the declension of good movements

More notes from my 1980 Church History class with Dr Panosian. This one is a series of steps a nation or a denomination might take in devolving downward. It sounds a lot like the Judges cycle, but it is more complicated than what you usually hear on that one.

The cycle begins with Bondage, which is broken by Spiritual Faith…

The whole list follows below:

  • Bondage
  • Spiritual Faith
  • Exercise of Courage
  • Establishment of Liberty
  • Prosperity
  • Abundance
  • Selfishness
  • Complacency
  • Apathy
  • Dependence
  • Bondage

At the end of my list, I have this note:

The point of reference must be external, not internal…

That last note is somewhat ambiguous, with the passing of time, I am not entirely sure what it refers to. I assume this: wherever you are in your own movement/denomination/nation, you are likely somewhere within this cycle. If your point of reference is internal (measuring yourself among yourselves), your evaluation of your state will be skewed. You won’t see yourself rightly.

On the other hand, if your point of reference is external (say, the Bible, or the Lord Jesus Christ in all his glory and holiness), your state will become crystal clear.

I suppose this list can be a measure of individual spiritual life as well, to some degree (I don’t think someone with true saving faith will descend into the bondage of his previous lost condition). It is possible that when one is ‘settled on his lees’ that he can become entangled and in bondage to the things of this world, unfit or less fit for the Master’s service.

Personally, I worry that I am well past the courage stage, and the establishment of liberty stage. I feel much in need of revival. How about you?



  1. Don,

    Are you quoting Panosian partly because if you said the same thing he had said, you would be smacked by fundamentalists?

  2. Well, I am not sure if my quote is of Dr. P or if it is my interpolation of Dr. P. So …

    No, I was just going through these old notes and thought some of it was very interesting. And applicable to the current situation.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3