Why Culture won’t Change without Radical Revival

WHY CULTURE WON’T CHANGE WITHOUT RADICAL REVIVAL

By Steve Strang founder of Charisma News and CEO of Charisma Media.

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Genuine revival is the only way we can change the spiritual temperature of our society. Rioting. Racial unrest. Drug abuse ruining a generation. War in the Middle East. Christians under siege from rampant secularism. Does this sound familiar? I’m not describing 2017, although all these exist in today’s culture. I’m describing the 1960s, with Americans divided over the Vietnam War, Israel attacked by its Arab neighbours, a youth culture that celebrated drugs and free sex, and racial unrest, including riots after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Things were so bad, Time magazine’s April 8, 1966, cover story asked, “Is God Dead?” Yet amid this terrible time, the Lord stepped in. Fifty years ago, He launched two massive, under-the-radar revivals that I believe changed the course of the world.

In 1967, a group of Duquesne University nuns and college students received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, igniting the widespread Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The other revival, now known as the Jesus Movement, touched hundreds of thousands of hippie-type young people, whose fervour moved from radical rebellion to radical obedience to Christ. Many of today’s Christian leaders came to Christ during this period, and the movement also impacted me. During this same era, Israel won the West Bank and, in 1967, reunited Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. I once heard the late Derek Prince explain the parallels between God’s activity in Israel and the fresh outpouring of His Spirit on the church. These massive revivals produced a cultural shift. The country became more politically conservative, and the hippie movement disappeared.

Today, we need another genuine revival. Without it, culture will continue its downward spiral. Many Christians recognize this, but many don’t. One segment of the evangelical church, alarmed by the marginalization of Christians and increasing public immorality, focuses on electing politicians who seem to share our values. But politics won’t change things. A powerful evangelical leader recently visited my office to discuss how we must move our culture, where only a small percentage views the world through a biblical lens, toward a Christian worldview. He wanted my help in motivating apathetic Christians. Of course, I said we’d cooperate. But I also said change toward a Christian worldview won’t happen until our country experiences true revival. He looked at me with a blank stare.

My friend seems to think logic and arguments can change minds and attitudes. We must never withdraw from the marketplace of ideas, but we must also remember this: Nonbelievers develop a Christian worldview only through a powerful encounter with the risen Christ via the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider the Pentecostal movement. After the fervour of the early-20th-century charismatic outpouring, Latter Rain Revival died down, Pentecostalism moved into malaise. I remember the older generation praying constantly for revival.

Logic persuaded almost no one to embrace the gifts. But when people received the Holy Spirit in a powerful way during a prayer meeting, their theology changed. They saw the Bible with fresh eyes. God answered those prayers for revival in unexpected ways.

Beginning around 1960, the Holy Spirit poured out on more denominations like Episcopalians, Methodists and Catholics. Long-haired, sandal-wearing hippies began showing up in our services, often carrying huge Bibles and sitting cross-legged on the floor at the front of the church. At the same time, God was doing something in Israel and awakening among Spirit-filled Christians an enduring love for this nation. Jews for Jesus sprang up, and Messianic congregations developed. Some Pentecostals remained in their ruts, but most embraced all this as a move of God. Today, Pentecostalism continues to grow. Yet once again, a sense of malaise has arisen. But let’s remember: God is still God.

So I challenge my fellow believers to pray as never before. Publicly and in our prayer closets, let’s ask God to pour out a mighty revival that sweeps millions into His kingdom. It’s the only way culture will be changed – by changing the hearts of a huge segment of the population here and around the world. Our problems will not be solved until people’s hearts and lives change.

Source: Charisma Magazine

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Principles of Revival from History by Andrew Staggs

