Tag Archives: Revival

Are You Praying for Revival?

Since finishing Iain Murray’s superb biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones last week, I’ve been pondering the topic of revival. The life and ministry of the Welsh pastor leaves me no option. As Murray, who also authored Revival and Revivalism, observes: ”True zeal for revival is nothing other than zeal for the glory of God in the conversion of many.” Or, as Tim Keller explained at TGC13, revivals are “seasons in which the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit are intensified.” (For more on gospel revival, see chapters 4 and 6 in Center Church or A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir by Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge.)

While such statements may sound harmless enough, are they true? Some evangelicals today are certainly uneasy with revival talk. Revival is God’s concern, they insist, not ours. Are they wrong?

TGC Council members Kevin DeYoung, Bryan Chapell, and Richard Phillips recently sat down to tackle this knotty topic. ”In a true revival, you’re not adding human manipulative techniques to a biblical ministry,” Phillips explains. Rather, you’re “doing biblical ministry, fortified by prayer, and the Holy Spirit is giving you a great harvest.”

Moreover, Chapell points out, “True revival is often very disruptive to the traditional church.” As a result, many churches “want revival until it comes.” On the other hand, DeYoung adds, some don’t desire to see revival unless it occurs in their church.

To be sure, the history of revivalism is shot through with examples of well-meaning people seeking to engineer what only God can do. As Lloyd-Jones warned:

Pray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it; it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make it.

Watch the full eight-minute video to hear these pastors discuss the temptation to manufacture, the danger of giving up, the problem with measuring success in revival terms, and more.

Revival from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Revival in Germany Needs Biblical Theology

Imagine, if you can, a training center for young doctors whose curriculum focused entirely on studying individual parts of the human body. One day students might investigate the elbow, which would arrive hermetically sealed and sterile. Next, attention would shift to the kidney or the eyeball and so on. Over time, each part of the body would become the subject of extensive analysis, being dissected and re-dissected into ever smaller units, which would themselves then become the focus of further scholarly inquiry. Yet at no point would students ever investigate the interaction between these parts and their relationship to the body as a whole. Indeed, though the existence of the body was widely recognized as “fact,” the very idea of such an enquiry into its combined function was deemed “unscientific” by the authorities and ruled out as a suitable topic for research.

What would be the consequences of such an approach to medical education? To begin, while students might graduate with extensive knowledge about all manner of things, they would understand next to nothing about the parts they had been examining. For how can you explain what a nose is and does without reference to the face on which it sits, the central nervous system, and the brain? Worse still, they would be hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with a person as a whole. Their training would give them no way of distinguishing between a complete collection of diverse human “material”—each piece carefully dissected, labeled, and sealed in individual plastic bags—and their own living, breathing daughter. Without some understanding of the bigger picture, of how the parts fit together within the whole, their knowledge would ultimately amount to almost nothing.

The scenario is of course ludicrous in the extreme. No one in his or her right mind would ever dream of studying human biology in this way. And yet such an approach more or less describes how the Bible is being studied far too often.

Unity of Message

Biblical theology has long been championed by Sydney Anglicans in Australia and has also found wide acceptance in North America. But mainland Europe (and Germany in particular) has widely lost sight of the unity and the one central message of the Bible.

Having rejected the notion of a single divine author, many scholars, teachers, and preachers have lost sight of the theological and conceptual unity within the 66 books of the Scriptures, emphasizing instead their diversity and examining ever-smaller portions of text without regard for their wider literary context.

The consequences have been disastrous. Few today think of the Bible as a book so much as a loose collection of literary fragments that reflect multiple viewpoints and agendas without a coherent center. Even within so-called evangelical theological colleges, there seems to be little comprehension of how the whole Bible can be read as one unified book, leaving many contemporary church leaders with little clarity about what their message is or should be. As a result the evangel (gospel), which stands at the center of the Scriptures, is no longer preached in many Protestant German churches.

All of which serves to underscore Germany’s desperate need for biblical theology. In distinction to systematic theology, which represents a thematic approach, biblical theology seeks to discover the unity of the Bible amid its diversity. Taking its cue from Luke 24:27, 44-45, biblical theology seeks to understand Jesus’ claim that in some sense the Old Testament is about him and in particular his sufferings, death, and resurrection. As such, it is concerned with God’s great message of salvation in the form it actually takes in the Bible. In other words, biblical theology attempts to tell the story of God’s interaction with his world, of what he “has done and will do to bring this world to judgment and his people to salvation.”


