Sunday, August 15, 2010

Revivalism: A carnal discontent with the biblical means for church reformation

"Revivalism and the unceasing desire for revival in the church all come from the desire for a 'quick fix' for the church's problems and weaknesses. Rather than insisting on the necessity of true holiness, of living faith in Jesus Christ, and of sincere repentance for sin, the desire is for some excitement which will give the appearance of bringing the church back to her spiritual moorings, however temporary such excitement may be. Rather than the hard work of preaching the gospel and of calling for these things in the church, the easy way is sought."
- Rev. Ron Hanko (2009) "Another Look at the 1859 Revival in Ireland", British Reformed Journal, 51, p26.
Revivalism brews when the preaching of the gospel in a church falls to the ground, and is replaced by vain stories, amusing platitudes, and entertaining nonsense, and the sacraments are corrupted by no longer being explained biblically in the preaching, and church discipline is wholly neglected, such that the most profane adulterers and idolatrous unbelievers are not only treated as if they had nothing to fear on the Day of Judgement, but are regularly, and unashamedly welcomed to the Lord's table.

People in this environment often don't see that the solution to these problems is for the church to diligently and zealously return to Scripture, not to seek the misguided and ignorant enthusiasm and excitement of Revivalism. And if the church opposes the biblical protests for her to correct her doctrine and practice in these areas, then believers must flee and seek to join a church which does submit to God's Word. An institution which rejects the authority of Scripture is not a true church of Jesus Christ at all, but a syngogue of Satan.

We are naturally lazy and weak, and prone to every kind of carelessness and foolishness because of our sinful nature. We are prone to not believe in the power of preaching of the Word of God, and instead search for all manner of unclean gimmicks, godless tools, and every other kind of imagined means instead of the means that God has appointed for us in His Word - which is primarily biblical expository preaching. In this way, Revivalism is actually a lack of love for the truth, despite all the passion it boasts of. Love must be demonstrated in action, and if heartfelt passions do not lead one to search the Scriptures and insist on its authority alone, then such passions are an abomination before God. All our passions and the thoughts of our minds (along with every other aspect of our beings) must be conformed to the image of Christ through the knowledge of God which is eternal life (John 17:3).

Yet it is also God's sovereign decision whether a church falls further into apostasy or reforms (and we have no right to insanely protest against His good and perfect will). It is nothing but pride, rebellion, and stubbornness, stemming from a stiff neck, to pray for the Almighty, sovereigng and only wise God to change His mind (which is impossible for Him to do). Our calling is to submit to His will and to be "reformed, and always reforming", and to join churches which manifest the marks of a true church, and to leave whatever institution which claims to be a church yet does not bear the marks of it, when it refuses to hear godly biblical protests.

May God give His beloved elect believing saints in Limerick, and throughout the world, the grace to do so.

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