Will You not revive us again,
that Your people may rejoice in You?
When I think of a Holy Ghost Revival, I think of the tent meetings, or camp meetings, popular into the 1960s. I also think of The Reverend Billy Graham and how his humble beginnings in a tent turned into crusades that would affect nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries.
Initially, Rev. “Graham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, for which he erected circus tents in a parking lot. He attracted national media coverage, especially in the conservative Hearst chain, although Hearst and Graham never met. The crusade event ran for eight weeks—five weeks longer than planned. Graham became a national figure with heavy coverage from the wire services and national magazines.” — Wikipedia
“For nine months, between November 1904 and August 1905, God anointed and used a 26 year old coal miner, by the name of Evan Roberts, to release a powerful revival movement of the Holy Spirit which produced 100,000 converts and which profoundly affected the spiritual life of Wales and the world.” — Welsh Revival Library
There’s the Azuza Street Revival. It began when the Holy Spirit used William Seymour at the Apostolic Faith Mission, 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles.
“The first secular news reports of the revival appeared, on April 18, 1906 – on the very day of the San Fransisco earthquake. The Los Angeles Daily Times sent a reporter to an evening service on April 17, and he filed reports that were highly critical of the meetings as well as of the people who attended them. The introductory headlines to the article were ‘weird babel of tongues,’ ‘new sect of fanatics is breaking loose,’ ‘wild scene last night on Azusa Street,’ ‘gurgle of wordless talk by a sister,’ all carefully calculated to give the appearance of religious mania or madness. (See separate article) Nevertheless, Bartleman reported that this brought the crowds! Many of them were true seekers but there were also the ‘crooks and cranks,’ even hypnotists and spiritualists came to investigate!
“An article published in ‘Way of Faith,’ October 11, 1906 probably penned by Frank Bartleman gives a friendlier description: “The centre of this work is an old wooden Methodist church, marked for sale, partly burned out, recovered by a flat roof and made into two flats by a floor, It is unplastered, simply whitewashed on the rough boarding. Upstairs is a long room, furnished with chairs and three California redwood planks, laid end to end on backless chairs. This is the Pentecostal “upper room,” where sanctified souls seek Pentecostal fulness, and go out speaking in new tongues and calling for the old-time references to new wine.” There are smaller rooms where hands are laid on the sick and “they recover” as of old. Below is a room 40 x 60 feet, filled with odds and ends of chairs, benches, and backless seats, where the curious and the eager sit for hours listening to strange sounds and songs and exhortations from the skies, In the centre of the big room is a box on end, covered with cotton, which a junk man would value at about 15 cents. This is the pulpit from which is sounded forth what the leader, Brother Seymour, calls old-time repentance, old-time pardon, old-time sanctification, old-time power over devils and diseases, and the old-time ‘Baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire.’ ” — Revival Library
Revivals have been controversial, as pointed to in the article in the Revival Library concerning the Azuza Street Revival. It’s the fruit, or the outcome, of a revival that can be used to judge whether or not it truly is a Holy Ghost Revival. In Wales, for instance, “the movement kept the churches of Wales filled for many years to come, seats being placed in the aisles in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Swansea for twenty years or so, for example. Meanwhile, the Awakening swept the rest of Britain, Scandinavia, parts of Europe, North America, the mission fields of India and the Orient, Africa and Latin America.” (Orr, J. Edwin. The Flaming Tongue. Chicago: Moody, 1973.)
Toward the end of the Twentieth Century, another purported revival began in Toronto, Canada. It was dubbed the Toronto Blessing. It began in the Toronto Airport Vineyard Fellowship January 1994. It greatly influenced another purported revival in Lakeland, Florida, at the Ignited Church on April 2, 2008. The Lakeland Revival began as a five-day service that continued for six months. While both these are purported to be genuine outpourings of the Holy Ghost, both have been criticized for excessive, inappropriate worship. Many pastors from large churches attended these events, and returned to their own churches bringing with them these same excesses. Uncontrolled laughter, and brief periods of unconsciousness were reported at these meetings. While many Christian leaders cite Scripture in support of events at these gatherings, others are more critical. A number of the churches that initially seemed to benefit from, and were impacted by, the purported revivals, are also churches that today are embroiled in controversy over their support of non-Biblical doctrines.
When all is said and done, there is little difference between any of the Christian Revivals and the the revival/apostasy cycle we read about in the Book of Judges, when the people of Israel turned to G-d after He raised a judge to lead the people, then after some years, turned again away from G-d. Some people through various movements, various times of Holy Ghost Revival, grown closer to G-d through His Son, our Savior, our Messiah, Y’shua Jesus. And that’s the real point anyway. One person, reached and changed.
For there comes a day when all people of Earth will give account of themselves before the Judgement Seat of Y’shuaJesus, LORD and JUDGE and REDEEMER. After that, the revived will feast with Y’shua at a banquet that won’t end. Then the real party will begin.
“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts” – Psalm 145 v 4