2000-02-01 - Revival
The Revival Series, Part 6
Psalm 85:6 Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again.
Finishing up with revivals. I want to make it clear that revivals are not limited to the Protestant experience. Catholics also experienced revivals, known as Parish Missions. In these Parish Missions, or revivals, Catholics experienced a change in their established understanding. They also, in these Parish Missions, emphasized individual conversion and personal experience to a greater degree.
This is very important because Roman Catholicism is inherently an institutional faith. Personal experience comes under the authority of the Church, so to have a greater emphasis on the individual is a serious shift for Roman Catholics.
But, the Spirit of God will work where it pleases. In fact, there was a little known revival in 1837 in Hilo, Hawaii. It was under the preaching of Mr. Coan that the Spirit of God worked for about five years. In this time 7557 conversions were documented. On one day, July 1, 1838, 1705 new members were received into one church.
Christians believe in revival. While it is true that we have not seen revival for many years, in America and on a national scale, we still believe that the Spirit of God can and we hope will work in revival. Christians look for revival, pray and labor for them, and have derived much of their vitality and strength from them.
Years ago, many of those involved in particular churches could attribute their coming to Christ through a revival. While this is generally not true today, it is still the case that many Christians long to see things return to the old ways of revivalism. Here and there some abuses and irregularities have appeared in the Christian faith. This has been the case also in revivals. But, in general, revivals have been thought to bring out the best in our faith and have been seen as a great help to the church.
It may be that the Lord will be pleased to send revival again to this land. It may be that He will work via other means. Whatever it pleases the Lord to do it is our task to try to be faithful to Him and to trust in His goodness, mercy and love. May the Lord lead us in that process.
Soli Deo Gloria,