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Andrew Staggs is the Dean of the School of Ministries at Christian Heritage College, Brisbane.
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Here is a paper that I wrote many years ago about the amazing way that God moves in His people, His church and His world.
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I hope that it helps you position yourself under God to receive His favour and love at a completely new level.
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INTRODUCTION
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Much has been written about the revivals and awakenings that have taken place in the Church over many centuries. It is clear that there are a number of revival principles that constantly recur including persistent prayer; powerful preaching and testimony; and a deep awareness of the presence and holiness of God leading to a strong sense of conviction of sin and repentance followed by extreme joy when peace with God is received (Davies, 1992, p 217). This essay will illustrate from revival history these and other principles and explore the nature and potency of revival.
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WHAT IS REVIVAL?
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It is important to define in more detail what is meant by the term revival as this will determine which events are included as illustrations in the essay. Davies (1992, p 15) proposes a working definition of revival as
A sovereign outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a group of Christians resulting in their spiritual reviving and quickening, and issuing in the awakening of spiritual concern in outsiders or formal church members; an immediate, or, at other times, a more long-term, effect will be efforts to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God both intensively in the society in which the Church is placed, and extensively in the spread of the gospel to more remote parts of the world.
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Waugh (1998, p xxii) quotes Arthur Wallis definition of revival as
A divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in awesome holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord…working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner…Revival must of necessity make an impact on the community and this is one means by which we may distinguish it from the more usual operations of the Holy Spirit.
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Edwards (1997, p 28) proposes the following definition:
A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity in prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers.
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Revival is necessary to counteract spiritual decline and to create spiritual momentum (Wallis, 1956, p 13). In revival the church dormant becomes the church militant. For example, as the nineteenth century dawned America was again morally bankrupt. Eight years of war had drained the nation’s vitality leaving a dark cloud of spiritual indifference and moral degradation. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church circulated a pastoral letter declaring they were filled with concern and awful dread at the conditions of the nation. They expressed the solemn conviction that the eternal God has a controversy with this nation. This concern prompted fervent prayer that precipitated a national spiritual awakening beginning on the east coast around 1800 and spreading to the western frontier (Hyatt, 1998, p 121).
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Charles Haddon Spurgeon experienced a continual revival in his church in London for many years in the middle of last century and he was convinced that a true revival is to be looked for in the church of God. In other words revival begins with the church and spills over into the world. It always begins by getting Christians right first, which is very painful.
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Revival will always vitalise God’s people … but revival is not always welcome. For many the price is too high. There is no cheap grace in revival. It entails the repudiation of self-satisfied complacency. Revival turns careless living into vital concern…exchanges self-indulgence for self-denial. Yet, revival is not a miraculous visitation falling on an unprepared people like a bolt out of the blue. It comes when God’s people earnestly want revival and are willing to pay the price (Pratney, 1984, p 17).
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Preaching at the Keswick Convention in 1922, Douglas Brown, who was used in a revival the year before, rightly maintained that “revival” is a church word; it has to do with God’s people. You cannot revive the world; the world is dead to trespasses and sins; you cannot revive a corpse. But you can revitalise where there is life… (Edwards, 1997, p 27).
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Evan Roberts made the same claim in Wales in 1904: “My mission is first to the churches.” When the churches are aroused to their duty, men of the world will be swept into the Kingdom. A whole church on its knees is irresistible. Revival always brings the church to its knees. Rhys Bevan Jones who preached in Wales throughout 1904 declared that if ever there was a slogan for that revival it was this: “Bend the church and save the people” (ibid).
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A revival usually results in an unusual sense of spiritual interest or concern and it can first manifest itself as a deep concern on the part of professing Christians regarding the shallowness and superficiality of their spiritual lives. They become profoundly conscious of their poverty of their relationship with God, the standard of their moral lives and their service for Christ (Davies, 1992, p 19).
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This can also be demonstrated in the Brownsville revival in 1995. Stephen Hill (1997, p 74) noted that as in the revivals of old, people fell to their knees, prostrate or backward on the ground, weeping and wailing and crying out to God: John (Kilpatrick) and I prayed for individuals, and I realised that repentance was on the hearts of these people. I heard them cry out to God about their lukewarmness and stale Christianity, confessing their sins, and wanting desperately to get right with God. It seemed that everyone in that sanctuary desired a renewed relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
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Revival is not primarily to give the church power, though it certainly does this, but give it life. There is a world of difference. In one sense the church had no history before Pentecost. In Acts 2 the church was not restored to where it ought to have been and from where it had fallen, but it was the starting-point of the new covenant church. The Acts story certainly describes the effects of a community saturated with God. A revival is the spring of Christianity – the renovation of life and gladness … it is the season in which young converts burst into existence and beautiful activity … the whole landscape teems with living promises of abundant harvest of righteousness and peace… it is the jubilee of holiness (Jenkins in Hill, 1997, p xxx).
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When a group of God’s people are revived there is an inevitable effect on those in the immediate neighbourhood. They see that something has happened, make enquiries, and are then told by those who have been revived. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost, and is what has often happened in subsequent times of revival. For example:
1. Wales, 1904, 100 000 conversions
2. Argentina, 1951, 300 000 conversions
3. Pensacola, 1995, 100 000 conversions
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Revival is remarkable, large, effective and, above all, it is something that God brings about. It is quite impossible for man to create revival. Though men may prepare and pray for it, revival is the work of the sovereign God. Commenting on Acts 2:1, when the day of Pentecost came, Wallis in Edwards (1997, p 29) claims every genuine revival is clearly stamped with the hallmark of divine sovereignty, and in no way is this more clearly seen than in the time factor. The moment for the first outpouring of the Spirit was not determined by the believers in the upper room but by God, who had foreshadowed it centuries before in those wonderful types of the Old Testament.
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The suddenness is a typical feature of revival. What happened in the time of Hezekiah was done so quickly and the same was true 700 years later when, on the day of Pentecost, suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind… (Acts 2:2). No matter how long people have been praying for it or expecting it when it comes it is always a surprise.
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When God came to the north of Korea in January 1907 it was on the Monday following a particularly formal and weary Sunday. In revival things happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Meetings are lengthened, crowds gather, and sermons have to be preached, not because it is all arranged in advance, but because God is at work. At
Herrnhut in 1727, Zinzendorf acknowledged, hitherto we had been the leaders and helpers. Now the Holy Spirit himself took full control of everything and everybody (Edwards, 1997, p 30).
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PERSISTENT PRAYER
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God longs to work afresh in the affairs of His people and bring them back to the knowledge of Himself and relationship with Him (Waugh, 1999, p 11). To illustrate, God gave a promise at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (NIV).
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He has kept this promise and the history of Israel gives many examples. This verse speaks of the need for God’s people to humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways, thus emphasising the paramount need for prayer. As God’s people truly seek his face, humbling themselves before him and acknowledging their complete dependence on him, earnest and urgent in expressing their wholehearted desire for his presence and blessing together with their determination, like Jacob (Gen 32: 26), not to give up until he answers, he will hear. They will find that He reveals to them their secret sins which up to that time they have cheerfully committed and tolerated, but which now become hateful to them as they have a glimpse of how He views them.
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Orr (1993, p 13) quotes Pierson who said, there has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer. Joel 2: 15-17 is a vital passage to apprehend for revival – blow the trumpet in Zion … Here is a community of people of God called to pray for revival, and it clearly involved a radical alteration of their regular program. The first hint of revival is frequently a stirring in the life of prayer in the church. King Hezekiah set the example for the people by his own commitment to God in prayer.
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Commenting on the prayer that preceded the revival in Shotts in 1630, one writer remarked that while God sometimes works without His people, he never refuses to work with them (Edwards, 1997, p 85).
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The first hint of revival is frequently a stirring in the life of prayer in the church and this can be well documented from history. In the case of the First Great Awakening there were Christian leaders such as Cotton Mather (1663-1728) who over the course of his life spent hundreds of days in prayer and fasting for revival, even though he did not live to see the answer to his prayers, at least not in his own church.
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George Whitfield attributed much of the blessing which attended his ministry and that of others to a daily prayer meeting which he and his friends began in October 1737. Jonathan Edward’s preaching derived its power from his prayer life. He would spend whole days and weeks in prayer and it was not unusual for him to spend eighteen hours in prayer prior to preaching a single sermon. The result was a revival that not only transformed the moral and spiritual character of his community but also that of an entire nation (Hyatt, 1998, p 116).
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The Moravian church was renewed at Herrnhut in August 1727 and this was preceded by nearly a century of prayer for renewal by the persecuted remnants of the Unity of Brethren in Bohemia and Moravia from whom the refugees at Herrnhut had come. The twenty-four hour prayer watch which soon became a distinctive feature of the Moravians and which continued for another hundred years provided much of the moving power which sent the Moravian missionaries to all corners of the globe.
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In the 1740s John Erskine of Edinburgh published a pamphlet encouraging people to pray for Scotland and elsewhere. Over in America the challenge was picked up by Jonathan Edwards who wrote a treatise called, A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.
For forty years John Erskine orchestrated what became a Concert of Prayer through voluminous correspondence around the world. In the face of apparent social, political and moral deterioration he persisted. In 1781 in Cornwall the heavens opened at last and across the country prayer meetings were networking for revival. A passion for evangelism rose and converts were being won – not through regular services of the churches but at the prayer meetings! Whole denominations doubled, tripled, and quadrupled in the next few years. It swept from England to Wales, Scotland, United States, Canada and to some Third World countries.
Matthew Henry wrote, “When God intends great mercy for His people He first sets them praying” (Robinson, 1993, p 8).
The prayer movement had a tremendous impact but waned until the middle of the 19th century. Then God started something in Canada and the necessity to pray was picked up in New York. A quiet man called Jeremiah Lanphier had been appointed by the Dutch reformed Church as a missionary to the central business district. He called a prayer meeting in the city to be held at noon each Wednesday. Its first meeting was on 23 September 1859 and eventually five men turned up. Two weeks later they decided to move to a daily schedule of prayer. Within six months 10 000 men were gathering to pray and that movement spread across America. Within two years there were one million new believers added to the church. The movement swept out to touch England, Scotland Wales and Ulster. It was estimated that 100 000 converts directly resulted from prayer movements in Ireland. It has also been estimated that during the years 1859-60 some 1 150 000 people were added to the church wherever concerts of prayer were in operation (ibid, p 10).
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In describing how revival comes, believers can never overlook the part that urgent prayer and confident expectation play. There must be, especially among the leaders, the determination that God will come, that He must come. William Bramwell is typical of this. A powerful Weslyan preacher towards the end of the eighteenth century and the first twenty years of the nineteenth, Bramwell was on the Dewsbury preaching circuit and longing for God to come in revival. He had been praying fervently for this when God gave him the assurance that the revival, which actually broke out in 1792, would come (Edwards, 1997, p 75).
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It is said of David Morgan that for ten years before 1858 he never prayed in public without praying for revival. The revival that came to England in 1859 and particularly to the preaching Charles Haddon Spurgeon can be traced back six years to the prayers of his London congregation. It is not always clear when prayer meetings are part of the revival itself or are preceding it. But the distinction does not matter too much. Prayer is both the cause and result of the coming of the Spirit in revival (ibid, p 78).
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Commenting on the Welsh revival in 1904, RB Jones looked back to the latter years of the previous century. From 1897 many younger ministers were meeting together to pray for revival. One minister recalled that on a Saturday evening when his sermon preparation was finished he spent time in prayer and there would come upon him such a power as would crush (him) to tears and agonising praying (Edwards, 1997, p 77).
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Pandita Ramabai opened a home for girls in India. In this endeavour she was totally dependent on God’s provision and prayer was truly her lifeline. In January 1905, she began to speak about the need to seek God for revival. Before long, 550 people, mostly women and girls, were meeting twice daily, praying for revival and for an enduement of power. On June 30 Ramabai was teaching the girls from John 8 when suddenly the Holy Spirit fell as in the book of Acts. Everyone in the room began to weep and pray aloud. The revival had begun. Pandita Ramabai left her imprint on her generation and surely deserves to be recognised as the mother of the Pentecostal movement in India.
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Prayer seems to have been the foremost activity at the Azusa Mission. One participant said, “The whole place was steeped in prayer. William Seymour spent much of his time behind the pulpit with his head inside the top shoe box praying. Seymour was consumed with a passionate desire for God.” Seymour said, “Before I met Parham, such a hunger to have more of God was in my heart that I prayed for five hours a day for two and a half years. I got to Los Angeles and there the hunger was not less but more. I prayed, God, what can I do? The Spirit said, Pray more. …I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed to God to give what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and fire with tongues with love and power of God like the apostles had” (Hyatt, 1998, p 156).
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The event that preceded Azusa Street by five years and actually precipitated the revival in Los Angeles began at the outset of the century in a student atmosphere. It was in a Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, where Charles Parham’s students searched the scriptures and where the Holy Spirit came on a student during a prayer and study vigil.
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Along with the growing acceptance of their movement, Pentecostals were, at the same time, experiencing a loss of spiritual vitality that always accompanies the onslaught of institutionalisation. The 1930s and 40s have been described as a time when the depth of worship and the operation of the gifts of Spirit, so much evident in earlier decades, were not so prominent. Many were concerned to the point that systematic times of prayer and fasting were instituted to pray for spiritual renewal and revival. The answer to their prayers began with the advent of the Healing revival which began in 1946 and the Latter Rain Revival which began in 1947 (Hyatt, 19 98, p 183).
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The ministries of William Branham and Oral Roberts signalled the beginning of a significant era of healing evangelism. Almost immediately a host of other evangelists began reporting miraculous healings and other supernatural phenomena in their meetings, These included AA Allen, Jack Coe, TL Osborn, William Freeman, WV Grant, Kenneth Hagin and many other evangelists. In 1947, after a seven month season of focussed prayer and fasting, Oral Roberts received inner assurance that it was time for God’s call to be fulfilled – to take God’s healing power to his generation. Many remarkable miracles occurred and Roberts eventually became the most prominent healing evangelist of that era.
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Before God began the revival that swept across Borneo in the 1970’s he had been preparing the ground by giving the missionaries the burden to pray. Ravenshill (1958, p 155) states that for this sin-hungry age we need a prayer-hungry church…prayer does business with God. Prayer creates a hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer.
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Cho (in McClung, 1986, p 99) states that before 1980 individual revival movements took place with such prominent figures as Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. More recently it appears that the individual revival movements have abated and revivals have burst forth in the local church. In Korea, where the church has grown from almost zero to a projected 50% of the entire population in this century alone, Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho attributes his church’s conversion rate of 12 000 people per month as primarily due to ceaseless prayer (Robinson, 1993, p 5).
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A dramatic revival took place at Whittier Christian High School in Los Angeles from 1987 to 1989. It had been preceded by fifteen years of secret prayer for revival by the mother of one of the students who had attended in the early 1970’s and by four parent/teacher prayer groups who were similarly praying through the early part of 1987. The revival spread to some of the other colleges in the area and to two campuses on the other side of the United States. A prayer movement for God to send out 100 000 missionaries in this generation has grown out of the awakening.
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The Toronto Blessing erupted in January 1994 and by 1997 attendance had reached the two million mark. Even though the leaders of this revival consider evangelism to be their second priority – after the renewal of the Church and individual believers – over 25 000 conversions have occurred of which 8-10 000 are first time decisions (ibid, p 210).
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The lost of the Apostle Paul’s day were the same as the lost of today. Paul desperately wanted them to be set free. This same burden for the lost is at the heart of the Brownsville revival (Hill, 1997, p 12). One obvious characteristic of the Pensacola revival is its intense evangelistic emphasis. The meetings are obviously geared towards getting those who are unsaved or backslidden to the front during the altar service. Since its beginning in June 1995 it is estimated that two million people have visited the revival with over 100 000 making decisions for Christ (Hyatt, 1998, p 211).
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John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville Assemblies of God church in Pensacola, Florida highlights the value of prayer in revival when he reflects on the powerful moves of God in peoples lives: I see the scenes replayed week after week, and service after service. Each time, I realise that in a very real way, they are the fruit of a seven-year journey in prayer, and of two and a half years of fervent corporate intercession by the church (Waugh, 1998, p 137). Stephen Hill (1997, p 2) notes that it was a deep-rooted motivation to do the ministry God had given that caused Kilpatrick to rise up for over two years, take hold of the horns of the altar, grab them firmly, and scream out, “Dear God, send revival to our church. Revive us, oh God!’ He also notes (p 5) the ministry of Lyla Terhune and the intercessors who spend time in the back prayer room during the revival services agonising over the souls of the lost. They can be found weeping and wailing, often travailing as a woman giving birth, not for themselves but for the salvation of others. They do not flinch at the thought of waging heated spiritual warfare during this revival.
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Derek Prince notes in Hill (1997, p xxii) that Tuesday night is prayer night at the Pensacola revival. The seventeen hundred people present represented quite a large turn-out by most standards of prayer meetings … one distinctive feature was the presence of ten or more banners, each one representing some major theme of prayer. People focussed their prayer on a theme by gathering around that particular banner. There was none of what I would call ‘shotgun praying’, rather it was very directed.
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There have always been pockets of believers, sprinkled throughout the land – earnestly seeking God – motivated by a desperate desire for revival. God has always had His remnant. They took hold of the horns of the altar. The darkness of night was pierced by their agonising pleas for a visitation from God. Their white-hot prayers lit up the sky just as lightning displaces utter blackness (Hill, 1997, p xviii). I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME REVIVAL in my soul and in my church and in my nation – or GIVE ME DEATH! (Ravenshill, 1958, p 161).
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POWERFUL PREACHING AND TESTIMONY
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The second consistent principle of revival is powerful, urgent, relevant Christ-centred preaching.
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On the day of Pentecost the 120 disciples were filled with the Spirit and immediately began to speak in various languages about the wonderful works of God. This was followed by Peter’s preaching which was accompanied by such spiritual power that 3 000 were convicted and converted (Acts 2). The work continued and spread as the Christians preached publicly and testified personally to the great saving acts in Jesus Christ.
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Often in revivals, an individual or a small group, have experienced powerful awakening and renewal as they have waited on God in prayer and then their personal testimony and public proclamation have been the means of communicating that blessing to other believers as well as awakening and converting non-believers.
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True revival is a revival of gospel preaching (Edwards, 1997, p 101). Powerful, urgent,
relevant Christ-centred communication of the gospel emphasising the holiness and grace of God and the need for personal response is a hallmark of revival. It is often because the preachers themselves have been revived and quickened, and the content of their preaching as well as their method of presentation bear evidence to what has happened.
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Davies (1992, p 222) notes that preachers in revival are never flippant. They know they are the servants of the Most High God and they are aware of their awesome responsibility and of the seriousness of the task. They have a sense of the awfulness of men dying without Christ and are extremely concerned to communicate the gospel faithfully. They have an urgent desire to bring men and women to repentance and faith before it is too late. Preachers in revival are concerned to make the truth plain and to show each person its relevance for them. They are also conscious to avoid superficial and therefore false conversions.
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The description of Duncan Campbell as a preacher shows how seriously revival preachers took their task: There was nothing complicated about Duncan’s preaching. It was fearless and uncompromising. He exposed sin in its ugliness and dwelt at length on the consequences of living and dying without Christ. With a penetrating gaze on the congregation and perspiration streaming down his face he set before men and women the way of death. It was a solemn thought to him that the eternity of his hearers might turn upon his faithfulness. He was standing before his fellow men in Christ’s stead and could be neither perfunctory or formal. His words were not just a repetition of accumulated ideas but the expression of his whole being. He gave the impression of preaching with his entire personality, not merely his voice (Edwards, 1997, p 103).
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In revival Christ, and the blood of the cross particularly, is central to the preaching. Perhaps this is why many records of revival refer to the special blessings experienced at communion services when the blood of Christ is preached both from the Word and through the bread and wine. At Cambuslang in 1742 the presence of God was so real at the communion service held on 11 July that it was agreed they must celebrate it again, and very soon. Untypically for the Scottish Presbyterians, they arranged another service for 15 August and this was attended by some 20,000 people! Though only a few thousand were allowed to participate, hundreds were converted.
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In the eighteenth century Whitefield and Wesley found that the preaching of the cross was hated, just as it is hated now. But thousands found in the blood of Christ justification, redemption, propitiation, peace, reconciliation and cleansing, whether or not they understood all those terms.
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Joseph Kemp returned from a visit to Wales in 1905 and reported to his congregation at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh that the dominating note of the Walsh revival was ‘redemption through the Blood.’ Whenever we hear or read that the Spirit is at work we can assess the genuineness of the work by how central the blood of Christ is to the preaching and the worship. And if the cross is central in the preaching and the worship then it will be central in the lives of the converts (Edwards, 1997, p 108).
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Jonathan Edwards complained, in 1733, that the young people, especially, were very careless and were not interested in listening to what God had to say through their parents or through the ministers of the gospel. But when the Spirit of God came in revival, ‘The young people declared themselves convinced by what they heard from the pulpit, and were willing of themselves to comply with the counsel that had been given; and it was immediately, and I suppose, almost universally, complied with.’ Submission to leadership is a biblical condition of worship and it runs tight through both Old and New Testaments. The description of the Christians in the Acts of the Apostles was that they were dedicated to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). And when revival comes, one of its hallmarks is not independency, but a holy dependence upon Scripture and a respect for those whose task it is to explain and apply it (Edwards, 1997, p 111).
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The twin activities of public preaching and personal testimony provide the ideal combination which has so often been the way that awakening and revival have spread. Even when the preaching has been limited to ‘properly ordained ministers’ the witness of ‘ordinary Christians’ has been a major factor in the spread of revival. It is the emphasis upon living, vital and urgent preaching, together with the people’s confidence in Scripture and love for it, that produces such a powerful force in revival. Revival never begins with those who deny or despise the authority of the Word, and if people who do deny Scripture are effectively influenced by the revival it will always change their theology of the Bible.
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At times of revival there has been a paramount need for sound teaching and instruction. When those who are revived are themselves soundly taught in the truth of God’s Word, they can properly interpret their own experience, adequately proclaim the truth to others, and also correctly instruct new converts. When this is not the case or when they fail to properly instruct new converts of the revival there is a strong possibility that there will be dangerous extremes of belief and practice and that the whole movement of revival will not produce lasting fruit. In the case of the Welsh Revival of 1904 many believe that Evan Roberts’ neglect of preaching and instruction was the cause of the revival’s failure to achieve its full potential (Evans in Davies, 1992, p 223).
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One commentator on the eighteenth-century Awakening rightly claims that the uninhibited and compelling urge to preach the Gospel was the basic characteristic of all the personalities involved, whatever other gifts they might have: Both Harris and Wesley had keen organising ability, both William Williams and Charles Wesley had unsurpassed genius to write hymns, Whitfield’s compassionate heart and breadth of vision well-nigh encircled the globe, and Rowland’s communion seasons were heavenly, but each felt deeply the absolute priority and unique authority of preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit (Edwards, 1997, 104).
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DEEP AWARENESS OF THE PRESENCE AND HOLINESS OF GOD
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Another key principle of revival is the deep awareness of the presence and holiness of God leading to a strong sense of conviction of sin and repentance followed by extreme joy when peace with God is received.
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In Israel’s time, under God’s judgement, people awakened to a realisation of better days and linked this back to their previous relationship with him. Prayer went up in agony for deliverance and God raised up another leader and another restoration. Right relationship to the righteous standards of the Word of God was also confirmed by Charles Finney who succinctly defined revival as nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to the Word of God (Pratney, 1984, p 19).
.
There is an observable connection in the history of awakenings between revival and holiness. An overwhelming sense of the holiness of God frequently characterises revivals bringing with it a crushing sense of personal and often corporate sin and guilt. The repentance which is produced in revival is a deep, radical, complete abhorrence of sin and turning away from it, with a heartfelt desire to have done with it completely. Sin is seen for what it really is, as God sees it, and it continues to be hateful to the young convert. Holiness is seen as beautiful and infinitely desirable. The new Christian longs after holiness, seeing it as a characteristic of his God.
.
Waugh (1998, p 136) quotes Kilpatrick regarding the Brownsville revival – corporate businessmen in expensive suits kneel and weep uncontrollably as they repent of secret sins … drug addicts and prostitutes fall to the floor on their faces beside them, to lie prostrate before God as they confess Jesus as Lord … souls who come to Christ, confessing their sins.
.
Revival is always a revival of holiness. And it begins with a terrible conviction of sin. It is often the form that the conviction of sin takes that troubles those who read of revival. Sometimes the experience is crushing. People weep uncontrollably. There is no such thing as a revival without tears of conviction and sorrow. In January 1907 God was moving in a powerful way in North Korea and a Western missionary recalled one particular scene: As the prayer continued a spirit of heaviness and sorrow for sin came down upon the audience. Over on one side someone began to weep and in a moment the whole audience was weeping. Man after man would rise, confess his sins, break down and weep, and then throw himself to the floor and beat the floor with his fists in perfect agony of conviction … sometimes after a confession the whole audience would break out in audible prayer and the effect of that audience of hundreds of men praying together in audible prayer was something indescribable. Again, after another confession, they would break out in uncontrollable weeping, and we would all weep, we could not help it. And so the meeting went on until 2 am, with confession and weeping and praying (Edwards, 1997, p 115). Scenes like these are typical of almost every recorded revival. There is no revival without deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin.
.
In some mines in Wales in 1904 the work came to a standstill because the pit ponies could no longer understand the orders that were given to them; the hauliers, classed as the worst group of men in the pits, proverbial for their profanity and cruelty, were no longer cursing their commands and the ponies were confused (Edwards, 1997, p 187).
.
A revival usually results in an unusual sense of spiritual interest or concern and it can first manifest itself as a deep concern on the part of professing Christians regarding the shallowness and superficiality of their spiritual lives. They become profoundly conscious of their poverty of their relationship with God, the standard of their moral lives and their service for Christ (Davies, 1992, p 19).
.
Revival rectifies the impoverished spiritual conditions of people, some of which are outlined in an internet bulletin from www.highwayman.net/prayernet titled A27 Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit. A sample includes – we need revival:
1. When we would rather make money than give money;
2. When we make little effort to witness to the lost;
3. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity;
4. When we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives
5. When we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
.
The full list has been reproduced and is available in the Appendix. Revival will always vitalise God’s people. In the revival in Kentucky in the late 1700s sleep and physical comforts seemed to be forgotten as things eternal gripped the hearts and minds of the people…cries of distress over sin soon gave way to shouts of joy arising out of assurance of salvation (Hyatt, 1998, p 123).
.
The deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin can be demonstrated in the Brownsville revival in 1995. Stephen Hill (1997, p 74) noted that as in the revivals of old, people fell to their knees, prostrate or backward on the ground, weeping and wailing and crying out to God. John (Kilpatrick) and I prayed for individuals, and I realised that repentance was on the hearts of these people. I heard them cry out to God about their lukewarmness and stale Christianity, confessing their sins, and wanting desperately to get right with God. It seemed that everyone in that sanctuary desired a renewed relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
.
OTHER REVIVAL PRINCIPLES
.
There has been much written and spoken of about the dynamics and principles of revival. Nine outstanding characteristics of the major revivals have been articulated by Fischer (in Pratney, 1984, p 19) as follows:
1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression
2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energizing power behind it
3. Each revival rested on the Word of God and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power
4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God
5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed
6. In each revival there was a recorded separation from sin
7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws
8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness
9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity
.
Revival brings vitality to God’s Church and His people. A principle of revival is that it brings results. There is an increase in evangelism, mission, social action and the increased involvement of the laity. A revival always has an effect upon the nation. Edwin Orr (in Edwards, 1997, p 185) claims that the evangelical awakening in the eighteenth century saved Britain from the revolutionary experience that ravaged the continent of Europe at that time. Wesley, the English evangelist, defeated Volataire, the French philosopher and Deist.
.
2 Kings 18: 7-8 notes the success of King Hezekiah during the revival – And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory (NIV). The nation was sufficiently strong to throw off its slavery; the revival gave the people of Judah moral and military fibre and it was this that led Hezekiah to make a bid to secure spiritual unity in the nation after 200 years of warfare between the north and south. The revival was also a time of his brilliant engineering.
.
There are also hindrances to revival which the believer needs to be aware of. Some of these have been outlined in Waugh (1999, p 9) and include pride (when Christians become proud of their great revival); exalting self over God; prejudice (when Christians lose the spirit of brotherly love); exhaustion; self-reliance (when dependence on the Spirit in replaced by human effort); conflict (when there is continued opposition of the >old school’ combined with a bad spirit in the >new’ school); and neglecting missions.
.
CONCLUSION
.
The life of a believer of prayer, striving for holiness, and wholehearted evangelism must all go on as if the future of the Church depended on them. At the same time believers should long for the community to be saturated with God, should talk of the great acts of God in revival, and should pray to continually remind God that a special occasion is needed for this generation.
.
When the prophet Micah looked around him he could find little to encourage him in the nation. An honest assessment convinced him that the forces of evil were gaining ground. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, Micah set out his own position:
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me
Micah 7:7 (NIV).
 
