Our Hopes for Revival Are Dead: And I'm ok with that...

As we celebrate this Fourth of July, many Christians will do so out of a awakened sense that America is not exactly a "Christian nation" anymore.

The Supreme Court decision affirming gay marriage has caused many to realize that we are living in what many have labeled a "post-Christian" nation.  "Traditional values" have long gone out the window.  More than ever, Evangelicals are beginning to realize we are a minority group.

Cliched slogans about "turning America back to God" are losing their former prophetic fervor.  What was once our war cry has now started to become a distant echo.  Hopes for city and nation wide sized revivals are starting to die.  A few foolish "prophets" will still announce the next great move of God that is going to shake everything up from time to time.  And such will land such people a spot on a stage somewhere, or on the Elijah List.  But there they will go to see their hopes and dreams die, and their words having an origin from somewhere other than God.

But, slowly, over time, we will eventually wise up to the silliness of prophecies.  Such prophecies are often grounded in the desire for self-glorification that a so-called prophet has for themselves, coupled with a really bad theological foundation.

Indeed, I think our eyes will be opened to the truth that the primary reason that past "revivals" in America and Europe were ever able to exist in the first place is because there existed a nominal Christian culture that made such revivals possible.  That's not to say such revivals were purely a sociological phenomenon.  God was definitely at work.  But they were a miraculous sociological phenomenon, unique to their own time and place in history.  At the end of the day, these revivals were born in places where the name of Jesus was at least welcomed and familiar.  People still thought of themselves as being somewhat Christian.

Those days are quickly moving past us.

As recent studies have shown, an increasing number of Americans don't have any sense of religious identity.  Any possible outbreaks of "revival" that happen in America going forward will be very limited and regionally based.  But, as our nation as a people moves away from the places that Puritans and Jesus used to haunt, "revival" will be something we read about mostly in a few church history books.

And in spite of the many years of my life where I have studied, hoped for, prayed for, preached on, and had fellowship with other like minded individuals that yearned for revival, I have come to accept that our hopes for revival are ultimately dying and will soon be dead.  And I am ok with that.  I'm ready to move on.

I'm ready to move on to the not so glamorous Christian life.  I am ready to do the painful and difficult work of being a minister in the midst of trials and persecutions of a culture that is hostile to Jesus.  I am ready to embrace the grace I need for daily bread, and to share that bread with others who realize they are hungry for something other than what this world has to offer.  I am ready to speak to those who have ears to hear, and to show Jesus to those with eyes that can see.

Any "revival" we as a Church experience in America going forward will be a revival that sifts and refines us.  The next "great move of God" will involve God preparing a bride for Himself.  It will involve us asking hard questions about hard things, learning to accept difficult answers, growing in our understanding of grace, as we as the church earnestly seek the face of God in how to direct us into the next stage of history, so we can effectively carry out the work of His kingdom, and to be the people He has called us to be.

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