SOME MODERN EDUCATORS HAVE DISCOVERED the truth that the teachers of one-room school houses of the 1800s new well: for a child to excel in study, he must learn to become a self-educator. The child is taught the basics (or the three R’s) which are the basis of all learning skills. If these are mastered early on, the student becomes self-governing and is prepared for all areas of study.
Christianity, also, has the three “R’s” of faith: revival, reformation and restoration. If mastered, these three powerful truths will equip the Church to be the cultural transformer she was destined to be. The Church must begin with the historical orthodox faith and then build upon this foundation with subsequent principles of cultural transformation. Let’s define three of these principles:
REVIVAL – This begins with a recovery of the Lord’s testimony in a given generation. The resulting effect of the revived Church on society with large numbers of people being converted is termed a spiritual awakening.
REFORMATION – This is defined as the corresponding effect of a spiritual awakening on a particular society. Great social reforms occur due to the sanctifying power of a revived Church acting as a redeemer to its culture.
RESTORATION – This occurs as each successive wave of revival restores great truths which were part of the normal experience for the early Church of the apostolic age, but had been lost during the time of the Middle Ages.
These three great forces, working together throughout time, have brought us to a crucial juncture in history. We desperately need to understand what God has accomplished in the past and to examine the current state of world affairs. The purpose of such understanding is to create an atmosphere within the Church of our generation which is conducive to yet another wave of revival which will reform the nations and complete the Great Commission. As we begin to understand the mechanism through which God was worked in the past, we will be able to have hope for the future.
We should realize that there is revival happening all over the world today. There is spiritual awakening which has swept hundreds of millions of people into the Kingdom of God within the last decade. There is revival in Africa, South America, the former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, the South Pacific Islands, and Southeast Asia. The sheer volume of people coming to know Christ in this “World Awakening” not only rivals but even surpasses what happened in America in centuries past.
One of the most obvious effects of spiritual awakening in the world today was in dealing a death blow to communism – the dreaded enemy of liberty and Christian culture. Although the secular press has not presented this fact, the Church was more instrumental in bringing the downfall of many communist governments throughout the world than any other single force.
We can understand what is next on the agenda by examining God’s promises to his Church, especially those found in Isaiah 60 and those found in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). As we turn to our own nation and Europe, we see that the supposedly “Christian” nations of the world today are sadly deficient in terms of revival experience. Nevertheless, in times of great darkness in America’s past revival has dawned bringing new light and hope. So we can hope and pray for a Great Awakening in America which will surpass all past experience.
In our own nation, we can see that the coming awakening will bring an end to abortion – America’s number one social problem. Reform efforts of a revived Church will also overthrow ungodly influences in art, music and the sciences. We can expect that lewd homosexual art, rock music, and the theory of evolution will be targets of the awakened Church. The many social problems our nation now faces – sexual immorality, AIDS, racial problems, economic woes – are reformation tasks for the Church of the new awakening.