Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Principle, not Place

From where will the next revival come?

There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.

   - Ecclesiastes 9.14, 15 

For amongst us it is not a man’s station but his principles that matter...

   - Columbanus, Letter to Pope Boniface, Irish, 7th century

Columbanus was angry. The local Catholic clergy were harassing him and his colleagues as they went about evangelizing the lost and instructing all who came to them. The complaints were varied: Who needs them here? They don’t follow all our traditions. They don’t do what we tell them. They upset the local rulers by pointing out all their sins.

And now they were trying to get Columbanus, head of the Irish mission to the continent, to come to a synod so that they could set him straight. But Columbanus was too busy with the Gospel to waste his precious time on men whose ecclesiastical vision amounted to perpetuating the status quo indefinitely into the future

And he told them and their boss where to get off.

Today, everybody knows how we’re supposed to do church. You get yourself a big building, you nice it up with cushy seats and klieg lights, get you a sweet little band, and tell funny stories from the pulpit. You don’t meddle in people’s sins; you make everybody feel right at home and market yourself to the community as the place to be on Sunday mornings. All things to all people: pragmatic orthodoxy in full swing.

But where is the evidence that any of this is making a substantive difference in the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural atmosphere of the followers of Christ or our nation?

Jesus spoke harsh words of condemnation to those men who preferred to preserve and advance their own status rather than seek His Kingdom and draw others into it as well. These days the Kingdom of God is little more than a vague Biblical idea with no content or impact on the lives of God’s people. This was exactly the case with the churches Columbanus and his team encountered as they began their work in Gaul early in the 7th century. The established churches were everywhere and nearly everyone was a “Christian.” But the evidence of the Kingdom was non-existent.

So what if Columbanus and his team didn’t follow the established “ways” of “doing church”? Let God be true and every man a liar.

The next revival will come from small churches, where men of principle have been faithfully proclaiming the Word, seeking the Kingdom of God, discipling the men of their church, worshiping according to the pattern revealed in Scripture, evangelizing the lost, and praying earnestly for revival for many long and lonely years.

Join me in praying for these men, and do all you can to encourage them. They’re the hope for the Church in the years to come.

Psalm 85.7-9 (Lyons: “O Worship the King”)
Lord, show us Your love, restore us, we pray!
And help us to hear the words that You say.
Speak peace to Your people; in truth let us stand.
We fear You; let glory and grace fill our land.

Lord, help us to strive for the Kingdom, that our churches, though weak now, may become settlements of glory and salvation for multitudes. Adapted from Oengus mac Oengobann, Féilire Oengusso

T. M. Moore, Principal
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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