= usual, normal, typical.
are the times we experience most of the time. Having said that,
an examination of church history shows little pockets of life
seem to have existed throughout the two thousand years of church
of Normal or Regular Times might include:
churches continuing their usual
practices of worship, preaching etc., but with no strong drive
to grow, mature & equip believers, more a 'continue business
as usual' lifestyle,
evangelism in greater or lesser
measure, but rarely very fruitful,
every now and then God raising up
individuals who stand out,
most individual Christians are content
to simply ‘attend church', ‘participate in church life' and perform
the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship, bible reading etc.
Times of Restoration & Renewal
= bring back that which was missing, and tends to focus on the
= to stir afresh the life of the church, and tends to focus on
tends to refer to bringing back missing biblical doctrines and
these soon develop into changes of practice or behaviour.
tends to refer to a renewing-of-life work of the Spirit.
fired up by Luther in 1517 nailing up his 95 theses, was initially
a rejection of the worldliness and corruption that had permeated
the Catholic Church, and also of unbiblical doctrines such as
purgatory and indulgences, and the reformers increasingly rejected
the role of the Pope as the intermediary between Christ and mankind.
the primary principles released through the Reformation were i)
salvation by the free and undeserved grace of Christ and ii) the
priesthood of all believers.
was born and ever since has given rise to a number of
movements and denominations and missions. The Reformation restored
Scripture to its proper place in the life of individuals
and the church.
Luther, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, John Knox etc.
Holy Spirit Stirrings
following are some of the significant moves of God over the past
century or so, whereby He restored various aspects of biblical
The Azusa Street Revival
Los Angeles, it started in 1906, and brought out into the open
the place and role of the Holy Spirit, which
had already started to be considered in some ‘holiness churches'.
Pentecostalism was born resulting in the formation
of Pentecostal churches & denominations which spread worldwide.
This teaching and experience restored the Holy Spirit
to His proper place, but mostly stayed within Pentecostal
churches (Assemblies of God, and Elim Pentecostal in the UK).
The Charismatic Movement
state continued until, in the 1960's, a change came which someone
described as, “individual believers seeking the Father for his
promised gift of the Holy Spirit.” Out of his came a fresh awareness
of the existence, experience, function and role of ‘the
body of Christ' as formed and created by the Spirit.
The Charismatic Movement was born with emphases on personal Spirit-filling
and gifting, and our place within the body being taught and experienced
in new ways. Unlike Pentecostalism the charismatic movement did
not create new denominations but Spirit-filled believers continued
their experience within their existing denominations.
Key charismatic figures: Dennis J. Bennett (Nine O'Clock
in the Morning), and later John
Wimber (forming the Vineyard churches) in the USA,
Colin Urquhart, Michael Harper, (Fountain Trust) David
Watson, Charles Clark, in the UK.
key teachers in the UK: Dennis
Clarke, Campbell McAlpine, Arthur Wallis, Lance Lambert, Stanley
Jebb, Alex Buchanan)
The Restoration Movement
continued from the 1970's going on to the early 1990's when the
Restoration Movement spread from the States putting a new emphasis
on apostles and prophets and other Eph 4:12 ministries,
that in turn bolstered teaching on a) the work of the Spirit,
b) life in the body of Christ, c) personal discipleship and d)
tended to flow through the house groups that arose as an expression
of the charismatic movement, into the House Church Movement. This
in turn became more formalized in various ‘Streams' who, although
denying they were denominations, grew, had their own buildings,
conferences etc. and took on a distinct denominational feel.
movement restored a biblical perspective on Eph 4:12 ministries
and their out workings– teaching, releasing, encouraging,
empowering, the ‘body of Christ' for life and service.
key figures: Ern Baxter, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince,
Charles Simpson, and Don Basham, (in USA) Arthur Wallis,
David Lillie, Bryn Jones, John Noble, Gerald Coates, Terry Virgo,
George Carleton and David Mansell, Barney Coombs, Roger Forster
Juan Carlos Ortiz also came to brief prominence, known for his
The Toronto Blessing
the 1990's a new wave of Holy Spirit activity burst out across
the world with the phenomena referred to as the Toronto
Blessing, where the Spirit, sovereignly it seemed, broke
in on individual believers as they gathered, experiencing a
new sense of the power and presence of God, and brought
a new joy and a new freedom to the people of
God. It was not revival and mostly did not appear to stir evangelism
into being. It was first and foremost a restoration of
the wonder of being God's children.
