9 November marks the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Across the world, from Trafalgar to Tiananmen Square, voices long repressed began to be heard. Unrest became pandemic. Nation after nation began to shake off the shackles that had bound them and assert their human rights and religious freedom. Those were heady days.
Decades of Bible smuggling and Gospel radio broadcasts, behind the Iron Curtain, had supported the tenacious persecuted Christians who were winning their neighbours, and even some of their persecutors, to Christ.
10 Years ago the Lord led me on an 11 nation Mission to Europe. This was my Report on that watershed event, which led to the establishing of The Reformation Society and Livingstone Fellowship.
Mission to Europe - 2005
This Mission to Europe was both heart-breaking and heart-warming. I travelled across a continent in decline and crisis. Secular Humanism with its materialism and unbelief is pervasive, and, in many surprising places, Islam is on the ascendancy. Yet I had the privilege of ministering in some of the brightest outposts of vibrant spiritual life and dynamic faith.
This Mission to England coincided with a whole series of historic events and international crisis. Before boarding the flight for London, I ensured that we sent out an article to challenge the annual celebration of the French Revolution with: What is Bastille Day Celebrating?
As I arrived in London, the big news was that over 660 suspected pedophiles had been arrested in Britain as part of a nation-wide crackdown on child pornography. The United Kingdom's National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and police officers were amongst those arrested. To highlight the fact that nothing anybody does online is really secret, the police released images of their mobile monitoring units, which can track all the online pornography viewing throughout the United Kingdom, pinpointing the individuals, computers and addresses where these crimes were being committed. Scotland Yard also exposed the illusion that the Dark Web was untraceable.
BRUSSELS - THE CAPITAL OF EUROPE
During my recent Mission to Europe I was struck by the high number of Muslims in the cities of Belgium and the Netherlands. The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is also the headquarters of NATO and the home of the European Parliament. Brussels describes itself as the capital of Europe. It is now one of the most Islamic cities in Europe.
Sociologist Felice Dassetto, author of The Iris and the Crescent book, projects that Muslims will comprise the majority of the population of Brussels by 2030. Muslims are now officially 6% of the total population of Belgium, but over 25% of the population of Brussels. His year long research has shown that Islam now mobilises more people in Brussels than the Roman Catholic Church, political parties, or even the trade unions.
A World War of Worldviews
From the French Revolution of 1789 to the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Europe has been a continent in conflict with the forces of secular humanism, socialism and Marxism waging a war on many fronts - against the Christian heritage and institutions of Europe.
Fruit of the Reformation
From the time of the Reformation, Europe led the world in scientific innovation, industrial development, economic and military power, and political influence - worldwide. All of this grew out of the dynamic spiritual growth of the continent.
The secularisation and paganisation of large sections of Europe is tragic. There are surprisingly dynamic pockets of spiritual vitality and life amidst the general atheism and heathenism, but the general picture in Europe is of spiritual decline.
Missionary Power House
In 1900, Evangelicals in Europe constituted 45% of the world's Evangelicals. Now less than 4% of all Evangelicals in the world are in Europe. The 19th century was the greatest century of Missionary advance. It was a century of astounding inventions and of spectacular advances in technology. Many countries in Europe experienced dynamic Spiritual Revivals. Christian missionaries from Europe won whole tribes and nations to Christ, in the remotest regions of the globe. For over a thousand years, Europe had been Christendom, the heartland and stronghold of Christian civilisation. The 19th century has seen such staggering growth in numbers, productivity, power and wealth, that most would have imagined that Europe would have continued to dominate the globe for centuries to come. The optimism which had prevailed in the 19th century gave way to profound pessimism after the First World War.
Volume 5 - 1989
Amongst the harshness and drabness of life under communism, in Eastern Europe, one is struck by the resolute steadfastness and biting sense of humour of the people who have endured two generations of socialism.
Here are some examples of their local brand of humor:
“There are FIVE CONTRADICTIONS in every communist country:
“Nobody works. — But the 5 year plan is always accomplished.
“The plan is always accomplished” — but the market is always empty.
The market is always empty — but “the people always have enough to eat.”
“The people always have enough to eat” — but they are not satisfied.
Nobody is satisfied — but we all applaud”
Volume 5 - 1989
Late in 1987, communist dictator, Ceausescu revived an 18-year-old blueprint to radically restructure Rumania. The new systematization law is reminiscent of Mao Zedong’s disastrous attempt to crowd China’s peasants into communal farms.
The Communist Party has begun the huge project to destroy 8 000 villages and replace them with 500 concrete-block “Agro-industrial centres” by the year 2000.
The official aim is to “increase agricultural efficiency and open more land to farming.” The local people declare that the real aim is to eliminate social and cultural differences between urban and rural communities.
Volume 5 - 1993
Since 1988 the small Christian nation of Nagorno Karabakh has been blockaded, bombed and besieged by the Muslim state of Azerbaijan which surrounds them.
The people of Nagorno Karabakh are Armenians who since the third century have been a Christian republic. They have survived occupation by the Romans, the Persians, the now extinct Caucasian Albanians, the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, the Mongols and the Russians.
Volume 1 - 1990
The most disgraceful aspect of Romania’s recent history is the subservience of many of the church leaders. It was not just that they were guilty of silence during over 40 years of persecution. Rather, it was the enthusiastic way many religious leaders sang Ceausescu’s praises and publicly supported communist policies.
Last August religious leaders published an extravagant telegram of praise for the Marxist dictatorship. Celebrating the 45th anniversary of communism in Romania, they declared that Ceausescu had taken the Romanian people to “the highest level of civilization.” The dictator was glorified as the “most popular son of our nation,” and “the greatest hero” in history. The church leaders praised the mass murderer’s “supreme wisdom” and his “unique” achievements for peace and justice.