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The answer is YES!

This is taken from the Revival Library

Why Read About Revivals? – The Extraordinary Benefits

1. It is encouraged by God

Many times in scripture God encourages the re-telling of Hiis mighty works in the lives of men and women. There are innumerable examples in the Old Testament, eg:

Ps 145:4-6, 11-13 4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. 5 They will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. 11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations

Ps 78:3-7 3 What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6 so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

In the New Testament also we see graphic illustrations of the ministry of Jesus and of the early church. But why are these in the Bible? Why do today’s Christians need to know what God did in the past? Of what benefit or advantage can it be to read histories and biographies of God’s great exploits, whether they be Biblical or historical testimonies. Certainly God has a good reason for the recording and reading of His glorious activities.

2. Through reading God’s awesome activities we discover His will for the church today.

There can be no doubt that God wants His church to be ‘the light of the world’ and ‘the salt of the earth.’ This means healthy and effective churches. It means a growing and expanding church. It means a church that is glowing with a love for Jesus Christ and a passion for the lost. It means honouring and serving His church.

It is specifically ‘revival history’ that reveals just how God infuses His church with such qualities. It is undeniable that revival is the major means that God has used to advance the cause of the Gospel throughout the ages.

Jonathan Edwards said, “Though there be a more constant influence of God’s Spirit always, in some degree, attending His ordinances; yet the way in which the greatest things have been done towards carrying on this work, always has been by remarkable effusions of the Spirit at special seasons of mercy…”

Revivals are His foremost way of advancing the quality and quantity of the church. This is His major antidote for decline and the foremost method of reviving dying churches and achieving mass evangelisation and the reaping of huge harvests of souls. In times of revival Christians renew their love for God, commit themselves to prayer, become serious about evangelism and see unprecedented numbers of converts. Revivals result in church growth, new church plants, the expansion of mission work and Christian social endeavour.

3. By reading of former times of refreshing our faith is quickened and our prayer lives are revived, paving the way for fresh outpourings of the Spirit.

There are countless examples of this through history. I have included a few here:

Cambuslang 1742

This work began under the ministry of the Rev. W. McCulloch who began to seek God for a fresh outpouring. The news of the gracious movement under Wesley and Whitefield filled his soul with joy. He at once began to tell his people the story of the great revival in England and America. Soon the entire membership was affected. They gave themselves to revival prayer and desired him to preach more of these ‘revival themes’ of salvation, regeneration etc. The congregations so increased in number that the church was too small they had to hold the preaching services in the open air. The whole town was affected as were many ministers who visited from elsewhere.

Irish Revival 1859

This movement originated in the work of the Rev. J. H. Moore in Connor, Co. Antrim. For years he preached the Gospel faithfully, but with little success. News of revival in America stirred him to pray and promote a revival among his own people. He often preached on this subject and read accounts of great revivals of the past to his congregation. The idea of having a revival began to grip the people and it became the subject of much prayer.

In 1857 the Sunday School teachers began to hold a weekly prayer meeting and as a result they soon noticed a marked increase of attention and seriousness among the children.

After some months, four of the young men who were connected with this prayer meeting began a secret prayer and fellowship meeting to pray for revival. Rev. W. Gibson records, “For a few months they had to walk by faith. They wrestled on. They prevailed.”

At the same time another remarkable book was read by one of these young men, James McQuilkin. The book was George Müller’s Autobiography which was filled with testimonies of extraordinary answers to prayer. He also read other materials like ‘The Life of McCheyne’ and Finney’s ‘Lectures on Revivals’ which had much to do with the spread of the great revival. The Irish revival was a direct result of the reporting and reading of ‘revival literature’ and the prayers it provoked.

Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival

Coming from the ‘land of revivals’ (Wales experienced many awakenings in its history) Evan Roberts was very conscious of his nation’s rich heritage. Spurred on by revival history he prayed and read and talked, for ten or eleven years, about revivals. Throughout his teenage years he spent hours in communion with God, praying for a revival to come to Wales again. Sometimes he and his friend, Sydney Evans, would sit up for hours and hours at night talking about a revival, and when not talking he would be reading about revivals. “I could sit up all night,” he said, “to read or talk about revivals. It was the Spirit that moved me thus.” It was in the context of one such evening that God gave Evan faith for 100,000 souls, which he was about to witness coming to Christ in the following eight months! It was Evan Roberts faith and prayers which played such a great part in the famed Welsh revival. In turn stories of the revival sparked faith and prayer around the world. The most significant was its affect upon the Pentecostal pioneers of Los Angeles. Evan Roberts’ news was like oil on an already-burning fire and hastened the outpouring at Azusa Street as believers sought God for more holiness and power.

Revivals in China, Korea and Manchuria 1906

After being a missionary in China for about thirteen years, Jonathan Goforth, in 1901, began to be dissatisfied with the results of his work. This led him to study how to promote revival.

He began to read the life and writings of Charles G. Finney, who emphasised that any company of Christians can have a revival if they will fulfil the necessary laws. Goforth said, “If Finney is right, then I am going to find out what these laws are and obey them, no matter what it costs.

He says, “Slowly the realisation began to dawn upon me that I had tapped a mine of infinite possibility.” He became so obsessed with this subject and spent so much time in prayer that his wife began to fear that his mind could not stand it.

At this point news of the Welsh Revival in 1904 reached China and it further inspirated to him.

Soon the famous Manchurian revival under Goforth began to break out, and became notable for its emphasis on widespread conviction, public confessions, and extensive conversions.

Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh, 1906

An astounding local church revival occurred in 1906 at the Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh, during the ministry of Joseph Kemp. He was not a powerful preacher although he was true to the Gospel and favoured expository preaching each Sunday morning. “He nourished his soul and warmed his heart by continually reading everything he could on ‘Revival.’ Whitefield’s life had a great influence on him; as also had Finney’s ‘Lectures on Revival.’ It was with great joy that he would sit down with those who had passed through the 1859 revival, and listen to their recollections of those wonderful days. Revival was his passion and he had a vision of what God could do. He prayed fervently to the Lord and in the first three years of his ministry in Edinburgh, from 1902, 347 people joined the church!

When news of the Welsh Revival reached Scotland he just had to visit Wales, where he spent two weeks watching, experiencing and drinking in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. On his return he reported what he had seen and the people were on the tiptoe of expectancy. Throughout 1905 the nightly prayer meeting became fuller each week.

In 1906 a Conference began on January 22nd and it was here that the fire began to fall. Preaching became secondary to prayer and over a thousand came to Christ in that first year of Revival. Up to thirty and forty were saved in every meeting. The presence of God became tangible; life, death and eternity seemed suddenly laid bare. Intense prayer, uncontrollable weeping and overwhelming conviction swept through the congregation. Hours passed like minutes. This continued for three glorious years.

Pandita Ramabai, Mukti, India, 1905

Pandita Ramabai, a converted Hindu, established a centre for young widows and orphans called “Mukti” Mission which means – ‘salvation’ or ‘deliverance.’

News of the revival in Australia in 1903 aroused Pandita Ramabai to send her daughter and Miss Abrams there, in order that they might catch the inspiration of the revival fire and form praying-bands for Mukti among the Australian Christians.

Then, news of the revival in Wales increased Ramabai’s hunger for a visitation from God. In January 1905, she told her pupils about it, and called for volunteers to meet with her daily for special prayer for a revival in India. Seventy came forward, and from time to time others joined. In June five hundred and fifty were meeting twice daily in this praying band.

Rejoicing still more that the revival had reached the Welsh missions in the Khassia Hills in Assam, she then asked for volunteers from her Bible school to give up their secular studies and go out into the villages to preach the Gospel. Thirty young women volunteered, and were meeting daily to pray for an enduement of power when God visited them.

