Whose Fault is It?

By Patrick Hawthorne

abandoned-church

 

The Lord has stoked within me a burning desire for a subject that holds different meaning to different people.  It is the subject of revival.  In my last post, Revive Us…Revive Us for What? (https://servinggrace.com/2017/01/07/revive-us-revive-us-for-what/), I asked the question, “Why are we asking for revival?”  To this, I received many wonderful responses.  However, one response stood above the others in that it addressed the heart of my concern.  It came from fellow blogger and teacher, Mel Wild.

 

 

 

 

“I guess my problem with some of our praying for revival is not the heart behind it, but that our notions of revival actually keeps us from living in revival. Our paradigm is rather Old Testament. God comes and goes, the Holy Spirit only visits rather than inhabits, it’s a “please don’t take Your Holy Spirit away from me,” prayer, when, in reality, we are in Christ in heavenly places in God (Eph.2:6), and He inhabits us continually. What we need is greater awareness of Who’s in us, not living as orphans, waiting for God to come and rend the heavens, but living under an open heaven as His sons and daughters everyday, growing in grace, from glory to glory! (Underline Mine.) Mel Wild

It is sad to say but Mel is correct.  To many in the Body, revival is considered a request for a visitation from the Holy Spirit rather than a desire for His full time habitation.  For others, it is a “feel good touch” meant to soothe the conscience of those who have lost their anguish for lost souls.  For most, it is a failure to realize that revival means to be raised from the dead…to be revived.

Who do we blame this death on?  Do we blame it on the hardness of the heart of the lost?  Are they the ones responsible for the coldness found within many of our churches?  Consider the words of Oswald J. Smith from his book The Revival We Need, first published in 1925.

“Oh, no, my brethren, the fault is ours; we are to blame.  Were we what and where we ought to be, the signs would still follow as in the days of old.  Then should not every failure, every sermon that fails to break the people down, drive us to our knees and result in deep heart searching, and humiliation.  Let us never blame the people.  If our churches are cold and unresponsive, it is because we are cold. Like pastor like people.              

I don’t necessarily agree with laying  full blame on the pastor.  However, to view the heart of the congregation as a whole, one may need only view the heart of the pastor.  If the pastor does not pray, neither will the congregation.  If the pastor is not in full expectation for a move of the Holy Spirit, nor shall his or her congregation be in expectation.  If the pastor does not anguish over the lost, how then shall their congregation anguish?  Truth be known…they wouldn’t

O’ that we would dare to pray the prayer of John Smith, “Oh, give me souls, or else I die!”  Again, I ask the question, “Why are we asking for revival?”  Be blessed.

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Posted in Christian, teaching, writing
10 comments on “Whose Fault is It?
  1. Wally Fry says:

    Our pastor, as he passes 50 years as a preacher, has become quite fired up. I think he has simply gotten beyond caring what sensibilities he may offend. It’s pretty awesome to see. On the other hand, it’s sad to see him exhorting, imploring, and even rebuking…and still see some who are unresponsive and lackadaisical. Primarily I see this with our young people’s ministry, which has just exploded. We have officially reached the point where on Wednesday nights there are more young people than older people. Even on Sunday’s now, youth represents easily 25 percent of our attendance. It’s awesome. They are so fired up, some of these kids, and I pray constantly that the seemingly dead ones won’t dampen their enthusiasm.

    Liked by 3 people

    • To say the youth is picking up is a testament to the leadership. What I have found with most MB’s is a slow and miserable death as the older either refuse to pass the mantle or there is no youth left in which to pass the mantle.

      However, you are proving my point. As the leader, so goes the followers. If the pastor is fired up, it only stands to reason that his congregation will get fired up. Some will get mad and leave while others will get glad and join in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wally Fry says:

        I totally agree, Patrick; leadership in the church is vital. That’s human nature in that we all need guidance of some sort or we tend to only do what we have to do, or what we want to do.

        What you said made me sad, about MB Baptist churches, because many are dying in place. I hate it, because I believe in us, and think we do some really important things. We certainly are concerned about protecting and teaching truth. Our problem is, we have often gotten our own traditions confused with truth. At least, that is my perception as a fairly new guy around MB parts.

        Like

  2. I’m loving this. I tweeted a portion of Mel’s reply. Both of you guys are great reads and inspirations for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mel Wild says:

    “I don’t necessarily agree with laying  full blame on the pastor.  However, to view the heart of the congregation as a whole, one may need only view the heart of the pastor.”

    Amen, Patrick. Leaders lead by example. As a pastor myself, I’d rather be accused of being too radically on fire for Jesus (hopefully, without being obnoxious or bullying people into revival) than to be safely in the accepted “norm” of evangelical Christianity.

    Thanks for posting my quote. I love your insights, too! 🙂

    Like

  4. This is so well said. You guys are very encouraging.

    I often think of dry bones. When our own bones are dry, we sometimes will start looking around trying to find some signs of life in others. When we simply allow ourselves to be revived, it’s often very contagious.

    There’s a church reader board that said, “Call 911, Our Pastor’s on Fire.” Made me laugh. Don’t set the Pastor on fire, it’s just a joke people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wally Fry says:

    Reblogged this on Truth in Palmyra and commented:
    Ever wonder why we don’t experience Revival? Well, just remember, when we are pointing a finger that there are still three fingers pointing backwards. Blessings and enjoy!

    Like

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