Last time in "Floods Upon Dry Ground, Chapter 6, Why No Revival", Pastors Bobby Duncan and James Jones cited reasons why there is no revival in today’s world, and they gave three actions Christians must do for God to work.
In today's post “Floods Upon Dry Ground, Chapter 7: Fiddling While Rome Burns”, the authors used the well-known metaphor of what happened in 64 A.D. when during Emperor Nero’s reign, literally 70% of Rome burned to the ground.
Duncan and Jones clarified that there were actually no violins back then, but some creative soul initiated the term anyway to decry Nero’s inaction to save Rome. They compared it to today’s world that is falling apart, and the church for the large part being concerned with what the authors deemed, “petty, unimportant matters.”
The authors asked the question, “Where Are the Shepherds?” I recognized that question because back in 2019 I asked Bobby Duncan that same question. I was concerned that before I had him as a pastor I had 40-plus years of ineffective shepherds. Ones who seemed to have agendas other than to find and save lost sheep from peril. Pastor Duncan confirmed that he included my question in the book.
Duncan and Jones quoted Ezekiel 34:1-6. I’ll read only verses 4 through 6:
“The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”The authors wrote about modern-day shepherds—that “position, acceptance, and money often trump the high calling of God in Jesus Christ and the sacrifices He calls on His ministers to make.”
Duncan and Jones then talked about “The True Presence of God”. Along with the “self-serving nature of its shepherds.” They wrote, “forgiveness, cleansing, godly living, and sacrificial service have been pushed to the background in favor of seeker-sensitivity, entertainment, feel-good music, and a man-orchestrated worship experience”. They qualified their expressed thoughts by saying, “God’s presence doesn’t necessarily leave because the lights are turned down and a theatre atmosphere is created”—BUT—does it "offer the best environment for corporate worship?”
James Jones lamented the following found on page 85 of the book:
“For me, growing up in a full-gospel church and seeing true saints of God pray and worship with uplifted hands and, at times, tears coursing down their cheeks, had a powerful impact on me, and still does. Many times worshippers, such as I, have looked over to see a blessed saint of God with a bony, arthritic hand stretched toward God and eyes filled with tears expressing love to the Savior in complete surrender. And to see that deeply spiritual action has always brought its own blessings and encouragement. Yet, in today’s theater-like worship environment in many churches, it’s difficult to observe that. The observations and personal interaction seem to be missing.”Duncan and Jones said there's a great need for the “true presence of God to fill our hearts and our worship centers” when we come together. They encouraged pastors to “sincerely seek God for the direction that will best serve that particular body of believers.”
The authors strongly encouraged that the real truth of the Gospel be “reaffirmed”, and that “a deeply divided nation needs truth more than ever.” They shared the sobering fact, however, that if the church shares the real truth, it will be met with strong opposition.
But not doing so will lead the church to continue—“fiddling while Rome burns.”