In order to equip and strengthen church leaders in German-speaking Europe to understand and preach the life-giving gospel faithfully from all of Scripture, the German-language Gospel Coalition—Evangelium21—is putting on its third major conference. From April 4 to 6, Vaughan Roberts and Michael Lawrence will be the main speakers at the Evangelium21 conference in Hamburg, Germany. Our theme will be biblical theology.

Vaughan Roberts is rector of the Anglican St. Ebbe’s Church in Oxford, UK, and president of the Proclamation Trust, which offers conferences and resources for preachers and training up the next generation of Bible teachers. His book God’s Big Picture is a helpful introduction to biblical theology.

Michael Lawrence has been the senior pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, since 2010 and previously served as associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. His book Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church is another helpful resource for those who seek to gain a better understanding of biblical theology. The two main speakers will be joined by some German speakers from the Evangelium21 network. You can get more information on the conference in this English brochure.

Evangelium21 has a mission to revive and strengthen churches and intends to create a network to bring like-minded people together and recommend helpful contacts and resources for one another. To this end, Evangelium21 has begun to translate and produce gospel-centered materials that emphasize the centrality of the gospel, not only for church life, but also for life in general.

Please pray that God would bear much fruit from the conferences and would use the efforts of Evangelium21 and similar national gospel networks to bring revival and fan the Reformation flame in Europe!

Carson’s Lessons from the Good Times and Bad

There’s something about reading accounts of churches enjoying unusual fruit in evangelism and discipleship that makes us to long for the same in ours. Accounts like the 18th-century Great Awakening in New England stir us with hope that a spiritually dry and hostile region can suddenly fill with low-hanging fruit.

Speaking several times recently at the Multiply Conference in Australia, Don Carson gives an account of the French Canadian Revival during the 1970s. It’s a moving account of the Lord’s work among struggling churches and faithful missionaries and pastors. Here’s the gist: before 1972, French Canada, which had about 6 million people in the region, had about 35 evangelical churches. None of these churches had more than 50 people in attendance. Most churches had 30 to 40 on good weeks. But between 1972 to 1980, through door-to-door evangelism, campus Bible studies, and the like, ministers began to harvest large amounts of spiritual fruit all at once. During this eight-year span, the number of churches exploded from 35 to more than 500!

Carson then offers lessons we can learn from the both the “lean years” and also the “high growth years.” For pastors and ministers longing for gospel renewal in their churches and cities, and for those experiencing revival right now, these are encouraging and helpful lessons.

Lessons from the ‘Lean Years’

  1. You must begin to view opposition and persecution as a privilege. All those who live righteously will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). Apostles rejoiced at being counted worthy to suffer. Enemies treated Jesus this way, so why do you think you’d escape (John 15:20)? You must view suffering and persecution this way, or you will descend into self-pity.
  2. Pursue evangelism no matter how difficult. Keep thinking of creative ways to share the gospel. At one point Carson says, “At the end of the day, although church planting is more than evangelism, it’s never less. Evangelize or die.”
  3. Work on the biblical texts that talk about endurance, perseverance, steadfastness, and the like.
  4. Develop confidence in the doctrine of election. “Why don’t you go someplace in the world where you’d see more fruit?” Carson asked his father after years of seemingly fruitless service in French Canada. His father turned to him and said, “I stay because I believe God has many people in this place” and turned and walked out of the room. Carson remarks,  “I don’t think you can really serve faithfully and well and enduringly unless you do believe in the doctrine of election. At the end of the day you are called to be faithful, but when you see conversions, you recognize that it’s the work of God. If you believe God has many people in this place, your job is to preach until they’re found.”
  5. Recognize the strange mix of God’s supernatural work. Don’t look at movements that have great fruit and try to simply copy everything they do.