.
REFERENCES
Davies, R.E. 1992. I Will Pour Out My Spirit: A History and Theology of Revivals and Evangelical Awakenings. Tunbridge Wells: Monarch Publications.
Edwards, Brian H. 1997. Revival! A People Saturated With God. County Durham: Evangelical Press.
Hill, Stephen. 1997. The Pursuit of Holiness. Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House.
Hyatt, Eddie L. 1998. 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity: A 21st Century Look at Church History from a Pentecostal/Charismatic Perspective. Dallas, Texas: Hyatt International Ministries Inc.
McClung, L Grant Jnr. 1986. Azuza Street and Beyond: Pentecostal Missions and Church Growth in the Twentieth Century. South Plainfield, New Jersey: Bridge Publishing Co.
Orr, J. Edwin. ‘Prayer and Revival’. Renewal Journal: Revival. Vol 1, Number 1. Summer 1993. pp 13- 18.
Pratney, Winkie. 1984. Revival: Principles to Change the World. Springdale: Whitaker House.
Ravenshill, Leonard. 1959. Why Revival Tarries. Tonbridge: Sovereign World.
Robinson, Stuart. ‘Praying the Price’. Renewal Journal: Revival. Vol 1, Number 1. Summer 1993. pp 5-12.
Wallis, Arthur. 1956. In The Day of Thy Power. Christian Literature Crusade.
Waugh, Geoff. 1998. Flashpoints of Revival: History’s Mighty Revivals. Shippensburg, PA: Revival Press.
Waugh, Geoff. 1999. Class Notes for PB110 Renewal History. Mansfield: COC School of Ministries.
 
.
APPENDIX
.
27 Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit.
We need revival:
1. When we would rather make money than give money;
2. When we make little effort to witness to the lost;
3. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity;
4. When we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives
5. When we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
6. When we do not love Him as we once did.
7. When earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
8. When we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.
9. When we have little or no desire for prayer.
10. When our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
11. When we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.
12. When we do not tremble at the Word of God.
13. When we are more concerned about our jobs and careers than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salivation of the lost.
14. When Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.
15. When our children are growing up to adopt world values, secular philosophies and ungodly lifestyles.
16. When we watch things on TV and movies that we would not show in church.
17. When our prayers lack fervency.
18. When our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
19. When our singing is half-hearted and worship lifeless.
20. When we aren’t seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God
21. When we are bored with worship.
22. When we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.
23. When we are unmoved b y the thought of our neighbours, business associates and acquaintances going to hell.
24. When we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our sin.
25. When we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
26. When the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages and our church.
27. When we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t thinks we need revival.
(Source: www.highwayman.net/prayernet 11 May 1999)

Jesus and Muslims: Life in the Desert

Middle East: Life in the desert

Tyler Connell with the Ekballo Project shared a few encouraging stories from his most recent trip to Middle East, where he documented a dramatic move of God among Muslims, particularly with refugees. “Many there are disillusioned and broken and just want to know the truth,” he says. “Now more than ever there is a harvest among Muslims.”

His first film chronicles a young missionary named Daniel, 24, originally from Vermont. Two years ago he moved to Jordan to work with Syrian refugees. “They go house to house and visit these Muslim families and sit with them and talk with them and find out their names, their stories, and love them. As trust is built, they begin to open up for the Gospel.”

‘Hi I’m Daniel and I’m here to tell you about Jesus.’

One afternoon Daniel walked into a white tent with a family of eight people inside. “Hi I’m Daniel and I’m here to tell you about Jesus,” he announced. He wasn’t quite prepared for their reaction. “The family freaked out, they looked at each other and almost turned white. The father was excited, yelling.”

What’s going on? Daniel wondered. The interpreter explained that the night before Daniel’s visit, the whole family was sitting in their tent having tea together. To their surprise a man in white opened the door to their tent and stood at the entrance. The man was glowing. “Hello, My name is Jesus and I am sending a man tomorrow named Daniel to tell you more about me.” Then he disappeared.

So when Daniel arrived at their doorway and told them his name, they were completely undone. They asked him to tell them more about Jesus and he explained the Gospel. The whole family converted. The father had been a part of the Free Syrian Army. He had known bloodshed. He was a devout Muslim. This man and his family are now planting underground churches in Jordan and are seeing a harvest among Muslims.

Recently the father was dismayed by a large cell phone bill and he asked his 15-year-old daughter about it. “It’s because I’m telling all our relatives in Saudi Arabia about Jesus,” she said.

Life in the desert – part 1
‘Jesus was there, in the middle of the dirt, with Muslim refugees.’

In another Syrian refugee family, Connell felt God’s presence break through in a powerful way. “The joy that broke out among these 25 people was incredible. Jesus’ presence was stronger in that little dirty living room than I have ever felt in any conference, any prayer room, any camp-high moment. Jesus was there in the middle of the desert, in Iraq, in the dirt, with Muslims. He is attracted to the broken-hearted, the contrite, the desperate.”

Life in the desert – part 2
Over the last three years, Connell and his team have responded to an assignment from God to capture what He is doing in the most unreached parts of the world, the so-called 10/40 Window. This area is home to the three giants of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, a total of 2.9 billion people. “We felt God told us to go to these dark places, and capture what He is doing through missionaries that have given up their lives. We follow them with our camera and capture what God does, and show it on college campuses in the USA to ignite students to live for something bigger than themselves.”

Source: Tyler Connell, Ekballo Project

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There is an ongoing underground revival in the Muslim world. Over the past 20 years more Muslims have found Isa (Jesus) then in all the previous centuries together. See links:
Iran: where Christianity is growing fastest
Iran – fastest growing evangelical population
The Staggering Rise of the Church in Iran
Many Muslims are turning to Christ
18,000 Muslim leaders led to Christ in West Africa
Jesus appears to Middle Eastern Muslim for a month
Iman hated Christians until Jesus raised him from the dead
Muslim woman returns from the dead to tell about Jesus

If you want to know more about following Jesus, go here

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

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Transforming your city – example of Juarez, Mexico

The crime rate fell by 93% within 18 months.
Even the United Nations cannot understand how this happened!

TRANSFORMING YOUR CITY – THE EXAMPLE OF JUAREZ, MEXICO

p1Recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 140 ministry leaders and public officials were electrified to hear the testimony of Pastor Poncho Murguia. Poncho after leading a large and successful mega church for years was instructed by the Lord to “leave everything” and to go to a city park in his native Juarez, Mexico in order to fast and pray for three weeks over the city. During that process, he learned for the first time to really love and understand his city and then to “adopt” the city. Eventually 4000 other believers in Jesus joined him in a movement of transformational prayer and action that has changed Juarez from “the murder capital of the world” with violence 25 times as much as any on other city on earth, to one of the safest of Mexico’s cities.

