…on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.
Just when everyone thinks the inevitable course is set…enter the great reversal! The Jews were doomed but now the tables are turned. Not only are they allowed to defend themselves, all who want to be in favor with the king are joining them to help their cause. Quite the unexpected flip-flop.
“Great Reversal” was the phrase that came to my mind this morning. I’ve been hearing the term “upside down” a lot lately. The Kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom where everything the world systems tell us is totally reversed. In God’s economy the first will be last, the humble will be exalted, the least will be the greatest, anyone who wishes to lead must be a servant to all.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my [Jesus’] sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Mark 8:35 NLT
I admit I was a little deflated when I Googled the idea and found I wasn’t the only one who thought of this term. 🙂 It is clearly a vetted idea based on everyone who has used it from Rick Warren to The American Catholic‘s web site take on the Gospel of Luke.
But I was surprised, (though by now I probably shouldn’t be), to find it also represented a turning point in church history. And even more interesting, the theme of that turning point is up for examination in my own personal rummage sale of theology. (See Sarah Bessey’s new book – Out of Sorts.)
The following quote comes from a book review on The Great Reversal: Evangelism Versus Social Concern reviewed by Katie Funk Wiebe:
“The Great Reversal,” a term coined by historian Timothy L. Smith, refers to the switchback evangelicals made in the early part of this century from evangelical social concern to individualism. The early church, both in England and America, was noted for its social involvement, establishing welfare societies such as the Salvation Army, schools for immigrants, homes for unwed mothers, city missions, and agencies to help the poor, the sick, prisoners, and other needy folk. The church supported legislation to bring about social justice.
Then came the Great Reversal. The social gospel became linked with liberal theology, and evangelicals, anxious to separate themselves from this group, separated themselves from social action also in order to get “back to first principles.” The present controversy is in essence a continuation of the modernist-fundamentalist disagreement.
Great revivalist preachers like Moody and Sunday preached that social reform began with the individual, not with society. As the liberal wing dropped the responsibility of preaching the Gospel, the evangelicals felt a greater pressure to do so. The gap widened.1
Don’t you hate it to find out your passion for believing one way, might just have been some over-reaction to one side of the family wanting to emphasis something and the other side getting all jittery and running the other way to compensate? Geez!
All I can say is I am grateful for the prickles the Holy Spirit has placed in my comfy nest. The status quo and what I always thought are up for grabs if they keep me from really knowing Jesus – heart and soul.
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 NLT