Today, I read an interesting article from the BBC about what has happened amongst the BRIC’s in our world today.
What are BRIC’s?
It stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China.
For the past few decades, the world has typically identified strong economies and markets within 7 more developed (though not all ‘western’) countries. They are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and Canada. Many call this group the G-7.
But now, with the 4 aforementioned BRIC countries, along with 3 others (Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey), we have what has been identified as the E-7, or the 7 emerging markets in our world today.
There is no doubt that, in the past 3 years, there have been major financial and economic crises, starting in America, and now crippling some western European nations like Greece and Italy. And there is pressure upon most of the European Union in some form or fashion.
Though, according to the BBC article, these BRIC nations were beginning to grow strong even before our current economic crises in the west, such economies are finding even greater opportunity in these current days. We see this as Greece is looking to rely heavily upon China.
And, just thinking about what has taken place in north Africa with the demise of many totalitarian governments and movement towards democracy, it might just be time for some great steps in that great continent.
Let me just take a moment for a little side caveat. I share none of this to then lead into a scary, end-times prediction to stir up fear of an uncertain future. We entered the last days close to 2000 years ago in the Christ-event and outpouring of God’s Spirit on God’s people, an event that set something powerfully in motion in seeing God’s kingdom become a reality on earth as it is in heaven. This didn’t all recently begin. Difficult times will exist, since we do enter the kingdom of God through hardships (i.e. Acts 14:22). But God is at work in His world.
Rather, I share these thoughts to stir us to realise that we live in a turning and shifting world. There is no special place in God’s heart for America’s or Europe’s economy. Oh, yes! God passionately loves Americans and Europeans, as He does Indians and Africans and Asians. But something is taking place in our world today, something difficult, possibly something of a major shift in many forms. But I also believe something good is taking place.
I have no doubt our God is at work here. Our friend, Paul, stated it this way to the Athenians of the first century:
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:26-28)
God is greatly involved in any shift that takes place, whether from Jerusalem to Antioch or from Europe to America or from the global west to the global south and east. God is at work that He might prepare people to seek Him.
At this point, the church is much more vibrant in the global south and east. Western Europe is not the centre of Christendom. That is pretty much over and done with. And, though I am no one to make a prediction, maybe within a few decades, things will have rapidly changed in North America.
I’m not interested in jumping on a right-wing bandwagon to ‘bring America back to its Christian roots’. There was a religio-spiritual ethos in the 1700’s that might not exist today. But I don’t want to go back to that, per se. I would want to move forward. Roots and foundations are good. But if the roots and foundations were there, but weren’t all that solid, maybe we need to see some things torn down and rebuilt, like with Jeremiah’s calling (see Jer 1).
And, also, in moving forward, we might have to walk through what Paul said, which I hinted at earlier: We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
It’s ok if America and western Europe are not the centre of attention in the decades (or centuries) to come. Granted, with economic developments in the global south and east, I hope those of Christ will stay focused and not walk the now well-worn path of the west. And I am well aware this is the great desire of the underground Chinese church.
Difficult days have been here and difficult days will be ahead of us. The world is turning, or shifting, in some major ways across many different areas. Something global is taking place. But it will be ok. Not just in a laissez-faire type of ok. But in a solid-rock way, for God is establishing His rule on earth as in heaven. And, lest we forget, God greatly desires to remove things that can be shaken and ground us in the reality that we are part of His kingdom rule that cannot be shaken (see Heb 12:26-29).
Shifts are taking place. But we are part of something solid and unshakeable. Or, if we are not, it is time to move into such a place.