Lessons from the ‘High Growth Years’

  1. If you start getting rapid growth think especially hard about patterns of training and education. Don’t think that education and training slows the Spirit’s work.
  2. Do everything in your power to keep the press out. Downplay things. One of the things that preserved French Canada was the language barrier. People from other parts of the world didn’t come flying in to “catch the blessing.” Don’t talk so much about the growth. Instead, talk about the gospel; talk about Jesus; talk about Bible study.
  3. Do what you can to funnel all the God-given, Spirit-powered energy to Bible study and understanding the gospel, and teaching people to teach the Bible. If you don’t funnel the energy there, it will be funneled somewhere else.
  4. Start carefully, prayerfully, and humbly to institutionalize. Revivals almost never start with a plan. But any movement that never institutionalizes will fizzle and disappear within a decade or so. Institutions sometimes steer movements into dead legalism, but without institutions, you don’t preserve much. Cautious institutionalizing can pass along and preserve what is faithful to Scripture and the gospel.

Carson also talked at length in Australia about prayer and had a Q&A afterward that revealed other insightful lessons. Be encouraged to pray hard and ask God to do more than we could ever plan or imagine.

Other talks D.A. Carson gave from the Multiply Conference include:

When the Bible Is Silent

When the Bible Is Silent Q&A

Lessons from French Canadian Revivals

Lessons from the French Canadian Revival Q&A

The Implications of Complementarianism

The Implications of Complementarianism Q&A

Our Exalted Identity in a Holy Church

Teach Us to Pray

Our Exalted Relationship with Each Other

Why Did God Use Spurgeon?

There is one thing on which many Christians today agree–we need genuine revival. Faced with rising violence, economic recession, and a growing sense of despair, we recognize that our fundamental challenge is not political or social; it is spiritual. And because such challenges require divine insight and strength, we can benefit from reviewing the landscape of Christian history to learn from previous generations. Of the many persons and movements one might consider, Charles Haddon Spurgeon is especially instructive since his legacy demonstrates precisely what is most needed today.

When the 19-year-old Spurgeon received a call to the New Park Street Church in April 1854, the church was fledgling and less than healthy; but within ten months the congregation grew to such a size that it was forced to move to Exeter Hall. Before long even Exeter Hall was inadequate, which caused another move, this time to Surrey Gardens Music Hall, where Spurgeon preached to more than 9,000 men and women each Sunday. The ministry continued to flourish, so much that on October 7, 1857, the Prince of Preachers addressed a record crowd of 23,654 in the famous Crystal Palace. Something extraordinary was happening.

More than Talent

It was March 1861 when Spurgeon’s congregation finally moved to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where he would preach the next 31 years and personally see more than 14,000 men and women profess faith in Christ. While there, he started an orphanage, the Pastor’s College, and eventually produced an avalanche of published sermons that would circle the globe. Such fruitfulness naturally raises the question: “Why did God use C. H. Spurgeon in such a profound way?”

The exceptional nature of Charles Spurgeon’s gifts is undeniable (as his sermons demonstrate). However, in response to this question, Spurgeon provides a different answer:

If we had the Spirit sealing our ministry with power, it would signify very little about talent. Men might be poor and uneducated, their words might be broken and ungrammatical; but if the might of the Spirit attended them, the humblest evangelist would be more successful than the most learned divine, or the most eloquent of preachers.

After reading this quote, I imagined Spurgeon mounting the Metropolitan’s pulpit, where he customarily repeated to himself, “I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe. . . .” Such has been my own practice over the last decade of preaching, following Spurgeon’s example (the only part of Spurgeon that I can effectively emulate). Herein is a lesson. Mental strength and eloquence of speech (for those of you who possess them) may gather large crowds and earn you recognition, but only the power of the Spirit can reach into a human soul to bring transformation. And this, my friends, is what our nation and world needs the most: genuine gospel transformation.

The Reality of Revival

Spurgeon’s ministry was devoted to revival; he would settle for nothing less. In his own words, “Death and condemnation to a church that is not yearning after the Spirit, and crying and groaning until the Spirit has wrought mightily in their midst.” In order for this to happen, however, Spurgeon realized that the Spirit needed to first engage his own soul. Therefore, in his sermon titled “My Prayer,” he remarks:

The prayer before us, “Quicken Thou me in Thy way,” deals with the believer’s frequent need. . . . You yourselves know, in your own souls, that your spirit is most apt to become sluggish and that you have need frequently to put up this prayer, “Quicken Thou me.” If there is a prayer in the book which well becomes my lips, it is just this.

After first seeking personal renewal of God’s Spirit, Spurgeon then prayed for his church. In a message titled “One Antidote for Many Ills,” he says:

This morning’s sermon, then, will be especially addressed to my own church, on the absolute necessity of true religion in our midst, and of revival from all apathy and indifference. We may ask God for multitudes of other things, but amongst them all, let this be our chief prayer: “Lord, revive us; Lord, revive us!”

