The Great Revival -- By: Harold J. Ockenga

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 104:414 (Apr 1947)
Article: The Great Revival
Author: Harold J. Ockenga

The Great Revival

Harold J. Ockenga

[Editor’s Note: The W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial lectures for 1947 were delivered by Dr. H. J. Ockenga, pastor of Park Street Church in Boston. This annual Lectureship sponsored by Dallas Theological Seminary had for its general theme in 1947 “A Modern Re-Evaluation of Catholicism.” The lecturer plans to incorporate his evening addresses into book form and for this reason they will not apear in Bibliotheca Sacra as in some former years. Date of publication will be announced later. Because of the helpfulness of Dr. Ockenga’s morning addresses in the Seminary Chapel period it is planned to publish these seriatim, beginning with the present number of the quarterly.]

“O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years” (Hab 3:2).

“Mercy-drops round us are failing,
But for the showers we plead.”

We are experiencing the mercydrops of God’s blessing, but we await the great revival. The desire for the great revival is speedily approaching the required proportion.

What is the great revival? It is the time when God’s work is unusually prospered, quickened, enlarged, and vitalized. The normal, usual, expected progress of Christian work may be witnessed in many places. The great revival is only witnessed periodically in Christian history. The great revival marks a condition when men give primary interest and attention to the things of God above their livelihood, above their intellectual pursuits, and above their social interests. A terror of wrongdoing descends upon them. A passion for repentance seizes them. A desire for salvation characterizes them. Men go on a search for God.

In a lesser sense we have seen the prosperity of the divine work in salvation, in missions, in interest in knowing the truth, but we await the mighty movement which periodically

has swept Christian areas like in the twelfth, the fifteenth, the sixteenth, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Without egoism we may boast to the glory of the Lord on the wonderful progress of His work in Park Street Church in the decade just past. There we have seen the number of missionaries we support increase from two to sixty-one. There we see people converted every week of the year. There we see throngs interested in the gospel. There we behold more than five hundred people enrolled in a Bible School to study the Word of God. There our financial budget has increased five hundred per cent and there perennial blessings may be experienced, but we have not yet seen the great revival, the revival which we are expecting and for which we are praying. The great r...

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