"Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again..?"
~ Psalm 85:6
Nelson Bell (former Presbyterian missionary and the father of Ruth Bell Graham, Billy’s wife) warned against. See if these words, written over forty years ago, don’t still ring true! Bell said that dead orthodoxy reveals itself in:
- lack of love between Christians
- worldliness in the church
- ignorance of God’s word
- over emphasis on church organization
- spiritual power failure
- lowered standards of morality
“. . . the answer to the church’s problem is revival—without it we will degenerate into an ecclesiastical machine grinding out materials, spewing forth pronouncements, fussing over theological distinctions, and languishing in barrenness and sterility.”~ William Hill
It grieves me terribly to say, that with a few wonderful exceptions, this is the PCA of our day, and this is the Reformed and evangelical church in America as well.
What is our problem?
“The plain, blunt truth is that we church people, year after year, slowly but surely, have been compromising more and more with worldliness until the Holy Spirit simply does not see fit to use us as human instruments through which to bring about revival in the church."
~ Chalmers W. Alexander
Worldliness and self-indulgence have so clogged our lives that the Holy Spirit simply does not pour through us with great power. He further says that the right place for a boat is in the water but the wrong place for water is in the boat. The church being in the world is her proper place but the world being in the church is deadly.
If Alexander in 1949 is castigating the church for worldliness, self-indulgence, and the toleration of evil; and if in 1976 Bill Hill is calling the compromised church to see the need for revival, then surely we can agree this is needed today! What must we do? Consider the words of R.A. Torrey who said that the prescription for revival at any time, in any church, in any community or city is this:
- First, let a few Christians (they need not be many) get thoroughly right with God themselves. This is the prime essential! If this is not done, then the rest of what he would say would come to nothing.
- Second, let them bind themselves together in a prayer group to pray for a revival until God opens the heavens and comes down.
- Third, let them put themselves at the disposal of God to use them as He sees fit in winning others to Christ.
Bottom line—unless we see our worldliness, pre-occupation with self, and the toleration of evil in the church and world; unless we repent, and seek God, then we will never see revival. I fear that we are so worldly, so already and dreadfully compromised, so in bed with the harlot of Babylon, that we cannot and will not pull away from those things which are killing the church and bringing God’s certain and terrifying judgment on the world! What needs to happen? Judgment must begin with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). We must get the log out of our own eyes before we can see clearly to get the speck out of the world’s eye (Matthew 7:13-14). And this begins with soul searching, gospel preaching pastors who fearlessly and without compromise eschew the world and by word and deed, move their congregations to do likewise. Preacher, unless you and I get ourselves right with God through repentance, being terribly burdened by the state of Christ’s bride—the lack of love for one another, materialism, ignorance, prayerlessness, unnecessary church and denominational bureaucracy, absence of the Spirit’s anointing, and toleration of evil—then we cannot expect revival. We must have revival preaching, what Richard Owen Roberts called preaching to persuade and convince, preaching for a verdict. Bill Hill said that any preaching which does not call men to repent and believe now is not preaching. Mere instruction is not enough. God knows we have plenty of instruction going on!
Here’s what I suggest—get right with God. Ask God to show you the ugliness of your worldliness and compromise. Repent. Make changes, whatever they must be. Ask God to give you a few people in your church with the same experience. And then pray earnestly, humbly, and desperately. Finally, ask God to use you with the lost. Expect Him to do so.
excerpted from an article by Al Baker