Europe...Cause for Alarm?
It is sometimes hard to know what God is doing in the midst of turbulence in Europe. Romeo Dinale, former ECM missionary in Italy for 12 years, former ECM Director and outgoing Council member, gives his comments on the state of Europe.
I am sometimes asked for my view of the state of Italy and Europe. It’s hard to do this at a distance — our last visit was in 2015. However, I do maintain a keen interest in Europe. I am currently reading a new book, entitled The Strange Death of Europe. From a purely secular perspective, there is cause for alarm. Socially, economically and politically, Europe is unstable. Its Judaeo-Christian foundations have been eroded and traditional churches — Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, with a few notable exceptions, are moribund.
Yet this is not where faith looks. In the Bible, while nations rage and rulers of the earth
plot together, the real action takes place in God’s quiet doings. An emperor commands
an empire-wide census, which is merely background for the real story — a humble birth in backblocks Bethlehem. The Lord of all the earth doesn’t follow the agenda of the world.
So, while the rise of nationalist parties in Europe alarms the media, while some worry at the rise of Islam, and others wring their hands over Brexit, I encourage to not only pray, but look at the quiet doings of God.
In 2105, Robyn and I visited the church in Trento where we had previously served (and where ECM missionaries Richard and Pennucia Wilson currently serve). They had not been long in their new hall, but had already outgrown it. The numerical growth of the congregation was certainly cause for praise, but I saw the content — people from almost every tribe, language, people and nation. This reflects the change in Italian society, and is seen elsewhere.
Throughout Europe, churches are quietly growing. Australian friends in France tell of the multicultural nature of their church. Other churches and missions are also seeing people from all sorts of non-Christian backgrounds and countries wanting to learn about Jesus. The Sunday afternoon of our visit, I was asked to pray before several people were baptised in a nearby lake. Some we had known as children, but others had only recently come to Christ in the most wonderful ways.
So what’s happening in Europe? God promised Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. God is keeping His promise.
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