Revival: What is It?
by Marilynn Chadwick There has been a lot of talk recently about revival. What is revival? Does it matter? How should it be stewarded? The dictionary defines “revival” as “coming back to life” or “restoring force, validity, or effect to something.” An Emergency Room doctor might revive a patient whose heart has stopped beating. While the word “revival” doesn’t appear in Scripture, “revive” does. Psalm 85:6 says, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Isaiah 57:15b says, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Clearly there are moments where God’s people find themselves in need of restored hope, new life, fresh perspective. Episodes in the Bible and throughout church history, where Christians are revived, reveal a pattern. These movements were characterized by fervent prayer, repentance of sin, a commitment to holiness, and boldness in proclaiming the gospel. Unbelievers were saved in vast numbers and entire communities experienced the impact of God’s grace. This often led to dramatic societal changes. Taverns emptied, crime decreased, and marriages were restored. Children were often found at the forefront of historical revival movements. These same marks of revival are present in the Gospel movements sweeping throughout the world today, especially in the Global South. Over the next several days, we will explore these and other characteristics of revival – a timely discussion in light of what is being called a revival that took place recently on the campus of Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. We will be asking this question: If revival is real, then what does it mean for me?