On Awakenings, Revivals, and the Church
The last Great Spiritual Awakening in America took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And on their June 21, 1971 cover, Time called it the Jesus Revolution.
That was more than 50 years ago, and I see a lot of parallels between then and now. It was a divided nation back then, with racial conflict and a drug culture. Things were very dark.
In fact, a few years earlier, on April 8, 1966, another Time cover posed this question: “Is God Dead?”
What a difference a few years can make, especially when God intervenes. When things are really dark, God’s light can shine brightly. And I think we’re due for another Jesus Revolution.
Revival vs Awakening
America needs a spiritual awakening, but the church needs a revival. “Revival” and “awakening” are often used interchangeably, but there’s a distinction.
An awakening is when God sovereignly pours out his Spirit, and it impacts a culture. That is what happened during the Jesus Revolution, and it’s also what happened in multiple spiritual awakenings in America’s history, even predating our establishment as a nation.
A revival, on the other hand, is what the church must experience. It’s when the church comes back to life, when it becomes what it was always meant to be. It’s a returning to passion.
The Prescription for Revival
I think many times we overly mystify the idea of revival. But we don’t really need to, because another word we could use for revival is restoration.
If you were to see a cool old car restored to showroom condition, you might admire it and say, “Wow, that’s beautiful! Someone took time to do that.”
The same thing can happen in a life as well. And that is what the church needs.
Evangelist and pastor R. A. Torrey, who was a friend of Dwight L. Moody’s, gave this prescription for revival: