Friday, January 04, 2008


I ran across this in the print version of Christianity Today and have been waiting for it to come online, which it did a couple of days ago.

Joe Church, a missionary revivalist in Africa in the 1940s, had it right when he observed, "Revival is not when the roof blows off, but when the bottom falls out."

The bottom has been falling out all over the place. Last July, during an event named The Call, more than 70,000 students, young adults, parents, and ministers from all over the country met in Nashville to pray for 12 hours in a solemn assembly of confession and prayer for our nation...In addition, there will be a national prayer gathering of students and young adults called Paradise '08 that will take place in the middle of a Kansas field on May 25—no merchandise, speakers, or artists, just prayer, Scripture, and song.

...whenever permitted, I followed the simple patterns seen in so many revival meetings in church history. These always include worship, prayer, and a non-negotiable call to confession of any and all sin—whether those attending are professing Christians, ministers, students, completely sin-ridden, demon-possessed, or lost. The result is always the same—the bottom falls out. Confessions of pride, eating disorders, pornography, and sexual immorality rush out of the mouths of innumerable students, as well as confessions of unforgiveness, same-sex attraction, jealousy, and doubt.

...These scenarios have played out everywhere I visit, capturing Dietrich Bonhoeffer's explanation of public confession perfectly: "As the open confession of my sins to a brother insures me against self-deception, so, too the assurance of forgiveness becomes fully certain to me only when it is spoken by a brother in the name of God. Mutual, brotherly confession is given to us by God in order that we may be sure of divine forgiveness."

...Students tell me that spiritual mentors who are "on fire for Jesus," consistent in their walks with God, who remained sexually pure in their own dating and marriage relationships, and who lived full-of-the-Holy-Spirit lives in front of them are rare. But they are longing for, begging for, older Christians to be solid spiritual mentors and parents to them, to pray powerfully for and with them. They don't need more programs. They want prayer and revival for their generation.

I've been to dozens of campuses in the past three years and seen that the younger generation has started what Finney called "a new beginning of obedience to God."

Is my generation ready to join them?

Please read the whole thing; may the tribe of those repenting increase to include us all!


Jonathan Erdman said...

Hhhhhmmmmm.....I don't think they need "solid" spiritual mentors. From my experiences and observations, such mentors wind up cementing a young believer into complacency! In Johannine speak, I would suggest, "You do not have need that anyone should teach you."

jps said...

Depends on what kind of "solid" we are talking about. I know that Finney used to try and keep new converts away from old church members who were less than enthusiastic about their relationship with God. If that is what you mean, then I agree :)