Is revival biblical? Are there examples of it in Scripture? The Old Testament, even though it precedes Pentecost, still has many instances we can look to and learn from where God wonderfully works and revives His church.
Our contributors continue to highlight examples of revivals in the Bible, this time in the New Testament. The greatest of these is Pentecost, a revival which is in some ways unique and unrepeatable, but at the same time is the key paradigm for revivals throughout church history.
Philip Arthur introduces two of the greatest and most influtential spiritual leaders of the Reformation: Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564)
Further thoughts on the Puritans – their origins, their ministerial training, and some of their beliefs
Bill Hughes introduces the life of Thomas Boston (1676-1732). Ministering in the remote village of Ettrick in Scotland for 25 years, Boston is a shining example of steadfast perserverance in times of spiritual dryness, which was greatly blessed by God with abundant fruit during his latter days, and even after his death.
Geoff Thomas and Gwyn Davies provide an overview of the work of God in Wales, often referred to as the ‘Land of Revivals’, with particular focus on the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists during the 18th and early 19th Century
William Vandoodewaard introduces the Second Great Awakening in the United States, a movement sadly marked by more carnal excess than the First Great Awakening, but also tremendous fruitfulness, both in conversions and in the birth of the global 19th Century Missionary Movement
Charles Finney (1792-1875) was a 19th Century revivalist who was heavily influenced by Pelagian theology from the 1st Century. He believed that if certain techniques and methods were used, God could be persuaded to send revival and people could be manipulated into becoming Christians. His approach is still prevalent today throughout the world, and has done much harm in giving people a false sense of spiritual assurance.
Sinclair Ferguson provides further insight into the 1839 revival in Scotland, focusing on what God did through William Chalmers Burns at Dundee, in Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s congregation
Paul Smith speaks about two prominent men from the 19th Century – the powerful evangelist, D. L. Moody (1837-1899), and the famous cricketer who became a fervent and fruitful missionary, C. T. Studd (1860-1931)
Wales has known countless revivals throughout the centuries, but the 1904 Revival is arguably the most well-known because of its far reaching legacy, both in Wales and around the world, and because its effects still linger in the lives of godly men and women today, including Geoff Thomas. As with the 1859 Revival in Wales, there was carnal excess, particuarly in the ministry of Evan Roberts, but there was also longlasting fruit through many godly ministers up and down the land, and 100,000 were added to the church.
Paul Smith and Brian Edwards outline some local revivals in England during the 20th Century, including Frederick Wood in 1904, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth in 1921, Roy Hession in the 1930s, and after the Second World War in the 1940s-50s
Steven Lawson provides a first-hand assessment of the ministry of Billy Graham. Steven did his dissertation on Billy Graham, and seeks to dispel some of the steretoypes and highlight the fruit of the ministry, while also acknowledging there were mistakes made
A compilation of personal experiences of revival including Joel Beeke, Sinclair Ferguson, Michael Barrett, Geoff Thomas, Greg Salazar, Stuart Olyott, Steven Lawson, Gwyn Davies, William Vandoodewaard, Philip Arthur, Ian Hamilton, and Bill Hughes.
Some recommended reading on the theology of revival, accounts of revival, and biographies of those used in revival.
What is revivalism, and how does it differ from true revival? Our contributors discuss the misconceptions of revival, that it can be manufactured and manipulated or that it is primarily about more emotion and excitement, and they emphasise the importance of the sovereignty of God, the Word of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the evidences of true conversion.
What are the differences between a time of revival and the normal life of the church? Are these new things, are they the ordinary enhanced, and how do we discern the good from the bad?
Sinclair Ferguson highlights some of the ways in which the world and the Devil have responded to revival biblically and historically, using Pentecost as a case study
Sinclair Ferguson and Gwyn Davies speak about why young men are so often used in times of revival, and why these same men who continue in godly ministry into their latter years sometimes don’t experience the same degree of blessing as they did when they were younger.
Joel Beeke, Ian Hamilton and Brian Edwards expand on their thoughts on the relationship between suffering and revival. In times of awakening, the Devil becomes more active, but God also uses suffering to mature His people
Philip Arthur speaks about the need for holiness and to be Christlike when evangelizing to those around us, and to remind ourselves that those in the world whom we come into contact with are more than just faces and bodies, but have an eternity and a God to reckon with.
Stuart Olyott speaks about the prevalence today of sermons which give the impression that we need to fulfill certain conditions in order for God to come again in revival, forgetting that it’s only through Christ that we can do anything
Steven Lawson, Stuart Olyott and Sinclair Ferguson offer advice to pastors who are labouring faithfully but seeing little to no fruit, and then to those who are experiencing revival in their congregation
Joel Beeke speaks about the serious danger of quenching the Holy Spirit and how to avoid it through holiness of life, whether in times of revival or not
Brian Edwards and Gwyn Davies speak about the danger of living on the memory of revival in the past and thinking that unless God grants revival then everything is in vain.
Is there any hope for today? Is society too far gone? We are encouraged to remember that, throughout Scripture and church history, it’s often been in the darkest times that God has poured out His Spirit in revival. Because God is the same God today as in the days of the Psalms, or Pentecost, or the Reformation, or the Great Awakening, then revival can be prayed for today with hope.
Our contributors conclude by speaking about the importance of longing and praying for revival. Why should we pray for it and how should we pray for it? Throughout church history we see that wherever God sends revival, He first sends a sprirt of prayer to His people.