While Ramabai was expounding John 8 in her usual quiet way one evening, the Holy Spirit descended with power, and all the girls began to pray aloud so that she had to cease talking. Little children, middle-sized girls, and young women wept bitterly and confessed their sins. Some few saw visions and experienced the power of God and things too deep to be described. Two little girls had the spirit of prayer poured on them in such torrents that they continued to pray for hours. They were transformed with heavenly light shining on their faces.

“From that time,” said Miss Abrams, “our Bible school was turned into an inquiry room. Girls, stricken down under conviction of sin while in school, or in the industrial school, or at their work, were brought to us. Lessons were suspended, and we all, teachers and students, entered the school conducted by the Holy Spirit.”

We could cite many other examples, not least of all that of Charles Finney’s “Lectures on Revivals of Religion” which have already been mentioned. The reading of these lectures has resulted in hundreds of revivals across the world throughout the generations since they were penned in 1834.

Some years ago, George and Alec Gallup undertook an exhaustive investigation as to what makes some people more successful than others. Using the polling techniques that have made them famous, the brothers researched and wrote a book titled, “The Great American Success Story”. One of their conclusions: Successful people read.

This true for those who have experienced authentic revival.

In conclusion

Of course, no-one want to become mere ‘revival readers.’ We all aspire to be ‘history makers!’ A good place to start would be to read revival literature. Our faith will be enlarged. Our vision will be inspired. Our prayers will be stimulated and we will position ourselves before God so that we are ready in the day of His power.

©The Revival Librarian
Dec 2009

INCARNATION GOD SENT HIS SON, TO SAVE US

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. JOHN 1:14
Trinity and Incarnation belong together. The doctrine of the Trinity declares that the man Jesus is truly divine; that of the Incarnation declares that the divine Jesus is truly human. Together they proclaim the full reality of the Savior whom the New Testament sets forth, the Son who came from the Father’s side at the Father’s will to become the sinner’s substitute on the cross (Matt. 20:28; 26:36-46; John 1:29; 3:13-17; Rom. 5:8; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; 8:9; Phil. 2:5-8).

The moment of truth regarding the doctrine of the Trinity came at the Council of Nicaea (A.D.325), when the church countered the Arian idea that Jesus was God’s first and noblest creature by affirming that he was of the same “substance” or “essence” (i.e., the same existing entity) as the Father. Thus there is one God, not two; the distinction between Father and Son is within the divine unity, and the Son is God in the same sense as the Father is. In saying that Son and Father are “of one substance,” and that the Son is “begotten” (echoing “only-begotten,” John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18, and NIV text notes) but “not made,” the Nicene Creed unequivocally recognized the deity of the man from Galilee.

A crucial event for the church’s confession of the doctrine of the Incarnation came at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D.451), when the church countered both the Nestorian idea that Jesus was two personalities—the Son of God and a man—under one skin, and the Eutychian idea that Jesus’ divinity had swallowed up his humanity. Rejecting both, the council affirmed that Jesus is one divine-human person in two natures (i.e., with two sets of capacities for experience, expression, reaction, and action); and that the two natures are united in his personal being without mixture, confusion, separation, or division; and that each nature retained its own attributes. In other words, all the qualities and powers that are in us, as well as all the qualities and powers that are in God, were, are, and ever will be really and distinguishably present in the one person of the man from Galilee. Thus the Chalcedonian formula affirms the full humanity of the Lord from heaven in categorical terms.

The Incarnation, this mysterious miracle at the heart of historic Christianity, is central in the New Testament witness. That Jews should ever have come to such a belief is amazing. Eight of the nine New Testament writers, like Jesus’ original disciples, were Jews, drilled in the Jewish axiom that there is only one God and that no human is divine. They all teach, however, that Jesus is God’s Messiah, the Spirit-anointed son of David promised in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 11:1-5; Christos, “Christ,” is Greek for Messiah). They all present him in a threefold role as teacher, sin-bearer, and ruler—prophet, priest, and king. And in other words, they all insist that Jesus the Messiah should be personally worshiped and trusted—which is to say that he is God no less than he is man. Observe how the four most masterful New Testament theologians (John, Paul, the writer of Hebrews, and Peter) speak to this.

