Vision

by Stan Mitchell

Winston Churchill had a knack for spotting things that no one else saw. While other politicians tried to treat Adolph Hitler like a normal, reasonable man, Churchill’s keen eye spotted the despot in the NAZI leader.

While others were trying to discern the intentions of the Soviet Union, it was Churchill, in the spring of 1946 who declared that “from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”

Once he said it, of course, we could see it all so clearly. Where did he get this astounding second-sense in politics?

Perhaps it was his historical perspective.

“The reason I can see so far into the future, is that I have read so far back into history.”

Do you remember bell-bottoms, the Brady Bunch and the Eagles? How quickly fashion turns to fossil.

I am amazed at the short-term perspective of many brethren. They raise the placard of the latest fashion in church growth, the latest theory on what certain segments of the population want, and forget that today’s church fashion will go the way of pantsuits and lava lamps.

I can’t wait for some of our current young people have their teenagers say: “I don’t want to sing your praise songs. That’s old! I want to sing ‘Amazing Grace!'”

We must learn the lessons of history.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Solomon had a Churchillian sense of historical perspective.

Church history teaches us that churches grow, not by adopting some new method, but by proclaiming a message. It teaches us that every time the church is revived, it does so when people renew their respect for God’s word.

It teaches us that while kingdoms rise and fall, the kingdom of God will “never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:42, ESV). It teaches us that the church is always in danger of becoming unfaithful. And that when it does, God will raise up a judge (or a leader) who will revive it.

Remember, it was the Lord who declared of the church:

“The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

You don’t believe me? Read the ultimate history book, the Bible!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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