Many of you may have heard of the lady whose bungee cord snapped two weeks ago or even seen the video. Erin Langworthy, an Aussie, was in Africa bungee jumping from the bridge on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe that spans the Zambesi River 365 feet below. The river is filled with rocks, rapids, and crocodiles. Erin’s collarbone broke when she hit the water, and she momentarily blacked out. When she came to and found the surface, she nearly drowned since her feet were bound together by the bungee cord which kept snagging on rocks. Yet she somehow managed to free her feet and swim to shore. Banged and bruised, she survived.
In The Courage to Be Protestant, David Wells wrote these prophetic words in 2008:
The last time I walked over the bridge that links Zambia and Zimbabwe (Note: This is the same bridge), just below the Victoria Falls, I watched a bungee jumper launch himself into space from the center of the bridge. The waters beneath are some four hundred feet down, full of froth and crocodiles. This is Africa. Equipment of the kind he was using may not be tested regularly and replaced in schedule. In fact, what I saw were cords that appeared already to have been overused. They were very frayed, and I wondered how long it would be before an intrepid jumper did not make the return journey to the bridge’s edge and simply continued into the churning waters in the gorge far, far below. (p. 9)
Since Wells has proven he is somewhat of a prophet, perhaps we should listen further to him. A lesson is contained in the “prophecy” of the bungee cord.
Wells was using this illustration in his book to describe what is happening in the Protestant churches. Like that bungee cord, evangelical truth is unraveling. The core of gospel truths, agreed upon for a long time by most evangelical churches and ministries, has unraveled over the past three decades. For the gospel is like glass of cold water – drop something into the glass and it becomes corrupted and undesirable. Churches and ministries have been adding causes and entertainment and non-Biblical beliefs to the gospel for some time now, and the additions have become the message rather than the gospel. As Wells stated, “The cords plaited together out of the formal and material principles became frayed and then, for increasing numbers, snapped. They are no longer able to return the jumper to the fellowship.”
This weekend I shared the above with our congregation as we hosted about a hundred college students attending a local conference. I reminded them that most studies show that more than half of college students who were in church before college leave it. That is why men in our presbytery started this conference years ago. In the excellent teaching (audio should be posted here soon) they were being given from Ecclesiastes by the speaker Dr. Rich Holdeman, they were being called to truth even as they were reminded vividly of the vanity of life without Christ.
So I say to you what we told them, and what Wells has been crying out for some time now. Do not fall to the lie there is something more thrilling outside of faith in the preached gospel of Christ’s kingdom. If you take this jump, you may find truths compromised are not able to return you to the Lord.