Everywhere I go, people are speaking about so-called revivals taking place. “Gold Teeth”, “Gold Dust”, health, wealth, and prosperity. People are speaking to the clouds to bring rain, decreeing to God what He is allowed to do and that which He is not allowed to do. Whatever happened to, “…I am the potter, you are the clay…” (Jeremiah 18). To add to this, it seems that God’s grace now, more than ever, accepts you as you are and, furthermore, not to worry, His grace is so wide and so deep that you can stay as you are. Hmm? Is that even Biblical, or am I being LEGALISTIC and HERETICAL?
I would like to start off telling a little about myself. I most certainly, and wholeheartedly do believe in the Triune Godhead, and to be more specific, I do believe that the Holy Spirit still participates and mediates in our world today even in extraordinary circumstances and still does and still can bring about a revival. I believe that; just like the Holy Spirit, who was active in the creation of the World (Genesis 1) so is He most certainly active even today in the lives of the Church – Christ’s Bride. (Matthew 3:11; cf. Luke 3:16; John 14:15-17, 15:26, 16:7-14; cf. Ephesians 5:26, Galatians 5:16, 25; 1 Peter 1:2) However, I would also like to point out that I am pretty conservative and very sensitive to man-made revivals, which are enormously common these days in contrast to genuine Holy Spirit orchestrated revivals. These man-made “Party Spirit” revivals are so pervasive and ominous that, whenever an invitation is given to attend these so-called revival meetings, at least in my town, I come away ashamed as to how “bonkers” certain Christians have become!
If it seems “Preachy”, please forgive me, for that is not my intention, but certain aspects are impossible for me to avoid regarding “Revival”! I am very disturbed at the shenanigans that take place within many, many Evangelical, Charismatic, and Protestant Churches these days, bringing with it a deep scorn, disdain, and mockery from the outside world. (Psalm 2:1-3)
However, I feel, to articulate that which I have been reading up on and studying regarding revivals; that which I have learned, gleaned, and most assuredly taken to heart, I need to give some sort of contrast in order to highlight those things from my findings that are invaluable to the activity of the Holy Spirit in revival[s], especially, because I long for Him to shake me, mold me, and use me for his good purposes in bringing genuine revival to our country – South Africa (Romans 8:28).
Firstly, let me give the reader a taste of the disgraceful, repugnant, and reprehensive things that are being disgorged by the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) birthed in the U.S. of A. and which has made its way across the globe with a wind that is blowing ever so fiercely (Ephesians 4:14) into all the four corners of the earth and carrying with it a doctrine that is deceitful, destructive, and certainly not from God (1 Timothy 4:1). This doctrine has been embraced in our modern day society or rather, more accurately, our post-modern society, especially concerning Post-modern Christendom in the general sense. It is believed by those that subscribe to or embrace the doctrines of the NAR, that this is indeed the work and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, bringing revival to the world. Compare this to the three waves of Revival in South Korea in the early 1900’s (The 1904 Revival, Towns and Porter) or even to the Book of Acts, Zwingli, Hus, Tyndale, Knox, Calvin, Edwards, Whitfield, Luther, or any other true reformer and revivalist etc.
I find this, personally, to be confusticating, to say the least. It seems to me, besides the ecumenical, culturally applicable, seeker friendly, and cross-faith stance of the NAR, all under the guise of “Fourth Wave Revival1” it is all “…Feeling’s based, ‘Abiblical’, and supposedly the miraculous movement of God that is capturing the attention of people everywhere!’” (Tod Friel, Wretched Radio).
I have two quick and germane examples to give and then I shall press on.
Firstly, these are the lyrics from a song called; “A Prayer” written by “Kaleidoscope” who is affiliated with Mars Hill (probably derived from Acts 17 – Areopagus) Church, Seattle, Washington. Please note that this is meant to be a Christian song and, as I saw on You Tube, it has even been sung in a “Praise and Worship” context. (I have blanked out the “F-Bombs”)
Will I fall or will I misstep?
Will I fall or will I misstep?
Will I call You with my last breathe?
Will You be there for me after?
Will I waste inside the silence
Where the fear is ****ing violent?
Wicked sinner thrown to lions
With no hope on the horizon
Will I fall or will I misstep?
If I fall or if I misstep
If I fall or if I misstep
If I call You with my last breath
Will You be there for me after?
‘Cause I’m wasting in this silence
And my fear is ****ing violent
I’m a child thrown to lions
Is there hope on the horizon
If I fall or if I misstep?
