Revivals Instantly Touch Entire Communities; Emergent Movements To The "nth" Power?
Duncan Campbell who witnessed a true revival wrote in his dissertation When God Stepped Down: Now, you might ask me, "What do you mean by revival"? There are a great many views, held by people today, as to what revival is. So, you hear men say, "Are you going out to the revival meetings?", "We're having a revival crusade", and so on. There's a world of difference, between a crusade, or a special effort in the field of evangelism. My dear people, that is not revival. As I already said from this platform, I thank God for every soul brought to Christ, through our special efforts, and for every season of blessing at our conferences, and at our conventions. We praise God for such movements, but is it not true that such movements do not, (as a general rule) touch the community? The community remains more or less, the same, and the masses go past us to hell, but in revival the community, suddenly becomes conscious of the movings of God; beginning with His own people. So that, in a matter of hours, (not days) in a matter of hours, churches become crowded. No information of any special meeting, but something happening that moves men and women to a house of God, and you'll find within hours, scores of men, and women crying to God for mercy before them that kneel at church. You've read history of revivals, the Jonathan Edward revival in America, that was what happened, and the Welsh revival, that is what happened, and the more recent Lewis revival, that is what happened.
As we, the 21st Century Church begin to hunger for revival, we need to remember that revival transcends any “program”, any “church structure”, any “preplanning” on our part. It is a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ by His will while doing it His way at His time. In the book of Acts it not only happened at the Temple in what the Church now calls Pentecost, but also at the house of Cornelius, by the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch, and even before Christ’s ascension to the women at the well. At the house of Cornelius it would affect the Jewish culture, at the house of Cornelius the gentile culture, by the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch an entire nation, and at the Temple the entire known civilized world at that time.
Revival changes entire communities, nations, and cultures. In America The Great Awakening of Jonathan Edward’s time would change the existing American Puritanical church and evangelize an entire scattered frontier. The Camp Meeting movements under Wesley would grow to over 1,000 of them in one summer. The drive for righteousness would spur the “prohibition” movement causing alcohol to go underground until the revival fires would die and the church’s complacency would return before it would be repealed. When revival is in its fruition, it changes the “culture” of cities, states, and entire nations.
The American church is great for programs and networking, trying to create a revival spirit, but usually falling short. The later part of the 20th Century saw the ecumenical movement trying to get everyone to “dialogue” in an effort to begin to break down religious walls and barriers. In the beginning of the 21st Century the emergent church movement tried to “network” churches and ministries in loose relationships rather than denominational bonds. Now the social networking culture is forcing the church to think world wide rather than local, regional, or even national, so revival will take on a totally different form than it has in the past, probably in a world wide perspective. Today’s social networking is in its infancy, also stressing even looser relationships while transcending today’s acceptable church norms.
So what form will revival take to this generation? Will it be in the wilderness as in Jonathan Edward’s day or in the forests during Camp Meetings in Wesley’s day, on a lonely island as in Duncan’s day, or in farmer’s fields as in Jesus Rallies during the Jesus movement of the 1970’s? Probably in none of these ways, because when social networking, I discover, at least on this blog, that I get “hits” from 1-4 a.m. in the morning, from the U.K. and Europe as well as from Australia & New Zealand and even Africa. Our commonality is in the English language, or barriers are only time zones. Our platform is not the isolated frontier, or the shade of the forests, or on blankets sitting in a farmer’s field, but on the platform of the whole wide world. With that platform, true revival will not only touch localities and nations, but it could and should touch and affect the entire world.
The revival Spirit of the 1st Century touched the “entire known world” of Paul’s day. The revival Spirit of the 21st Century will also touch the “entire known world” of our day. I have studied the great revivals of England and Europe and of America, but know little personally of the revivals in Africa and Asia, but they have also experienced revivals. In a day when the Muslim religion looks as a threat to the Jewish and Christian religions, there needs to be a movement of God that transcends all of these religions whose heritage is traced to the same man, Abraham, and to the same God, the God of Abraham who went to sacrifice his son on what is today the Temple Mount. At the same geographical locations where the original Pentecost took place stand a Muslim Mosque, the Jewish Wailing Wall, a remnant of Herod’s Temple, and Golgotha, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion as well at the empty tomb at the base of the Mount. Three religions all fighting for the same geographical square mile, yet holding world wide influence. Why couldn’t or wouldn’t God’s all powerful, all present Spirit transcend all three religions in the greatest revival in history to usher back Jesus’ Second Coming?
America, quit being self centered, wishing for revival to hit only America. Who knows what “world wide revival” will look like, nor the scope of its power, but church beware, prepare, and be open to what is about to occur: the greatest revival under the banner of the God of Abraham, through His Son, Jesus Christ, lead by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. It will be in a new form. You will be forced to accept it or reject it. Two at the millstone; one accepts one rejects. Who will you be?