I have finished blogging through the book The Sermon on the Mount, by D. M. Lloyd-Jones. Now I am reading another of his books, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors. Again, as is the habit of Lloyd-Jones, the book is actually taken directly from his sermons. This book is a compilation of messages from yearly conferences on the subject of the Puritans; they met in Westminster Chapel in London, from 1959 to 1978. And so, I intend to blog through the book as I am reading it. We will see how it goes. The first chapter is on the history of revival, and I intend to just put down in my words those portions that I have highlighted. Here goes.
- He starts out by telling where revival has not broken out: the Roman Catholic Church, the Unitarian Church, and the Anglican Church. And he gives the reason; that they have confined the Holy Spirit.
- But there was great revival in other places: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Germany. The moving of the Spirit came to America through Jonathan Edwards, to Whitefield and to the Wesleys and others.
- Charles Finney was known for the way he created revival by his methods: his evangelistic campaigns, etc. It was interesting how he had sort of a formula to bring it about. Whereas others just waited for it and prayed.
- With some groups there has seemed to be very little interest in revival: the Calvinistic brethren, Charles Hodge, the Plymouth Brethren, and others. They disliked it because of all the emotion and phenomenon related to it; they didn’t trust it.
- Even the Puritans themselves didn’t seem to teach anything about revival.
- The Plymouth Brethren thought it was wrong to pray for revival, because they said, the Holy Spirit had been given already at Pentecost. They said that nowhere in Scripture are we taught to pray for revival.
- The church seems to be divided into two groups: those that are only interested in the emotional and unusual things accompanied by revival, and the group that distrust all unusual things. But they are both wrong.
- The history of the development of the church is largely a history of revival.
- An important point is this: salvation always starts by revival. Salvation is a work of the Spirit. And that work happens suddenly on the soul when the soul is suddenly revived.
- Man cannot start a revival. It comes when God decides. And he cannot stop it either. God brings it, keeps it going and stops it when He chooses.
We are called above everything else to pray for revival. Let us pray for the outpouring of the Spirt of God, just as they did between the Ascension and Pentecost. Let us stir ourselves up to take hold of God.