Saturday, June 07, 2008

Revival: True or False?

News of the recent revival in Jena, Louisiana has been covered by Baptist Press and other media outlets. I am excited about what God has done, and continues to do, in this most unlikely of places. Infamous for the Jena 6 controversy of late 2006 and 2007, and the ensuing racial tensions, this apparently genuine move of God has transcended racial barriers and brought hope and reconciliation to a very divided town. The citywide revival meetings began at Midway Baptist Church, but later spread throughout the entire community, embracing Christians of all races, and crossing denominational lines.

As Craig Franklin, worship leader at Midway, and associate editor of the Jena Times, states:

"God broke down many of the walls we had erected in our personal lives — walls of unforgiveness, walls of bitterness, walls of prejudices, walls of jealousy and walls of religion. It was not a "Baptist" revival or any other denomination, but it was truly a revival of the body of Christ."

I invite you to click here, and watch the video clips from various individuals who have played a role in the Jena revival, sharing about their experiences and insights. It will take a while to watch through all of them, though each individual clip is only between 1 to 4 minutes in length. But I can assure you that, if you are interested in revival, and have a hunger and a thirst to hear of what God is doing in the world today, it will be HUGE BLESSING, and well worth your time.

It is interesting to me that God sovereignly chose to channel his blessings in this small Louisiana town through a local Southern Baptist church. It gives me hope that God has not yet given up on us as Southern Baptists. At the same time, I believe we must be careful to never "put God in a box" or to close our hearts to what God is doing through other parts of the Body of Christ.

This does not preclude the use of spiritual discernment, and a love for sound biblical doctrine. There have also been recent reports of "revival" in Lakeland, Florida connected with the ministry of evangelist-faith healer Todd Bentley. However, as I look through the reports of what is happening in Lakeland, it doesn’t leave me with the same feelings I get when I read about the revival in Jena.

Is this perhaps due to my own denominational prejudice, by which I am quick to embrace something with roots coming out of my own background, and reject that coming out of someone else’s? I think that is a legitimate question, which we would all do well to honestly ask ourselves whenever we hear about things like this. However, I think the bottom line in all of this is a commitment to the authority of the Word of God, the preaching of the gospel, and a heart that is open and hungry to receive whatever God, in his sovereignty and grace, chooses to send our way.

In this same general vein, I was blessed to watch this video clip of Assemblies of God General Superintendent George Wood speaking on the topic of revival (HT: Paul Grabill). I believe that an open hearing of what Wood has to say will go a long way, both toward guiding us in our use of biblical discernment, as well as debunking some of our false stereotypes about what brothers and sisters in Christ from other backgrounds and denominations really believe and teach.

6 comments:

Dave Miller said...

Were there any Mormons involved? (Sorry, I am little frustrated right now).

Dave Miller said...

On a serious note, may the Jena flame burn in Sioux City. We need it.

TedE said...

I listened to some comments. I agree with your comparison of Jena and Lakeland and I do not think it denominational bias. It seems others have the same concern for the Lakeland experience.

Perhaps if we take what God is doing in Jena with gratitude and not to try to "market" it or various ministries come up with a neat formula for revival, God would be pleased to be pour out his blessings in other places.

foxofbama said...

David:
I'm about to go to lunch and came to your blog with an item but I hope to come back and look at this furhter.
I hope you will click over to my blog, as well as your audience for the link to the George Packer article in May 26 End of Conservatism.
It has all kinds of implications for the political movement your Dad was active in as well as what is going on in the Southern Baptist Convention even now as it meets in Indy.
Wash Post and Sat June 6 Dallas Morning news article are interesting in that regard.
Still, within the framework you are now pilgrimming, I comment you and Harry Dent's daughter Ginny Brant for the tact on the IMB and prayer language reform.
Do make time for the Packer article with all it's implications for Jena La and the US Presidential campaign.

from the middle east said...

Brother David,

Seems to be growing too quickly. We need to send a team down there to make sure there isn't any syncretism... wait, that's only if it's "overseas." ;^)

His peace be with you,
From the Middle East

John said...

I'm amazed at all the concern about Lakeland. I've been there and will be going back.

God met me there powerfully. It was so powerful in fact, I really can't tell you what was going on from the platform. God began dealing with issues in my heart.

I suspect there are some "denominational issues" and issues of differences in traditions.

But I can tell you this. In Lakeland, people are being healed. The Gospel IS being preached. People are repenting. Thousands are coming into the Kingdom of God.

Is everything happening in Lakeland from God? No. But I suspect the same is true in Jenna as well. Wherever God is doing something, Satan tries to sow tares.

God is doing miraculous and marvelous works in Lakeland.