Jesus, where are You?
Am I still beside You?
Jesus, where are You?
Am I still beside You?
Jesus, where are You?
Am I still beside You?
Am I still beside You?
Jesus, where are You?
Jesus, where are You?
I’m right beside you!
I feel what you feel!
And I’m here to hold you
When death is too real!
You know, I died, too!
I was terrified!
I gave myself for you!
I was crucified
Because I love you!
I love you, child!
I love you!
Secondly, if I feel that it is Jesus’ function and prerogative to “spin me right round like a record”, then not only am I deranged but completely out of step with Biblical truth and out of step with The Holy Spirit.(Galatians 5: 13-21). Allow me to add two video links concerning the NAR Fourth Wave Revival. The First, as I would agree with, someone with a bit of savvy, had entitled it as a “Horrible, Horrible Worship” Song”.
The Second link is a continuation of the so-called “Toronto Blessing” which has engrained itself into many Churches, so much so, that it is “Alive and well”, even to this day.
Again, as someone conservative; someone who believes in Sola Scriptura, I do not agree with or even embrace this new so-called “Fourth Wave” of Revival. It does not even come close to genuine Biblical revival neither does it resemble any historical Church revival, rather, a semblance that is attractive and looks okay from the outside but unquestionably disproportioned and worldly to the core in all respects.
Revive us, Oh, Lord!
I thought I would start with the Psalm 85, just by the mere fact that it is loaded with a heart after God and for the revival of his people. This Psalm has become an Anthem that rings in my heart day to day.
Psalm 85 (A Psalm of the Sons of Korah) (ESV)
1LORD, you were favourable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah 3You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 4Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! 5Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 6Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you? 7Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. 8Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 9Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 12Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.
The Psalm above is a heart cry to God for mercy and for God to come and revive His people who have turned away from His goodness, His loving-kindness, and all of His commandments.
As I said, I have been recently studying “Revivals” of past and to date, especially those that have taken place within biblical history i.e. in the Bible and also those revivals that have taken place in church history, especially between the 1400’s and 1500’s. Even though studying and researching revivals has thoroughly captivated my attention, I would say that the Revival of the 1400’s to 1600’s were the most striking, second, of course, to the Book of Acts.
There is much to be said about every single character that has so deeply impressed my soul, but to write about all of that would be a long read, to say the least. Therefore, I will pick only two or three events that probably would make my top choices.
Firstly, however, I need to tell you that; there is a deep cry in my heart and a sort of anguish, if I were, to be honest, for the revival of God’s people. It has always bothered me when I have seen, throughout my years in ministry, where people who have apparently been “On Fire” for God have grown cold and apathetic not only towards the Church but also towards God.
As the Book of Acts was the Birth of Revival for the New Testament Church – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – bringing regeneration to human kind, so would the Reformation in its own right be a prelude to revivals that would follow because of the restoration of God’s Word being brought back to all men living in a very dark era. Also, the reformation does not necessarily preclude revival but rather was a revival to the immediate world in and of itself. The prophet Jeremiah, with divine words, spoke these prodigious words where he said on behalf of God, “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:33, cf. Hebrews 10:16, Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27). After Jesus came and left this world through His ascension to heaven, the Gentiles were now even incorporated into His universal body and they are now included amongst the New Israel (Romans 11:11-31, Ephesians 3:6).
The Time was Ripe; a reformation was needed; the laws of God needed to be restored back to every heart that was willing to hear (cf. 2 Kings 23) and a revival was desperately needed in a dark place where the light had been removed from the top of the hill and hidden (Matthew 5:14-16) under a religious basket (almost snuffed out), where man could no longer see and hear and taste the goodness of God and glorify Him. (Psalm 34:8)
Access to God’s Word brought Revival!
It is said that; for over 1000 years the Catholic Church had a stranglehold not only on the ruling government of the day but more so on the people themselves. It is nothing less than astounding to read about how revivals took place when people were given access to God’s word. The Bible was translated into English (William Tyndale) and into German (Martin Luther) and into many other languages so that the Catholic Church could not have a hold on people and indoctrinate them with perpetual falsities all the time. The Catholic Church believed that they (Chosen and set apart by God) were the only ones who were allowed to read the Bible and the only ones in charge of the Bible. A normal person on the street was not allowed to read the Bible or have any access to the Bible at all, probably because they were not “Holy” enough and probably because they were regarded as simpletons as well. When God’s word was made available to the commoner or the “Paganus” (The Country-Dweller) a massive revival broke out.
