To Seek Revival Means There is Deadness…

2 Aug

New Horizon Hebridean style

Im not going to tell you where this quote is from just yet, if you want you can guess, all will be revealed in later blog posts. For now, its just an interesting quote on revival and threw up some questions; What DO we need to do “For revival to come”?  Is there a difference between revival in the Church and revival that reaches the community /nation? Is ‘revival’ even something we should be focusing on? I want to leave the floor open on this one, so if you have any comments or opinions please share.

“The essencial problem e.g., falling membership, failure to keep the children of church families, no men comming forward for the ministery or members offering for missionary service, are indicatons of deep-rooted spiritual malaise in the church.

To anwser, “Pray for revival”, is not sufficient. For revival to come there must be faithfulness, especially to vows made before God, which vows include not only Bible reading and prayer, but committed and constant attendance at worship services, including evening services; keeping the sacraments; and sacrificial giving (until-it-hurts-giving) to the Lords work.

Revival is hampered by lackadasical attendance and minimal giving. Revival too, will bring consequences in upsetting “the way it’s been done for x-years”. New people will have new ideas and there must be an openness in the present membership to listen and accept profitable change.

To seek revival means there is deadness which requires the life-giving power of the holy spirit to fan the dying embers into a glowing fire. The Church members must be awakened from their lethargy; from their acceptance of the status-quo; and from their failure to take seriously the vows made before God.”

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7 Responses to “To Seek Revival Means There is Deadness…”

  1. Heather L. August 3, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Thanks for letting us know about this blog! Will be following…..

  2. Daniel Ritchie August 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    As usual, our covenanting forebears (who should be our first port-of-call in these issues after scripture) have much to teach us about revivalism. For instance, consider the following quote from James Dick:

    “In these days so-called revivals are spoken of with eagerness, and are resorted to as essential to the progress of religion. But what is their character? Do they tend or are they to increase reverence for the institutions of Christ? The genuine revivals of former times did this. They led to the purging of the Church from the corruption which self-willed had brought in. But these modern revivals live and thrive upon the corruptions of self-will. If you take out of them the methods which man has invented, they die a natural death. What is urgently needed is a genuine revival by the Spirit of the Living God to sweep away the impudent inventions of human wisdom, to reveal Christ upon His throne in the Church requiring absolute submission to Himself and to His methods, and to awaken the conscience of His people to inquire sorrowfully what gracious institution they have diminished or abolished, and what human institution they have added to His worship, that they may commit neither the one sin not the other any more.”

    James Dick, The authority of Christ over the individual, the church, and the nation (Belfast, 1893), p. 15.

    To summarise: are we to seek revival? Yes and no. We are to seek revival in the sense of reformation, such as what took place during the Second Scottish Reformation when the church was purged of corruptions in doctrine, worship and government. However, we are not to seek the type of revivals that accompanied eighteenth and nineteenth-century evangelicalism – which were the means of spreading fanaticism, latitudinarian tenets (i.e. it does not matter if you’re an Arminian, Anabaptist etc, just so long as you have “a relationship with Jesus” – whatever that means?), anti-confessionalism, churchless Christianity, denigration of Reformed sacramental piety and unbiblical aberrations in worship.

  3. Connor Q August 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I’ve always understood revival as: ‘The restoration of a body of believers to a vital and fervent relationship with God after a period of decline.’ accompanied by a large number of conversions. I think this is the kind of revival my quote is referring to. Surely that is something we are to seek?

  4. Daniel Ritchie August 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    If “a vital and fervent relationship with God” means something different from the ordinary means of grace piety that our confession sets forth, then that is not something we should be seeking. We do seek a large number of conversions to Christ, though we expect these to come about gradually through the oridinary, divinely appointed means of grace. Of course, having a correct view of biblical prophecy, as enshrined in Larger Catechism 191, various RP testimonies and Covenanter writings, will help us to labour for this without resorting to the unscriptural enthusiasm that manifested itself in previous “revivals”.

  5. Daniel Ritchie August 9, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    For more on the effects of revivalism, listen to the following lecture by Robert Letham: http://northlondonchurch.org/2010/10/03/3-reformed-sacramentology/

    He points out that the region of the UK most touched by so-called revivals, i.e. Wales, is now the most pagan part of the country. May God keep us from such delusions.

  6. Connor Q August 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Well I think it is quite clear that the whole thrust of quote is; encouraging members to make the most of the means of grace found within the Church and public worship in order to restore “a vital and fervent relationship with God” among the people. In the expectation that God will bring people in and add to the number.

    I certainly agree that revival is not the normal way that God works, I think that is through the salvation of covenant children and the steady salvation of those outside the church. However this does not mean that God doesn’t choose at times to save unusually large numbers of people or work in whole areas through one ministry or in a short time frame.

  7. Daniel Ritchie August 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    For the most part, that appears to be correct. Though I was not sure what he meant when he said this: “Revival too, will bring consequences in upsetting “the way it’s been done for x-years”. New people will have new ideas and there must be an openness in the present membership to listen and accept profitable change.” Is the referring to changes to indifferent things like dress-codes, times of services and so on?

    Something like the Sixmilewater Revival of the 1620s (there is debate as to the precise date this occured) appears to be an example of a legitimate revival, though interpretations vary. More recent examples would include congregations that have seen growth subsequent to the restoration of church discipline and the purging of other corruptions.

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