The name is synonymous with corruption and godlessness. The Bible condemns it from Genesis, where the Tower of Babel (another name for Babylon) represents humanity’s effort to become God (see Gen. 11), all the way to Revelation, where Babylon is referred to as the mother of prostitutes and abominations of the earth (see Rev. 17:5). There are about three hundred references to Babylon in the Bible, and in many of those, Babylon is portrayed as the antitype— the opposite—of Jerusalem. Babylon was a powerful city, affluent and influential. It was the seat of human power and the symbol of the rejection of God at its greatest height.
I am a citizen of the world. I hail from Pretoria, South Africa. My team and I have planted churches across that country and also in London; Stuttgart, Germany; and Auckland, New Zealand—and several more around the world are in preparation stages. Our current global headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
As I have walked the streets and breathed the air of these cities and so many others, I have seen lostness, pain, and brokenness running as rampant as the Bible depicts in ancient Babylon. These cities are affluent and influential, and right alongside human achievement marches human depravity.
I often ask myself whether this narrative can be changed. I wonder what may be done so that this confused generation will discover the grace of God, a gift He shares freely with all humanity.
We live in a world where violence done by people against people is so prevalent, there’s not enough time on the news to talk about it all. These days, a murderous rampage has to be spectacular in some way, or extremely close to home, to get coverage on the air.
Children are abducted, raped, and murdered, then dropped into dumpsters. Pregnant women are gunned down while answering the door. Terrorists line up prisoners to decapitate them for the camera or burn them alive in cages. Illegal drag races force other drivers off the road, leaving beloved innocents dead or paralyzed. Drug capos have honest judges assassinated in front of their children. World leaders are deposed for corruption and murder—or worse: they’re not deposed.
And those are just the news stories I happened to read on the day I wrote this.
Never mind our epidemics of war crimes, genocide, ethnic violence and injustice, child abuse, cronyism, graft, fraud, divorce, drug use, homelessness, dehumanization, elder abuse, and abortion, just to name a few.
If you’re like me, you’re ready to cry out, “Give us wisdom, understanding, and strategy, Lord Jesus! Help us raise and release city changers who can engage this reality and make a difference.”