This post is similar to the one where I say that I don't believe in social justice, and in many ways, it's very similar, though in much the same way a photo negative is similar to the photograph.
In the religious section of the liberal and
conservative divide, revival serves much the same function among
conservatives as social justice does for liberals. It is the goad
that makes people get out and do whatever the people in charge want
them to do. It is the carrot that is hung before the crowds to make
Revival is a nebulous concept, and perhaps all the
more useful because of it's lack of clarity. What is revival? Hard to
say. A church, particular of an older mindset, might have a week of
“revival meetings”, which might mean that the church has invited
a guest speaker to preach every night that week. But that doesn't
seem to be what some today mean by revival.
One might think that the seemingly endless stream of
conferences, gatherings, and events that fill stadiums and large
mega-churches might qualify as revival, or at least an indication of
it. But while such things may be considered good things, they aren't
themselves really revival.
Like social justice, revival isn't really something
one arrives at so much as something one is constantly trying to
arrive at. Just as things are never just enough in the social justice
mindset, things are never revived enough in the revival mindset. If
you surrendered yourself completely last month, well, that was last
month, have you done it today? Are you at this moment completely
surrendered now? If not, well, you'd best do it!
And like social justice, revival is tied in to the
political and social ambitions of the leaders. In other words,
revival is closely tied with Dominianism. Just as a liberal
dominionists might dream about a society which embodies their notions
of social justice, conservative dominianists dream of a society which
embodies what they mean by revival.
Revival isn't just conversion. It's always something
more. One must always do more, surrender more, give more, pray more,
pray longer, pray more extremely, take a bigger risk, live larger,
want more, have bigger experiences, want more and more to change the
world, and so on.
I do not believe in revival, just as I do not believe
in social justice. I do not believe that revival is the answer, I do
not think that if the church prays enough, surrenders enough, gives
enough, whatevers enough, then all of a sudden the world will start
to like us more, and will finally do what the church wants it to do.
I do not believe that if somehow the people in charge of the various
aspects of society were to become Christians (in it's loosest
definition), then suddenly the country will become a much better
place, and might even be well on its way to becoming christianized.
I do not pursue revival. I do not attend all-night
meetings where people over and over and over ask God to send revival.
I do not go to various places where people say “the Spirit is
moving there!”. I sure don't go to church to fall down, bark like a
dog, act like a drunk, or any of the inane and bothersome signs of
what people have called revival in the all-too-recent past.
I believe in conversion. I believe in the Gospel of
salvation through faith in the crucified and risen Christ. I believe
that Christians have good works God has given them to do, and that a
lot of those works are very mundane things—doing honest work well,
looking after your families, loving and serving the people around
I also believe that the world hates God, and thus
will hate those who are God's. I believe what Jesus said about the
same world that hated Him will also hate those who follow Him. I
believe what Jesus said about how in this world we will have trouble,
but we should be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. I
believe that we are more than conquerors while in the midst of lots
of terrible stuff like tribulations, persecution, trials, and all
kinds of bad situations.
The emotional appeals of revival have grown stale to
me. The constant stress on wanting God more does not do much for
someone who knows that God is with him. The straining to hear some
kind of hard-to-hear voice that may or may not be God has become very
suspect, since seeing that such a thing is not taught in the Bible.
If our hope is in revival, our hope is in the wrong