Key figures: John
and Carol Arnott, Randy Clark & Rodney Howard-Browne,
(both of Vineyard), Benny Hinn, Eleanor Mumford (UK), Bill Johnson,
we have considered the following works of God to restore vital
elements to the Christian Church:
that brought the Word of God to the fore in
the life of believers.
the Azusa Street Revival
that brought to Holy Spirit back to
the general life of the Church,
the Charismatic Renewal
that brought Holy Spirit relationships
back to individuals, with a new understanding of body
ministry and house group close fellowship,
the Restoration Movement
that brought Eph 4:12 ministries to
the fore, and individual discipleship and accountability and fresh
Holy Spirit life which they called for.
the Toronto Blessing
that brought fresh HS power and new joy and freedom
to individuals in their relationship with the Lord.
the writings of some of these times, they seem like glimmers of
light from the past that have now been diffused into the life
of the Church where, for the most part, they appear to have lost
most of their power, their life, their spontaneity and their vitality.
It appears that in the West at least, the world seems to have
half drowned the Church and the potential of all these moves of
God have been either forgotten or simply dissipated.
Times of Revival
speaking about the Hebridean Revival)
me tell you what I mean by revival. An evangelistic campaign or
special meeting is not revival. In a successful evangelistic campaign
or crusade, there will be hundreds or even thousands of people
making decisions for Jesus Christ, but the community remains untouched,
and the churches continue much the same as before the outreach.
In revival , God
moves in the district. Suddenly, the community becomes God conscious.
The Spirit of God grips men and women in such a way that even
work is given up as people give themselves to waiting upon God.
In the midst of the Lewis Awakening, the parish minister
at Barvas wrote, "The Spirit of the Lord was resting wonderfully
on the different townships of the region. His
Presence was in the homes of the people, on meadow and moorland,
and even on the public roads." This presence of God is the
supreme characteristic of a God-sent revival. Of the hundreds
who found Jesus Christ during this time fully seventy-five
per cent were saved before they came near a meeting or heard
a sermon by myself or any other ministers in the parish. The
power of God, the Spirit of God, was moving in operation, and
the fear of God gripped the souls of men - this is God-sent revival
as distinct from special efforts in the field of evangelism.”
does a revival come?
When God determines it is right. Often it appears He came in power
at society's low points. “Sometimes God will delay revival breakthrough
to send us deeper into His will. For if breakthrough comes too
early, with its accompanying fruit, we may not be spiritually
mature enough to tend God's harvest.” (Mark Sayers- Reappearing
In the lifetime of some of us, Martyn-Lloyd Jones was known in
the 1950s, apart from his preaching, for his burden to pray for
revival. Many others have similarly had such a burden, some have
prophesied revival was about to happen, but seventy years after
M-LJ it has still not been seen in any measure. God has
moved in a number of places in the UK and USA and elsewhere, but
not in the measure observed in the numbers and nature to which
revivals in history testify. Signs and wonders have been known
but rarely, it seems, have they been accompanied by evangelistic
fruitfulness, and applications of the lessons brought by the renewals
above, seem to be few indeed.
from Revival? As
Duncan Campbell pointed out, a revival is not an evangelistic
campaign but a sovereign move of God that impacts whole communities
as well as the Church. Those who study past revivals know that
there is always a danger that human endeavours creep in, or human
divisions take place and the revival will slowly fade away. When
we pray, it must be not only for revival to come, but that we
will learn from past human mistakes in an endeavour to minimize
the possibility of spoiling the work of God.
we need Revival?
The question has been asked and, indeed it does appear as a short
cut to deal with the ailments of Western society, but to do that
it would need to be nationwide on both sides of the Atlantic,
if not further afield as well. The Lord, of course, knows best
and we only speculate in a desire to more accurately catch what
is on His heart to enable us to pray accordingly. As has been
pointed out, however, the various renewals we have documented
have acted, in a small way at least, to restore biblical elements
of the Church, even if they have either been missed by parts of
the Church or been dissipated by modern life.
A simple solution
seems to be that we just need to seek the Lord afresh
(and wholeheartedly) and seek to be obedient to all the
revelation these renewals have brought, so that we make ourselves
available for Him to take and use us properly (in accordance with
His revealed word) to transform the Church, transform our communities
and nations and thus the world. If finds He is unable to get that
response from us, then praying for revival appears the only solution.
calling? It must
To Pray and keep on calling on God. “Then
Jesus told his disciples… that they should always pray
and not give up.” (Lk
18:1) For this we will constantly need to declare our reliance
upon Him and call on Him for His grace and His Spirit to prevail.
Do whatever we can to put right the various things we have identified
that are not right with the churches with which we are involved
today: “obey everything I have
commanded you,.” (Mt
28:20) with no excuses. (Use the earlier Parts and check – does
my church match up to God's standards; what am I to do?)
To do all we can – prayer, studying his word, obedience – to remain
faithful in the face of the world's unbelief. “when
the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on
the earth?” (Lk 18:8)
Prepare our hearts to be both equipped and available for when
He does produce a harvest that will call on all the present workers:
“I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
has come and restored an awareness of the importance and place
of His word and His Spirit, and the outworking of Eph 4 ministries,
which in turn create a challenge to believers and the Church to
grow, mature, be equipped and empowered and fulfilled within the
body. Will we let Him use all of this to equip the Church to be
the world-changing force He has designed it to be?