Why and how do revivals decline? – Part 30
Do revivals decline simply because they have run their full course? Does God deliberately withdraw His presence after a momentary show of His glory? Or, are there human causes and reasons for the decline of revivals? The reasons for the decline are basically the same in most environments.
Fatigue And Burnout
Fatigue and burnout have been identified as part of the general causes of the decline of revivals. Fatigue is “extreme weakness,” while burnout is “when you are lackluster and do with difficulty what ordinarily you would do with ease.” Ron McIntosh said, “the lack of rest is the number one killer of revivals.”
Charles Finney says: “Revival will stop when the church grows exhausted through its labour. Multitudes of Christians make a mistake here in times of revival. They are so thoughtless and have so little judgment that they break up all their habits of living, neglect to eat and sleep at proper hours and let the excitement run away with them. By doing this, they overwork their bodies, and they soon become exhausted. It becomes impossible to continue to work.”
Garrick Sokari Braide, who pioneered a healing revival in Nigeria between 1914 and 1918, was a victim of stress and fatigue. During the short spell of his ministry, he suffered exhaustion and tiredness. This forced him to delegate responsibilities to his subordinates to minister and pray for the sick.
Over-reaction To Criticism
Over-reaction to criticism by revival leaders can affect their decisions and judgments, thereby slowing down the tempo of revival.
Many revival leaders have over-reacted to criticism and hastily broke away from the denomination, where their services were most helpful. Such breakaways have not helped the Church; instead, they have worsened the perennial problems of shortage of manpower. Incessant splits and breakaways are characteristics of Charismatic revival in Nigeria. Few leaders have not gone through the problem of over-reaction to criticism and disagreements.
Death Of Revival Leaders
The physical or spiritual death of a revival leader causes a decline in revival. This is especially the case when the revivalists failed to put in place any solid administrative structure before their death. Garrick Sokari Braide died in prison in 1918, after about four years of effective public ministry. The revival he led began to dwindle soon after his death.
Orekoya, a close associate of Prophet Babalola, died of a gas lamp explosion in Warri, which immediately affected the revival he led in Ibadan. Prophet Babalola died in 1959 at the young age of fifty-five. This also affected the revival he embodied.
The death of William Ifode in September 1975 was a big loss to the World Action Team for Christ. His death robbed the four-member evangelistic team comprised of Biola Adeniran, Wilson Badejo, and Gbenga Adeya, of a great comrade. The death of Dr. Izuwanne Ibeneme affected the pace of the Faith Clinic, which he started at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital. After his demise, it was difficult to find a successor who could fit into his shoes.
The late Dr. Ibeneme was one of the foremost ministers whom the Lord used to launch the deliverance ministry. The Faith Clinic in Ibadan popularised deliverance ministration in the Church, and other deliverance ministries like Zoe Ministry Worldwide, led by Pastor Patrick Anwuzia, got inspiration from him to launch their ministry.
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