What Would “Revival” Really Look Like?

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20 Responses

  1. Em wWegemer says:

    Good ponders, Michael. Excellent thoughts!

  2. Alan says:

    Isn’t this a bit like saying that if the First Great Awakening was a true revival America would have abolished slavery from the beginning? Isn’t it bit like saying we would have denounced displacing indigenous peoples? Isn’t it a bit like saying we would never have founded a nation? Isn’t it a bit like saying there is no such thing as revival?

  3. Michael says:

    Thanks, Em!

  4. Michael says:


    I’m asking questions based on what I think God expects of me.
    The questions you raise are really valid…and worth discussing, in my opinion.
    How could a “revived” Christian still choose to own another human being?

    I can’t deny these are moves of the Spirit…but the questions loom as large as the impact.

  5. My wife and I were just there for two days. We have never in our lives seen anything as pure hearted! Everyone we met and prayed with or for felt like we had known them our whole lives! We met and prayed with people from all over the world and didn’t hear any political positioning.
    There will be those who will make it what they will but our exuberance is of pure hearted students having an encounter with Jesus.

  6. Michael says:

    Love you, David!

    I haven’t heard anything to conflict with your testimony…

  7. Eric says:

    Comments above reminded me of John Newton (a well known story and others will know it better than I).
    He encountered God on a ship… then continued working in the slave trade for years until he quit for health reasons. Much later he reflected that he wasn’t fully converted (not sure of his exact words) at that time.
    His most well-known song, had there been room for a few more lines, might have gone:
    Was blind, then I could sort of see – the people looked like trees walking around, then I could see clearly.

    The stories of God working dramatically vary a lot. Some elements appear in many of them. I read a book about a church in my city that experienced a move of the Spirit with many coming to faith. ~20 years later that church was gone. Another church I read about experienced special blessing around 1999 and closed a few years later.

    In other revival stories in my country, people stop drinking and the pub closes. I have heard enough such stories that I cynically assume that there are unrevivals where most of the people fall back into sin and the church is left with the faithful few who pray for a few more decades before the next revival hits.

  8. Linn says:


    I am always skeptical of revivals. There is a lot of emotionalism, but not much seems to come of them. I personally think that, if we truly follow the Scriptures as we should, that the new life in Christ would be on display in all of us. In no way am I trying to say that we would be perfect, but there would be some change evident in us.

  9. Michael says:


    Thought provoking as always…thank you.

  10. Michael says:



  11. Muff Potter says:

    @ Linn:
    I too tend toward skepticism, but nonetheless they are very real for the participants caught up in the fervor.
    When I was a young Army vet back during the wind-down of Vietnam, I was caught up myself in the happenings at Calvary Chapel under Chuck Smith.
    They are a part of our American fabric, and I believe they actually originated here.

  12. Corby says:

    I believe that the measure of any revival is what comes after the revival. (Warning; shameless self-ptomotion to follow.) I’m working on a new site and wrote an article as if I were to sit down at coffee with one of the students at Asbury. For your consideration…

  13. Linn says:


    I like it ! It could make me much less skeptical of revivals. For context, I grew up in a tradition where revivals were “scheduled”-which meant a lot of preaching, a lot of crying/loud praying, and very little change on the part of the participants.

  14. Captain Kevin says:

    Corby, that was really good, and can be applied to any experiences we have in the Lord. Thanks for the coffee.

  15. Robin says:

    I was listening to a person who was part of the original Jesus movement and he said that the movement ended because of two things: old pentecostals who had weird teaching (a la T.B.N.) were joining and gaining a foothold (they were charismatic and believed in the gifts but not pentecostal). The other thing was the rise of the moral majority, the tying of the movement to politics, which seems natural at first because most believers were conservative.

  16. Alan says:

    There were many factors ending the Jesus movement, not least the end of the hippie movement. The moral majority would struggle to be more political than imminent return of Christ theology which politicized everything.

    Further, the hippie movement ran its course as the boomers morphed from idealist to pragmatist and grew in personal affluence.

    The pentecostal/charismatic movement became the fastest growing Christian stream on earth. It may have been weird but it exploded in the 20th century to entail about 10% of world population. That hardly represents an end.

  17. Michael says:

    When you hear old Calvary Chapel people talking about “extreme” Pentecostals, they are usually referring to the nascent Vineyard movement, which Smith saw as both heterodox and a competitor.

    Lonnie Frisbee and Tom Stipe both jumped ship for a season…Tom was never forgiven for many for doing so.

  18. Alan says:

    Charles Fromm made it clear in his doctoral thesis that Wimber attempted a coup of Calvary Chapel in 1982 but Tom never intimated anything close to that when he spoke to me, and I was asking such things.

    The movie clearly reflected Chuck’s discomfort with all things charismatic but strangely it seemed to depict in Frisbee a genuine gift.

    Tom should have been forgiven by Calvary … his help of Hannegraaf was a pretty strong takedown of Vineyard.

  19. Michael says:

    Tom Stipe was emotionally incapable of participating in a coup…Chuck saw them as a threat.

    The movie doesn’t discuss the fact that Chuck and Greg didn’t speak for years for the same reason…

    I’ve said too much…

  20. Corby says:

    Linn & CK – thank you very much! I appreciate that. On the one hand, it seems like a waste of time to enter into this conversation (outside of this site) because there are so many voices approving and disapproving, mostly on emotion basis (it feel right/wrong). But then again if we don’t talk about them how do we grow?

    If I have a problem with this phenomenon it is that the people in it or supportive of it tend to treat it like this is the goal, this is the norm, church should be like this all of the time. They might point to Acts 2-3, other instances in Acts where people came to Jesus as being very loud and emotional events. No doubt they were. But they didn’t stay that way. That wasn’t sustained and it wasn’t supposed to be sustained. That kind of thing is that the Christian’s status quo.

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