William Tyndale – God’s Outlaw! (1494-1536)
William Tyndale was one of those revivalists who recognised the hunger within the common folk’s heart for the word of God and even though the Catholic Church outlawed William Tyndale, he still went ahead and translated the Bible from the Latin Vulgate, from Greek, and from Hebrew into common English so that people, for themselves, could read the Bible.
Willian Tyndale, if anything, would go down (and has indeed gone down) in History for bringing us the English Bible. “…This was the driving passion of his life—to see the Bible translated from the Greek and Hebrew into ordinary English available for every person in England to read.” (Piper, John. Always Singing One Note, Why William Tyndale Lived and Died, Desiring God Conference for Pastors 2006)
Todd Friel (wretchedradio.com) remarks that, “…William Tyndale was God’s outlaw…” because he brought a “cutis faciō” to the English language together with “… Rules of Grammar, spelling, and standardising the English Language…” His ultimate objective was to bring and make plain what, in fact, the Bible communicates to all men (and women), translating the essentiality of Scripture to the commoner that was altogether in harmony with what he believed would bring about “Reformation” to Europe. Yet, Tyndale was hunted as the most wanted man in England – an outlaw for the sake of human kind! (Friel, Todd, wretchedradio.com. 2017)
Tyndale was an ordinary person but, in the same token, he most certainly had become an extraordinary person, by all means, that is; he was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Being proficient in 8 languages – Latin, Greek, German, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, and English is astonishing, to say the least. Here was a man, made ready by God for an explosion of evangelistic proportions and who would pave the way for what we have today – God’s Word. Among many, he is probably best known for his sharp rebuttal against a Catholic Scholar where Tyndale said: “I defy the Pope and all his laws. . . . If God spares my life ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.” (Piper, John, Daniell, Tyndale, p. 79.)
Tyndale had a burning desire to bring the Gospel, as it was originally written, to the paganus – the commoner – so that each man and women and even child could read and understand what God’s purpose was for mankind. Tyndale new and felt within his soul that people were hungry for the word of God. In reply to an esoteric Priest who claimed that the Holy Scriptures belonged only to a few handpicked people, Tyndale replied, “Do you know who taught the eagles to spy out their prey? Well, the same God teaches His hungry children to spy out their Lord and trace out the paths of His feet and follow … And as for you, far from having given us the Scriptures, it is you who have hidden them from us; it is you who burn those who teach them and if you could you would burn the Scriptures themselves.” (William Tyndale, by J.R. Broome, pages 5-6.)
“…Tyndale’s words account for 84 percent of the [King James Version] New Testament and 75.8 percent of the Old Testament books that he translated.” (Piper, John. Tyndale, p. 287.)
The Great Irony!
Quite ironically, today some people seek revival for many other reasons other than seeking God’s true word! Moreover, quite paradoxically, people today have access to so many different translations of the Bible but yet many do not even open the Bible let alone go to church with their Bibles. Some people think that the minister’s preaching and reading from the Bible on a Sunday is more than enough, but sadly, it goes to show the extent of their religiosity and their own apathy towards God’s rich word!
In William Tyndale’s era people were hungry for God’s word and yet they were not enough Bibles to go around. God’s word was so important to the commoner and the commoner was so hungry for God’s word that when it was released into the public’s hands through the underground press of that time, revival hit the European world by storm, albeit that Luther was just as much a part of it as was Tyndale.
Again, today there are just so many Bibles available and yet people do not hunger after God’s Word. I think the most upsetting thing is that even in this apathetic state of many, many Christians, they want revival from God but yet do not long after God or His word! Furthermore, there is also this prevalent detachment to the welfare, well-being, and care for the saints. Having a conversation at church over a cup of coffee is the extent of many Christian’s concepts of what church is really about. “The building, the program, and the beverages are Church” and there seems to be no overflow into the next day or week regarding what the church is all about. I have heard an oft expression that seems to be so contrary to what Church should be. “I come to Church to be fed… If I am not fed, then I will find another Church…” Sad, is it not?
What is a revival?
