A lot of folks are talking and praying about revival these days. In fact a lot of people have been talking about revival for many years. Some individuals even claim there has been revival in the land – here and there at least. But the fact is, I’m not sure that we Born Again types really want revival. I can guarantee that the non-Church folk don’t.
Several years ago I took some time to do an in depth study of revival. I looked at the biblical record and the extra-biblical histories as well; and I found that revival is pretty consistent in how it “looks.” That’s what makes me wonder if we really want it.
For instance, when God pours out His Spirit in revival (that’s the correct term folks – used in one revival after another), one of the things that always happens is the people of God suddenly realize they’re worthless sinners. That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me. After all, aren’t we supposed to love ourselves in this modern age. This revival stuff is almost always attended by lots of weeping and crying. Everybody seems to think they’re the most vicious sinner ever born. At times it appears to be a contest to see who was the biggest reprobate (“It took more of Christ’s blood to wash me clean than it did you” “Did not!” “Did so!” …blah, blah, blah).
Worse yet, those newly enlightened people go out and tell the un-saved they’re worthless sinners as well, and that if they don’t submit to Jesus Christ, well, they’re going to hell! Hells Bells and all that stuff! Is that really necessary?! Come on, this is the twenty first century. It may have been okay a long time ago to tell people their non-Christian religion is a sham, but not anymore. These days everything is true.
Which leads me to another aspect of revival that is a bit troubling. People who have caught the revival fever always turn into politically incorrect humbugs. They become way too intolerant. They start to speak out against sin in the prevailing culture. They start to harp on the need to get off the fence, to get one foot out of the world, to be wholly committed to Jesus Christ the master of the universe (I mean, what is this? That sounds like a video game or something). Unfortunately it doesn’t stop with mere harmless talk. They start to do things to change the culture. They start schools, they start hospitals, they start homeless missions. Sometimes they even get a little violent. Pornographic material has been known to be destroyed, drug houses have been known to be boarded up and all sorts of other harmless pursuits of a free people have been disrupted.
In a nut shell, revival is a rather troubling business. When it happens nothing is left the same. It unsettles your personal life and the life of your community. It cannot be ignored. Come on now, is this really what we want?