Monday, April 25, 2011

Appropriately, Jury Still Out on Bethel Revival

Several weeks ago it was reported that Bethel College experienced a revival.  A chapel service turned into a day-long praise and prayer session, and more.

Some of the administration has declared it a legitimate revival.  Some of the students have questioned it.  Some people are withholding judgment.

My reading recently in J. I. Packer's A Quest for Godliness dwelt on revival; in particular, Jonathan Edwards' teaching on revival.

Edwards taught that revival is often a chaotic and messy affair, because even while the Spirit is at work, so also Satan is at work to confuse and corrupt and tarnish anything that God is doing.  So while Satan often works to restrain Christians, when revival comes and he can no longer restrain them, he changes his tactic and gives them a push from behind to send them head-long in their passions; i.e., into excess.

The bottom line is that revival is never a clean affair.  It is a wonderful thing, something to be prayed for and welcomed, a great work of God; but at the same time the devil is also at work.

That being the case, apparent revivals should be evaluated for their fruits, whether they be long-term or not.  Time will tell whether what happened at Bethel was a revival.

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