Day 17 - Revive Your Work, O' Lord!

Greetings Friends of God,

For the rest of the week we will be looking at the Great Awakenings of the 1700 and 1800 hundreds; some revival historians refer to 3 great awakenings, while others referred to 6 waves of outpouring. For our devotional we will look at the 6 waves of outpouring.

However before we dive into the Great Awakenings I want to expound on the timeline from last week on the restorational moves of God. While having a conversation with my son he bought to my attention that this timeline seems to imply that God wasn’t moving or speaking for 1500 years. However, we know that God never stops moving or bringing men into His present truth, back to pure devotion to Him.

Upon looking deeper into the history of the Church, 2 specific movements stood out: Monasticism which began in 0270; these were fathers and mothers who withdraw from the world to seek greater union with God they established the Monastery lifestyle. The Radical Reformation began in 1525, 8 years after the Protestant Reformation. “The Radical Reformers were seen as a threat to not only the religious but also political structures of the day, by refusing to baptize their children and openly baptizing adults they were declaring that allegiance to Jesus was greater than allegiance to their city or nationstate. The more the movement was persecuted the more that they grew, following the model of the early church that they so longed to emulate.” - Josiah Webster (For more info read below).

The history of the Church is vast if you’re interested in learning more please check out Josiah Webster’s Church History Timeline project at https://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/1042520/HIST-724-OND1-Story-of-Rad-Rnl-Mvmnt-Ch-Hist/

With all of my heart I believe Jesus is visiting His people calling us back to the Ancient Paths of God’s Word. He is awakening us, bringing us back to New Testament life, mission, and purpose.

Confessions of the heart 

I believe in the Church, I believe in the Body of Christ and that we should honor each others biblical convictions. I consider myself a Bible purest; meaning the Word of God contains the blueprint for life, for Church doctrine, practice, community, for everything. Peter said; “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” II Peter 1:3 NKJV

My biblical view often gets me misunderstood; I question why as men do we feel we need to instituted religious doctrines that add to the Bible, establish denominations, separate ourselves into sects (evangelicals, charismatic, non-charismatic, pentecostals, liberals, conservatives, etc) the list goes on and on - I know, how naive?

Paul said; For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (I Cor. 1:9) In Romans he said, there are many members, but one body.

Could it be the answer to these divisions is for God’s people to return to His ancient paths?

My heart yearns to see the day when the Church is fully living out ALL Jesus and the apostles laid out in the Scriptures. Revive us, bring us back to paths O’ Lord!

Revive Your Work

“There have been hundreds of revivals over the centuries, some personal, some affecting entire churches and some touching whole localities and nations. But there have been six massive movements of the Holy Spirit since the sixteenth century Reformation which have affected the global Christian community simultaneously. These are commonly called ‘Worldwide Revivals’ or ‘Great Awakenings,’ because of their universal scope and influence. They all began with Christians experiencing God in a new and powerful way, becoming more passionate in their love for God and in their desire to serve Him in their world. 

Subsequently, the Holy Spirit used them to invade in the non-Christian world, resulting in masses of conversions, huge social changes and a better world to live in. Jonathan Edwards, in his book ‘The History of Redemption’ states his view that "though there be a more constant influence of God's Spirit always, in some degree, attending His ordinances; yet the way in which the greatest things have been done towards carrying on this work, always has been by remarkable effusions of the Spirit at special seasons of mercy… -Tony Cauchi, November 2009, http://www.revival-library.org/index.php/pensketches-menu/historical-revivals

Habakkuk  3:2-6  2 LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it knownIn wrath remember mercy. 3 God comes…And the Holy One… His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. 4 His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. 5Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him. 6 He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting.

  • Revive: to bring again to life; to reanimate; To raise from languor, depression or discouragement; to rouse; as, to revive the spirits or courage; To renew; to bring into action after a suspension; to renew in the mind or memory; to recall.; to re-comfort; to quicken; to refresh with joy or hope.

ACTION

  • Read: Psalms 119: 25-32 & updated restorational moves information (see below)

  • Cry Out for another great awakening - revive your work, Lord!

  • Ask Holy Spirit for a demonstration of God’s power to deal with anything that is hindering revival in our day!

  • Ask Holy Spirit for a fresh anointing to travail - bring to birth His awakening, revival, reformation.

  • Wait in His Presence, get under the spout of heaven! Write down what He speaks, frame your world with His words!

And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive usto repair the house of our Godto rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. - Ezra 9:8-9 

Notable Restoration / Reformational Moves Update

Resource: Josiah Webster, Church History Timeline Project https://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/1042520/HIST-724-OND1-Story-of-Rad-Rnl-Mvmnt-Ch-Hist/

