The Revival Of The Future -- By: Frank G. Beardsley

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 086:341 (Jan 1929)
Article: The Revival Of The Future
Author: Frank G. Beardsley

The Revival Of The Future

Frank G. Beardsley

For two hundred years revivals have been familiar phenomena in American religious life. Besides local revivals almost without number, there have been great national revivals, such as the Great Awakening of 1735–1740, the Second Awakening of 1800, and the Great Revival of 1857–1858. Great evangelists, such as George Whitefield, Asahel Nettleton, Charles G. Finney, and Dwight L. Moody have labored effectively in promoting revivals. However, the question which concerns at this time is not the revivals of the past but the Revival of the Future.

In considering this topic attention should be called to the fact that it is not related primarily to the question of evangelistic meetings, at least in the sense of evangelistic preaching services. There may be revivals without evangelistic preaching services. Such was the Great Revival of 1857,1858, which stirred the great cities of the nation throughout the length and breadth of the land. There were special services—the noon-day prayer meetings, but there was very little additional preaching. The sentiment of the people at that time seemed to be “We have had instruction enough, the time has come to pray.”

But if there have been revivals without evangelistic preaching services, there have also been evangelistic meetings without revivals. A revival makes church work easier. A revival strengthens the churches. A revival fills up the churches and brings multitudes to an acceptance of Jesus Christ. A revival usually results in some permanent movement for moral and religious betterment. There have been evangelistic campaigns carried on at great expense and with wide-publicity, which have resulted in no mighty stirring of the public mind, no ingathering of multitudes of converts into the churches. This but emphasizes the fact our topic is not concerned directly with the question of evangelistic meetings.

Moreover, this topic is not related to what might be termed the “mechanics” of revivals, or the methods made

use of to promote revivals. Revival methods have changed from time to time. It has not been until within the past half century that the technique of the modern evangelist has been perfected. In an earlier day evangelists devoted their efforts to house to house visitation, to preaching, and to “meetings for the anxious” which were conducted for the purpose of giving instruction to seekers in the way of salvation. To Dwight L. Moody we are indebted for the idea of union evangelistic meetings, and also for the plan of having, as a co-worker, a singing evangelist, Mr. Ira D. Sankey, who did much to popularize his work.

B. Fay Mills, adding to the i...

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