16 Jan Rediscovering Revival
If you are familiar with Church history you may be aware of Hudson Taylor. He was a missionary in China in the 1800’s. When he first arrived there he conducted his ministry as most of the missionaries did. These missionaries came from England and conducted themselves as if they were in the English culture. They spoke English, dressed English and carried on their missions as if they were in England. The common belief was that the Chinese were unable to understand the Gospel and were called “heathens.”
Hudson tried this for a time but found it to be fruitless. He decided to dress like the locals, to learn their language and to learn their customs. From this change he began seeing incredible results in his ministry that has helped shape not only China but also how missions are done to this day. He exposed a lie that the Gospel and the culture of a people are connected. He learned to separate the culture he was raised in from the Gospel and repackage it in a way that was meaningful to those he was reaching.
I suggest that our understanding of revival has caused us to bring our subcultures to revival. We understand what revival looks like through the lens of our experiences, our church background, and our understanding of the purpose of revival.
Perhaps what is needed is a rediscovering of revival, where we come to Scripture and Church history (even history beyond our denominational background) and allow it to be new again. The first step is pursuing authentic revival has to allow Scripture to reveal truth. Another step is to wrestle with the very word “revival.” If we can get to core of what is meant by the word revival in relation to Scripture and disconnect it from our church subculture understanding then we may be closer to correctly pursuing and recognizing revival.
For some the word revival is defined by the word itself which means it is the Church revived. Therefore they conclude that revival is the Church functioning at full capacity reflecting the life and miracles shown in the New Testament and specifically the book of Acts. I have heard people I greatly respect say things like “I am revival.” It is not one person or one ministry but many have picked up this theme. The theme comes from understanding revival to be the Church revived to live a supernatural lifestyle.
For others the word revival is connected with people giving their lives to Jesus. Many times throughout Church history when the word revival was used it was in relation to large amounts of people getting saved. Therefore, crusades, mass evangelism on the streets or through home meetings or multi-service evangelistic meetings are labeled as revival.
While I agree that revival should include those things I suggest to you that both of these are related to our subcultures and not necessarily the Bible. It is sometimes said that the number one group against a current move of God are those that were in the last one. This seems to largely be related to our subculture and understanding of revival becoming our filter. We must come back to the Bible and then come to Church history…in that order. If we look for the Bible to validate our denomination’s understanding or through the lens of our church experience then we may find what we are looking for but miss what the Bible really shows revival to be.
In my next blog I plan on exploring the word “revival” and its origins. The word itself can be a stumbling block for what the Bible shows a revival is supposed to be. We will then look at Scripture to see what “revival” is and then I will begin blogging on historical revivals so we can see how what is shown Scripture has happened again and again. It is time for Church to rediscover revival. May this light our passion for revival in our day!
I believe we are on the verge of the greatest move of God’s Spirit this world has ever seen! Many are prophesying about it and many are praying for it. If you are interested in revival perhaps you should consider inviting us to your church. Please read our heart about Revival by Clicking Here.