Sovereign Grace Blog

The Yearning For True Revival

Kevin DeYoung writes,

John Williamson Nevin (1803-86) was a severe critic of the New Measures of revivalism. His 1844 work, The Anxious Bench, deconstructs the whole philosophy and system of the non-churchly, anti-theological, decisionistic approach of the New Measures. He deplored the many so-called revivals of his day and all that they stood for.

But he did not hate true revival that grew out of the faithful ordinary ministry of the local church.

Churches that hate revivals, may be said emphatically to “love death.” Every faithful pastor will be concerned to see his ministrations crowned with such special effusions of God’s Spirit; and will stand prepared at the same time to hail with joy the first indications of their approach, and to put forth special efforts for the purpose of turning them to the largest account. (73)

Revivals are far from perfect. They can introduce confusion. The phony sort can be manufactured. Many harmful practices have been passed down and unbiblical patterns have been set in the name of revival. But let us still yearn for a true outpouring of God’s Spirit. Let us pray for true religious fervor, for increased prayer, for conversions to Christ, for a greater hunger for God’s word. God, keep our churches from loving death.

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