It was, without doubt, one of the highlights of my life: more than a thousand young people standing arm in arm, committing themselves to God and to making a difference in Europe. Even now as I write, my heart thrills within me as I remember that site and that night. It will be with me for the rest of my life, of this I am certain.
GYC Europe was, by all accounts, a wonderful success, as young adults from more than 40 countries convened in Linz, Austria from July 20-24. Forty countries! The theme was The Hour Has Come: A Call to Reignite the Dormant Embers of the Reformation. And that’s exactly what it was! The call was made over and over by preacher after preacher, from Pastor Mark Finley’s opening message on Revelation 10 and the Advent movement to Sebastian Braxton’s stirring closing commission.
The call was made, yes, but more importantly; the call was responded to and accepted. I had the privilege and responsibility of preaching the evening meetings Saturday through Monday. My presentations centered, perhaps predictably, on the book of Acts. As I prepared and prayed for the forthcoming event––an event of monumental significance––I kept being drawn to the fifth book of the New Testament.
As I prepared, questions circled again and again in my thinking. What happened to the church after the book of Acts? How did Europe end up, largely, in a state of secularism, skepticism and sensualism? Was there any hope for Europe’s spiritual future? Did the book of Acts hold the key to that future?
In addition to the book of Acts, I found myself reading from Ellen White’s The Great Controversy. One chapter in particular arrested my attention: chapter 15, The Bible and the French Revolution. The sad saga that became France’s history was, as I would preach, “a legitimate reaction to an absurd religious system and an unworshipable God.” Much of Europe’s present predicament is directly traceable to the predicted apostasy within the Christian Church itself. That apostasy was foretold in, among other places, Daniel, Matthew, Acts, 2 Thessalonians, the epistles of John and of course, Revelation.
You might say it this way: Rome sneezed and all of Europe caught a cold.
And yet the Bible tells of more than the apostasy, the de-formation. It also speaks of the remnant and of re-formation.
A Call to Reignite the Dormant Embers of the Reformation.
That which was lost will be regained and restored. The gates of hell will not prevail against God’s church! They bore sway for a time, yes, but the final victory belongs to God and His church triumphant.
And the book of Acts holds the template. What once was will be yet again! What was deformed will be reformed and, at last, fully restored.
The embers of a spiritually renewed Europe are gathering and warming. I have seen it with my own eyes, and I will never again be the same.
Neither will Europe!
Listen to the GYC Europe seminars here. The plenary sessions will be uploaded soon.
Cover Photo by Ashley Bloom.