Examples of this sort of prayer are numerous. The point is simple: pursuing revival was a priority for Spurgeon. And what was the outcome of his request? During the years when Spurgeon prayed, Protestant churches in London enjoyed a 60 percent increase in attendance, exceeding the population growth of the city. At the samt time the Spirit moved powerfully in America, especially in the winter of 1857 and 1858 through the noontime prayer meetings of Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York. As both sides of the Atlantic welcomed waves of revival, Spurgeon noted in 1859, “At this time, the converts are more numerous than heretofore, and the zeal of the church groweth exceedingly.”

Revival in Our Day

As our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and loved ones descend into deeper levels of despair, the church is poised to direct the world’s attention to the gospel of Christ in whom we find the light of spiritual revival. Here is how Spurgeon articulated the vision:

We must confess that, just now, we have not the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we could wish. . . . We seek not for extraordinary excitements, those spurious attendants of genuine revivals, but we do seek for the pouring out of the Spirit of God. . . . The Spirit is blowing upon our churches now with his genial breath, but it is a soft evening gale. Oh, that there would come a rushing mighty wind, that should carry everything before it! This is the lack of the times, the great want of our country. May this come as a blessing from the Most High!

The revival that Spurgeon describes may very well be on our horizon, unobservable to the naked eye; but through the eyes of faith, against the backdrop of ages past, we may see enough of its glow to believe that it exists. Whether it remains off in the distance, or if it should come near, time will tell. In the meantime, why would we not give ourselves to prayer and proclamation in the hope of seeing genuine revival in our day?

The Best of Times in New England

These are the best of times for Christians in New England. The body of Christ in the northeastern United States is seeking unity, pursuing mission, enjoying growth, and tasting the goodness of God. No one person or institution has planned this work. No single church or theological camp can claim credit for it. But you will find throughout much of New England today thriving college ministries, fledgling church plants, and revitalized colonial-era congregations renewed in their zeal to love their neighbors and spread the gospel.

I don’t mean to underestimate the ongoing challenges. In fact, I heard an interesting argument while returning to the airport on Sunday morning following a wonderful week in New England meeting with students and faculty at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and rejoicing over an anointed TGC New England Regional Conference in Boston. On the radio in my cab, a gay host explained how any religion that does not tolerate homosexuality must be crushed. There is no room in democracy, he explained, for such intolerance: gay rights and biblical Christianity cannot co-exist in America, let alone liberal New England. He told believers something we already know: Christians will continue to face a stark choice. We can capitulate on biblical teaching or incur the wrath of society’s self-appointed arbiters of tolerance. Many have already chosen the path of least resistance.

Collin Hansen moderates a panel on our cultural idols and the gospel with David Wells, John Piper, and Richard Lints.

Even so, these are the best of times in New England—after all, there has never been a golden era free of temptation to love self more than God and neighbor. Revival experts might cite the Pilgrim landing or the First Great Awakening as more blessed times in New England’s past. Yet we somehow forget that Unitarianism is no new fad in this part of the country. Jonathan Edwards might enjoy a resurgence today, but he was hardly beloved in Boston, a city even then torn between Old Light pastors like Charles Chauncy who denounced the revival and New Light allies like Thomas Prince who published testimonies to the outpouring of God’s grace. We ignore in our nostalgic remembrance the self-serving ministers like James Davenport who brought shame on the revival by supposing his antics had been blessed by the Holy Spirit. Then as now, tares grow among the wheat.

Reputation and Revelation

These are the best of times in New England because we wrongly suppose that Christianity depends on the comfort of a moral majority who live out biblical values even if they don’t quite grasp the biblical gospel. We give thanks for such common grace, but we dare not invest outward appearance with salvific significance. A book like Revelation comes alive in New England, where Christians often feel the palpable hostility toward God and brazen disregard for his Word. Christians in New England must be prepared that their reputation with family, neighbors, and co-workers may not survive revelation of their faith.