John’s Gospel frames its eyewitness narratives (John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24) with the declarations of its prologue (1:1-18): that Jesus is the eternal divine Logos (Word), agent of Creation and source of all life and light (vv. 1-5, 9), who through becoming “flesh” was revealed as Son of God and source of grace and truth, indeed as “God the only begotten” (vv. 14, 18; NIV text notes). The Gospel is punctuated with “I am” statements that have special significance because I am (Greek: ego eimi) was used to render God’s name in the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14; whenever John reports Jesus as saying ego eimi, a claim to deity is implicit. Examples of this are John 8:28, 58, and the seven declarations of his grace as (a) the Bread of Life, giving spiritual food (6:35, 48, 51); (b) the Light of the World, banishing darkness (8:12; 9:5); (c) the gate for the sheep, giving access to God (10:7, 9); (d) the Good Shepherd, protecting from peril (10:11, 14); (e) the Resurrection and Life, overcoming our death (11:25); (f) the Way, Truth, and Life, guiding to fellowship with the Father (14:6); (g) the true Vine, nurturing for fruitfulness (15:1, 5). Climactically, Thomas worships Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (20:28). Jesus then pronounces a blessing on all who share Thomas’s faith and John urges his readers to join their number (20:29-31).

Paul quotes from what seems to be a hymn that declares Jesus’ personal deity (Phil. 2:6); states that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9; cf. 1:19); hails Jesus the Son as the Father’s image and as his agent in creating and upholding everything (Col. 1:15-17); declares him to be “Lord” (a title of kingship, with divine overtones), to whom one must pray for salvation according to the injunction to call on Yahweh in Joel 2:32 (Rom. 10:9-13); calls him “God over all” (Rom. 9:5) and “God and Savior” (Titus 2:13); and prays to him personally (2 Cor. 12:8-9), looking to him as a source of divine grace (2 Cor. 13:14). The testimony is explicit: faith in Jesus’ deity is basic to Paul’s theology and religion.

The writer to the Hebrews, purporting to expound the perfection of Christ’s high priesthood, starts by declaring the full deity and consequent unique dignity of the Son of God (Heb. 1:3, 6, 8-12), whose full humanity he then celebrates in chapter 2. The perfection, and indeed the very possibility, of the high priesthood that he describes Christ as fulfilling depends on the conjunction of an endless, unfailing divine life with a full human experience of temptation, pressure, and pain (Heb. 2:14-17; 4:14-5:2; 7:13-28; 12:2-3).

Not less significant is Peter’s use of Isaiah 8:12-13 (1 Pet. 3:14). He cites the Greek (Septuagint) version, urging the churches not to fear what others fear but to set apart the Lord as holy. But where the Septuagint text of Isaiah says, “Set apart the Lord himself,” Peter writes, “Set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Pet. 3:15). Peter would give the adoring fear due to the Almighty to Jesus of Nazareth, his Master and Lord.

The New Testament forbids worship of angels (Col. 2:18; Rev. 22:8-9) but commands worship of Jesus and focuses consistently on the divine-human Savior and Lord as the proper object of faith, hope, and love here and now. Religion that lacks these emphases is not Christianity. Let there be no mistake about that!
From: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs

When I say “revival”, I mean where God actually renews His people and the church gets back to being the church.  In other words, we get back to normal.

To get there, we must pray that God will send a genuine revival, and if revival doesn’t come, then we keep praying!

NewsNote: The Death of Oral Roberts

Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm ET

The death of Oral Roberts marks a significant milestone in the history of American Christianity. His life, spanning from 1918 to 2009, represents 91 years and almost a century of American religious history.

