own, and talking to fellow leaders in ministry. Here goes. And the list is not in any particular order
#1: Rob Bell's attempt to legitimize Universalism.
#2: The Arab Spring's darkest side: The destruction of Christians in the Middle East.
#3:. Tim Tebow's demonstration of faith and thankfulness to God no matter how much scorn he came under.
#4: The rise of Chrislam: The merging of Christianity and Islam on the part of foolish Christians who believe the two faiths can share "common ground."
#5: Evangelical leaders saying we are putting our trust in nuclear weapons and not God so America must disarm! Doesn't get any stranger than this.
#6: The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. allows non-celibate gay pastors to remain in leadership prompting defections from the denomination.
#7: A new nation is born: Christian South Sudan...an ally of Israel.
#8: The rise of lawlessness manifest in the 'Occupy Wall Street' (OWS) movement which is now a foreshadowing of the lawlessness outlined in the Tribulation spoken of in Matthew 24. The OWS movement has a sinister anti-Semitic undertone.
#9: Global debt, which feeds into the longing for a "man with a plan;" a global Mr. Fix-it. Only a man with the name of Antichrist can solve the world's economic problems.
#10: Harold Camping's antics: His Rapture date-setting put the event on the map but led to the further mocking of our 'blessed hope.'
#11: Three "New Agers" in the pulpit of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, all of 2011. They put on a year-long health seminar. Warren allowed in well-known occultists, Drs. Amen, Oz and Hymen, to help his congregation "get in shape." They may have destroyed some spiritually.
#12: Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" event in Israel. According to many attendees who were evangelicals, the hidden agenda--and not so hidden at that--was the Mormon-promoting aspect of the trip.
#13: a) The evangelism program of the Catholic Church to bring folks 'home to Rome'; b) Vatican's cry for global government back in October.
#14: The rush to the predicted globalization system of the world and the continued silence of the church on such urgent last-days' issues.
#15: The continued rise of the paranormal and the sanctioning of that by many Christians who supported the final Harry Potter film in 2011.
Many significant stories have been left out, but I find those 15 to be of great importance last year. Almost all stories were covered on "Understanding the Times" radio in 2011.
Watch the Bible continue to come alive in this new year. Because it is an election year, it will be a significant time. Watch for liberal evangelicals to continue to pound the global warming mantra when they should be preaching the gospel. Already we see Leftist evangelicals suggesting environmental issues are 'pro life.'
And since the predicted turn against Israel is taking place daily, only a little band of Christian Zionists will remain staunch allies of God's land and people. This ministry will be among them.
It's unlikely that the Mayans had any inside info on the 'end of the world as we know it.' If so, they could have stopped their own 'end of the world.' And there is way too much yet to happen to wind things down this year!
Since we're a year closer to 'going Home,' share the gospel while there is time!