At the height of the violence that swept the city which had become the site of a prolonged turf battle between drug cartels, 20-30 people were being assassinated by “sicarios”, hit men paid an average of $50 to kill anyone. They killed a young man just as he was being married to his fiancee in a church and freely machine-gunned peace-loving people who were having dinner in restaurants. There were also an average of 10-15 kidnappings per day and if loved ones did not pay the ransom that was demanded, their family member would have his ears or fingers amputated first and if there was still no payment, he or she would be killed and buried under the floor of the “safehouse” that served as their prison.

Twenty percent or 300,000 people left the city; 30% of the businesses closed. The cartels made lists of police officers and systematically assassinated them one by one to terrorize and exact concessions. The smell of blood filled the streets. Such overwhelming violence that the police and even the army could not control finally drove the pastors of the city’s churches together in prayer. They humbled themselves before the Lord, taking responsibility for the situation since they had been occupying themselves with their own congregations and “building their own kingdoms” without a real love and concern for the whole city. As they underwent this process together, God demonstrated His presence and the crime rate fell by 93% within 18 months. Even the United Nations cannot understand how this happened!

p2Other wonderful transformations happened and as they “adopted” the “sicarios”, many of these vicious hit men came to Christ and were discipled to serve Him back in their own towns across Mexico. Poncho challenged the Church and ministry leaders to tackle problems in our communities that the government and police are not being effective in fixing. The church he said spent too much time studying the Bible when God wants us to “be the Bible” to our needy city. Those who heard Poncho’s testimony were deeply challenged to apply what we learned. Many went home determined to see a transformational movement happen in their communities.

Source: International Prayer Council

See Transformation of Cuidad, Juarez, Mexico

Watch video: May who transformed murder capital of the world

Podcast with Poncho Murguia – Part 1:

Podcast with Poncho Murguia – Part 2:

See also:

Video1: Transformation in Juarez, Mexico
Video2:Transformation in Juarez, Mexico
In 5 years kidnapping down by 100%, extortions down by 90%, & homicides down by 80%

We often forget to do things God’s way!

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

 

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Mel Tari on the Timor Revival

Mel Tari

From Like a Mighty Wind by Mel Tari

Tari 1a
Tari 1bTari 2aTari 2b

Mel Tari, Like a Mighty Wind, pages 112-115

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CHINESE TURNING TO CHRISTIANITY

CHINESE TURNING TO CHRISTIANITY EN MASSE

More people worship in China on a typical Sunday than attend all the churches in Europe combined.

China house churchThe message coming out of China is not about the slowing economy, nor about the tensions in the South China Sea — it is “Jesus Saves”.

It’s a theme echoed in Australia, where Chinese people are packing into our universities, tourism sites, property auctions and churches. In south Beijing on any Thursday night, a rock band leads 300 young worshippers at Zhushikou Protestant church, with lead singer Gao Liang, a convert of 3 years, prominently sporting a WWJD badge — What Would Jesus Do? A couple of kilometres away, another large and youthful congregation of about 600 was at mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Catholic churches have stood since 1605, and which also maintains a daily Latin mass. Large screens communicate the service to the overflow outside.

Liu Qiaojing, a 35-year-old teacher worshipping with her husband, Sun Yanqing, and their two-year-old son Yibo, said ever more young people were joining the church: “They love the atmosphere, the feeling of love, the warm-hearted people.”

Wang Libo, a 45-year-old businessman said: “Our broader society is in a quandary.” So the church is filling with those, especially in their 20s and 30s, “who come to seek truth and genuineness, to think, and to find belief”.

An estimated 100 million people in China have already become Christians — more than the 84 million in the ruling Communist Party. As a result, more people worship in China on a typical Sunday than attend all the churches in Europe combined. So Easter Day was a very big event in China, even though the authorities haven’t declared it as a formal holiday.

Easter saw unprecedented numbers attending both officially recognised Protestant and Catholic churches as well as underground “house churches” — although there is also constant traffic between these strands of Christianity.

In Australia, the Anglican Church, which has historically been viewed as largely an Anglo preserve, provides a particularly strong example of how rapidly Chinese people are changing core institutions, and how the latter are adapting. The Primate of the Australian church, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, said: “Over the past 15 years, we have ordained 17 people for Anglican ministry in Melbourne who are Chinese by birth or background. “We have experienced a very positive response to our ministry amongst people newly arrived from China.”

The archdiocese ran a ministry conference in 2014 on the theme of the church in the Asian century, “where we celebrated the freshness of approach that all of our Asian congregations, including Chinese, are bringing to the church”. Last year, the Anglican cathedral, St Paul’s, introduced a weekly service in Mandarin, led by two Chinese priests. The official prayer book used in Australian Anglican worship has been translated into Chinese. Andreas Loewe, the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, said: “The face of Anglicanism in Melbourne is changing. In 10 years, the number of congregations in our diocese where a language other than English predominates has almost ¬doubled, from 23 to 40 today.

“If you walk through the cathedral on any given day, you will witness an incredible cultural diversity among the people visiting and praying here. Our Chinese ministry at the heart of Melbourne is a visible sign of our commitment to serving the people who live, work, and now worship in this great culturally diverse city.” Many Chinese worshippers in Australia became drawn to the church only after they arrived, having no previous religious adherence or knowledge at all. Back home, the Christian surge within China has happened even though Communist Party members — the national elite — remain banned from all religious adherence, and proselytising by religious groups is illegal except within officially prescribed religious venues, whether temples, churches or mosques.

ConferencePraise

Source: Compiled by Australian Prayer Network from media reports, April 11, 2016.

CHINA GRIPPED BY SPIRITUAL REVIVAL AS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TURN TO FAITH

Forty-one years after China’s Cultural Revolution snuffed out all forms of religious expression, hundreds of millions of Chinese people are flocking to religions like Christianity. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson believes what’s transpiring in China is nothing short of “one of the world’s great spiritual revivals” and says the world better take note because the impact of this “spiritual transformation” could have significant global implications. “People in China are looking for new moral guideposts, some sort of moral compass to organize society,” said Johnson, author of The Souls of China: “So they are turning to religion as a source of values to help reorganize society.” Johnson spent six years researching the “values and faiths of today’s China.” He says the fastest-growing drivers of this “religious revolution” are unregistered churches or so-called “house” or “underground” churches.

 “These groups have become surprisingly well-organized, meeting very openly and often counting hundreds of congregants,” Johnson wrote in an article. “They’ve helped the number of Protestants soar from about one million when the communists took power to at least 60 million today.” Over the past 15 years, CBN News has also documented this unprecedented revival. From the countryside to the big cities, we’ve highlighted how a new generation of Believers is changing the face of Chinese Christianity. “Any casual visitor to the country can tell you that the number of churches, mosques, and temples has soared in recent years, and that many of them are full,” Johnson wrote. “While problems abound, the space for religious expression has grown rapidly, and Chinese Believers eagerly grab it as they search for new ideas and values to underpin a society that long ago discarded traditional morality.”

 Church leaders that CBN News spoke with say prayer has played a key role in sparking the Christian revival. For example, in one corner of northeast China, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, thousands of Christians have been meeting for an unprecedented prayer movement. What started as a small gathering several years ago has turned into a nationwide prayer initiative uniting hundreds of Chinese churches. In some cases, this revival is even touching China’s state-controlled churches known as Three-Self Church. “Now there’s big revivals happening in the Three-Self Churches,” Dr. Zhao Xiao told CBN News from his offices on the outskirts of China’s capital city. Zhao is one of China’s foremost experts on Christianity. A former Communist Party member and atheist, Zhao converted after reading the Bible.

“If you go to Haidian Church, you’ll find yourself in a more than 100-metre line trying to get inside and worship. In Shenzhen, there are usually an average of 500 people being baptized each Sunday!” he shared. Decades ago, the Chinese government had a law that said that young men and women below the age of 18 could not attend Three-Self Churches. Zhao says those rules have been loosened in recent years. “There’s an increasing proportion of them in churches now, more young male Believers, professionals, mainstream celebrities, especially in the big cities, that are attending the church unlike the past when it was mainly the elderly who attended.” While the government remains deeply suspicious of China’s religious revival, Johnson says it hasn’t stopped people from exploring matters of faith.

Source: CBN News
Australian Prayer Network, May 15, 2017

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Asia’s Maturing Church, by David Wang

Asia’s Maturing Church

David Wang

David Wang
David Wang

The world’s largest revival continues unabated despite widespread restrictions and persecution. Dr David Wang talks about why God is moving so dramatically among Asian believers at this time. David Wang is the International Director of Asian Outreach.

Article in Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth
Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – PDF

Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)
Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5) – PDF

_______________________________________

The traditional word ‘harvest’ no longer seems

adequate to describe what God is doing.

I would describe it as ‘the great ingathering’.

_______________________________________

Q. Is this truly a Decade of Harvest for Asia?

A. For 25 years I have been involved in Asian evangelism and mission. I must admit that there have been times of discouragement, particularly in the latter part of the 1960s. We saw a lot of activity and effort, but not many lasting results.

However I would say that for the past 20 years we have seen a tremendous response to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is happening not only in countries such as Korea and Singapore, which are enjoying phenomenal revival, but also in countries closed to traditional mission activities such as China and Vietnam. We’re now seeing the Holy Spirit moving in dramatic ways, resulting in conversions and church growth, with regular signs, wonders and miracles.

The traditional word ‘harvest’ no longer seems adequate to describe what God is doing. I would describe it as ‘the great ingathering’. This is even happening in traditionally difficult Thailand and Japan. I visited these countries very recently and both missionaries and national leaders were reporting breakthroughs of an unprecedented nature.

Q. Why is the Asian Church suddenly growing so dramatically?

A. We must give credit to the early missionaries who laboured, bled and died sowing the seed of the gospel. Some of the seeds laid dormant for many years. But they did take root. As God’s time comes upon this continent, they are now bearing fruit. Aided by signs, wonders and miracles some are bearing a hundred fold!

Secondly, we now see an explosion of the Church led by indigenous leadership. God is raising up excellent Asian leadership. Asian workers are now evangelising, sending out missionaries and bringing in a great harvest.

Thirdly, persecution and suffering inflicted by communist or atheist regimes and other religious forces have enhanced the Church’s growth even further.

But ultimately I recognise that it seems to be God’s sovereign plan. He seems to have a timetable, and now is the time for the Asian Church to experience revival, renewal, growth and expansion. It is God’s time for this continent.

Q. You mentioned persecution what specific role has it played?

A. Persecution has brought out two things in the Church of Asia. Firstly, it has brought forth Christ’s beauty in the lives of the believers. I know of Christians who have been deprived of everything that we consider important and are suffering deeply for their faith, yet they are living out a life of purity and simplicity in Christ. That kind of living has a great impact.

Secondly, persecution has returned the Church back to the basics of Christianity. It is no longer the clergy who are important. It is no longer the building that is important. What is important is having a fundamental relationship with Jesus Christ. Believers who have suffered persecution experience that Jesus is very real to them.

This return to the basics of Christianity and living a faithful life of beauty in Christ have resulted in mass conversions of people to Christianity.

Q. We read of thousands of these persecuted believers sharing a handful of Bibles and often having no pastor. How can the free world help to meet their urgent need for leadership and Bible-based teaching?

A. Without question this is the number one concern for every one of us who are involved in ministry into the Restricted Access Nations of Asia.

I think first of all we have to realise that ultimately it is God who gives the increase. He is also the author and finisher of this good work. We have to go back and trust Him and say, ‘Lord, it is your Church. It is your body. It is your vine. You take care of it.’

This seems to be a basic philosophy for Christians in the East. When you talk to leaders in the rural areas of China they say things like, ‘Another church has sprung up in that village over there. And a church of 7,000 has just exploded out of nowhere in that mountainous region.’ They give thanks to God for what He has started, and commit it to Him saying, ‘Lord, you continue to finish your work.’ I suppose we have to learn to do the same.

On the other hand, for ministries like Asian Outreach, we do need to shift more and more from pure evangelism to evangelismplusdiscipling. I would say now that at least 50% of our efforts targeted into the Restricted Access Nations are discipling and training in nature. Other ministries are also making a similar shift. In this part of the world, it has to be evangelism plus discipling now.

Q. What can believers in Asia’s Third World countries teach their brothers and sisters in the First World nations of the West?

A. In the West, or in the free world as a whole, I see the church identifying far more with the powerful victory of Jesus’ resurrection. They want that kind of relationship. They are keen for the success, the prosperity, the good things of the Risen King. Few partake in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering (Philippians 3:10). However I see the opposite in the Asian Church, particularly in countries where situations are confining and restrictive. These believers are more willing to fellowship with the suffering of Christ. To them that is the greater reward and privilege.

Recently one of our coworkers went to China with a large sum of money to bail out a Christian worker. She had been sentenced to five years of hard labour in a very poor province of China. A few days later my coworker returned with the money. That woman refused to be bailed out. She said, ‘Pray for me, but don’t get me out of this situation. Here is where the sinners are. Here is where the criminals are. Here is where Jesus Christ would have come. Now He has sent me. So please don’t bail me out.’

Q. Dr Paul Kauffman, the founder of Asian Outreach, has been quoted as saying, ‘For the cost of sending out one Westerner to the mission field, five Asians can be sent.’ Should we be sending more Asians?

