For the past three days I have been preaching on true revival in a multi-church conference sponsored and hosted by four churches in eastern North Carolina, just a few miles from the Atlantic coast. The churches included Faith Evangelical Bible Church (non-affiliated), Father’s House (charismatic), Newport Baptist (SBC) and All Saints Anglican Church (AMiA). These churches are in all in the Newport area. The pastors worked together and tomorrow evening they will conduct a concert of prayer after I have returned to Chicago. I also spoke to a Christian high school on Monday and to ministers this morning. I encouraged the four pastors to continue having a regular community Concert of Prayer in the future and to keep building their relationships with one another and to even broaden the scope of their fellowship. Tonight I met evangelical Christians from almost every possible background, including Roman Catholics as well as Protestants. (I am still amazed when people insist that Catholics are not Christians and that there are not real evangelical Catholic Christians. I meet them all the time but then maybe I just have the fortune to bump into them because I pray that I will meet and encourage God’s people everywhere I go.)
Since the late 1980s I have traveled across America, and beyond, preaching on the biblical reality that has been called true revival. Though I am not a friend to revivalism, as a method and a theological system, I still believe in real honest-to-goodness biblical revival. I also believe we need it and we need it very badly. It will not cure all our problems but it would restore power and credibility to the church in America. Our state is one of spiritual lethargy and sleepiness. Awakening would restore us to God and to true holiness and power.
I sometimes ask myself: "Why keep preaching on this subject?" I am getting older and I hate travel these days. My answer is simple: "We still need for God to come and rescue us in these morally and spiritually dark times." Who knows, I might someday be in the place where God begins a new awakening that will surprise me beyond my wildest dreams.
I do know this much: thirty years of evangelical commitment to changing the culture through partisan politics has not brought power to the church or impacted the culture much at all. If anything, it has made our mission to the unchurched much, much harder. When will we stop trusting in princes (presidents or other human leaders) and trust in the Lord our God who brings life to his people and real change in this world? I am not saying we should not be involved in the culture, including running for office and voting for candidates. I am saying that what we have been doing is almost entirely counterproductive spiritually.