From Here to Forever


Chapter 27—How Successful Are Modern Revivals?

Wherever the Word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts. They had a sense of the righteousness of God, and cried out: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24. As the cross was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could atone for their transgressions. Through the blood of Jesus they had “remission of sins that are past.” Romans 3:25. HF 285.1

These souls believed and were baptized and rose to walk in newness of life, by the faith of the Son of God to follow in His steps, to reflect His character, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. Things they once hated they now loved, and things they once loved they hated. The proud became meek, the vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The drunken became sober, the profligate pure. Christians sought not the “outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but ... that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4. HF 285.2

Revivals were characterized by solemn appeals to the sinner. The fruits were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation in those who professed the name of Jesus. Such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of religious awakening. HF 285.3

But many revivals of modern times present a marked contrast. It is true that many profess conversion, and there are large accessions to the churches. Nevertheless the results are not such as to warrant the belief that there has been a corresponding increase of real spiritual life. The light which flames up for a time soon dies out. HF 286.1

Popular revivals too often excite the emotions, gratifying the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to Bible truth. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attraction for them. HF 286.2

With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. Where in the popular churches of today is the spirit of consecration to God? Converts do not renounce pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self and follow the meek and lowly Jesus than before their conversion. Godliness has well-nigh departed from many of the churches. HF 286.3

Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God's judgments, there will be among the people of the Lord a revival of primitive godliness not witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit of God will be poured out. Many will separate from those churches in which love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word. Many ministers and people will gladly accept those great truths which prepare a people for the Lord's second coming. HF 286.4

The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work, and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his power he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out. Multitudes will exult, “God is working marvelously,” when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, well adapted to mislead. HF 286.5

Yet in the light of God's Word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from these plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed. And by the rule, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16), it is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God. HF 287.1

The truths of God's Word are a shield against the deceptions of Satan. Neglect of these truths has opened the door to the evils now widespread in the world. The importance of the law of God has been to a great extent lost sight of. A wrong conception of the divine law has led to errors in conversion and sanctification, lowering the standard of piety. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the Spirit of God in the revivals of our time. HF 287.2