A. Yes, and no. Looking over the last 15 years I do see the Asian Church moving from a ‘bless me’ position to a ‘bless the world’ position. They are now ready not only in attitude but also in capability. Christians in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and even Thailand or Indonesia are now in a position where they can pray, they can send, they can give and they can go. I am seeing more and more of the Asian Church changing from being missionary-receiving to becoming missionary-sending.

However, I do want to sound a warning. Third World mission is not the rising star and the answer to ushering in the return of Christ. We have our share of weaknesses and problems. We are just as culturally insensitive. We suffer our share of egocentric nationalism. We stumble over the same things that Western missionaries have stumbled over. Perhaps we are even more arrogant! I think the key is for Western and Asian churches to both send out missionaries. Together let’s cooperate in learning, teaching, sharing, caring and shouldering in a relationship of interdependence the Great Commission responsibility.

Q. Should we be sending Asian missionaries even to the West?

A. This is something we have to really work at on both ends. We, on our end, have to stop being nationalistic. Thus far I see far more Korean missionaries going to Koreans in overseas countries, or Japanese missionaries going to Japanese, or Chinese missionaries working among the Chinese diaspora. I would like to see Asian missionaries going to wherever the need and the response are the greatest, be it in the West, be it Africa, be it Latin America or be it anywhere.

It is also time for the West to realize that mission has undergone a fundamental change. It is no longer ‘from the West to the rest’. Mission is now a universal endeavour of God’s church. People of various nationalities have to learn to work side by side to spread the Gospel. So if it’s time for Asian missionaries to go to the West, well, let’s do it.

Q. Are we seeing Asian leadership with such a global view?

A. I do see Asian leadership taking more and more of a strategic role in world evangelism. Some are even holding highly recognizable positions, such as Dr Thomas Wang heading up the AD2000 Movement.

But as a whole, the Asian Church is currently producing localized leaders who are effective in their own culture, among their own people. Only a few are also gifted with multicultural flexibility and availability. However, I believe that in days to come we will see more and more Asian leaders who are bigger than their own church, or their own denomination; bigger even than their own nationalities. Because they are totally for the kingdom, they will take a vital role in Christian leadership worldwide.

Q. How will Asian leadership be different?

A. Over the last one hundred years Christian leadership has been primarily trained with a Western theology. This theology has a strong emphasis on the Gospel as the knowledge of God, and the wisdom of God. But there is a general lack of understanding and application of the Gospel as the power of God see 1 Corinthians 1:24. Thus the propagation of the Gospel has been mostly information based, and somewhat ‘powerless’ in a warfaring sense.

Now we’re seeing an influx of Asians along with Africans and Latin Americans into the overall leadership of the Church. Because of their cultural and historical backgrounds, they have a far better understanding and application of the Gospel as the power of God. Signs, wonders and power encounters are more common to their thinking and lives. I see this having a balancing effect, enabling the Church to make great advances into the world of darkness.

Q. There are some who believe that this ‘power of God’ belongs to another age. Yet we hear many stories of signs and wonders in Asia leading to mass conversions. Is God doing something different in Asia?

A. God is creative. He doesn’t have to repeat himself in any way. But I do see that He has a pattern of operation when it comes to breaking up new ground, opening up new countries.

He allows new signs, wonders and miracles to take place to create tremendous impact. Because Asian cultural influences include a traditional dominance of spiritism and spiritual activities, God has to use signs, wonders and miracles in a very, very phenomenal and outstanding manner to demonstrate that there is no other god but Himself.

I believe He also wants to demonstrate to people in the West that He is a God of power, a God of might. He is the Great Physician. Unfortunately for many, God is our last resort, and not the first and only resort. Therefore we don’t go to Him as desperately and frequently as our Asian brothers and sisters, seeking Him regularly for supernatural intervention. A Biblical principal is that the more you ask the more you receive; the more you knock, the more the doors are opened; the more you seek, the more you will find. That perhaps is one reason why we see more signs, wonders and miracles in Asia. They knock more. They seek more. They ask more.

Q. If God is raising up His Church through mass conversions and is refining it through persecution, where is God taking His people?

A. As I see the events happening all about us, I summarize the work of the Holy Spirit as ‘Immanuel and Maranatha’.

Firstly, I see God being with us. God is not only being with us in a theological way, a historical way, in a hearsay way: ‘I hear that God is doing this and this and this… wow!’ But God is with us in a very ‘Immanuel’ way: personal, current and relevant. And you know it: you sense it, you hear it, you see it, you touch it.

I am sensing that God’s Spirit is taking His people to a realization of the reality of Christ. Jesus is very real. As I fellowship with Christians in China, I don’t hear people saying, ‘We heard about,’ or ‘We read about,’ but rather ‘I experienced Him, I touched Him He touched me, He revealed Himself to me, I saw Him, and also He healed me.’ He is Immanuel in a first person, hands-on manner.

On the other hand I am seeing ‘Maranatha’. Christ is coming back very soon. I think I have never seen the world so shaken up, so disrupted, so changed to the point where everyone is in a state of confusion, flux, and uncertainty. Countries and peoples who previously were not particularly open to the Gospel are becoming receptive. With that kind of openness, the Church is presented with an unequalled opportunity: publish the good news, and proclaim the Gospel ’till He comes.

That’s where I see He’s taking His people. He is giving His people a strong sense of the reality of Immanuel. He is also giving us a strong awareness of Maranatha. Something really big is going to happen very soon.

Q. How can West and East work together to support and encourage each other?

A. In my 25 years of ministry I have seen some basic changes in the relationship between the Asian and Western Church. In the beginning there was a total reliance on the Western missionaries for personnel, provision and prayers to meet the needs in Asia. Everything seemed to be reliant on the West. Then I saw the pendulum swing to the other extreme. One general mood was ‘Missionaries, go home!’ Even missions echoed such a cry. Total dependence swung to total independence.

Now I see a new and more balanced phase: a phase of interdependence. I think both the Eastern and the Western churches have matured to accept the validity of each other, with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I see them valuing each other’s giftings. I see more and more a symbiotic relationship developing where we say, ‘You rely on me and I rely on you.’ We now recognize that we need each other to survive, to perpetuate.

I do not call this relationship a partnership. Partnership is often an arrangement of convenience. I would like to see more of a marriage relationship developing, which is not an arrangement of convenience but of mutual commitment and trust. It is a body relationship.

I have seen Asians receiving Westerners, and I pray that Westerners will increasingly receive Asians.

Q. What has been the burden of prayer upon your heart, above all else, about Asia?

A. In Asia I have seen churches grow from nothingness into, perhaps, the biggest churches in the world today, such as Yonggi Cho’s church and now the Hope of Bangkok, and several others such as the Full Gospel Assembly of Malaysia. I saw them when they were small, and now they’ve grown tremendously. As I look at this kind of phenomenon, the thing that encourages me greatly is to see the birthing and the growing up of a church. The thing that concerns me is that often the church started as an organism and ended up as an organization; started as a corporate body of believers and ended up as a corporation.

My prayer for Asia is that I want to see the basic, beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed, and a simple, pure bride of Jesus Christ prepared. That’s my prayer.

(c) Asian Report, March/April, 1992 (G.P.O. Box 3448, Hong Kong).

Used with permission.

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_____________________________
more people are praying and
more people are being reached for
Jesus Christ than ever before
_____________________________

The last decade of the twentieth century was seen as a decade of evangelism and harvest.  It capped a century of astounding church growth.

We can thank the Lord for it, and pray all the more earnestly for over two-thirds of the world yet to be won to Christ.  Praying makes a huge difference.  We co‑operate with God in prayer as the Spirit of the Lord moves in mighty power in the earth.

More people are praying now for revival than ever before.  You can be one.  So can your prayer group and your church.

Mission statistician David Barrett, researched the magnitude of the prayer movement, noted that be the end of the twentieth century more than 170 million Christians were committed to praying every day for spiritual awakening and world evangelization.  In addition, more than 10 million prayer groups focus on those priorities.  Over 20 million Christians worldwide believe their primary ministry calling is to pray daily for revival and for fulfilment of the Great Commission.

Such massive praying, including yours, is linked with incredible church growth around the world.

Peter Wagner’s research described Latin American Evangelicals growing from 50,000 in 1900 to over 5 million in the 1950s, over 10 million in the 1960s, over 20 million in the 1970s, around 50 million by the end of the eighties and 137 million by 2000.  Over 100 new churches begin every week.  Now the church in Latin America grows at over 10,000 every day, or 3.5 million a year.

Africa saw church growth from 10 million in 1900 to over 200 million by the early eighties, with 400 by 2000.  Christians grew from 9% to 50% of Africa in the twentieth century.  Around 25,000 to 30,000 are added to the church daily in Africa, an estimated 10 million a year.

China, with 1 million evangelicals in 1950, has seen growth to an estimated 100 million.  In 1992 the State Statistical Bureau of China indicated that there were 75 million Christians in China (Asian Report 197, Oct/Nov 1992, p. 9).  David Yonggi Cho now estimates 100 million Christians in China’s 960 million population amid incredible persecution.  Current growth rates are estimated at 35,000 a day or over 12 million a year.

South Korea, a Buddhist country in 1900, had 20% Christian by 1980 and 30% by 1990 with estimates of 50% by 2000.  David Yonggi Cho heads a church of over 800,000 members with over 25,000 home groups and over 12,000 new members every month.  They have sent out 10,000 missionaries and commenced many other huge churches.

An official report of the former Soviet Union in 1990 acknowledged that 90 million of its 290 million inhabitants confessed allegiance to a church or religious community (Worldwide Photos Limited, Renewing Australia, June 1990, p. 38). Christians estimate that over 97 million are converted in Russia, that is one third of the population (Pratney 1984:273).

One quarter of Indonesia is now reported to be Christian. These islands have seen many revivals and people movements such as in 1965 amid political turmoil when over 100,000 animistic Muslims became Christian on the island of Java alone. Revival continues there.

Reports indicate that more Muslims have come to Christ in the past decade than in the previous thousand years. ‘New believers are immediately tested to a degree incomprehensible to us. Many are imprisoned and some have been martyred by governments or relatives. Yet the persecution seems only to strengthen their determination and boldness. In one country, where all Christian meetings are illegal, believers rented a soccer stadium and 5,000 people gathered. Police came to disperse the meeting and left in confusion when the Christians refused to leave’ (United Prayer Track News, No. 1, Brisbane, 1993).

1700 unevangelized people groups worldwide in the mid-seventies had been reduced to 1200 by 1990, and further reduced to 5,500 in 1993. David Wang of Asian Outreach estimates that these unreached people groups can all be reached by 1997.

The ‘Jesus’ Film, based on Luke’s gospel, has been seen by an estimated 503 million people in 197 countries, and 33 million or more have indicated decisions for Christ as a result. It has more than 6,300 prints in circulation and around 356,000 video copies. The world’s most widely translated film, Jesus, has been dubbed into more than 240 languages, with 100 more in progress (National & International Religion Report, May 3, 1993, p.1).

The CBNTV (Christian Broadcasting Network) 700 Club with Pat Robertson reported 6 million conversions in their work worldwide in 1990, which was more than the previous 30 years of results combined.

John Naisbitt, secular sociologist and author of ‘Megatrends’ (1982), has coauthored ‘Megatrends 2000’ (1990) in which one chapter forecasts religious revivals in the nineties including widespread charismatic renewal. He notes that one fifth, or 10 million, of America’s 53.5 million Catholics then called themselves charismatics, emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

David Barrett research has uncovered the massive growth of the number of Pentecostal/charismatic Christians.  His figures indicate growth from its beginnings in 1900 to 550 million by 2000.   Pentecostal/charismatic Christians are now more than one third of all practicing Christians in the world today, just one indication of how the Spirit of God is moving.

The Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal group in the world, grew from 4.5 million in 1975 to over 13 million by 1985 and 16 million by 1990.  By the decade of the nineties it was the largest or second largest Protestant denomination in 30 countries.

Much of the amazing church growth results from visitations or outpourings of the Spirit of God. Leaders, pastors or evangelists are surprised and often overwhelmed. Rapid church growth has happened before, but never on such a large scale as now.

Such amazing growth is accompanied by fervent prayer, and usually grows out of earnest praying. People repent and turn to God. Lives are changed in large numbers. It makes a significant impact on society. Signs and wonders are common, as in the New Testament.

Revival and church growth

Church history and current revivals include times when God moves in great power. Revivals often result in rapid church growth.

* The early church saw it. Read Acts! At Pentecost 3,000 were won in one day. Soon after that there were 5,000 more. Then great multitudes of men and women. They had the reputation of turning their world upside down (Acts 17:6).

* Missionary expansion continued to see it. For example, Patrick in Ireland and Augustine in England saw strong moves of God and thousands converted with many signs and wonders reported.

* The Moravians saw it. On Wednesday 13 August 1727 the Moravian colony in Germany was filled with the Spirit at their communion service. Their leader, 27 year old Count Nicholas Zinzendorf, said it was like being in heaven. Within 25 years they sent out 100 missionaries, more than all the Protestants had done in two centuries.

* The American colonies saw it. 50,000 were converted in 17345. Jonathan Edwards described the characteristics of that move as, first, an extraordinary sense of the awful majesty, greatness and holiness of God, and second, a great longing for humility before God and adoration of God.