During the New England Regional Conference, TGC president Don Carson spoke with passion about genuine faith that can endure any hardship for the glory of God. He observed that there have been more conversions in the last 150 years than the combined 1,800 years prior. The same goes for the number of martyrs. Both figures will grow till the end. Christians in New England know better than many others in the United States this blessing of laying down their pride and picking up their crosses to follow Jesus wherever he leads, whether in the conservative small towns of New Hampshire or the liberal halls of academia in Boston. Commenting on Revelation 12:11, Carson said, “We triumph over Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the testimony of the gospel, and our willingness to die.”

Stephen Um speaks about gospel-shaped community.

These are the best of times in New England because God has raised up local church leaders who love their communities, who have committed to staying over the long haul as they trust Christ to change hearts and redeem souls. They understand the challenges. The have endured hardship. They have been tempted to hunker down but defied Satan to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to their neighbors and encourage fellow believers to do likewise. One such leader is Stephen Um, senior minister of CityLife Presbyterian Church in Boston and leader of The Gospel Coalition New England Regional Chapter. He and his team, especially Justin Ruddy, organized the Regional Conference with the aim of uniting Christians across denominations, equipping believers to stand fast and tell the truth of Jesus, and inspiring them to love their neighbors as themselves. All of us who worked together to organize the event stood together at the Back Bay Events Center and marveled at the faith-stirring sound of nearly 1,300 voices singing praises to the King of kings.

Um could have speaking of the particular challenges in New England when he told the conference, ”God puts us into situations that show us we cannot rely on anything else but God who raises the dead.” Not cutting-edge ministry methods. Not the memory of a Christian past. Not the social benefits of church attendance. Only the power of the Holy Spirit, the promise of union with Christ, and the persevering love of our heavenly Father can be credited for what we’re seeing in New England today.

Long-Awaited Thaw

Writing in 1950, a couple months following an unexpectedly massive turnout to hear Billy Graham preach on Boston Common, the renowned Park Street Church pastor and evangelical statesman Harold John Ockenga observed,

God is moving as he has not moved in America at least for four decades and as he has no moved in New England for two centuries. . . . You do not have to wait till next year. You don’t have to wait ten years. You don’t have to pray anymore, “Lord, send a revival.” The revival is here!

Only God knows if these best of times in New England will develop along the lines of earlier revivals in the region. Our days need not look just like those days to reflect a powerful work of God. Local Christians will be appropriately reticent to claim too much for fear of drawing undue attention on themselves and away from the God whose grace keeps the church in good times and bad. But now is a time for giving thanks. To God be the glory, great things he has done!

“The hardened heart of Boston was at least chipped at this past weekend,” wrote Jessica Kent, a student at Emerson College in Boston who attended the conference, “and only God knows if this is really the beginning of a long-awaited thaw.”

Photos by Scotland Huber

10 Lessons from Faithful Ministry Without Revival

On the whole, pastors in the West today minister without seeing revival on a large scale. Yet many of the role models we have adopted from history did labor in revival times: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon, among them. They have a great deal to teach us, of course. But their very success, in terms of numbers converted, can have a discouraging effect on us who minister in leaner days.

It is worth examining, therefore, the lives of men and women who lived in more ordinary times, yet served the Lord faithfully and effectively. One such person was a contemporary of Jonathan Edwards. Like Edwards, he ministered in Northampton, but this was Northampton in England, not New England. He was Philip Doddridge (1702-51), who served for 20 years as pastor of a fairly large congregation in that town.

Doddridge also ran an academy that trained men for pastoral ministry, kept up a continual flow of publications, maintained a wide correspondence, and sustained a regular itinerant preaching ministry. Although he lived during the early years of the Evangelical Revival in Britain, his own ministry was largely unaffected by it, as he was confined to existing congregations of Independents and Presbyerians.

How then did he operate, and what can we learn from him? Here, briefly, are 10 lessons:

1. Doddridge’s priority was his own congregation. He pastored them faithfully, preaching to them every Lord’s Day and on weekday meetings, unless he was away from town. He admitted that he did not visit them as often as he would have liked. To compensate, he divided up the congregation with his elders, so that each individual did receive regular pastoral visits from a church officer, if not from the pastor himself.

2. He believed firmly in the importance of a well-ordered local church—church membership, properly appointed church officers, effective church discipline, reverent worship, a frequent Lord’s Supper, and regular biblical preaching.

