Reformation in Revival -- By: Eifion Evans
RAR 11:4 (Fall 2002) p. 11
Reformation in Revival
There are those for whom the idea of revival and the need for it are unbiblical and unnecessary. They maintain that the work of Christ’s kingdom is to be carried on by the faithful use of the means of grace in the context of a rightly constituted and disciplined church structure. Such a position, often sincerely held and carefully argued, goes against the strongly held convictions of others, for whom historical accounts, individual experience, and a sustained burden in prayer have been cherished realities. Again, for some, revival is so much emotional froth, revival accounts are a form of religious propaganda; the Welsh revival of 1904–05, for example, was a disruptive phenomenon, and hymns such as those of Charles Wesley and William Williams, forged during such times, are nothing more than some kind of strange fire.
It is important at the outset to define our terminology. Revival is a sovereign and extraordinary work of God’s Spirit, bringing about in a short time an enlargement of Christ’s kingdom. During such times the spiritual life of God’s people is intensified, unbelievers are converted, and societies are transformed. Revival presupposes reformation, and may refer to an individual quickening of spiritual life or to a more general
RAR 11:4 (Fall 2002) p. 12
outpouring of God’s Spirit upon a wide community. The Psalmist cries out for personal revival repeatedly, as in Psalm 119:25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 156; and God’s people collectively have prayed for the reviving of the church in words like those found, for example, in Psalm 102:13–16. As God gave promise regarding material prosperity for his people in the old dispensation of grace, so he encourages us to seek spiritual prosperity in the Gospel Day.
It is right as well to note the essentials of revival, as distinguished from the peripheral, occasional and often sensational elements. Experiences may be heightened in revival, with accompanying remarkable manifestations, but grace is still grace, and its true fruit is still the same. Let us name some of these essentials, then, so that wherever these are found in strength and vitality, there, it may be said, is a revival of true religion: a sense of God’s presence: Christ glorified as Savior and Lord; the Holy Spirit obeyed in his promptings and power ...
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