By John Hoag
Close to 2,500 years ago Jeremiah stood in the ashes of Mount Zion. The place of worship devalued by God’s people now had been totally desecrated by the enemy. The temporal things around him destroyed and desecrated, the man of God looks heavenward. “Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever, thy throne from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19. He finds consolation at the eternal throne of God. What a contrast – the eternal throne of God with Mount Zion, which was in ashes.
Thank God that Jeremiah’s life was not to be determined by the verdict of history but by the verdict of eternity. The man of God was motivated not by fear of man but faith in God. He refused to lay the blame for the defeat of God’s people anywhere else but to their own sinful entanglements. With his own people unresponsive to the Word of God, and persecuted by a leader supposedly representing God, Jeremiah powerfully stands amidst the ruins as a man who knows God.
A permissive society has taken its toll on evangelicals… there is no doubt that religion is growing today in North America but I am quite certain that righteousness is not growing. Sanctified leadership is a crying need in our churches and that means the New Brunswick Bible Institute has an important role to play in sending godly young people to serve Christ in our churches. Mark Bredin once said, “Bible schools that identify and meet the real spiritual needs of people are still in demand and so are their graduates.”
Declining Bible school enrollment across the country concerns us but we dare not fall into either of two dangerous errors. “I have little sympathy for a ‘Go Back to’ movement,” said the late A.W. Tozer and I would agree. We can’t sit down with founders, pioneers, or patriarchs for that matter and recover the past. Neither do I have much faith in the future dreams of an emerging church that disconnects from tradition, and past history in such a way that common faith is not relayed to the next generation. We must rather look up to the throne of a God, who reveals His will and His ways in His Word.
Mark Bredin, quoting Dr. Ken Hannah of Moody Bible Institute, once wrote, that in periods of decline “Bible schools dare not change their mission. The future belongs to those who know who they are and why they exist.”
Someone has suggested “God always has the final word.” The flood destroyed the old world but God remained. Job despaired of life but realized that being linked to the eternal God was what was important, Job 42:5-6. An entire generation of Israelites died in wilderness but God remained. Psalm 90:2, God will not forget us if we don’t forget Him.
This article appears in the November 2009 Open Bible Bulletin.