I have this persistent hope in me that burn’s like fire. A hope I will see in my lifetime a new Great American Revival. In fact, one could frame the efforts of the Wake the Church ministry in terms of reformation and revival in the modern church.
I dream of a day that people are turned in heart and mind toward God to such a degree that they describe these times in the same way famed theologian and revivalist Jonathan Edwards spoke of as a progenitor and participator of America’s Great Awakening. Edwards said these things when speaking of the atmosphere after the many revivals and gatherings,
“The minds of people were wonderfully taken off from the world, it was treated amongst us as a thing of very little consequence. They seemed to follow their worldly business, more as a part of their duty, than from any disposition they had to it; the temptation now seemed to lie on that hand, to neglect worldly affairs too much, and to spend too much time in the immediate exercise of religion.
In the spring and summer following, 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God: it never was so full of love nor of joy.
Our young people, when they met, were wont to spend the time in talking of the excellence and dying love of Jesus Christ, the glory of the way of salvation, the wonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, His glorious work in the conversion of a soul, the truth and certainty of the great things of God’s word, the sweetness of the views of His perfections, etc.” (Source)
Imagine walking down the street and hardly finding a soul that wasn’t enraptured with God’s love and work? That had to be a sight to see.
We have to ask, what kind of understanding and preaching created such a stir that men and women in whole regions of the country were electric with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit?
When you read through Jonathan Edwards’s biography and theology you begin to see a pattern of understanding and truth-telling. What stands out is he was a man that understood the universal laws of nature relative to Revealed Law in scripture, the sovereignty Christ has over His church, and finally how vastly superior, hard, convicting preaching was compared to our modern, sensationalized prophecy preaching and ear-tickling.
Hard convicting messages convert souls and can change the course of history as was the case of the Great Awakening that sparked the American Revolution. Remember, it was Edwards who preached the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” the quintessential sermon on the wrath of God on a fallen people. These types of sermons delivered in truth and power convicted the hearts of men. God can use convicted and humble people to accomplish great things, even a Great Awakening.
The Obstacles in the Church
So we must look back at the working formula that our predecessors utilized to spark revivals. That formula is simply preaching hard, convicting messages, that enlighten the masses on the truths of God present in nature and scripture while remaining completely unencumbered, even rebellious towards religious tradition and government mandated bureaucracy on the church.
With this in mind, I have deduced 3 major areas that are destroying any chance America might have at a New Great Awakening in the near future. If these obstacles are not addressed in the churches today, I fear a very dark future ahead for Christians. Revival is a last and only hope.
501c3 Institutionalized Churches
Revival requires hard convicting messages and pure unadulterated Biblical Truth aimed pointedly at the forces of darkness operating at every institutional stratum of society without fear of consequence.
The fact churches have signed their souls over to the IRS and allow themselves to be limited in any speech deemed political or offensive, in exchange for a tax break is a major hindrance to revival. The church is a spiritual body, not a state-sanctioned corporate body. The fact churches accept this tax destination is an affront to Christ who never sought permission from religious or governmental authorities on any manner. Can God even honor such an abomination, much less work revival through such institutions? The answer is no, and until congregants reject this type of faux church I imagine revival will never be attainable.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
This obsession with Israel and prophecy teaching by churchgoers is a very real obstacle to revival. This taste for speculative prophetic nonsense concerning Israel, end times, and every seemingly wondrous configuration of the moon is damaging. This fixation registers with preachers and shapes their messages being delivered at the pulpit. Preachers everywhere realize that all people want to hear is the latest and craziest spiritual teaching, knowing it puts butts with fat wallets attached, in the seats every Sunday. Instead of crafting permeating, convicting messages laced with Truth against all manner of sin and wickedness in society, they preach about the color of the moon and its supposed relation to some ancient Jewish festival.
God sent His prophets and son Jesus to speak judgment on Israel, yet modern preachers are so indoctrinated by the Genesis 12:3 “I will bless them that bless you” lie they live in fear of condemning Israel and America for that matter on all of their moral sin, warmongering and destruction in the mid-east.
As a result, God can’t bless a people that fail to speak Truth on the wickedness of nations no matter who they are. Even Paul considered this kind of obsession as the beggarly elements of weak preaching that brings people into bondage. It is also interesting how Paul in the below verse links false Judaized Christianity to prophecy obsession. As long as the people are fixed on this kind of drivel we will never see a revival in this country.
Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Galatians 4:8-11
One thing the patriot preachers of John Edwards’s day expounded upon every Sunday was Natural Law. Natural Law is critical to the understanding of everything important in life. The study and preaching of Natural Law is a key that unlocks the secrets of scripture in so many ways. Topics like jurisdictional authority, proper role of Government, self-defense, just war doctrine, the principles of liberty and natural rights jump off the page of your Bible when your eyes are opened to the profound Truths God laid out in the body of Natural Law given to us in creation.
Natural Law demonstrates how God is a God of order, that creation follows a set of laws, and humanity must in like fashion follow universally applicable laws as well, or risk falling into chaos and disorder. We currently live in disorder and sin in America because preachers have lost this profound insight and body of knowledge called Natural Law.
But again to preach Natural Law at the pulpit would require a backbone seeing that God’s laws demand justice and condemnation of wickedness and sin. Something the state-ordained churches will never do, and thus, never spark true understanding, wisdom and action towards the righteous cause of God and revival.
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1: 19-20
I truly fear that without another great age of revival in America the world will plunge headlong into a very dark future. What makes the world evil and wicked is that there are millions of people that live without conscience or conviction of their sin. Whose fault is that? The answer is the preachers. The preachers in John Edwards’s day answered the call to proclaim God’s truths in courage and power, while the preachers of our day stumble at that call. They would rather preach emotionally charged gibberish that convicts no one, and instills no principles and Truths in the hearts of the congregation. A Dark Age is upon us as a result, and the pastors and preachers are to blame.
America needs a fiery revival that sweeps up the Godless, political, corporate, educational, religious and governmental institutions in a wisp of smoke. These institutions have been defiled, and have nothing to offer future humanity seeing they have abandoned their core directives. All these institutions were once established for the express benefit of the common man. Instead, their existence is now sustained wholly on the destruction and exploitation of the common man and his family. Right now, the war, poverty, disease, loss of basic rights, moral deterioration, intellectual idiocy and civilian division we face as a country is a direct result of the path and course these institutions have taken us as a nation. Look around, do you feel safer, more unified, better educated, empowered and represented by this godless system? The answer is an obvious no.
All you can see is the crushing boot of tyranny bearing down on us far more now than ever under a spiritually awakened society as was during the Great Awakening and colonial America. The preachers of their day were vanguards of righteousness and truth.
The preachers today are too busy using their words to get congregants to respond emotionally enough to open up their wallets, but not enough to convict them and spur them to salvation and action. So in reality, we see that the 501c3 church, the prophecy obsession and lack of knowledge pertaining to Natural Law are all real obstacles, but the number one article is the failing pastors themselves that stumble over these obstacles.
Yes, the number one obstacle towards revival in America is the pastors themselves.
Article posted with permission from Jason Charles