Remnant, Arise!

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So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:8-9 NKJV)

Remnant has been front and center in my thinking of late. In this passage from Isaiah, Jerusalem and all it stood for lay battered and besieged—the only remaining symbol of a once great nation. God in His goodness and grace had protected a remnant—a small group of faithful followers—that He would raise up and use later to restore glory to the nation…

Divine protection in the midst of severe pressure and persecution forms a remnant; it is never a self-appointed or self-promoted group. Often, remnant survivors don’t even know about the others within her ranks—until God reveals it—as when the Lord allowed Elijah to know that there were 7000 others who had not bowed their knees to the idols—or kissed-up to them… (I Kings 19:18). Once that revelation comes, however, as it did to Elijah and Isaiah, it becomes incumbent upon the remnant to arise, stand her ground, and contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3b).

In our day, the daughter of Zion is the American Church, and the pressures and persecutions around us are rapidly shaking loose all those who would prefer to compromise the faith for comfort and convenience’ sake rather than earnestly contend for it.

In particular for us, the daughter of Zion that lays besieged, shrunken, and war-torn is the American United Methodist Church.  Unity at all cost has cost us all; political language such as United Methodists are not of one mind concerning sexualitydeflects the fact that God and His Word are (of one mind!); and Holy Conferencing and The Connectional Table become a sad joke when they are reduced to mere political posturing… “But what about love?” Love means nothing when divorced from the Person of Jesus and the power of His Spirit. Never has a word become so cheap or misused as love has within Methodist circles…

We come together around the Table of the Lord, rightly proclaiming that the Table is open to all, but failing to recognize that Communion can only be found for those who are in union with Jesus and each other as the Blood-bought. We pretend that we can build a “tent” (or Jurisdictions) so large that the Remnant—enthralled by Scripture’s authority—and the religious leaders and their party who belittle the authority of Scripture—can somehow remain together as one big happy church family…

I don’t pretend to be an Elijah, but the Lord has allowed me to see that there are thousands of others who will neither kiss nor bow toward the Baal’s of sexual idolatry and Scriptural dishonesty. This remnant within the United Methodist Church has been protected by God and called to remain firmly within this denomination for such a time as this. Why?   To rise and stand and contend for the one faith—not because we are the majority and it is easy—but rather because we are the remnant and our only hope is God!

Biblically, the remnant was never empowered to reverse the tide or save a sinking nation; instead, the remnant held high the Truth and became the seed God used to rebuild and rebirth the nation. Likewise, the United Methodist Remnant cannot reverse the decline and fall of this once-great denomination, but we can and must rise out of the dust and captivity to lead all who will go to the place of safety within Jesus. We must call all who will hear to repentance. We must stand our ground in this besieged city, refusing to erect an altar to Baal in our local congregations or among the people God has entrusted to our care. We must firmly and loudly preach HOPE to a people who are war-weary and ready to surrender—to other movements, nations, or cultural idols…

Should the remnant simply remain quiet, knowing that a great battle is coming next April at General Conference and that the eternal lives of millions of people is at stake? I think not. It is high time for the remnant within United Methodism—and the greater American Church—to arise, recognize we are not alone, celebrate God’s protection and destiny for us—and contend for the faith! It is time now—before the final battles—to begin to lay the groundwork for the purified Congregation God will lift up out of the ashes.

It is time NOW for the remnant to make clear that we will not roll over and play dead nor will we EVER bow at false altars.   We will not stand for the desecration of our sanctuaries and we will not pretend that a vote or two can overrule the Word of God. It is time NOW to make clear that we will walk away from buildings, pensions, and promises, but we will NEVER walk away from true faith in Christ Jesus. It is time NOW to lift up real love—not the cheap, licentious form preached in many of our pulpits— but rather the Love of God that sets captives free! In fact, it is time for the remnant to point out that captivity and bondage have come not because a remnant was held together by the grace of God, but rather because an idolatrous group of religious leaders and duped followers rose up in rebellion to that Grace!

We cannot wait for next April. It is time, Remnant, to arise and defend this besieged city we call Methodism from those attacking her from the outside and those destroying her from within. But isn’t the remnant called to love those who spitefully use her? Of course we are—but not at the expense of the Truth that sets people free, nor of the God who has defended and protected us for precisely this season. It is high time we cut down the Asherah poles of fake unity and false grace. It is Divine time, Remnant, to arise!

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