“What’s going on in California?” is the question that has been asked of me a lot this month. With the beach gatherings in Huntington Beach, along with Pastor Jack Hibbs’ and John MacArthur’s bold stances (thank you, both), we decided to launch a Saturday night service in Lancaster, California, at JetHawk Stadium. It’s being tagged the “Stadium Revival.”
Although the event was primarily for our local body as a way to come together, word quickly spread, and over 1,000 people showed up. We are not taking an offering, collecting names for a database, or trying to elevate our church; it’s simply a time to elevate Christ. It was an incredible event that will run through September 2020 (God willing). We witnessed salvations, recommitments, and powerful personal testimonies under the prayer tent. It showed how spiritually hungry people are to be encouraged and uplifted and even convicted. (The message can be heard here, and the entire service here.)
As a result of this California renewal, many have been asking, “With so much phoniness out there, what is true revival?” Simply stated, a genuine revival is God reviving His people. “Wilt thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6 KJV). Revival is our only hope, and repentance is the true mark of genuine revival as what was reflected in the life of Griffith Jones, who preached during the Welsh revivals of the 18th century and said, “The tears [of the congregation] began to flow in streams down their cheeks. Soon, they wept openly, and cried out, ‘What shall we do to be saved?’”
Further, it was not uncommon for people to tremble and weep or shout for joy under the anointed preaching of George Whitefield. Whitefield was the primary evangelist during the Great Awakening that occurred in the mid-1700s. During this time, old grudges and debts were forgiven, morality improved, many were added to the church, and there was a greater sense of the fear of the Lord.
Those who use past revivals in an attempt to validate odd events today perhaps have not truly researched revivals. In reading Charismatics and Calvinists, Pentecostals and Puritans, and Acts and Azusa, as well as countless biographies of leaders such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Charles Spurgeon, and D. L. Moody, and Puritans such as Thomas Goodwin, John Bunyan, John Owen, and Richard Baxter, nowhere do these leaders encourage hysteria or outright weirdness that sometimes follows “revivals.”
Granted, there were times of strong conviction, such as when people held on to trees thinking that they were falling into the abyss of hell during the famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards. And people did cry out to God, or fall on the ground under the strong conviction of sin during the revivals of George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Evan Roberts, but this is because sin, righteousness, and holiness were preached. 1 Corinthians 14:25 describes: “falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” This is true revival.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Shane Idleman