I’ve been reading the life of George Whitefield, Anglican itinerant who helped lead (With the Wesley brothers) the Great Awakening of the 18th century. Fascinating stuff. Several things were curious–one was that the churches banned Whitefield from preaching mostly because he was talented and full of the Spirit.
He was not heretical or dramatic. He was just popular. Therefore, he was forced to preach in the streets and hillsides. This brought the awakening to the ‘unwashed’ and poor of among the English peoples (and later the Americans). Many people repented and found Christ, many of whom were not welcome in the church. They experienced the ‘new birth’ in Christ, outside of the pews, not in them.
When we ask God for ‘revival,’ what are we asking for? When we ask God for revival, what do we wish to see? Drama? Emotion? Full churches?
Maybe another question, is who do we want to see get revived? The desperate are usually the ones who are open to the Spirit of God, not those who are fine with the state of their lives. The untouchables usually have the spiritual soil for such awakenings. Are we ready for them?
One thought on “An Awakening”
I tend to find that main stream churches want revival – but only on their terms not God’s. MS churches want revival of their current members (fill the till) and only only just so much – nothing crazy mind you. True revival is scary. True revival brings in those who are different from us. True revival could fill the pews with those who may change things (horrors!). True revival shakes things up and upends our comfortable status quo. True revival forces us to rely on God and not ourselves. Why are the “untouchables” usually better spiritual soil for a true revival awakening? Because they are at the point where they realize they can rely only on God and they allow themselves to get out of the way. Are the MS churches ready for them? Today? No. Why? Because most of the Sunday pew sitters don’t know how to get out of their own way and rely solely on God. Unfortunately, I think more than a few of the clergy have forgotten how to get out of their own way, too. No condemnation, they are broken and human just like we all are, sometimes the weight of the “world” is so crushing their focus on The One becomes blurred. If I were to have a prayer regarding revival in/for the MS churches, it would be that true revival would come to the clergy first – allowing them to get out of their own ways and…well you get the idea.