Revival, Deception, or Both?
Is it Revival or deception? Are we quenching the Holy Spirit or being deceived?
The Church has struggled with these questions for two thousand years, and as saints over the centuries have learned, there are often no easy answers. It can take time for the true nature of events to be revealed, for the true character of its participants to emerge, and for the true fruit of the Holy Spirit to become evident.
Since the events of Asbury have unfolded, and The Chosen and Jesus Revolution launched, we've been hearing voices from all over the spectrum: "A great revival is breaking out!" "No! It's deception!" "Yes, it's real!" "No, the people are sinners!" And etc., etc.
What's a Christian to believe? How do we discern?
The Lord saved us in 1976 amid a powerful revival in the Pacific Northwest in what many would consider a most unlikely place—a liberal Episcopal church in Oregon with very liberal pastors and an active gay community who proudly referred to themselves as the "once-born" and the "frozen chosen." Yet God chose it to save Linda from a scheduled hysterectomy by miraculously healing her of uterine cancer and then bringing us to new life in Christ.
Ignorant of everything Christian, we plunged into the life of that church. Yet, despite much false teaching and open acceptance of sin, The Book of Common Prayer and the church's daily liturgy still promoted the Bible and the historical teachings of the 16th-century Reformation. The Holy Spirit thus slowly sanctified us through those powerful influences and the help of some godly people who took us under their wing. After several years, He moved us to another state, and we lost touch.
Ten years later, Richard graduated from seminary, and the Lord moved us back to Oregon for a time. There we met an Episcopal minister who turned out to have been an interim minister at that church where God saved us. We listened with awe as he shared how the fire of the Holy Spirit had fallen after we left. The liberal pastors were all gone, along with about two-thirds of the congregation, leaving the remaining one-third humbled and hungry for God's Word, which he had taught them.
Over the years since then, we've been involved in several churches wrestling with the Holy Spirit working to bring revival, and sad to say, both closed down rather than yield to the Spirit's moving and corrections. We've learned to be very careful in deciding too soon what is real revival, who will respond, and who is “really” saved or beyond redemption--and just what the Holy Spirit might or might not do. Practically all of Paul’s Epistles focus on correction because even in the midst of that great awakening in the early church, there was much that needed correction. We are a sinful, stiff-necked people and can expect the same need of correction in our day. So let’s keep trying to test and discern spirits, teachings, and behaviors, but humbly and while manifesting Christ's love.
PRAYING INTO REVIVAL. Whatever is happening needs a lot of prayer. We with many others long for real soul-changing, nation-changing revival, so we'd like to recommend an excellent prayer guide from Intercessors for America called "Praying Into Revival." You can download it free at https://ifapray.org/promo/praying-into-revival/)
Here are the guide’s key points:
KEY PRAYER POINTS: