Why and how revivals decline – Part 32
Distractions and Desertion
RevivalsS fail when the point man of the revival, for any reason, moves away from his ministerial office and begins to operate in another office. Some revival leaders are known to have moved away from the ministerial office into which they were called. For the reason of wanting to keep up with the Joneses, they abandon what God had called them to do. When this happens, they lose the grace and anointing of that particular office.
The leadership of a revival movement must be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit if the revival must last. Only the Holy Spirit can determine the level of organisation or otherwise that is needed to sustain a revival. It is the view of Rick Joyner that, “the Welsh Revival actually died because it took the fear of organisation and fear of human intervention too far.”
Grieving The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the leader in every revival. It is He who revives. When a vessel He is using to stir up a revival grieves and quenches His presence, He ceases to work. Samson is a good example. It has been said that one of the greatest reasons the Welsh revival burned so brightly, and for so long, is that the leaders knew how to carry the “ark of His presence. They knew how to remain open and submitted to the Lord’s leading and how not to offend the Spirit.”
Theological And Doctrinal Debates
Theological and doctrinal debates disunited the leaders of the Azusa Street revival and led to its early decline. Frank Bartleman wrote: “The doctrinal issue has been a great battle. Many were too dogmatic at ‘Azusa.’ Doctrine, after all, is but the skeleton of the structure. It is the framework of the ‘body.’ We need flesh on the bones, the Spirit within, to give life. What the people need is a living Christ, not dogmatic, doctrinal contention. Much harm was done the work in the beginning by unwise zeal.”
The teachings of William Branham, Franklin Hall, and Neal Frisby caused a lot of distraction to the revival in Nigeria, especially on the university campuses. The cream of the leadership of the Charismatic revival on the university campuses in the 1970s abandoned their university education because of the teachings of these men. False teaching made a shipwreck of the faith of many.
Some argue that the lack of balance in the teaching of some prosperity preachers failed to remind believers about the need for sacrificial living, and consequently, it slowed down the tempo of the revival in the Church in Nigeria. The emphasis shifted from Christ, the cross, the kingdom, sacrifice and eternity, to success, self, immediate reward and empire building. In the process, the zeal to publicly proclaim Christ, the zeal for discipleship, intimacy with Christ and selfless love for God and His Kingdom were lost.
Change In God’s Season And Timing
Revivals can also decline, when God’s season and times change. God works are in times and seasons. Revival leaders should learn to feel the pulse of the Holy Spirit and flow with Him, when there is a change in tempo and direction. Revival periods are unusual times when things are unsettled.
Deviation From A Christ-Centered Gospel
The responses of over 70 percent of the interviewees in areas where revival had previously taken place point to the fact that the tempo of the revival began to decline, when the Church shifted emphasis from a Christ-centered gospel to a self-seeking and self-gratifying gospel. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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