* 1739 saw astonishing moves of God in England. On 1st January the Wesleys and Whitefield and 60 others, Methodists and Moravians, met in London for prayer and a love feast. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. Many fell to the ground, resting in the Spirit. In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields with about 200 attending. By March 20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley began his famous open air preaching (which continued for 50 years).

* John Hunt, a pioneering Methodist missionary in Fiji, wrote in his journal about revival there in October 1845. The Spirit fell on the people in meetings and in their homes. There were loud cries of repentance, confession, long meetings, simultaneous praying aloud, and some being overwhelmed. ‘Many cases of conversion were as remarkable as any we have heard or read of: many of the penitents had no command whatever of themselves for hours together, but were completely under the influence of their feelings. … During the first week of the revival nearly 100 persons professed to obtain the forgiveness of sins, through faith in Jesus Christ. Some were exceedingly clear, others not so clear’ (Birtwhistle 1954:133).

* Jeremiah Lanphier, a city missioner, began a weekly noon prayer meeting in New York in September 1857. By October it grew into a daily prayer meeting attended by many businessmen. By March 1858 newspapers carried front page reports of over 6,000 attending daily prayer meetings in New York and Pittsburgh, and daily prayer meetings were held in Washington at five different times to accommodate the crowds. By May 1859, 50,000 of New York’s 800,000 people were new converts. New England was profoundly changed by the revival and in several towns no unconverted adults could be found! Charles Finney preached in those days.

* During September 1857, the same month the prayer meetings began in New York, four young Irishmen commenced a weekly prayer meeting in a village school near Kells. That is generally seen as the start of the Ulster revival of 1859 which brought 100,000 converts into the churches of Ireland.

* Throughout 1859 the same deep conviction and lasting conversions revived thousands of people in Wales, England and Scotland. One tenth of Wales became new converts. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Baptist prince of preachers, saw 1859 as the high water mark although he had already been preaching in London for five years with great blessing and huge crowds in a church where people prayed continually and had seen continual growth.

Twentieth Century Awakenings

* From October 1904 Evan Roberts in his twenties, formerly a miner and blacksmith, saw God move powerfully in answer to his and others’ persistent prayers. 100,000 were converted in Wales during 19045. Churches filled from 10 am till after midnight every day for two years, bringing profound social change to Wales.

* William Seymour began a Mission at Azusa Street in Los Angeles on Easter Saturday, 14 April 1906 with about 100 attending, both blacks and whites. It grew out of a cottage prayer meeting. Revival there drew people from around the nation and overseas and launched Pentecostalism as a world wide movement.

* Revival in Korea swept the nation in 1907. Presbyterian missionaries, hearing of revival in Wales, prayed earnestly for the same in Korea. 1500 representatives gathered for the annual New Year Bible studies in which a spirit of prayer broke out. The leaders allowed everyone to pray aloud simultaneously as so many were wanting to pray. That became a characteristic of Korean prayer meetings. Revival continues there now.

* The famous cricketer and missionary, C T Studd reported on revival in the Belgian Congo in 1914: ‘The whole place was charged as if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly. … This particular one can best be described as a spiritual tornado. People were literally flung to the floor or over the forms, yet no one was hurt. … As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power. We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with the Spirit’ (W.E.C. 1954:1215; Pratney 1984:267).

* The famous East African revival began in Rwanda in June 1936 and rapidly spread to the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Uganda and the Congo (now Zaire), then further around. The Holy Spirit moved upon mission schools, spread to churches and to whole communities, producing deep repentance and changed lives. Anglican Archdeacon Arthur Pitt-Pitts wrote in September, ‘I have been to all the stations where this Revival is going on, and they all have the same story to tell. The fire was alight in all of them before the middle of June, but during the last week in June, it burst into a wild flame which, like the African grass fire before the wind, cannot be put out’ (Osborn 1991:21).

* God moved upon the mountain town of Soe in Timor on Sunday 26 September 1965. That night people heard the sound of a tornado wind and flames above the Reformed Church building prompted police to set off the fire alarm. Healings and evangelism increased dramatically. Hundreds of thousands were converted. About 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts. The first team saw 9,000 people converted in two weeks in one town alone. In the first three years of this revival 200,000 became Christians in Timor, and on another small island where few had been Christians 20,000 became believers.

* God’s power visited Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February 1970 at the regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o’clock. The auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day. Teams of students visited 16 states and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing in one week. Over 1,000 teams went out in the first six weeks.

* The Jesus Movement exploded in 1971 among hippie and counter culture youth in America in the early seventies. Thousands were baptized in the ocean. Vital new groups like Calvary Chapel led by Chuck Smith emerged and multiplied rapidly. Newspapers of the movement included the Hollywood Free Paper which grew from a circulation of 10,000 to over 150,000 in two years; Truth merged with Agape and printed 100,000. Right On! grew from 20,000 to 100,000 circulation (Pratney 1984:231).

* In 1971 Bill McLeod, a Canadian Baptist pastor, invited the twin evangelists Ralph and Lou Sutera to speak at his church in Saskatoon. Revival broke out with their visit which began on Wednesday 13 October. By the weekend an amazing spirit gripped the people. Many confessed their sins publicly. Meetings had to be moved to the Civic Auditorium seating 2000. This spread to other churches as well.

* In September 1973 Todd Burke arrived in Cambodia on a one week visitor’s visa, later extended. Just 23 years old, he felt a strong call from God to minister there. By the end of September he had seen hundreds healed and saved. A virile church grew rapidly, later buried after the communist coup of 1975. By 1978 a million Cambodians had been killed. Still the decimated church survives, and is growing again.

* In 1977 John Wimber began pastoring a fellowship which his wife Carol had begun in their home. Their Vineyard Fellowship grew rapidly with their prayerful worship, powerful evangelism and a growing healing ministry. On Mother’s Day in May, 1981, a young man gave his testimony at the evening service and called on the Holy Spirit to come in power. Revival broke out at that service as hundreds were dramatically filled with the Spirit. In the next four months they baptized 700 new converts. The church grew to 5,000 in a decade and commenced many other Vineyard fellowships.

* The church in China continues to see God’s strong move amid great persecution, torture and killing which still continues. David Wang tells of a pastor imprisoned for over 22 years who left behind a church of 150 people scattered through the hill villages in northern China. On his release in the 1980s he discovered the church in that area had grown to 5,000. Three years later it had trebled to 15,000. Evangelists who saw 3040 converted in each village they visited in the eighties now report 300400 or more being converted in their visits. Some villages are experiencing a visitation of God where the whole village becomes Christian.

* Nagaland, a state in the NorthEast of India, began to experience revival in the 1960s and has continued in revival. By the early 1980s 85% of the population had become Christians (Mills 1990:40).

* Missionaries were expelled from Burma in the 1960s but the church continues to grow. A baptismal service at the Kachin Baptist Centenial Convention in 1977 saw 6,000 people baptised in one day.

* During the 1980s the 200 missionaries of the Philippine Missionary Fellowship each organised daily prayer group meetings at 7.00 pm to pray for the growth of the church. They report that within a couple of years this directly resulted in the formation of 310 new churches (Robinson 1992:13).

* Revival has been spreading in the Pacific islands, especially in the Solomons since JulyAugust 1970 when God moved powerfully in the nation, especially in meetings with Muri Thompson a Maori evangelist. The Spirit came in power, producing deep and loud repentance, much confession, signs and wonders, and transformed churches. Teams have gone from the Solomons to many other countries, sparking many other revivals.

* Engas in the Baptist mission area of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea had a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit from Sunday 16 September 1973, as the village pastors preached in their services after attending meetings during the previous week led by visitors from the Solomon Islands. Many were saved. Many were delivered from evil spirits. Many were healed. The church grew rapidly.

* The Huli speaking people of the United Church in Tari in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea also experienced revival from August 1974, with much confession, many tears, and deliverance from spirit powers. That revival spread to surrounding areas also.

* On Thurdsay afternoon 10 March, 1977 at Duranmin near the West Irian border of Papua New Guinea, Diyos Wapnok the principal of the Baptist Bible College spoke to about 50 people. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and great joy. Keith and Joan Bennet of Gateway were there. 3,000 were converted in the next three years. They had daily prayer meetings in the villages and many healings and miracles.

* Aborigines in Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, in northern Australia, experienced revival from Wednesday 14 March 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra had returned from holidays that day and people met in his manse for prayer that night where the Spirit fell on them, as at Pentecost. They met all night and many were filled with the Spirit and many healed. The movement spread rapidly from there throughout Arnhem Land.

* In the Sepik lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea a visitation of God burst on the churches at Easter 1984, sparked again by Solomon Island pastors. There was repentance, confession, weeping and great joy. Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and wrongs made right.

* Jobson Misang, an indigenous youth worker in the United Church reported on a move of God in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea in 1988. For 8 weekends straight he led camps where 3,500 took part and 2,000 were converted.

* The Evangelist Training Centre of the Lutheran church in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea had a visitation of God on Thursday night 4 August 1988. Crowds stayed up most of the night as the Spirit touched people deeply, many resting in the Spirit, others praying in tongues. Students went out on powerful mission igniting fires of the Spirit in the villages.

* On Saturday 6 May 1989 the Spirit of God fell on Waritzian village in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands. For three days the people were drunk in the Spirit. Healing and miracles occurred. On the Monday they burned their magic and witchcraft fetishes. The area had been a stronghold of spirit worship. Students from the Lutheran Training Centre were involved that weekend.

Harvest in the 1990s

* In the 1980s Christians in East Germany started to form small prayer groups of ten to twelve persons to pray for peace. By October 1989, 50,000 people were involved in Monday night prayer meetings. In 1990, when these praying people moved quietly into the streets, their numbers swelled to 300,000 and the wall came down (Robinson 1992:14).

* In the former U.S.S.R. there were 640 registered Pentecostal churches and many more unregistered. By the eighties 30,000 young people were meeting together in Poland to seek for the power of the Holy Spirit (Pratney 1984:273). Those numbers continue to expand in the nineties.

* Pastor Giedrius Saulytis of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, tells how after his conversion in 1987 he commenced a church which had 15 people in 1989. In 1993 that church has 60 home cells with 1,500 attending services, 800 being registered members. They have started three other churches, one of which now has 1,000 attending. Every week preachers from their church preach 20 times in 12 different cities in Lithuania (Church Growth, Spring 1993, p. 19).

* In a 1991 crusade in Leningrad 70,000 out of 90,000 attending made commitments to Christ. Russian delegates to the July, 1991, charismatic leaders conference in Brighton, England, reported on the amazing growth of the church in Russia (ARMA Brisbane Newsletter, Sept/Oct 1991).

* A Moscow conference with Pastor Cho of Seoul, Korea, held in June, 1992, at the Kremlin and a plaza nearby, attracted over 40,000 participants. Among them were 15,000 new converts (Church Growth, Winter 1992, p. 12).

* Chaplains in the Gulf War told of thousands of conversions and baptisms among the American troops from September 1990 to January 1991. 10,000 conversions were reported.

* Christians in Iran have recently grown in number from 2,700 to over 12,000 according to Abe Ghaffari of Iranian Christians International. An additional 12,000 Iranian Christians live in Western nations. Disillusionment with harsh Islamic law has opened Iran to the Gospel (United Prayer Track News, No. 1., Brisbane, 1993).

* Harvest has begun among the Kurds who have been hounded into refugee camps where Christians have helped and comforted them. The first Kurdish church in history has resulted. Many Kurds are open to the Gospel (United Prayer Track News, No. 1, Brisbane, 1993).

* In 1990 a bloodless revolution freed Mongolia from Russian rule. Within two years more than 500 people became Christian in that formerly resistant nation. A young girl was the first in her area to accept Christ. Now she reports that 70 others are meeting every week with her.

* The church in the Sudan is suffering under Islamic edicts. Missionaries are expelled, pastors imprisoned, and Christians persecuted. Despite the persecution there has been phenomenal church growth reported, especially in the south and the Nuba mountains region.

* A church leader wrote from Asaba, Nigeria, in 1992, telling how their church had increased from 700 to 3,200 within 6 months. A team of just over 100 went on outreach, first in Sokoto State where they started 5 churches involving 1,225 converts within 3 months. Then they went to Bomu State where 3 branches were planted with over 1,000 converts in all. Many Moslems were converted. He added,

When we reached Kano which is a Moslem state, we were able to preach for 2 weeks. Suddenly, the 3rd week, we were attacked, beaten and our property looted including our Bibles. Out of the 105 persons with me, 85 of them were killed, 17 mercilessly maimed (hands cut off). Only three escaped unharmed. I was beaten to unconsciousness, and imprisoned for 6 months without a hearing. After returning home, I was sued by some of the families of those who died in the outreach. Finally, I am particularly grateful to God that the Church of God is marvellously marching on in these three states. Praise the Lord! (Church Growth, Autumn 1992, p. 23).

* The church in previously resistant Nepal in the Himalayas is growing steadily. David Wang tells of a former Lama priest nicknamed Black Bravery, who has been an illiterate pastor for 15 years. By the nineties he led 43 fellowships with a total of 32,000 people. Another pastor in a remote area has 40,000 Christians in his region. Most conversions in Nepal involve casting out demons to set people free (Asian Report, May/June 1991).

