B. Motives for Seeking Revival
c. Third motive: for the sake of the church
1. Many failures in much of the church
[I use Britain, my own nation, as an example here. But, if you don’t live in Britain, you could write your own equivalent article relating to your own nation]
There are, of course, many good things about the church. Many churches are spiritually alive. They worship God sincerely, they preach and share the gospel, they care for members and for the community outside the congregation, they make sacrifices of time and money to further the work of God, they care for the poor and disadvantaged.
But, especially in the western world, there is serious decline in many churches, both in numbers and in belief and behaviour. For example, in the last decade, there has been an 11% decrease in attendance in the Church of England. Attendance is declining in 37% of parishes but is growing in 10%. Over the past decade there has been an average decline of just over 1% a year. 100,000 worshippers have been lost in that period. In some dioceses 40% of church attenders are over 70.
A recent report [i] discovered that only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians.” It also discovered that only
- 56% of clergy and 67% of churchmembers in declining churches believed in the bodily resurrection of Christ.
- 19% of clergy from declining churches read the Bible daily.
This will be fairly typical in the western world.
How the Lord must be grieved by numerous failings in much of the church:
- Not putting God first
- Not having a fear of God
- Not teaching about judgment and hell (and some do not proclaim salvation clearly)
- Not urging holiness amongst Christians
- Not loving one’s neighbour
- Not praying effectively (or much at all)
- Not evangelising effectively
- Compromising with sin, accepting modern social standards.
- Sitting light to the teaching of the Bible.
- Allowing clergy and other leaders to reject credal doctrine or biblical teaching on morality (not just sexual morality).
- Thinking that committee-led activity, ritual, planning and reorganisation is the answer.
We need a church which is:
- Worshipping in Spirit and in truth
- Inspired by the awesome presence of God
- Living in reverent fear of God
- Submitted to God’s Word
- Seeking holiness
- United in love
- Praying in depth
- Committed practically to evangelism
Only God coming in Revival will ensure the future of many churches, making them effective in ministry and outreach.
We urgently need revival because many western church congregations are elderly and will die within a relatively few years. Satan is mocking God over this godless, secularised nation and over the feebleness and compromise of the church much of which is dying. Why should this continue? Why should Satan continue to mock God? God is not just sitting back and tolerating this like many Christians do. He is looking for those who will repent, learn and pray about revival so he can pour out his Spirit and stop Satan’s mocking. He longs to do this.
[i] The report, “Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy,” was based on five years of research amongst churchmembers and clergy in Ontario.