0270 Monasticism:

Monasticism, as long as there has been Christianity there have been monastics. From the Desert Fathers and Mothers to the New Monastics, from Mount Athos in Greece to The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Christians have been led to withdraw from the world to seek greater union with God. There have been numerous movements within the umbrella of monasticism that have sought to define and create structure for the monastic lifestyle and restore the church as a whole back to the way of Jesus. The Desert Fathers and Mothers were the first to move away from the cities and into seclusion. Benedict’s Rules create an order for the monastic life which survives to this day. St. Francis and Clare seek to return to the roots of Christianity, opening the way for church reform. Similarly in Spain, John of the Cross and Teresa of Jesus were instrumental in the reforms taking place in the Catholic church. There has been a rise in the interest in monasticism over the past 60 years, which can probably be traced back to Thomas Merton’s autobiography ‘The Seven Storey Mountain’ which popularized monastic life for a whole new generation. Similarly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a proponent of a return to a type of monasticism that took seriously the call of Christ. Unfortunately, Bonhoeffer seems to be one of the first of the major Protestants to call for a return to monasticism as it has been largely lost in Protestantism. With the rise of New Monasticism, led by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and others, the call towards monasticism seems to be resonating once again with young people, and perhaps for the first time with protestants

1525 Radical Reformation: The Radical Reformation was in many ways the logical conclusion to the Reformation. By putting the bible in the hands of ordinary believers and empowering them with authority as priests, the reformers set the stage for a radical redefining of fidelity to Christ. The Radical Reformers were men and women who read the bible for themselves, the bibles translated and given to them by the reformers, and in so doing saw a vision of church and following Christ that was incompatible with the religion of the Pope, Luther, or Zwingli and Calvin. They began in many of the same locations as the Reformation, but spread much slower due to persecution and a lack of leaders (also due to persecution). There were attempts to unite the movement such as the Schleitheim Confession and the Martyr’s Synod that created some shared language and vision for the fledgling movement. If the Protestant Reformation was marked by divisions, the Radical Reformation was marked by a center that held in the midst of great geographic and theological differences. The lack of a church hierarchy allowed the movement to grow rapidly and sustain itself when the leaders were eventually martyred for their beliefs, the most heinous of all being adult baptism. 

The Radical Reformers were seen as a threat to not only the religious but also political structures of the day, by refusing to baptize their children and openly baptizing adults they were declaring that allegiance to Jesus was greater than allegiance to their city or nationstate. The more the movement was persecuted the more that they grew, following the model of the early church that they so longed to emulate.

1622 Conclusion to the Radical Reformation

Unfortunately the Radical Reformation has not had the impact on the Christian tradition in the same way that the Protestant Reformation has. However, we no longer fear baptizing people in public so in that sense they have had a tremendous impact on the life of the church. The key strengths of the Radical Reformers were their unswerving loyalty to Christ, the celebration of women as preachers and prophets, the emphasis on the life and teachings of Jesus as exemplary, and their commitment to unity. The Reformers and Radical Reformers shared a commitment to their beliefs in the face of persecution, however the Radical Reformers refusal to join with the state meant they were not afforded the same protections as the reformers. It appears that this may be instructive in our modern context, what does it mean to stand for what you believe even if you do not have the backing of government? The Radical Reformers also had radical women numbered in their midst, from prophets and preachers, to housewives and mothers willing to be martyred for their beliefs, the Radical Reformers emphasized the priesthood of all believers not just the male ones. The Radical Reformers took as their example the life and teachings of Jesus, He became their lens through which they viewed the rest of scripture. Some even went so far as to discount scripture in the pursuit of inner witness (title=Denck,_Hans_(ca._1500-1527). As seen in the differences between their views of scripture there was much room for diversity of belief within the Radical Reformers. Perhaps due to lack of leadership and the geographic spread, the Radical Reformers held fewer distinctive and allowed much more discussion and differing viewpoints than their Protestant or Catholic neighbors. Even though the Radical Reformation has been largely lost in non-Anabaptist circles, it has much to offer the church in the West as it move into Post-Christendom.  

1648 Conclusion of the Reformation

The impact of the Protestant Reformation cannot be overstated, it altered not just the religious and political landscape of Europe at the time, but every generation since. It contained the seeds for the sovereignty of nations, the American Revolution, the colonization of the world, and marriage for love. That is only the social and political impact, to say nothing of its affect on Christianity. 500 years on we are still wrestling with the priesthood of the believers, the bible as the basis for church authority, and the Solas (scripture, grace, faith). I fear that we have not learned the lessons from the Reformation, we are still to quick to decry those who think differently than we do or that challenge the status quo. I wonder if the church in America would do well to read the story of the reformation, but from the perspective of the Catholic church and not Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. The Reformers themselves were unable to come to agreement on several different theological issues, this is both the blessing and curse of not having a governing head. One area where the reformers did not learn from the mistakes of the Catholics and merely carried on with tradition was in regards to the church and the state. Luther in Germany, Zwingli and Calvin in Geneva, John Knox is Scotland, and Thomas Cranmer in England all saw the Reformation as a means to unite political and religious forces for a common goal, much as the Holy Roman Empire and the Church had been doing ever since Constantine. The strengths of the Reformation lie in its democratization of scripture and authority. The priesthood of the believers is so radical that we are still struggling with the concept to this day, preferring to the told what to do rather than speak up.

Author: Josiah Webster, Staff Pastor, Equippers Central Coast,  Josiah is in the midst of a Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership, and Culture program at Fresno Pacific University.

OH, THAT You would rend the heavens and that You would come down, that the mountains might quake and flow down at Your presence--As when fire kindles the brushwood and the fire causes the waters to boil--to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! - Isaiah 64:1-2