Darrow Miller and Friends

Shalom: Watch God at Work in History

shalom increasing in today's worldWhen God shows up in human history today, what happens? What does that look like? The gospel spreading? Prayer movements launching? Churches growing? Disciples maturing? Yes, of course. And hungry people being fed. Desperate poverty decreasing. Diseases diminishing. Families living securely. All of these are His concern. The Hebrew word shalom captures it powerfully: “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace … safety, soundness (in body), health, prosperity” (BDB-GESENIUS Hebrew-Aramaic and English Lexicon of the Old Testament). All of that is depicted in an intriguing way in the video below. Hans Rosling’s presentation comprises a refreshing reminder that not all the news is bad. God’s common grace is indeed at work through His imago Dei creatures.

As my colleague, Dwight Vogt put it,

We need to celebrate and point to the source of this progress. This source being the creator God, who made us in his image and gave to us (before the fall) the innate desire and ability to create, improve, innovate, unlock potential, enhance, beautify … to create culture, to make something even better out of this world.

The challenge for every person (all humanity), is to carry out this pre-fall mandate in a post-fall world. We need help. Otherwise, the potential we unlock and create can become a curse instead of a blessing.

In response, God sent his Son and Spirit to break the chains of sin and realign our motives with God’s motives for one another and creation.


– Gary Brumbelow

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Gary is the Disciple Nations Alliance editorial manager. He manages Darrow Miller and Friends and serves as editor and co-writer on various book projects. For eight years Gary served as a cross-cultural church planting missionary among First Nations people of Canada. His career also includes 14 years as executive director of InterAct Ministries, an Oregon-based church-planting organization in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Gary is a graduate of Grace University, earned an MA from Wheaton College and a Graduate Studies Diploma from Western Seminary. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Valerie. They have two married sons and twelve grandchildren. In addition to his work with the DNA, Gary serves as the pastor of Troutdale Community Church.


  1. Randy

    June 24, 2013 - 10:02 pm

    See my blog post on Rosling´s “You Tube” Video on my blog at… http://www.tapanta.org



    • admin

      June 27, 2013 - 4:51 pm

      Randy it is always good to hear from you. Thanks for pointing us to your thoughtful response to the Rosling video. I have read your comments there and here is my response.

      I think that we are together that the world is more complex then the video shows and that Rosling would likely make that point if we were in a discussion with him. His focus is on the variables of economic wealth and on health in relationship to life expectancy. These certainly are not all the variables, but they are also not irrelevant. I know from having worked in the world of poverty for 30 years, anytime you can see life expectancy increase, that’s a good thing. When you can see poverty decreasing for millions of people, and a global middle class growing, that is a very good thing. When I started working at Food for the Hungry in 1981, 35,000 people were dying every day of hunger and starvation. Today, in a world with millions more people, that number has been reduced to 25,000. That’s still far too many, but this is real progress we can be thankful for.

      You are a reader of this blog, so you know that we have a comprehensive definition of wealth and poverty. Our model is taken from Luke 2:52, which says that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God and favor with man. Your point is well taken that material progress may be accompanied by spiritual poverty. We need to understand wealth and poverty in comprehensive ways, not in one-dimensional ways.

      I agree with you that we are losing moral, spiritual and social capital in horrendous quantities and this will, in the end, barring a revival and a new reformation, bring about the collapse of the West as we have known it. I would also say that part of the bounty that built the West is metaphysical capital of a Biblical world and life view and the capital of Biblical principles. It was the Judeo-Christian worldview that built the West. It was this worldview that lead to the growth of science and the application of science through technology to solve problems of natural evil. The current problem with science and technology is that they have been cut off from their metaphysical roots and an absolute moral framework.

      To your point about “leaders leading the masses over the moral cliff,” why is this? Because the West has replaced it’s Judeo-Christian roots which produced the grand things in Western Civilization and is replacing them, first with atheistic roots and now with pagan animism roots. The destruction of the Christian social order will lead to a neo-pagan social order. Think of the third world. This is where we are heading again.

      I would say that the church is more than complicit. 120 years ago when she replaced biblical theism with the weak Greek sacred/secular dichotomy, she withdrew from the marketplace of ideas and the public square of policy. The world hates a vacuum and in rushed atheistic-materialism. So it is not that the church is complicit, it is her lack of faithfulness that is at the root of the problem. It is not our society that will be judged, it is the church that will be judged.

      Rosling may have addressed the larger issues such as the moral order, etc, if he had had more time. Or perhaps not. But I agree that social disorder is accelerating faster than anything that I have expected. I also agree that there is something much deeper that he fails to see.

      I get so discouraged some days. But the future is not for cowards, my brother. We are to continue to press forward.