Granville Oral Roberts was born into the home of a preacher and he married the daughter of a preacher. Soon after reaching adulthood he entered the ministry himself, holding tent meetings in the style of the evangelists of his day. Roberts began as a traditional holiness preacher, but he would later transform his ministry into a worldwide enterprise utilizing electronic media and extending a global reach through television and an institutional empire that would include the university named for him.

Writing in 1985, biographer David Edwin Harrell would describe Oral Roberts as “one of the most influential religious leaders in the world in the twentieth century.” In Oral Roberts: An American Life, Harrell, a professor of history at Auburn University, would lament the fact that mainstream academia had given so little attention to Roberts and to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements of which he was so famously a part. Harrell suggested three roles that led to Roberts’ preeminence.

First, Harrell credits Roberts with bringing leadership and publicity to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. Though these movements began their legendary growth early in the twentieth century, most of the significant charismatic figures lacked the organizational and media ability that Roberts brought to his ministry. Roberts understood the institutional instability of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. His vision of mainstreaming the movement led him at various points in his ministry to do what other holiness preachers would never have considered. He sought and obtained ministerial credentials with the United Methodist Church, a denomination with deep roots in the Wesleyan tradition that represented the kind of middle-class America Roberts so desperately wanted to reach. The establishment of Oral Roberts University required an intense investment of time, money, and energy. Nevertheless, Roberts understood that the university platform would allow him to reach a generation of young charismatics and would serve as an institutional platform for his larger work.

Second, Roberts was a pioneer in the use of modern electronic media. Early on, Roberts recognized the power of television. He understood that radio could reach untold thousands, but he saw television as the way of reaching hypermodern America. His slick television specials, often featuring Hollywood celebrities and national figures, were virtually unprecedented in American Christian life. David Harrell goes so far as to credit Oral Roberts as the founder of what became known as the “electronic church.” During the prime years of Oral Roberts’ ministry, television was the major means of reaching a mass public, and Roberts had an intuitive feel for the medium.

Third, Harrell points to Roberts’ emphasis on religious healing. “It was healing that launched his ministry in 1947, and it is healing that is the foundation of the controversial City of Faith complex rising high over the Tulsa skyline.” Those words were written in 1985. The City of Faith complex was to include three major towers, one reaching to 60 stories. Roberts saw the City of Faith as a great medical center that would, he hoped, find a cure for cancer. The hospital was built, but it was not financially viable. The complex is no longer controlled by Oral Roberts University and is now office space known as CityPlex Towers.

In reality, most Americans probably know of Oral Roberts through a combination of his intended and unintended media exposure. Roberts frequently attracted controversy. Most famously, he became known for claiming to receive a vision of a 900 foot Jesus instructing them to build the City of Faith and, when hard times hit his empire, telling his followers that if a sufficient amount of gifts was not received within a specified amount of time, God would end his life. In 1987, Roberts became the focus of intense scrutiny in light of claims made by his ministry that a dead person had been brought to life.

In the end, however, Oral Roberts should be measured by his message. Though his claims of visions and healings drew deserved attention, along with both scrutiny and embarrassment, it was the core of his message that is most problematic. In his prime years, Roberts was the most significant agent for prosperity theology.

Prosperity theology teaches that God promises his people financial gain and bodily health. It is a false Gospel that turns the Gospel of Christ upside-down. The true Gospel offers forgiveness of sins and leads to a life of discipleship. Following Christ demands poverty more often than wealth, and we are not promised relief from physical ills, injury, sickness, or death. Christians die along with all other mortals, but we are promised the gift of eternal life in Christ.

There is tragedy in the sight of the City of Faith turned from a hospital into an office complex. In recent years scandal has erupted at Oral Roberts University, though stability may have been recently regained. Most Americans probably remember Oral Roberts, if at all, through his television ministry of decades past. Others will associate him only with the bizarre — visions of a 900-ft Jesus and the rest.