- Firstly: The very word “Revival” means bringing back to life that which was once dead! In other words, revival is giving life or bringing back to life that which has died. Now, the point of revival is not so much for the physical even though we are all physical beings or spiritual beings encompassed by a physical body but, rather revival is more of an awakening or a breathing of new life into the spirits of people that have grown cold towards God and bringing them back to a deeper love for God and a more sincere following after Jesus Christ. Let me say this emphatically; when revival breaks out there is always, and I mean every single time, tears of remorse and repentance towards God for the sins that people have committed against God, even to the extent that individuals cry out to God for the sins of others.
Let me give you an example out of the Bible about a revival that God brought upon His people through the Prophet Ezekiel. The context of this section out of the book of Ezekiel is about Israel having rebelled against God and prostituted herself with other false gods; forsaking the one true God who had never been unfaithful towards Israel. Nevertheless, because God is a God who is, “… Compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth…” (Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Psalm 86:5;15, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Nehemiah 9:31, Jonah 4:2, Nahum 1:3, Joel 2:13) He is always willing to give His people a second chance. In fact, God’s grace is so pervasive that, many times, He gives people many, many chances.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 (ESV)
1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” 7So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling,c and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”
- Secondly: If I were to give my own definition of what I think a revival is from what I have studied then I would say it like this: A Revival is an extraordinary work of God where God acts in extraordinary ways in order to convict apostate people to return to Him!
Dr Bruce Ballast defines revival this way: “An Evangelical Awakening is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ and its related community.”
Every single time, without fail, people faced the judgement of God in every genuine revival in history. The point of God’s judgement is so that people can repent from their sins because, even when God’s judgement is set before people, the Bible tells us that, “… It is God’s loving-kindness that leads you to repentance…” (Romans 2:4).
Acts 2 (Selected Verses) (ESV)
1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
29“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.30Being, therefore, a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33Being, therefore, exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36Let all the house of Israel, therefore, know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptised, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Fire – Judgement
- Firstly: I want to draw our attention to verse 3 where it says, “… Divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them…”
When it comes to “Fire” in Scripture, especially when it comes directly from God, it is always accompanied by judgement from God because fire always symbolises the judgement of God. I want to take note that the tongues of fire were divided so, in other words, it was not only a double anointing on those 120 disciples waiting upon God, but it was also a representation of double judgement that was to come upon mankind. Again, take note that judgement from God in this context is to lead people to repentance! I need to point out something that is absolutely awe-striking to me. With the double judgement also came double anointing. In other words, God seemed to have multiplied His mercy. It is almost that mercy is the accompanying partner of judgement. I say this because “… Mercy [always] triumphs over judgement”. (James 2:13). Is it not humbling to know that God is not some demagogue who metes out judgement without any feelings whatsoever? I am humbled and truly grateful that judgment is meant to open the hearts, minds, and the eyes of the blind – those who are dead in their transgressions – and expose their and my sin and show mercy at the same time. How can I love God Back without His unmerited mercy that He extends to me and to anyone who has been touched by Him? Amen, Amen!
- Secondly: Take note of verses 38 to 41 where Peter urged the people to repent and the result, of course, was that 3000 people repented and were saved. This was legitimately a revival!
- Thirdly: I want you to take special note that there was no indication at all of the people rolling around, or barking like dogs, or acting like a bunch of morons in this revival recorded in the book of Acts. None of this nonsense that we so often see in our day and age occurring in churches was present in the book of Acts! The very opposite was, in fact, true. People were filled with remorse and tears and saw their own sins for what they were and knew that judgement had come and all they could do was cry out to a merciful God for their salvation. In fact, the book of Acts records that, “… They were cut to the heart…” meaning; they had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide because their sins were exposed and they stood naked and absolutely convicted before the Living God and they knew that deep repentance was required from them towards God!
Revival and Persecution go hand-in-hand!
Scripture Rebel (Pre-Reformation Reformer)
“… Christ alone is head of the church, that a pope “through ignorance and love of money” can make many mistakes, and that to rebel against an erring pope is to obey Christ…”
Crowds filled the meadow on the edge of Constance, Bohemia, to witness the execution that had been anticipated for months. The popular Bohemian preacher was tied to a stake with seven moist thongs and a rusty old chain. Broken pieces of wood and straw were piled against his body. Then the marshal gave the condemned man one more chance to recant and preserve his life. “What errors shall I renounce?” John Hus asked. “I know myself guilty of none. I call God to witness that all I have written and preached has been with the view of rescuing souls from sin and perdition, and therefore most joyfully will I confirm with my blood the truth I have written and preached.”
