Reimar A.C. Schultze
What God Can Do!
By Pastor Reimar Schultze
“A revival is a community saturated with God.” Duncan Campbell
This article is a follow-up on the last Call to Obedience which was called The New Evangelism. The new evangelism as we see it in America puts its emphasis on new methods, new programs, new ideas and being contemporary to reach the world for Christ. Of course, in her effort to become contemporary, the church has a tendency to slip into conformity with the world. This brings the spirit and methods of the world into the churches, making her unfit to become the birth-place for revival.
It is my contention that, in most cases, revival fires will start where the heat is the greatest.
John the beloved gave absolutely no hope for revival to start in lukewarm churches who, for the sake of gaining multitudes, have lowered the bars of God’s moral decrees, for he said that the lukewarm will be spat out of Jesus’ mouth (Rev. 3:1516).
In times when people will no longer endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3), it is far better to hold steady with those sound doctrines and go deeper with them than to dilute these teachings to gain the masses and clothe them in the garments of hypocrisy.
Historically speaking, then, it is the heat, the white heat and passion for God, in the lives of a very few that have ignited the flames of fire that have revived churches, villages, cities and nations. It is a known fact that every great move of God in revival has come out of fervent, united, prevailing prayer. It is noted that the depth of these moves of God is determined by the depth of repentance that accompanied them. Furthermore, how long these revivals last can be measured by the degree of obedience in the hearts of the believers who have experienced it. In this article, I intend to acquaint the reader with historical examples of what true revival is.
The history of modern English-speaking revivals began with the preaching of Jonathan Edwards in New Eng-land on justification by faith, and it climaxed with his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in 1741. Within two years of the beginning of this revival, from 1740 to 1742, about fifty thousand people were con-verted out of a population of about two hundred and fifty thousand, meaning that twenty percent of the population began to know God. The second great revival began in Kentucky in about 1800 where there were about ten thousand converts. The third great movement of Godthe Great Awakeningcame in 1857 when three men of God began to pray for revival in a Dutch Reformed Church in New York. Here is an excerpt of that event:
“First, there were three men praying in earnest at daily prayer meetings. Then there were five; then a week later 14 and then 23 uncompromising men who would not let go of the old time religion, who raised their voices to God. Soon, every public building in downtown New York was filled for noon-time prayer meetings, and in a week’s time, ten thousand people were saved. In eight months, fifty thousand of that city were saved, and this revival spread throughout the whole country, from New York to Los Angeles. It spread to Ireland, Scotland, England, South Africa and India. One scholar remarks that the move of God’s Spirit across America was so strong that even as ships came near American ports, the people on board felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and were saved and filled with joy before they reached the harbor.”
After the church backslid, the next great revival began in Wales in 1904 with Evan Roberts praying. Seventeen men began to pray with him and committed themselves to these four principles: 1) you must confess every known sin to God; 2) you must remove every doubtful habit from your life; 3) you must obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting; and 4) you must go public with your witness of Christ.
In this revival, thirty-seven thousand people were saved in one month and one hundred thousand in five months. Colleges closed down, and students marched, singing and praising God on their way to prayer meeting. For a time, crime came to an endthere were no more murders, robberies, rapes and burglaries. This revival also spread to America.
But what I want to relate to you particularly is some of the details, some of the inner workings of these revivals. For this, we look at the most recent revival of this last centuryon the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland in the 1940s and 1950sas recorded in the book Bright and Shining Revival by Kathie Walters (Good News Fellow-ship Ministries, Macon, Georgia).
Before the revival, churches in the area were virtually empty. Many churches were about to close their doors. But there were some who were not ready to give up. Among them was a small group of men who agreed to meet regularly in a barn for prayer (1948). They made a covenant with God as they met three nights every week until four or five in the morning. One night, after the little band of prayer warriors had made their way to the farmhouse to claim the promises of God, John, the local blacksmith was called upon to pray. As he prayed, the power of God was unleashed, rattling dishes on the dresser, and then waves of divine power moved through the room.
“Simultaneously, the Spirit of God swept through the village. People could not sleep and houses were lit all night. People walked the streets in great conviction; others knelt by their bedsides crying for pardon. As the men left the prayer meeting the preacher walked into a house for a glass of milk and found the lady of the house with seven others down upon their knees, crying out for God.
“Within 48 hours the drinking house, usually crowded with drinking men of the village, was closed. 14 young men who had been drinking there were gloriously converted. Those same men afterwards could be found three times a week with others down upon their knees before God, praying for their old associates and for the spread of revival. It was in this village that, within 48 hours, many young people had surren-dered their lives to Christ, and could also be found in the prayer meetings!”(pp. 1213)
“‘Of all the hundreds who turned to Christ in the first wave of the Holy Spirit, until now (1952), only four young women have ceased to attend the prayer meetings.’ (Keswick [Convention] Journal in 1952) The converts were numbered by their attendance at the prayer meetings. Absence from the prayer meeting meant a doubted conversion!” (p. 39)
“In some districts there was hardly a soul who was not affected by the revival. One man who had very little time for God was driving along the road when he suddenly saw before him a vision of hell. Startled and afraid, he jammed on his brakes, pulled his car to the roadside, then, kneeling down, he surrendered his life to Christ.” (p. 26)
An eye witness of the revival, Daniel Smith, said that angels were heard singing throughout the island. In one place, seven men who were being driven to a meeting in a butcher truck suddenly felt the power of God and were saved before they reached the church. One minister described the scene at one police station: “I saw a sight I never thought possible. Something I shall never forget. Under a starlit sky, men and women were kneeling everywhere, by the roadside, outside the cottages, even behind the peat stacks, crying for God to have mercy on them.” (p. 10)
To close up my thoughts about revival, let me quote again from Bright and Shining Revival about the Welsh Revival of 1904:
“This is revival! When men in the streets are afraid to open their mouths and utter godless words lest the judgment of God should fall; when sinners, overawed by the presence of God, tremble in the street and cry for mercy; when, without special meetings and sensational advertising the Holy Ghost sweeps across cities and towns in supernatural power and holds men in the grip of terrifying conviction; when every shop becomes a pulpit; every heart an altar; every home a sanctuary and people walk softly before Godthis is revival.” (Quote from Rev. Owen Murphy, p. 1)
“Dr. Campbell Morgan, after witnessing the scenes of revival in Wales, returned to Westminster Chapel in London and declared, ‘Here is revival that comes from heaven; there is no preaching, no order, no hymn-books, no choirs, no organs, no collections and finally no advertising! Now think of that for a moment! There were organsbut they were silent. There were ministersbut there was no preachingthey were among the people praising God! Yet the Welsh revival is a revival of preaching, for everybody is preaching. No order and yet it moves from day to day, county to county with matchless precision, with the order of an attacking force. No song-books, but, ah me, I nearly wept over the singing! When the Welsh sing they abandon themselves to the singing. No choir did I say? It was all choir.
“Wales is ablaze for God, already 50,000 converts have been recorded and the great awakening shows no signs of waning. It is sweeping over hundreds of villages and cities, emptying saloons, theaters and dance halls, and filling the churches night after night with praying multitudes.
Go where you will; into the bank; the store; the trains. Everywhere men are talking about God.”
Dear friends, let us not compromise with the world to get people into our churches. Let us hold steady, dig in, die out to all that is of the Self-life, be purified, get hot for Jesus, and pray fervently, corporately, and diligently, and God will do it again!