But the greatest tragedy in all this is the perpetuation of prosperity theology, passed on by Oral Roberts to a new generation. I am thankful for every sinner who came to know the Gospel of Christ through the preaching of Oral Roberts, and I heard him preach about salvation in ways that were true and powerful. But I can only lament the prosperity theology that he leaves in his long shadow.

___________________________________

I am always glad to hear from readers and listeners. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler.

Robert Murray McCheyne said…

Let the Holy Spirit fill every chamber of your heart so that there will be no room for folly or the world or Satan or the flesh.

Let is cry out for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Archibald Alexander – 1772-1851 (from Revival-Library)

Archibald Alexander
Born of Scottish-Irish parents, Alexander was converted during the Hampden-Sydney College Revival in 1787, which began when a mere handful prayed, and resulted in the conversion of over half the students!More than thirty of them entered the Presbyterian ministry, as did Alexander.

He became an itinerant evangelist in Virginia and North Carolina, though still only a teenager. These early years witnessed many revival scenes.

Successful pastorates in Charlotte County and his evident academic abilities led to his call as President of Hampden-Sydney College in 1794, a position he held for a decade.

In 1807 he was installed as Pastor of Pine Street Church in Philadelphia and was soon elected as Moderator of the Presbyterians General Assembly.

He is most well known as the first professor of the newly-formed Princeton Theological College in 1812.

His Reformed theology and passionate piety ideally suited him to the task.

Few men in his day were more intimately acquainted with the work of revival. The missionary and revival spirit which long characterized the seminary were due in no small part to the powerful influence of this godly man.

Bibliography: W. Andrew Hoffeker, Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860, 1995; Earle E. Cairns, An Endless Line of Splendour, 1986; Bruce Shelley, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1974.

In our local churches, what are the things we depend on in order to accomplish things for God? It is possible that we trust the wrong things according to A.C. Dixon (photo)

“When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do. But when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do.” (Found at…)

Praying for Revival!

Christian Quotation of the Day (December 14, 2009).

Live in the world as if only God and your soul were in it; then your heart will never be made captive by any earthly thing.

… St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), from “Spiritual Maxims” inThe Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Cosimo, Inc., 2007, p. 603

Revival may come if the followers of Jesus are wholly devoted to God and not enslaved by sinful habits.

N.T. Wright’s “Advent Oratorio”

On December 5, in Lichfield Cathedral, a new Advent Oratorio was premiered, with libretto by N.T. Wright and direction by Paul Spicer.

You can read Wright’s preface and text here.

A chorus from the piece:

Come, Lord, and cleanse us from our sin;
Your new, glad work in us begin.
Remove our idols from our sight;
Let us in you alone delight.

Prepare us for your coming reign
By washing us from every stain;
Make known to us your holy Name;
Let us no more turn back to shame.

Call us to you from every land,
And guide us with your powerful hand;
Show us the path that we must tread,
Let us by you with joy be led.

Implant your Spirit in our heart,
That, with your Breath, new life may start;
Take from our flesh the heart of stone,
Let us rejoice in you alone.

For your own sake your love display,
That we may worship and obey;
Rebuild the wild and desert place;
Let us acclaim your sovereign grace.

HT: Brian Auten

Good evening! Here are the concluding words of the book, “The Power of Personal Prayer” written by Jonathan Graf…

“God wants to communicate with you. Believe it! God wants to use you in awesome ways to further his kingdom. Pray for it! He wants to make a prayer warrior out of you. Accept it by faith. If you are still struggling, still unsure of this prayer thing, then I invite you to pray a simple prayer. It is the same prayer a scared, frustrated father cried out to Jesus after being told, ‘Everything is possible for him who believes’:
‘I do believe; help me with my unbelief!’ (Mark 9.23-24)
Enjoy the ride!” (p. 182)
December 2009
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