Rivers of Revival
ARE YOU READY FOR REVIVAL?
A revival is coming, one of unprecedented scope and power. In Rivers of Revival Neil Anderson and Elmer Towns tell us just what it will take to open the floodgates.
Together they show how God is releasing streams of living water from diverse springs of ministry—and how these streams will converge to create mighty rivers of revival that carry the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Neil Anderson is co-author on this book. He is founder and president of Freedom in Christ Ministries and was formerly chairman of the Practical Theology Department at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Dr. Anderson has authored several bestselling books on Christ-centered living, including The Christ-Centered Marriage, Living Free in Christ, Victory over the Darkness and The Bondage Breaker.
INTRODUCTION TO MACRO-REVIVALS by Elmer L. Towns
I believe the coming revival will be different from the past great awakenings. The past revivals seem to all be described in the same way. God’s people humbled themselves, prayed, repented, and called on God. In response, God heard their request, forgave their sin and poured out His presence on them. Revival began with individuals, next transformed churches, and finally influence surrounding culture. The coming revival will flow like a river delta to the ocean. It will follow one of many channels, all channels lead to the sea. Some revival manifestations will be worship awakenings within the church (ch. 17). Other revivals will confront and break Satanic powers to free up God’s Spirit (ch. 14). Some revivals will confront sin in believers lives (ch. 13) or confront sin in the corporate church (ch. 12), while other revival expressions will not focus on sin, but will flow through the blessing of God (ch. 11). Some revivals will follow the traditional expression of evangelism (ch. 16), and others will be touched by revival when believers experience God in deeper life living (ch. 18). The coming revival will break out in unexpected places with unexpected expressions on unexpected people. This section examines revival as a macro-experience, i.e. a movement among people or people groups, i.e. churches, youth movements, denominations, etc. The first section examined revival as a micro-experience, i.e. something that occurs within individuals. Obviously, there is always a micro-experience within individuals each time there is a group experience. But this raises the age-old question, “Can the individual experience revival apart from the group where he/she is located? And, the reverse question, does all of the members of a group experience revival individually when God pours His Spirit on the group?” This section deals with macro-revival, or the movement of God upon a church community, people group, or nation. Historically, this has been called an Awakening. The definition of revival or Awakening in this section is the same as before. Revival occurs when God pours His spirit (Himself) out upon His people. Obviously, God pours Himself upon individuals, called the anointing or the filling of the Spirit. Also, God pours Himself out on groups, called the outpouring or an awakening, as the First or Second Great Awakening. Revival can be an internal experience as described in the micro-revival section of this book. On the other hand, macro-revival can be called Atmospheric Revival, because it is felt, sensed, and experienced. The Scriptures describe the outpouring of the Spirit as rain and/or dew, both an experience that one experience. Atmospheric Revival can be felt in the small grouping such as family devotions, or in the larger context of a church worship experience when people sing about feeling the presence of the Lord in a worship service, they are describing an Atmospheric Revival that can be felt. In the revival meeting when I was converted (Towns), there was a sense of God’s presence in the Presbyterian Church in Bonna Bella, Georgia, a small waterfront residential area near Savannah, Georgia. The local rural mail delivery man was converted in that revival / evangelistic crusade. He testified publicly, “There are 23 churches on my mail route. When I deliver mail to them, I don’t feel anything from them. But since this revival began, I felt something every time I came close to this church house. So, I visited the revival meeting to find out what was happening . . . I got saved.”
REVIVAL EXPRESSIONS This section does not use agencies to describe revival experiences, i.e. Sunday School revival, camp revival, V.B.S. revival, or young people’s revival meeting, or any other such agency. These are just illustrations of agencies where revival is experienced. This section takes a deeper look at revival to examine their macro-experiences. This section looks at the things that block corporate revival, and examines the type of revival when these barriers are removed. The study of church growth, evangelism and their sister disciplines, revival (awakenings) is an examination of the principles how God works among people to carry out His purpose and plans on earth. Remember, the principles of God are eternal, which means they never change from age to age. Also, the principles of God are transcultural which means they work in primitive cultures as well as in the most civilized society.
Methods are many, Principles are few. Methods may change, But principles never do.
This means the methods of youth revivals and Sunday School revivals may change, but the eternal principles of revival will never change whereby God pours out Himself on His people. 10. BLESSING THE UNSAVED: THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADS TO REVIVAL. Most think the key to revival comes by preaching against sin so the Holy Spirit will convict people to feel guilty so they will turn to God from sin. But, there is a new movement of which Ed Silvoso seems to be the spokesperson of the revivals in Argentina that have been introduced by blessing the unsaved. Chapter 11 examines the biblical basis, criticism and ways to apply this principle. 11. RESTORATION: OWING THE SINS OF OUR FATHERS. Some teach revival (or the normal blessing of God) cannot be poured out because of the past sins by people that block the blessing of God. The restoration plank of the Promise Keepers indicates the way to reconcile the races or alienated people groups is by identificationalrepentance. We can undo past sins and open ourselves to future revival by proper restoration. John Dawson of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and Coach Bill McCartney of Promise Keepers appear to be spokespersons for this principle. 12. FREEDOM IN CHRIST: LIBERATING YOUR CHURCH FROM SPIRITUAL BONDAGE. The corporate sins of a church will block any future hope of God’s blessing or revival. Those who deal with them biblically can open up the congregation to revival. Neil Anderson (author) is the spokesperson for this principle. 13. REPENTANCE: KEY TO REVIVAL. Many historic revivals have occurred because there was confession, repentance and forsaking personal sin. While the restoration movement and liberating your church deals with corporate sins, this chapter deals with the interaction that personal repentance and forsaking sin has on group revival. This means God pours Himself out on many (the group) because individuals confess, repent and turn from sin.
- SPIRITUAL WARFARE: WINNING THE BATTLE OF REVIVAL. Many in the growing prayer movement wrestle with the demonic/Satanic conflict that opposes revival. When the battle is properly fought on spiritual growth and biblical principles are applied, God can send revival. C. Peter Wagner and George Otis, Jr. are the spokespersons for this movement. 15. THE HOLY SPIRIT: FILLING FOR REVIVAL. Many have advocated that proper relationship to the Holy spirit is the key to revival. Whether called the filling of the Spirit (Bible church evangelical) or the baptism of the Spirit (Pentecostals and/or Charismatics), they focus on the work of the Holy Spirit to initiate revival. 16. EVANGELISM: WINNING SOULS FOR REVIVAL. Historically, revival has been poured out on evangelistic crusades with the purpose of winning lost people to Christ. They have gone beyond soul-winning to experience a touch of God, such as the movement of God on the evangelism of the Jesus People of the beaches of Southern California in the mid 1960s. Billy Graham has been the spokesperson for this principle and before him it was probably Dwight L. Moody. 17. WORSHIP: THE TOUCH OF GOD THAT REVIVES. Jack Hayford the spokesperson for this principle wants to institute a second reformation of worship because the original reformation of the Protestant church from the Catholic church under Martin Luther was a reformation of doctrine only, not worship. Hayford feels the dead liturgical worship service is a carry over of medieval Christian formalism. Hayford feels when people reach out to touch God, He in turn reaches down to touch them. That weekly experience in every Sunday worship is revival. This macro-experience can be felt by every believer, every Sunday as this they worship God together. 18. EXPERIENCING GOD: DEEPER LIFE BRINGS REVIVAL. Henry Blackaby, the spokesperson for this principle believes when people experience the presence of God, He will manifest Himself to them and revive them. Reflecting the classic deeper life model of revivalism, people can motivate God to pour Himself on his people.