Part Two of Four: Repairing the Reputation of A.A. Allen
[To read Part 1, click here.]
Before we examine the events of October 1955 in Knoxville, I feel I should explain the tone of these articles. Even in the study of secular history, we should seek to understand the causes and effects of choices, and hopefully, choose wisely in our own time because of them. When the threads of history lead directly to us, it is hard not to take our ancestors’ choices personally. We rejoice in their triumphs, lament their failures, and can almost feel their wounds. It should be even more personal when studying revival history. Not one negative comment is ever made about Daniel in the Bible. Yet when he interceded for his people as recorded in Daniel 9:16, he said, “Oh Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us.”
The Lord watches our history as well. He takes a personal interest in it, and believe it or not, His choices are affected as well.
We Must Choose to be Chosen
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
To be the final, chosen generation…we must choose to be chosen. The call to salvation is a general call to “whosoever will.” (Romans 10:13; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17.) Anyone who responds in faith to the invitation of the gospel for redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, believing He died and rose again from the dead, and surrendering to Him as Lord, will receive eternal life. But there is another “whosoever will” extended to those who have been saved. It is the call to discipleship and destiny. We can do nothing to receive salvation except to accept what Christ has done for us. But, we must choose to be a disciple and we must choose to enter into His destiny for us.
Several times, I’ve had ministers give me business cards that stated, “Apostle (their name)”. I’ve also been asked to speak at churches where the senior leader is titled “Apostle (their name). The title someone carries should FOLLOW the fruit of their life and ministry/work. I’ve known too many friends who served in the military, especially in theaters of war, who have been on the field of battle with recently commissioned, but green and untested officers, given charge of their platoons or squads. Their horror stories of theirs, and everyone else lives put in grave jeopardy because of these untested, though titled officers were all too often a correlation to what we’ve seen emerge in the body of Christ over the last two decades.
Punitive Judgment and Then Wrath
The Lamb will release punitive judgment out upon the earth and its inhabitants in one last, merciful attempt to drive people back to Himself in repentance, and save them from eternal damnation. But it will only serve to prove His justice and judgment righteous and true as the reaction comes:
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed– by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev. 9:13-21)
And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8)
The parable of the unjust judge has its resolution in the final statement above by the Lord Jesus. The Lord brings a contrast between earthly, unjust judges who may pass sentences depending upon their moods and convenience (or lack thereof), and that of the just and righteous Judge of the earth. We’re told that the Lord is aware of every injustice with which His saints have been afflicted and that every injustice will be requited when He gets the cooperative cry of faith and agreement from the saints on earth. But implicit in this parable is the reality of voluntary suffering that comes to the saints through injustice. This voluntary suffering (or in most cases, IN-voluntary suffering!) is part of the training process by which He conforms us to the image of the Son, who is the epitome of One who suffers injustice. Once these remedial judgments come to the saints of God, thus bringing us into full maturity and union with the Son, we then partner with Him in releasing His judgments into the earth with the main view to bring a harvest of souls.
Meeting Jesus As Judge
The depth of intimacy with our Lord affords a liberty and honesty in our relationship like no other. No one will ever know us to the minutest detail as He. We have great assurance and confidence in Him, knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus, as the perfect Husband, exhibits an unparalleled patience with His bride. He affords us an extended grace period or honeymoon, where we become secure in His undying love. When our relationship is strong and stable, as King, He is also faithful to begin to reveal truth to us about our character. He shows us weaknesses and flaws that do not conform to His image and likeness. Jesus is a faithful Bridegroom/ King who confronts us, and works in us to conform our character to His likeness.
Eph. 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
It has often been said (as quoted in the “four spiritual laws”) that God has a wonderful plan for our lives. This is most definitely true, but I think that we have not consistently looked at this statement through the lens of scripture and reality, but mostly through the lens of western cultural thought. We need to rethink all of this to get to the essence of true living and kingdom impact that the Lord intended for us in fulfilling His desires and plans, and in being fulfilled in our destinies.