“… I appeal to Jesus Christ, the only judge who is almighty and completely just. In his hands, I plead my cause, not on the basis of false witnesses and erring councils, but on truth and justice.
“ He was taken to his cell, where many pleaded with him to recant. On July 6, 1415, he was taken to the cathedral, dressed in his priestly garments, then stripped of them one by one. He refused one last chance to recant at the stake, where he prayed, “Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.” He was heard reciting the Psalms as the flames engulfed him.
His executioners scooped up his ashes and tossed them into a lake so that nothing would remain of the “heretic,” but some Czechs collected bits of soil from the ground where Huss had died and taken them back to Bohemia as a memorial.
The Ones’ preaching revival may miss the mark!
The Congo Revival of 1953 – Dr Helen Roseveare.
Here, again, is an instance of when revival broke out. According to the article; “What Happens in Revival” by Dr David Feddes, an amazing and extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit broke out in the Congo.
“…The first-day revival came to Ibambi, the actual building shook. We were sitting in the Bible School Hall. It was seven o’clock on a Friday night. Jack Scholes, our field leader, had just come back from a trip in the south and he had seen revival down there. He stood up to speak about the revival and started to read from scriptures. Suddenly we heard a hurricane storm. It was frightening… Then the building shook and the storm lanterns down the centre of the building moved around. There was a terrific noise and a sense of external power around… There must have been about five whites and 95 Africans present.”
“… This is of God, just pray—don’t fear and don’t interfere… It was as if a force came in and we were shaking. There was no way you could control it and some were thrown to the ground off the benches as if someone had hurled them down! But no one was hurt. Everyone ceased to be conscious of anyone else.”
“There were amazing visions from people which were often based on Old Testament scriptures—even though they didn’t have the Old Testament! I remember one woman standing up with her arms upraised and her face radiant, talking about wheels within wheels and eyes within the wheels and patterns and above it all a great rainbow. It was straight out of Ezekiel…”
Now, even though all this was happening right in front of Dr Roseveare’s eyes, and even though she acknowledged that this was indeed a powerful and extraordinary move by the Holy Spirit, ironically, she, herself was not really affected. She says, “… But I still wasn’t being revived myself! I was frantic—there was a coldness in my heart. I was saying the right things, doing the right things and being the right things, but somehow I was outside all that was happening. I spent a long weekend crying out to God. There was little of victory in my life. I was frustrated, hurt and empty, knowing the right answers but getting nowhere…”
However, because she realised the emptiness and the humdrum in her life she says, “… On that Saturday night, I went to one of the pastors and his wife and said, “Please help me!” His response was clear although he was very gentle: “We can see so much Helen and we can’t see Jesus. Everything revolves around your vision, your work, what you will do.” I knew he was right. That was all he said, but somehow Jesus was there. I spent the following ten days in the presence of the Lord, broken. It was wonderful…”
This account even got me thinking of my own life and as one who longs for revival. I have had to do some serious inner searching; more of you, Jesus, and less of me. ( John 3:30)
Revival can be the Harbinger to Persecution!
The story of the Congo revival seems marvellous, magnificent, and even enchanting in its immediacy, however, little did those people know that something terrible and horrendous was about to befall them. It was something none of them could have imagined, because, after all, what they experienced was a surety that God was certainly with them and blessing them. Little did they know that the revival that they had experienced was not for the “here and now” and for some temporal reveling in emotionalism, but rather it was a pre-strengthening, because of a coming catastrophe of ghastly proportions that would hit the Congo, including these Christians that had so marvelously been touched and moved by the Holy Spirit.
“… The rebellion came twelve years after the revival first hit us. It was a terrible and appalling time when a quarter of a million people were murdered out of a population of 15 million. Many of them were Christians. The revival made us ready for all this and carried us through the suffering…”
My Kingdom is not of This World! (John 18:36)
One thing I have noted is that there was and is a common thread that runs through revival (not always) and that is the following: Whenever Revival Broke out, the person[s] that God was using either was put in prison or was killed or had to go into hiding. Never once did the Revivalist – that person used by God – ever attempt to ally himself with the government of the day or pray that God would bring in a “Christian Government”.
Matthew 24:9-14 (ESV)
9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
I want to end with a dream I had very recently.
It was the night of 19 June 2017. I was awoken from a dream that most people would consider a nightmare. Most of the details are beyond words and completely indescribable, but to say the least, it was all about God’s wrath. Now, a dream such as this would readily be dismissed by many people just by the mere fact that God is meant to be a loving God and He is meant to fill our minds and especially our dreams with “Sweetness” and “Peace” but this dream was certainly nothing of the sort.
