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Why Revival Happens
- or Tarries

We seek revival. But are half of us are seeking revival rather than seeking the Lord, the Living God? Even though we 'seek the Lord', deep down is it as a means by which we hope to obtain revival?

This page looks afresh at revival occurs - or doesn't. It is linked with another page that works out one particular exciting new possibility: revival based around environmental responsibility.

What have these revivals in common?

The Wesleys and Whitefield in England in the 1700s,
the abolition of slavery in Britain around 1800,
the work of Lars Levi Laestadius among the Saami people,
the Welsh revival of 1904,
the East African revival of the 1920s,
the Hebridean revival,
the revival in bits of Canada in the 1970s.
- add your others that you can think of!
All true revivals bring joy, creation and healing, because in revivals humanity and the world are discovering a little of what we were made for, and we experience God in direct, poignant ways.

So at other times, Christians look back to revivals and long to see revival in their own time. {Note 1.}But it does not happen. Why not? Why does revival happen, or not? What are the conditions necessary for revival to start and occur?

Many have written on this (e.g. Leonard Ravenhill Why Revival Tarries). They focus on a number of necessary things, such as God's people in subjection to him. But in most places at most times there are always some people in humble subjection to God, so why does revival tarry. Others take the line that "After all, God is sovereign, and he chooses the time." But that is fatalism.

Do we spiritualise revival too much? Do we focus too much on the 'religious' aspects of prayer, submission to God and sovereignty to God, and fail to grasp other aspects necessary for revival? While these are certainly true, they are only half the picture. {Note 2.}

I have tried, here, to think in common-sense terms about revival : what are the conditions necessary for revival to begin and continue? What characteristics can we delineate about revival? Here are some initial thoughts [citing the Weslyian, Laestadian, Welsh and East African revivals as examples]. Read, ponder, question and respond and debate. But, even while questioning or debating, search your own heart, and let the way you see things be 'transformed' (you know which verse I am referring to!).

Contents of this page (unfinished notes, but I trust you will find them useful):

These are each worked out with examples for the new possibility of revival related to environmental responsibility.

Revival is Always Surprising (because God knows and we don't)

The Situation is Important (because God is loves the world, not just individuals)

Addresses an underlying, common problem (often one that people don't realise they have)

The Message (because God is Truth and has provided The Way of Salvation)

To Unexpected People (because God values all alike while we come to ignore some)

God Uses Unexpected People to Lead Revival (for various reasons)



In view of all this, I suspect that the only possibility of revival in Western cultures will be linked to God's people taking genuine responsibility for climate change and other environmental damage (which is the major problem we face in our situation today). Indeed, unless Holy-Spirit-led revival does occur, humanity has no chance at all to do anything about climate change - because the heart of people is desperately wicked and self-serving. So, perhaps, in the New View is even partly right, revival is linked with environmental responsibility. See how these thoughts might be worked out in relation to this.


Note 1. In the early 1970s Jean Darnall prophesied revival in Britain, starting in the north and flooding down through the whole land.

Note 2. We might see such a picture as governed by the Nature-Grace Ground-motive, in which our whole way of thinking completely ignores the world that God created and loves.

Note 3. Why is it valid to think in 'common sense' terms about such a spiritual topic? Because that is how Jesus and Paul thought: they used what might be called 'spiritual common sense'. Example: Jesus used the fact that Elijah was sent to Gentiles as showing how God affirms Gentiles too.

This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2010, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext. Number of visitors to these pages: Counter.

Created: 15 March 2008. Last updated: 27 March 2011 better intro, keywords, notes. 12 August 2014 rid ../, new .nav.