* In October-November 1990, one small island in Indonesia saw 30,000 converted and 45,000 were baptized in another region in January-February 1991. This growth is among former animistic Muslims.

* Ruth Rongo from Vanuatu told of three months of evangelism ministry in 1991 where the power of God touched many villages and shocked the villagers with miracles just as in the New Testament. The church grew rapidly. Ruth was then involved in a prayer group which met after the Sunday night service. They began at 10.30 pm and prayed every week to 1 or 3.30 am

* John and Barbara Hutton were missionaries with the Huli people of Tari in Papua New Guinea. In April, 1993, Barbara wrote, ‘We have recently been to P.N.G. again. We were blessed to be part of a Youth Camp. I have never seen such exuberant and joyous worship among the Huli people before. There is a fresh move of the Spirit occurring. The highlight of the trip was the baptism of 100 young people in Tari when the Holy Spirit fell on the group before they even stepped into the water. A youth group of 6 there just last December was about 400 strong before we left late January. God moved through Huli university students home on holidays.’

* Eric Alexander of the Bible Society in India wrote in 1993, ‘I was in Amedabad in the month of February and was delighted to see a great revival in the Church there. I was surprised to hear that 30,000 people have accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour in the Diocese of Gujarat (Church of North India). Thousands of new converts are in the Methodist, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and Pentecostal churches. There are thousands and thousands!’ (Sharing Australia, SOMA Newsletter, March 1993, p. 2).

* Fresh touches of God’s Spirit have been felt in Australia in 1993. It is only a beginning, but thank God for every touch of the Lord.

During May and June the Christian Outreach Centres experienced a strong move of the Spirit, with much repenting, and many resting in the Spirit or drunk in the Spirit for hours, or days. Many have received visions and prophetic insights, including young people and children in the schools. Beginning at their headquarters in Brisbane it spread to their churches. It brought a new zeal for evangelism and outreach.

Gateway Baptist Church moved into its new 1500 seat auditorium in 1993 (the former Queensland Expo Pavilion from Expo 1988), with around 1200 attending and more involved in their 4050 prayer groups, cell groups and outreach groups than ever before.

Networks of small home churches are also forming now. Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane all have clusters of house churches or emerging networks which are linked for fellowship and accountability. These too are increasing in Australia.

Informal prayer groups as well as organized prayer groups of churches and Christian organisations continue to multiply as never before. This is true in Australia also. Much of this prayer involves a new commitment to repentance and revival.

Pray always

Every revival move is born in prayer personal prayer, prayer cells, prayer groups, prayer meetings, prayer in church, prayer in the car (with your eyes open!), prayer in bed, prayer with friends, prayer on the phone, prayer with people of other churches, pastors of different churches praying together, combined churches prayer meetings.

David Bryant, founder president of Concerts of Prayer International, suggests practical steps we can take in response to the phenomenal developments around the world (National & International Religion Report, May 1992, pp. 78):

1. Believe that God wants revival. Pray with faith and vision.

2. Join a small prayer group. Share the vision. Set the pace.

3. Work at integrating the prayer movement. Consider four ‘C’ areas:
closet prayer personal prayer life;
cluster prayer in small group settings;
congregational prayer when an entire church meets to pray;
concerts of prayer inter-church prayer meetings and rallies.

4. Seek out ‘pools of renewal’ in churches and organizations in your area, especially those praying for revival. Find ways to flow together and encourage one another.

5. Be equipped in your prayer life. Many resources are available (including this journal!). Share these resources together.

6. Get involved in a communication network. That will keep you informed. Note the renewal resources listed in this journal.

7. Visit places where prayer is flourishing. Talk to the leaders and bring reports to your own group.

8. Most importantly, don’t give up. We inherit the promises by faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12).

* Peter Wagner reported an example of prayer in Latin America. Arturo Arias, the pastor of an 800member church Centro Misionero El Sembrador in El Salvador, spoke at a meeting of church leaders in Guatamala. Wagner writes:

He told us how his church has received an unusual burden from God for extended prayer and that they responded by scheduling a 24 hour prayer meeting. They received such a blessing from God that they then attempted a 48hour meeting. God continued to pour out His presence and power.

Could they extend it and keep the church open for 7 days and nights of continuous prayer? They did, and the anointing increased. The day before Pastor Arturo left for our meeting his church had concluded a 10day continuous prayer meeting!

As he finished his address he said, half in jest, that his people were so enthusiastic about prayer that they were asking, ‘Can we have a month long prayer meeting?’ I immediately approached him privately and said, ‘How about challenging the Centro Misionero El Sembrador to become the first church to commit to an all month24 hour a day prayer meeting through October 1993?’

Arturo Arias replied, ‘I can easily speak for my church on this matter. Consider it done! We are committed to 31 days of continuous prayer next October!

What a challenge to the rest of us!  (Prayer Track News, Sept-Dec, 1992)

So, pray without ceasing. We live in a time when more people are praying and more people are being reached for Jesus Christ than ever before. May God find us responsive as we watch and pray.

References

Birtwhistle, A (1954) In His Armour. London: Cargate

Burke, T & D (1977) Anointed for Burial. Seattle: Frontline.

Koch, K (n.d.) The Revival in Indonesia. Evangelization Publishers.

Mills, B (1990) Preparing for Revival. Eastbourne: Kingsway.

Osborn, H H (1991) Fire in the Hills. Crowborough: Highland.

Pratney, W (1984) Revival. Springdale: Whitaker House.

Richardson, D (1981) Eternity in Their Hearts. Ventura: Regal.

Robinson, S (1992) ‘Praying the Price’. Melbourne: ABMS

Tari, M (1971) Like a Mighty Wind. Carol Springs: Creation House.

Tari, M & N (1974) The Gentle Breeze of Jesus. Carol Springs:

Wagner, C P (1983) On the Crest of the Wave. Glendale: Regal

Wagner, C P (1986) Spiritual Power and Church Growth. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Wagner, C P (1992) Prayer Shield. Ventura: Regal.

Watt, E S (n.d.) Floods on Dry Ground. Marshall, Morgan & Scott.

W.E.C. (1954) This is That. Christian Literature Crusade.

Further details of some of the revivals mentioned in this article are given in the article on ‘Revival Fire’ in the first issue of this Renewal Journal.

____________________________________________________________

(c) Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth (1993, 2011), pages 7-14.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (republished 2011)
Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth
Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – PDF

Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – Editorial

Church Growth through Prayer, by Andrew Evans

Growing a Church in the Spirit’s Power, by Jack Frewen-Lord

Evangelism brings Renewal, by Cindy Pattishall-Baker

New Life for an Older Church, by Dean Brookes

Renewal Leadership, by John McElroy

Reflections on Renewal, by Ralph Wicks

Local Revivals in Australia, by Stuart Piggin

Asia’s Maturing Church, by David Wang

Astounding Church Growth, by Geoff Waugh

RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5) – PDF

Renewal 2: Church Growth on Amazon and Kindle and The Book Depository

 

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Local Revivals in Australia, by Stuart Piggin

Local Revivals in Australia

Stuart Piggin

Stuart Piggin

Dr Stuart Piggin, Director of the Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience at Macquarie University, lectured in history at Wollongong and Macquarie Universities before taking up his present appointment.  His books include studies of Australian Church History and of Evangelicalism.

Article in Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth
Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – PDF

Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)
Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5) – PDF

________________________________

Be encouraged to pray
until the inundation of the Spirit comes

________________________________

I want to advance four propositions about the history of revivals in Australia, and then comment on the prospects for revival in Australia today.

Four propositions

1. Local revivals have been frequent in Australian history.

In my research I have found references to 71 local revivals in nineteenth century Australia. And far from being impervious to revival, the twentieth century has witnessed more revivals than any previous age. This century has witnessed the greatest growth ever in the Christian Church, and revival in Africa, Asia, and South America is endemic.

In Australia the new century began with the largest evangelistic campaigns in Australia’s history. R. A. Torrey arrived in Melbourne (April 1902) following successful evangelistic tours in Japan and China. Attendances totalled a quarter of a million each week when the population of the whole of Victoria was only one million. Meanwhile, in 1902/3 a tent mission crusade throughout 200 country towns of NSW reported 25,000 inquirers.

In the 1920s there were rather spectacular revivals associated with Pentecostalism. In 1925 a revival broke out in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine. Hundreds came under conviction of sin, were filled by the Great Baptizer, and created such excitement that people came from all over Australia to receive blessing. Out of this was formed the Pentecostal Church of Australia.

The 1930s, the decade of the African revival, witnessed scenes of considerable spiritual vitality in Melbourne. The Methodist Local Preachers Branch was very vigorous and had an impact on evangelical life in Australia. Teams of these local preachers went all over Australia and New Zealand. For many years it held a Holiness Convention each King’s Birthday weekend in Melbourne. It was conducted entirely by laymen. A Baptist minister, George Hall, who trained in America under Dr R. A. Torrey and Dr Campbell Morgan, and who knew evangelical life in USA intimately, said the Methodist Local Preachers Melbourne Branch Holiness Convention was the greatest spiritual force he had ever experienced.

The 1930s also saw scenes of revival in Queensland, especially connected with the Pentecostal branch of Methodism. Revivals were reported at Woombye, Kingscliffe, and Toowoomba. One who was used in this work was Booth Clibborn, grandson of William Booth. Other effective evangelists were Gavin Hamilton, Hyman Appleman, Garry Love and Gypsy Smith. The aboriginal pastor, Rodney Minniecon, now at Griffith, was a product of the same movement.

There were revivals associated with the name of Geoff Bingham in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, some remarkable occasions associated with the Jesus movement, particularly among young people in Melbourne, and, of course, revival broke among aborigines on Elcho Island in March 1979.

2. Evidence indicates that local revivals have been genuine.

Consider the revival at Kiama in 1864 under the ministry of the Rev. Thomas Angwin, a Methodist. His sermons revealed a knowledge of ‘the deep things of God’, and congregations and prayer meetings grew in number, swelled by Presbyterians and Anglicans who sought a richer fare than they were receiving in their own churches. On ‘one of the later Sundays’ in July 1864 the revival came:

“The arrows were sharp in the hands of the King’s messenger that night. They were straightly aimed, and shot with all the intensity of a love baptized with the compassion of the Christ. … The next night there was almost equally as large a congregation at the prayer meeting. Then began what the good old people called ‘a breaking down’. The communion rail was crowded with seekers. Some hoar-headed men were amongst them; a storekeeper in the town, notorious for his fearful temper and furious conduct when under its influence; some gentle-spirited women; a number of senior lads from the Sunday schools … Night after night for the rest of the week and into the middle of the next, the meetings continued. … It was a revival which gave workers to the Church, teachers to the Sunday School, local preachers to the circuit plan and ultimately several ministers to the Australian Methodist Church” (Carruthers 1922:32).

Revival in Australian Methodism in the second half of the nineteenth century is mainly associated with John Watsford, the first Australian-born Methodist clergyman. In Ballarat in the 1860s, in Parramatta, in the inner city suburbs of Surry Hills and Balmain, and in country town such as Windsor and Goulburn, Watsford was used to ignite the fires of revival. Of a service in the Bourke Street Methodist church, Sydney, in 1860, Watsford (1901:123) reported:

“To a congregation which packed the building I preached from ‘Quench not the Spirit’. What a time we had. The whole assembly was mightily moved, the power was overwhelming; many fell to the floor in agony, and there was a loud cry for mercy. The police came rushing in to see what was the matter; but there was nothing for them to do. It was impossible to tell how many penitents came forward; there must have been over two hundred. The large schoolroom was completely filled with anxious inquirers.”

3. Revivals have raised moral standards of whole communities.

The 1902/3 tent meeting crusade in rural NSW crusade which resulted in the conversion of 25,000 was nowhere more wonderful in its manifestation than in the coal mining villages of the Illawarra when 2735 professed conversion or some 15% of the region’s population. The fire of the Spirit fell on each coal mining village in a work described as ‘gloriously monotonous’. At Mt Kembla 131 professed conversions; Mt Keira 214; Balgownie 183; Bulli 292; Helensburgh 234 and so on. At Mt Kembla ‘an intense emotion with an evident assent to the Preacher’s burning words were imprinted on every face and feature’.

What about the impact on the moral tone of the community? At Mt Keira swearing disappeared and the pit ponies in the mines stopped work as they could no longer understand their instructions, a phenomenon also reported in the Welsh revival 3 years later. Asked what was the evidence that the revival was genuine, the Rev. D. O’Donnell replied that the question was a very proper one, since there should be ‘works meet for repentance’. He catalogued four evidences:

“First, payment of debts. Tradesmen report the settlement of accounts they had long regarded as bad. Second, a pure language. …  It is said that in the Mount Keira pit an oath has scarcely been heard since the Mission . . . Third, a fair day’s work.  The proprietor of one of the mines told me that the biggest day’s output of coal they ever had, followed the Mission. Fourth, attendance at Church.  All the churches report greatly increased congregations and increase in the membership” (Colwell 1904:630).

