SpecksandPlanks latest post reminded me of these questions, which bugged me over the years. (But I used to ignore them and push it conveniently aside.)
Why do we hear so many prophecies about Revival; why are they so frequently located in the home city where we here the prophecy, and why don’t they seem to come to pass?
As long as I was part of the Pentecostal movement, I’d hear wonderful prophecies about moves of God sweeping the city, the nation and then the world. Usually they’d start in Sydney where my church was. Occasionally, if there was a visiting speaker or pastor, we’d here of a move that was going to start wherever they lived. So far, the only revival I’ve seen would be the Toronto outpouring which was controversial (but I’m not going to debate that here), and I’m not sure that qualified as a revival, as I didn’t notice church numbers up or large numbers of people suddenly turning to Christ, a la Dwight L Moody or Smith Wigglesworth revivals.
Here’s an anecdote about Smith Wigglesworth (known as the ‘Apostle of Faith’, huge influence in the AOG):
“His notion of praying for the sick as an act of spiritual warfare helps account for his rough handling of people in his earlier ministry. He thought of striking a person where they hurt as actually hitting the devil. Although some reported healing as a result, others thought it best to avoid identifying the location of their pain. In one service, however, he met his match. At Glad Tidings Tabernacle in New York City, after he had struck an Irish immigrant woman who had gone forward for prayer, she immediately drew back her fist and shouted, “Begorra, if it’s a fight you want, it’s a fight you’ll get!” Fortunately, calm prevailed and the service proceeded without further incident.”
Think anyone else may have been inspired by that recently?
Here’s some brief info on Moody:
In 1867 Moody visited England, immediately establishing contacts with important English evangelists. In 1872 he launched his formal career as a revivalist in Great Britain, accompanied by Ira D. Sankey, his famous “singing partner” in all his subsequent major revivals. They first attracted widespread popular support in Scotland; then they moved south into England for a long series of campaigns, climaxed by a 4-month visit in London in 1875.
That year Moody returned to America, a national figure, and immediately launched a series of revivals. In huge revival meetings in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston he created the basic machinery of urban mass revivalism. It was chiefly a feat of organization which sought to adapt the traditional theological and institutional practices of evangelical Protestantism to the new urban environment created by industrialism.
– See http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404704553.html
What is a real revival? Is ‘revival’ a real move of God, or is it man-made? Or is it a response to man’s good organisation? Do there have to be miracles?
When I was attending C3 purely as a congregation member I learnt that it was primarily a move instigated by God. But perhaps they learn differently in college – understanding ‘the machinery of urban mass revivalism’. Are revival meetings just acts of mass manipulation, or do they have an intrinsic spiritual value as tools to advance the Kingdom? Is the test as usual, the fruit, measured some time later, in genuine commitments to Jesus that last?