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Revival and holiness – Part 27



It has been said that, God does not discount the conditions for revival for any generation. This means, every generation must satisfy the conditions of revival, one of which is holiness before God would visit them.

Duncan Campbell of the Lewis Revival (1949-1952) in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland once said: “Revival must ever be related to holiness” and as the Word of God declares, without holiness no man can see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

Holiness is not a popular word or popular culture in the world today. Holiness is a counter-culture to the norm people are used to. It is unfortunate that true holiness is seldom preached, much less expected from either the preacher or from the members.


Unpopular as holiness may be in the Church, it is one of the conditions for God’s visitation. No amount of holiness by man can meet the standards of God, but there must be repentance and the desire to turn from our sinful ways to the ways of God.

The very nature of what revival is makes the holiness message imperative. Revival is a time when men and women are called to return to God and are awakened to the consciousness of rightful living. The message on the lips of most preachers during revival is for men to give up their sinful ways and return to God. It is not surprising, therefore, that the message of holiness gains prominence among most revivalists.

During the 1972 Gindiri revival, the emphasis of the revivalists was a call to holiness. The message of evangelist Garrick Isokari Braide in the 1914-18 revival in Bakana land was on holiness. He called on the people to give up idolatry, adultery and drunkenness and to return to God in holy living.

During the Joseph Babalola revival in the 1930s and the 1970s Charismatic revivals in Nigeria, the message was mostly evangelistic and on holiness. It was during the Charismatic revival that Reverend W. F. Kumuyi message on holiness gained prominence. He was not the only holiness preacher then, but the holiness tag stuck with him more than any other preacher. Though, Archbishop Benson Idahosa blazed the trail with the Prosperity Gospel during the Charismatic Revival of the 1970s, yet people like Kumuyi, Rev. Ezekiel Obiorah and others championed the holiness and evangelistic message.

Andrew Strom in his book, True and False revival wrote, “…The difference between revivals that are true and those that are false [are]: One is centred around the cross and deep repentance and holiness and death to self, as well as forgiveness, cleansing and infilling of the Holy Spirit – who is the Spirit of holiness. The other is centred around excitement and soulishness and the seeking after ‘experiences’ for their own sake – often with selfish agendas – “Bless me God,” or “Give me more,” rather than a focus on getting right with God.”

Colin Urquhart wrote: “During times of revival there is a real concern among the Christians for righteousness and holiness; to be more Christ-like…[Christians] can only seek God for such times of blessings while being prepared to let the work begin in their own hearts and lives. So, there is little point in praying for revival unless we are prepared for God to meet with us, to bring our lives into closer conformity to His will and purpose.”

The revival we need today is the revival of holiness that will impact the altar as well as the pew; the pastors and congregants alike; a revival that will create a hunger and love for God in our hearts.

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