The great revivals of the past have always resulted in a decline in national illegality and immorality. The same is true of the Billy Graham Crusades in Australia in 1959. The number of convictions for all crimes committed in Australia doubled between 1920 and 1950 and then doubled again between 1950 and 1959 when the population increased by only one quarter. Then, in 1960, 1961, and 1962, the number of convictions remained fairly constant, resuming its dramatic upward trend in the middle and late 60s.

The illegitimate birthrate was also investigated to get some rough index to noncriminal community standards. In the period 1955 to 1965 this index rose every year to almost double the 1954 figure, but the year it rose slowest (.06%) was in 1960. The illegitimate children not conceived in 1959 were not born in 1960!

Turning to alcohol consumption, the Bureau of Statistics supplied the following figures.

Annual Per Capita Consumption of Beer in Australia in Litres 1958-59  111.01,  1968-69  113.5,  1978-79  133.2.

This also reveals the same deteriorating trends as we have seen in all the other social indicators. It is therefore striking to learn that the figure for 196061 is 100.1, that is 10% lower than the 195859 figure, an unexpected and dramatic fall.

4. Revival comes with social salvation to marginalized and underprivileged groups.

Today’s aborigines, who number about 150,000 in Australia, are experiencing revival, with some of their own movements emerging. There has been a change in the tone of communities touched by revival: less drunkenness, petrol sniffing, and fighting; greater conscientiousness in work; an increased boldness in speaking out against social injustices. At the Anglican Roper River Mission (Ngukurr) which had been reduced to a social disaster area by the granting of a liquor licence, the revival, which began in 1979, came as a form of social salvation. Sister Edna Brooker exclaimed: ‘New life has come to Ngukurr. Half the population say they have turned to Christ and the transformation from alcohol, petrol sniffing and immorality is very wonderful’ (Boyd 1986).

At Warburton in Western Australia 500 came to the Lord and were baptized. At Wiluna crime dropped to zero and the local publican had to put on free beer to entice people back into his pub.

So, revival comes as a form of social salvation to a needy people. In Australia the major perceived problems are economic recession and malaise; unemployment; marital breakdown and the poverty of relationships; drugs; death on the roads; environmental rape; demoralization of the young. Revival would be the chief means of energizing the Church in general and Christians in particular to address these problems.

Prospects for revival in Australia

1. Revivals are often caught rather than taught.

Many people, particularly in the missionary movement, are learning about revival which is endemic in other parts of the world and are bringing what they have learned back to Australia.

Australian missionaries working in Africa learned much from the East African revival which began in Ruanda in 1931. Revival has been endemic in the Solomons since the early 1970s. Among the missionaries was George Strachan who has written an instructive book entitled Revival: its blessings and battles. There, for example, he answered the important question, ‘Why do revivals not start?’

“Lack of real prayer is a major hindrance. For many of us prayer is of no great importance. It is just an ‘extra’ to a busy life. But prayer that brings power takes precedence over all else. Nothing should be allowed to steal away time spent with God in prayer” (1989:55).

In 1962 Geoff Bingham, who had been influenced by the East African revival, returned from Pakistan. That year Bingham taught at a teaching mission at Thornleigh. He taught all the great truths which had crystallized for him when he experienced revival in Pakistan: the holiness of God; the tyrants which hold people in bondage, namely sin, the flesh, Satan, principalities and powers; God’s wrath, the conscience, the law. He then showed how all of those have a hold over us because of guilt, but that when the guilt was taken away in the cross so the bondage is taken away.

A prayer meeting before the mission was held in the home of Fred George, a returned CMS missionary from Tanzania. About thirty people attended it. At first the meeting was fairly routine with prayer for the church and mission, and then Geoff said ‘I think that the Lord wants to bring home to us now what the Lord thinks of us.’ He read from Psalm 24, ‘Who shall ascend to the hill of the Lord? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.’

Then he suggested that those present should come to the Lord and ask him to reveal himself. They all knelt down in a circle, and then someone began to weep, and a great conviction came over all of them. Some tried to pray, but dissolved in sobs.

One who could not attend that mission because he was sick was John Dunn. At that home prayer meeting there came over John Dunn an incredible sense of his own depravity in the sight of God. He saw something extraordinary. It was as if he were standing outside himself, looking at himself. And he wanted to flee from himself as fast and as far as he could because of the horrific sight he had of his own sin. He was crushed and broke down and sobbed convulsively, and the others around him were prostrate on the floor, broken-hearted.

Then a gentle quietness came over the whole group, and then a wonderful sense of God’s total forgiveness. Then they sang and sang until they were hoarse. The singing and intercession just went on and on, until someone said, ‘It’s half past four in the morning’. Everyone was staggered that so much time had elapsed.

2. The Theology of Revival is increasingly studied and understood.

The thinking of some of the most influential evangelical teachers and preachers of the twentieth century leaves room for revival e.g. Martyn Lloyd Jones and J. I. Packer. Packer, for example, tells us that the Puritans did not use the word revival much they spoke of godliness, by which they meant revival. There is an increasing study and appreciation of the writings of the church’s greatest theologian of revival, Jonathan Edwards. Bingham has written over 150 books. Many of them bear on revival. Then there is the excellent study material of the Fellowship for Revival’s Academy prepared by the Rev. Robert Evans, 57 Talbot Road, Hazelbrook, NSW, 2779. So there is ample opportunity for the Christian to study the whole issue and theology of revival.

3. Revival is usually preceded by unprecedented unity.

Unity among Christians must involve greater cooperation between Evangelicals and Charismatics.  This will require godly leadership from those who have been given leadership roles in those branches of the Christian church. I think that there has been such a stand off between the two that I have been advancing a theology which might bring them both together on what they agree about the Holy Spirit rather than have them arguing over what they disagree about the Holy Spirit.

We all agree that the most fundamental work of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and to regenerate and sanctify. Let us all evangelical and charismatic meet together and pray for a great outpouring of these things rather than arguing over disputed matters such as gifts and exorcisms.

4. Revival comes when we move together.

Revival is the river of God’s love flowing freely and fully through the Church, and it may come when the existing tributaries start to flow together.

a. In late 1989 the first of the prayer meetings for a spiritual awakening within the Anglican church was held in Lindfield, a Sydney suburb. That has expanded and some 26 regional groups are now meeting to pray for revival. This involves about 6000 folk in prayer for the revival of the church and the spread of the gospel. Much blessing is being reported. There are churches which as a result of their involvement with this are reactivating their prayer life. One church reports conversions every week. At a time when the Anglican church is divided over so many issues it is great that Anglicans should be able to draw together to pray in this way.

b. The Fellowship of Revival in the Uniting Church has nurtured such wonderful Christians as Dr Robert Hillman. His life and his lectures on the ministry of intercession will continue to speak to the Church and sensitize it to its need for revival.

c. Then there are such groups of faithful souls longing for revival as Intercessors for Australia, and Aussies Afire launched by the Bishop of Grafton in 1989. There is also Fusion and Aussie Awakening, headed up by Mal Garvin.

d. Bishop Dudley Foord, an organizer of the Sydney Anglican prayer gatherings, spoke at the National Parliamentary breakfast in Canberra. This was a great opportunity to remind the nation that national regeneration or the restoration of a demoralized people is a spiritual matter primarily and only secondarily an economic matter. Then Bishop Foord and Glenda Welden, the wife of the publisher, Kevin Welden, and a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, attended the first international Prayer Leaders Conference organised as part of the Lausanne Commission on World Evangelisation.

The rain clouds of blessing are gathering. Be encouraged to pray until the inundation of the Spirit comes.

References

Boyd, Jeanette (1986) ‘The Arnhem Land Revival of 1979: An Australian Aboriginal Religious Movement’, unpublished paper, October.

Carruthers, J. E. (1922) Memories of an Australian Ministry. London: Epworth.

Colwell, James (1904) Illustrated History of Methodism. Sydney: William Brooks.

Strachan, George (1984) Revival: its Blessings and Battles. An Account of experiences in the Solomon Islands (Revised 1989). Laurieton: South Sea Evangelical Mission.

Watsford, John (1901) Glorious Gospel Triumphs. London: Charles H Kelly.

________________________

(c) Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth (1993, 2011), pages 59-68.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (republished 2011)

Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth
Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – PDF

Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – Editorial

Church Growth through Prayer, by Andrew Evans

Growing a Church in the Spirit’s Power, by Jack Frewen-Lord

Evangelism brings Renewal, by Cindy Pattishall-Baker

New Life for an Older Church, by Dean Brookes

Renewal Leadership, by John McElroy

Reflections on Renewal, by Ralph Wicks

Local Revivals in Australia, by Stuart Piggin

Asia’s Maturing Church, by David Wang

Astounding Church Growth, by Geoff Waugh

RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5) – PDF

Renewal 2: Church Growth on Amazon and Kindle and The Book Depository

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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18,000 Muslim leaders led to Christ in West Africa

18,000 IMAN, MULLAHS AND EMIRS LED TO CHRIST IN WEST AFRICA

In the last 15 years Brother Thomas and his team have led 18,000 imams, mullahs, and emirs to Christ. “We have led several Al Qaeda commanders to Christ, some of whom penetrated our centre as spies.”

muslim-scholar-w-africa
Muslim scholar, West Africa

At 19, a leper first introduced him to Christ and a blind man led him to salvation. “His reading braille captivated me,” says Brother Thomas*. “I asked him where I will go when I die.” In response to the young man’s request, the blind man quoted Scripture from the Book of John. The power of God’s Word left a lasting imprint on his heart and propelled his future ministry. “I didn’t understand the cross or what my decision meant, but I went ahead and received Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour.” Raised in a Muslim home and community in West Africa, he experienced hostility, but took it in stride. “Every true believer should experience opposition,” he maintains. “The important thing is the discovery of the life-given Spirit in Christ. I found a new life.”

Two years after his life-changing conversion, he felt an overwhelming desire to share the Good News. “I saw my people were living in darkness,” he says. Although he had little training, he began to travel from village to village for several weeks at a time. “Nobody told me to go. I didn’t know many of the Scriptures,” he admits, “but I wanted to tell people that Jesus can give you eternal life.” Through eventual contact with Sudan Inland Mission (SIM), he received further training. In 1990, he went on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ and served with them for a decade, utilizing the impactful JESUS Film. In 2000, he started his own organization, which targets Muslim leaders throughout West Africa. “They the leaders are sincerely deluded,” he observes. “Satan has blinded their eyes. They cannot see the light of the gospel.”

“They were born into it,” he continues. “Nobody told them anything different. Most people in West Africa are not Muslim by choice. They are born into a community that believes in Islam.” Brother Thomas decided he and his team would have to approach the “custodians” of the community of Islam, something very few are willing to do. “Christians never take the initiative to go to them,” he observes. “The Bible never tells us to wait for them to come to us. The Bible says to go. The lack of going to the Muslims is disobedience.” Brother Thomas and his team develop relational connections with Muslim scholars slowly and privately. It may take weeks or months of meetings before an Islamic scholar will discover the Truth.

“We met with a Shia leader in one country for a year,” he notes. After Islamic services on Friday, this Muslim leader would drive several hours to spend a weekend with Brother Thomas. “I went through the Word teaching him.

The turning point was when he realized that Jesus is God.” Remarkably, this imam actually stayed in the mosque, but his message changed dramatically as a follower of Jesus. The man’s changed perspective did not go unnoticed.

“They took him to a psychiatric hospital and took his wives away. They said he was mad,” Brother Thomas says. After his release from the psychiatric facility, Brother Thomas urged the man to escape. “We don’t know where he is today. Quite a few of these leaders who converted have died.”

2013-Evacuation-manuscripts-Timbuktu-copyright-Prince-Claus-Fund-1
Muslim scholar

Another Muslim leader who met with Brother Thomas made regular appearances on national TV during Ramadan. “He came to Christ because we proved to him the Quran is not the inspired word of God and is not in the program of God for salvation,” he recounts. One Friday evening a mob of other scholars came to kill the recent convert, but were unsuccessful. “He was fearless,” Brother Thomas says. “They gave his wife to his best friend and took his daughter away because he rejected Islam. This year he was poisoned and died.” Brother Thomas believes that in the top ranks of Islamic scholars, many are atheists, because they no longer believe in the inspiration of the Quran.

In the last 15 years Brother Thomas and his team have led 18,000 imams, mullahs, and emirs to Christ. “We have led several Al Qaeda commanders to Christ, some of whom penetrated our centre as spies.” His team of 300 has dwindled to 65, due to the intensity of the fight. “Some have died, some left us, and some became afraid,” he says. He has developed a training program that is bearing fruit wherever it has been employed. Brother Thomas believes the church has been ineffective in reaching Muslims because they have concentrated on methods and strategies. “Christians want to bribe the Muslims to faith through relief and compassion, but those methods do not save. If you give relief to them it will not save them.” For salvation Muslims must discover Christ through His Word.

*name changed

Source: God Reports

There is an ongoing underground revival in the Muslim world. Over the past 20 years more Muslims have found Isa (Jesus) then in all the previous centuries together. See links:
Iran: where Christianity is growing fastest
Iran – fastest growing evangelical population
The Staggering Rise of the Church in Iran
Many Muslims are turning to Christ
Jesus and Muslims: Life in the desert
Jesus appears to Middle Eastern Muslim for a month
Iman hated Christians until Jesus raised him from the dead
Muslim woman returns from the dead to tell about Jesus

If you want to know more about following Jesus, go here

 

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