Nevertheless, as I said, many of the details of the dream I cannot even begin to explain, but one thing I know for sure that there is definitely a side to God that is filled with wrath. I woke up around 10:30 pm that evening. I went outside onto the back porch and sat there for a minute or two, trying to digest what I had just dreamt. At an instant, I was compelled to go into a kneeling position, onto all fours, with my face to the ground, praying like I do not normally pray. My eyes filled with tears as I prayed. I prayed for repentance, but not just for myself – for I can become rather judgmental! I prayed for repentance in the stead of my Church. You see, the thing is; many of my Church members have grown cold and antagonistic towards the Church and the membership has rather declined. Apathy is a strange thing that is heart-wrenching when beheld. For many of them, having a raucous party on the weekend, especially a Saturday night – the night before Church – has become a norm and even, unashamedly, plastered all over social media i.e. Facebook. People I had seen “on fire” at one stage and people who would have nothing stand in their way of attending Church are now not even attending anymore. Personally, I had got to the stage where I do not even phone anymore because the excuses that are given have already become predicted, almost as if I know exactly what was going to be said.
For a while it has been bothering me deeply and, to be perfectly honest, I have felt as if my hands had been tied and that there is nothing I can do about it. Yes, I have prayed, but nothing close to the way I had prayed that night of 19 June. This time there was a deep anguish that, as I said, words could not explain. All I remember praying, among many other sombre words were; “Father forgive me… Father, forgive them… Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, please God, Mercy! I behold your beauty and I also behold your majesty and I am in awe. Please, Oh God, have mercy on us; have mercy on me for my judgements and my sin… have mercy on them…” I continued in deep prayer for as many people as I could mention at the time. All I know is that; a deep fear and a deep disturbance had filled my heart but I also knew that God, who is omnipotent, omniscient, and ever able to forgive, can do it. “Here I am” I prayed, “Use me and help me, by your Holy Spirit, to preach your word with passion and with care for people… Forgive me…”
I remember praying for so many individuals with tears running down my face. This is what I want. I want God to break my heart with that which breaks His. I want him to move mightily and restore His people so that they may become reformers used by God in their circles and peer groups.
Again, with all that has been said, I do feel that a sharp contrast and discernment has to be made between what God has always intended revival[s] to be. My deep conviction is that the status quo has never been a friend and ecumenicalism has never been part of the Hallmarks of true Christianity. To want Christ and Him alone is just not good enough in many Christian’s eyes these days. Ironically, our fight does not necessarily come from the world, but quite sadly it comes from within (the Church in general). I feel that God is searching, not for legalists, but for those who have been touched by Him and are willing to follow wherever He leads and will not bend in the “Currents” of mainstream society. The Church in many parts has become so worldly – invited the world in – that there is no distinct difference or nothing remotely remarkable between the world and the church. How can a church then be persecuted if there is nothing at all to persecute? Persecution only comes, and believe me, it does, when Christians stand their ground; stand firm in the Word of God, and for all that it prescribes for Christian living as a whole.
Grace to You!
Ballast, Bruce. The Dream, CLI, Missions and Revivals 2017
Broom, J.R. William Tyndale, pages 5-6, https://books.google.co.za/books?id=EYC_-rGzerAC&pg=PA6&redir_esc=y&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false
Bible Hub, http://biblehub.com/esv/psalms/85.htm
Church History, John Hus, Unit 7 Growing Corruption and Calls for Reform, CLI, 2017
Feddes, David, Revive us Again, CLI, Missions and Revivals, 2017)
Friel, Todd. http://wretchedradio.com
“Horrible, Horrible Worship” Song”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pgrln0upLk&feature=youtu.be
Kaleidoscope, A Prayer, https://genius.com/Kings-kaleidoscope-a-prayer-lyrics, 2017
Medieval Revivals, Towns and Porter, The Burning of John Hus, 2017
Piper, John, Always Singing One Note, Why William Tyndale Lived and Died, Desiring God Conference for Pastors 2006
The 1904 Revival, Towns and Porter, CLI, Missions and Revivals, 2017
“Toronto Blessing”, 1994 -2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0X4bopZSfE&t=73s
Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Apostolic_Reformation, 2017
Grace to You!
Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, DDIV, ADIV)