I think it would be useful, as I am hopeful to instigate a revival of true Christianity in a small but meaningful way in my sphere of influence in the near future, to record what are my views on revival at the outset, that in the future they might be compared with the results they've produced and thereby serve as a guide to others as they endeavor to do the same.

I will not attempt, at this time, to explain my reasoning and biblical basis for these views, but will simply list them in brief:

  • That the goal of revival, in fact the measurement of success, and indeed I would say, the definition of revival, in the simplest sense, is alignment of man's will with God's will.
  • That God governs mankind's hearts or wills, as moral beings, through influence, as opposed to force, and cannot do otherwise.
  • That the rule through influence must necessarily involve communication of truth from God's mind to ours, and that such constitutes the whole of His means to influence moral agents to align their wills with His.
  • That the life of Jesus, including His death and resurrection, expressed in His spoken words and in His deeds, constitutes the greatest of such communications (for an explanation of this view, listen to my Bible study on The Metaphors of John).
  • That Jesus' words and deeds, recorded and expounded upon by the New Testament writers, together with the Old testament, contain all of the communication necessary for the whole of humanity to perfectly align their wills with God's.
  • That, due to the finite nature of human minds, language, and communication, the truths from the Bible need to be translated and presented to each individual according to their particular needs.
  • That such translation does not consist merely in translation of the scriptures into languages that did not previously possess them, but, and this is of primary importance to our present task, to reintroduce the meaning of the biblical terminology to a culture which has redefined the Bible's terms into false and ineffective doctrines. (This is the aim of my Foundations Series of Bible studies.)
  • That a revival of Christianity involving great numbers of people, conforming their wills to God's to a great degree and for a long period of time (ideally, perfect obedience for the rest of their lives), will be accomplished through the previously described communication.
  • That if an individual can only be brought to salvation by influence, then there is no other mode of change available to act on free will beings when dealing on a larger scale than an individual, such as when we consider revival.
  • That to expect or require a mystical component, such as an "outpouring of the Holy Spirit" when the explicit and objective means for revival were conveyed to us through Jesus as being the aforementioned communication, is both a misunderstanding of, and a lack of faith in, the grace of God expressed in Jesus' life.
  • That to dogmatically assert biblical truths without regard for how or whether they are understood by those who hear them, as though we are to rely on the Holy Sprit conveying the true meaning, or worse, to wait for the Holy Sprit to move the sinner's heart by force to conversion is, again, a lack of understanding of, and faith in, the life of Jesus expressed in the Gospels.
  • The "quickening of the Spirit" of which Jesus spoke, He also explained as consisting in the words which He Himself had spoken (John 6:63).1
  • Whether particular revelation to an individual by the Holy Spirit may happen, we cannot say. But we should not expect or require it.
  • Whether attesting miracles may accompany the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, we cannot say, but we should not expect or require them as evidence that God's will is being done, since obedience to God's written word and the teaching of the same to others are evidence in themselves.
  • The message must be true enough to God’s word that it can be calculated to urge its hearers to a saving faith.
  • It must be sufficiently detailed and clear to overcome the intellectual barriers that our culture has to Christianity.
    • We cannot expect to overturn the great number of biblical misconceptions in our culture by a short evangelical message or in the text of a witnessing tract. However, these may be useful to persuade on particular issues or as samples of more detailed teaching being offered.
    • If the hearers be the churched, they may require less time due to their familiarity with the Scriptures; they may simply need to be led through the contextual interpretations.
    • On the other hand, the churched may require more time to convince than the unchurched, since they have been laboriously educated in every twisted doctrine of our day, learning false meanings for a great number of scriptural passages; this takes some time to undo.
  • Preaching and teaching must be truth-based and appeal to the reason primarily and not to the emotions.
    • An emotional response will necessarily follow when the truth is understood. Therefore, an emotional response is not evidence of a failure to emphasize the truth.
    • Whether the penitent endures in the faith will be the evidence that it was a reasoned response.
  • Its success should be measured not simply by the number of converts, but by their quality. For example, if they are converting solely from living in unhappiness to living a “purpose-driven life,” or solely from being hell-bound to being heaven-bound (in other words, they are seeking to save their lives2), then the quality is poor and there is no revival. The rate of recidivism may also be a measurement of the quality, but free will withstanding, can not be a reliable measure.

1"It is the Spirit who gives life [KJV says, "quickeneth"]; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

2"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25; also Mark 8:35 and Luke 9:24)