3. He took great care to maintain his daily devotional life, with extended periods of private prayer and Bible reading, usually two or three times each day. He kept a journal that recorded his times of devotion as well as his reading and studies. He was attentive to the confession of personal sin, to intercession for his family and congregation, to pleading with the Lord for greater usefulness in his ministry, and to adoration of his triune God. He valued the Lord’s Supper highly indeed as an essential means of grace for the believer.

4. He sought to work with all who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and believed and preached the gospel, whether Church of England men, revivalists, Moravians, or otherwise. He did all he could from his side to keep up good relations, even with difficult people.

5. He understood the need for thorough training for pastoral ministry. He gave himself to this task in his own academy. His students were exposed to the Latin and Greek classics, to studies in rhetoric, to philosophy, and natural sciences, as well as to the more usual elements of ministerial training: theology, ethics, church history, and pastoral and homiletic studies.

6. He made sustained efforts to stir churches up to revival. He developed a ten-step plan, designed to inculcate a greater seriousness and devotion to Christ among the congregations with which he had contact in various parts of the country. Associations of ministers were formed as a result, to seek to implement the plan and encourage family worship, attendance on the Lord’s Supper, private prayer, greater familiarity with the Bible, and better training for ministerial candidates.

7. He stood up for biblical truth. He did not write polemical works. When John Taylor of Norwich wrote a notorious work denying the biblical doctrine of original sin, a number of Doddridge’s contemporaries took up their pens to refute him (including Isaac Watts and Jonathan Edwards). Doddridge, instead, preached a series of sermons on regeneration, which took issue with Taylor’s thesis by expounding biblical doctrine and exhorting his hearers to true faith in Christ. He then arranged for the sermons to be published and by those means secured a wide circulation for the truth in answer to Taylor.

8. He worked very hard, often rising at 5 a.m. or working beyond midnight. He calculated that, by rising and setting to work two hours earlier than he might otherwise, a man could gain an extra ten years of working life.

9. As a young man training for pastoral ministry, he had given himself to hard study in order to prepare himself as best he could for the work to which God had called him. He read Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and French. He was familiar with the latest philosophical and theological writings. He continued to read and to study hard throughout his ministry.

10. He was a family man and a man of warm feelings. His correspondence with his wife, much of which survives, is delightful. Although he was often away, his heart was always at home and his thoughts and prayers with his family. His grief at the death of his beloved daughter Tetsy, when she was just five years old, reveals him as a man of the tenderest emotion. He was no ivory tower preacher.

Philip Doddridge was not perfect, by any means. His teaching methods have been criticized for allowing too much freedom of opinion among his students on important doctrinal issues. He was probably insufficiently discerning in the burgeoning controversy over trinitarian doctrine, which led many, later in the century, to outright unitarianism. He probably worked too hard. But like many examples of imperfect men in Scripture, God used Doddridge’s faithful labor to advance his gospel.

When Revival Comes

I went to the vault this morning and found an instructive, brief commentary by D.A. Carson titled, “What to Do If Revival Comes” from the January/February 2003 issue of Modern Reformation magazine (many thanks to Andy Naselli for making this available in the exhaustive D.A. Carson bibliography!).

In the article Carson recounted a conversation he and his wife had in 1975 with an elderly woman in a Calvinist Methodist church in southern Wales. The woman spoke excitedly of how she had been converted during the Welsh Revival of 1904 to 1905. Carson used this exchange to draw out a lesson from church history:

It was an inexpressibly glorious half hour, and equally sad. For apart from the fruit of that Revival in the lives of those who were immediately touched by it, almost nothing was preserved. That Revival started so well but soon became more eccentric and forced. Worse, despite small efforts later in Swansea, almost nothing was done to capture or develop theological schools, multiply Bible teaching, or train a new generation of preachers.

My interest in revival has not waned with the passing years. Wider reading, and some humbling personal exposure to what God has done in various corners of the world during the past half century, have conspired to forge an unshakable resolution within me. Should the Lord in his mercy ever pour out large-scale revival on any part of the world where I have influence, I shall devote all my energy to teaching the Word, to training a new generation of godly pastors, to channeling all of this God-given fervor toward doctrinal maturity, multiplication of Christian leaders, evangelistic zeal, maturity in Christ, genuine Christian “fellowship.”

This conviction captures well what we are trying to do at The Gospel Coalition. Lord willing, when Revival comes we will be ready to compliment the efforts of the local church to preserve the outpouring of God’s grace for future generations of gospel ministry.