Those who know me are aware that I stay away from current events as much as I can. However, I believe Spurgeon said something along the lines of a preacher who always ignores current events will seem clueless to his congregation. That is not the exact quote, obviously, but it is a pretty fair paraphrase.
With that being said, I want to address something that is going on here in the United States. For those who are unaware, a few Christian college campuses are experiencing what they are considering revival. Eyewitnesses are reporting various happenings in these different services.
While some people are saying that all these things are a genuine move of the Holy Spirit, I still have my suspicions. I am approaching these things very cautiously. I am not saying that God is not moving on these campuses, but I am saying that anyone who is watching these happenings needs to use discernment.
I am hearing many reports of people confessing their sins out loud, a lot of prayer, and worship going on in these services. My fear is that there may be too much emotionalism involved. Let me explain, repetitive music can often stir the emotions creating a suggestive atmosphere. In this kind of atmosphere, when one person makes the first move of “confessing sin” others will most definitely follow.
Revival, true revival, is about more than confession of sin. Confession is only a part of the equation. Revival includes so much more that many people will not even consider.
First, revival is about repentance, not just confession. I like to explain the difference like this, so people can understand it easier. Confession is similar to apologizing for doing something wrong, like cheating on a test in school. Repentance is not just apologizing, but doing everything you can to actively never do that thing again, following the analogy, you stop cheating on tests and do not put yourself in situations where you will be tempted to cheat on tests again. While there is a lot more to repentance than that, it is the simplest way I have found to explain the concept.
Second, revival is not about music. While music is part of the worship service, music is not to ever be the main focus of the service. We should never turn a worship service, where the focus is supposed to be on God, into a concert, where the focus is turned to us. While I feel it is always important to consider the type of music that we play and sing in our services, especially the lyrical content and the theological ideology behind the writers of the music, that is not the purpose of this post.
Third, revival has always come about by the preaching of the Word of God. If there is no ministry of the Word, there is no revival. That is plain and simple. It has been that way since the beginning of the Church. Jesus preached the Word, the apostles preached the Word, and then throughout history true revival has followed the right preaching of the Word of God.
Finally, but definitely not the last word on the subject, revival is never man-made. It is always an act of the Holy Spirit moving in the lives of people. It is not limited to a location, but can, and will, spread to multiple places. It is not limited to a specific point in time. Many true revivals do not see their fruit until years later, when the lives of people are truly changed because of what the Holy Spirit is doing in them.
Is God moving in college campuses right now?
I certainly hope and pray that He is. I hope and pray that the things we are witnessing right now are a turning point in our country’s spiritual apathy. I hope and pray that we are seeing a generation of people hungry for what God has in store for them and willing to do what is necessary to follow His Word, even if it means being an outsider in society.
While I hope and pray that these things are genuine, I will remain cautious. I will remain cautious as I see the big named “celebrity” ministers try to attach themselves to these things. I will remain cautious as I watch how these “revivals” are being managed. I will remain cautious until I see everything that I feel is historically present in true revival. I will remain cautious until there is no reason to be cautious anymore.
While this is not all I have to say about this subject, this is a quick overview. I know people are going to go crazy in the comments, but please, keep it civil. This is to spark some thought and cause people to stop and consider the truth about situations instead of getting caught up in the hype and “newness” of a thing. I really do not want to have to monitor the comments so please, be an adult when you are discussing this.
Thank you, and may God bless you all.