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Misunderstanding the Culture of Revival

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Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. - Psalm 85: 6-9 (ESV)

"God's people need to pray before it's too late, and judgment falls on our nation."

This is the plea recently from the daughter of Reverend Billy Graham. I do not blame Anne Graham Lotz and am sure her heart is in the right place. This is what she has been taught. To a large extent it is what we all have been taught by a church system that has been overly enamored with "revival" for over a century now. A hundred years ago however, revival was always applied to the realm of believers. A fresh fall of the Spirit of God empowered believers to go into all the world and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The early Pentecostal believers correctly understood that it is the church that needs revival, not the world. That is because you cannot revive what has never been alive to begin with.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. - Ephesians 2: 1-3 (ESV)

The world, and this country, do not need revival - they need the Gospel. Revival indicates that there is some former state we need them return to when the reality is they have always been dead in their trespasses, as we once were. This point is seemingly lost on most evangelical leaders who continue to cultivate a false paradigm. Graham Lotz correctly wants believers to pray for protection for the saints during these end times, for God to be exalted and for the church to repent of sin but then takes the same revivalistic plunge that so many before her did:

Pray for...our nation to return to faith in the living God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening.

This is the same well intended lament we hear from so many in leadership. Graham Lotz quotes Joel 2, which says to blow the trumpet and sound the alarm for the Day of the Lord is approaching. She is right. Judgment is coming for this world, not just America. Unfortunately, the culture of revival misses the point. It avoids the real work we are supposed to be doing. Beloved, God will not spare America, or the world for that matter. The justice which He embodies will not allow it. Why then this obsession with national revival? I think it is time we come to some hard realizations. We like the culture of revival because like Lot before us, we have pitched our tents towards Sodom because we like Sodom. Make no mistake about it beloved. America is Sodom. We do not want to see it judged. We somehow think that if we can just convince the unsaved people in America to behave better that God will relent. That if they posted the ten commandments in courthouses and allowed prayer in schools then God will relent. That if they repeal all the gay marriage ordinances then God will relent. That if we can finagle a way to shut all of the abortion clinics in this country then God will relent. That if we can win all of the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court cases then God will relent. If we can stop the over saturation of sexual exploitation then God will relent. All of this however misses the point.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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