When True Revival Fails
The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer told the story about his college – Hampden Sidney College in Virginia. He related how one day a revival broke out among the students all over campus. He recalls walking down the hall and someone would say, “I have examined myself and this is what I found – I need Christ!” He would go straight to his knees in the hall. Then someone else nearby would come under personal conviction, kneel to pray, confessing his sins, and crying out to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.
Dr. Schaeffer reminisced, “I have never seen anything like it. I felt sure that it would continue the next year when I went back. But when we came back we were instructed, ‘We are not going to have any more talk about the blood of Christ. We are not going to have anymore of this revival stuff. All of us here are Christians – and we expect to be treated as Christians. We don’t have to examine our faith – because we are already Christians.’”
You can easily imagine what happened. The revival was cut off, just like that. It reminds me of the time when as pastor I taught a high school age catechism class, and three young women came to me afterward crying over their sins, and asking me to help them be saved. It was glorious! That night their parents got together, called me to come over, and attacked me for calling their daughters sinners. After all, they were children of the covenant. End of revival before it had hardly begun.
More than 200 years ago in Oxford College in England, back in the time of John Wesley and the Puritans, young college students gathered and called themselves a “Holy Club.”They realized that there has to be a constant, everyday spiritual self-examination. Not once a year, not just when you partake of the Lord’s Supper, not just when you are told that you have cancer, but every day!
Sunday was dedicated to personal examination of the students’ love for God. Monday, they had a personal examination of their love for others, asking themselves a series of questions. This went on down through every day of the week, as they laid themselves before God in confession and renewal. They never stopped examining themselves or testing their faith. Spiritual revival was a way of life. God was allowed to constantly move into their lives in the crucial disciplines of Christian living. Revival never ended!
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;
examine yourselves! II Corinthians 13:5