Alternatives to Revival

Revival or judgement
Strange though it may seem, there are distinct similarities between the ways of God in revival and in judgment. Throughout the prophets the thought of a divine visitation is used to describe blessing and revival on the one hand (Jer 27:22) and a season of judgment on the other (Jer 50:31). Likewise the overflowing rain could picture a time a spiritual revival (Ezek 34:26) or of divine judgment (Gen 6:17). Another figure used of the mighty operation of the Spirit in revival is fire from heaven (1 Kings 18:38; Acts 2:33), but it is also typical of the judgment of God (2 Kings 1:10). All this may be partly explained by the fact that there is an element of judgment present in every revival. The purifying and quickening of the people of God are moral and spiritual necessities. Because of His very nature, God cannot and will not permit spiritual decline to continue unchecked. He is ever halting and reversing the trend of the times by means of revival - or judgment. Where His people are not prepared for the one, they shut themselves up to the other.

Arthur Wallis, In The Day of Thy Power, p215

Revival averts the judgement of God
A revival of religion is indispensable to avert the judgments of God from the Church. This would be a strange preaching if revivals were only miracles. And if the Church has no more agency in producing them than it has in producing a thunderstorm. We could not then say to the Church: “Unless there is a revival you may expect judgments.” The fact is Christians are more to blame for not being revived, than sinners are for not being converted. And if they are not awakened, they may know assuredly that God will visit them with His judgments.

How often God visited the Jewish Church with judgments because they would not repent and be revived at the call of His prophets! How often have we seen Churches, and even whole denominations, cursed with a curse, because they would not wake up and seek the Lord, and pray: “Wilt Thou not revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?”

Charles Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Chapter 2: When A Revival Is To Be Expected

When revivals cease judgement must come
It is most significant that since the Reformation, revivals have recurred with increasing frequency. Again and again, God has rescued that which had gone beyond all human aid: what could have saved the church but these gracious interventions of almighty power? The need can but grow more urgent as the age draws to its close. When revivals cease to flow from the mercy of God, judgement must come.

D. M.Panton, quoted Arthur Wallis, In The Day of Thy Power, p214

Revival removes reproach from the church
A revival of religion is the only possible thing that can wipe away the reproach, which covers the Church, and restore religion to the place it ought to have in the estimation of the public. Without a revival, this reproach will cover the Church more and more, until it is overwhelmed with universal contempt. You may do anything else you please, and you may change the aspects of society in some respects, but you will do no real good; you only make it worse without a revival of religion. You may go and build a splendid new house of worship, and line your seats with damask, put up a costly pulpit, and get a magnificent organ, and everything of that kind, to make a show and dash, and in that way you may procure a sort of respect for religion among the wicked, but it does no good in reality. It rather does hurt. It misleads them as to the real nature of religion; and so far from converting them; it carries them farther away from salvation. Look wherever they have surrounded the altar of Christianity with splendour, and you will find that the impression produced is contrary to the true nature of religion. There must be a waking up of energy on the part of Christians, and an outpouring of God’s Spirit, or the world will laugh at the Church.

Charles Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Chapter 2: When A Revival Is To Be Expected

Without revival the church will decline into oblivion
Nothing but a revival of religion can preserve such a Church from annihilation. A Church declining in this way cannot continue to exist without a revival. If it receives new members, they will, for the most part, be made up of ungodly persons. Without revivals there will not ordinarily be as many persons converted as will die off in a year. There have been Churches in this country where the members have died off, and, since there were no revivals to convert others in their place, the Church has “run out,” and the organization has been dissolved.

Charles Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Chapter 2: When A Revival Is To Be Expected

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