Reflections on Revival!
If I have been able to feel the spirit that has moved the efforts of Christians, pastors, and missionaries in these later years; if I have been able to perceive the concern of our work, I would say: "The supreme passion of many hearts, the deepest yearning of many brethren is that a great revival similar to those in the days of Wesley, Fox, Finney and Moody, would sweep over the whole country overthrowing the citadels of darkness and transporting thousands into the kingdom. Many have been praying, crying out in the Spirit and shedding tears before the Almighty, waiting for such an event.
From the beginning of my missionary career I had been praying for revival. I together with other pastors and missionaries joined in prayer every morning for two years, lifting our hearts to God in a common petition, that He would bless us with a great outpouring of His Spirit in revival. Nothing happened.
It was one of the greatest disappointments of my life. My feet almost slipped. What was wrong? Why did God not answer us? Why did He not want to visit us with a great revival similar to those He has brought to other countries in other times? Those early years passed and I came to realize that there were many brothers and sisters in other parts of the country that had the same passion that consumed me. This consoled me, but did not resolve my problem. In a sense it made it more difficult. Why doesn't God visit us with a great outpouring of His Spirit?
Finally, with the suffering and experience of the years, things began to clarify and I now see things differently. I now see that the problem is not with God. My eyes have been opened to see that the obstacles exist in us. The conviction has taken root in my soul that the greatest impediment to revival is the condition of the Evangelical Churches in our country and this is the primary reason why no revival has come.
Why talk of evangelizing the masses when there are enormous blocks of paganism in my own being that need to be exposed? Should I give to others what I have not given to parts of my own soul still in darkness? I had to go through the greatest trial of my life, equivalent to a thousand deaths, to discover my own condition. This frightened me. The result was that I undertook a great crusade to implant the Cross of Christ in all of the areas of my being that were still under the sway of the world and darkness (and even paganism). The struggle took two years, with Christ inspiring and guiding me. I had never imagined that there was so much garbage, that I had so many unchristian things. How much flesh! Flesh everywhere; sermons inspired by the flesh; prayers that sprang from the flesh; evangelistic and missionary work originating in nothing but the flesh. And Jesus said, "the flesh profiteth nothing." What should I do? The answer came, "You have been crucified with My Son. You have to die taking advantage of the death of the Saviour. That great mountain of self-centeredness and carnality, you have to get rid of it! Go to Calvary with everything! To Calvary with your life and your flesh! To Calvary with everything that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit: sermons, prayers, struggles, whatever may seem saintly, to Calvary with it all, so that it is no longer you but Christ who works in you."
Finally the Cross of Christ worked in me, and after the Cross a glorious resurrection. Oh, what glory! What an abundant life! A great revival, rivers of the water of life; a life of victory, fullness of life in Christ Jesus!
We can not talk of revivals, of evangelism, we can not even mention the problem of how to reach the masses with the Gospel, while we, the very messengers of Christ, do not submit to being crucified, placing our own carnal life in the tomb with Christ, so that we may receive life from on high, as those who have been raised up with Christ.
Sectarianism is again invading our churches like a great monster. What have we done to get rid of it? Is it not true my brothers that instead of facing the beast and casting it out of our churches, we have approved of our brothers and sisters holding on to it tightly and embracing it, even if it will sink us in hell? Yes, we have wanted this because it supports our vanity and selfishness. I declare, brothers, that the greatest need in regards to evangelism is the evangelism of those in our own churches. For my part, I see little difference between churches filled with formal ritual and an evangelicalism that rests on dead forms even though they may be Biblical. Jesus says, "The flesh profiteth nothing." I say that Methodist flesh, Presbyterian flesh, Baptist flesh or any kind of evangelical flesh is not any better than dead formalism. We say there is a great difference between evangelicals and mainline churches. It does not interest me. What concerns me today and that keeps me crying out, is the marked difference between the Christianity of Christ and our carnal Protestantism.
In the end, my brothers and sisters, I would say that once we remove the blocks so that the Almighty can work His power in our midst, nothing in the world can resist our Protestant movement. The Church in our country will be the spark of God that will ignite the whole country with the purifying fire of the Gospel.
Once we evangelize those areas of our lives that are still dominated by the world or even paganism, the vast fields that have not been subjected to the Cross of Christ, there will be a great period of evangelization here in our country. The very angels of heaven trembling with unspeakable joy will raise their voices in a new song, and our Saviour will see the travail of His soul satisfied.
~F. J. Huegel~