Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Revival

“Revival,” like many words, has a recent history with several different cultural definitions:

1. The East African Revival of the 30s, 40s, and 50s of the last century. See Roy Hession’s The Calvary Road, Norman Grubb’s Continuous Revival, and Festo Kivengere’s Revolutionary Love.

2. The Welsh Revival very early in the last century where tens of thousands were converted in a few weeks. See Jessie Penn-Lewis’s, The Awakening in Wales.

3. The Korean Revival and North China Revivals were also early in the 20th century. See When the Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea, by Jonathan Goforth.

4. The Great Awakening in the middle of the 18th century and the Second Great Awakening in the middle of the 19th century. These two hit England, Scotland, Wales, the Colonies, and the United States.

The United States did not have anything startling in the 20th century that could remotely be called revival. We did have two World Wars and the ascendancy of liberalism in the Church. Europe, however, took the most damage in the Wars and in liberalism.

The nations that did have revivals had something else by the middle of the century: genocide, no freedom, and Communism in China and North Korea. There were wars and genocide in Rwanda by the end of the century and a very dead secular community in Wales.

Each century has four or five generations in it and each one of us knows, in part, two generations before us and two generations after us.

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:14-18 NIV)

This is talking about next-generation evangelism.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:8 NIV)

This is talking about loving and obeying God. This is good for a thousand generations.

Loving God, obeying God, and proclaiming His righteousness and only His are the primary means of a continuous revival. Confession of sin by believers is the secondary means of continuous revival.

The enemy has always counter-attacked after any successful evangelism. In the book of Acts we can see this physical, violent reaction in Jerusalem (Acts 7-8), Damascus (Acts 9), Jerusalem again (Acts 9), Antioch (Acts 13), Iconium (Acts 14), Lystra (Acts 14), Philippi (Acts 16), and Thessalonica (Acts 17).

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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