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 No revival without reformation

No Revival without Reformation (Tozer)

Wherever Christians meet these days one word is sure to be heard constantly repeated" that word is revival. ...

So strongly is the breeze blowing for revival that scarcely anyone appears to have the discernment or the courage to turn around and lean into the wind, even though the truth may easily lie in that direction. Religion has its vogues very much as do philosophy, politics and women's fashions. Historically the major world religions have had their periods of decline and recovery, and those recoveries are bluntly called revivals by the annalists.

Let us not forget that in some lands Islam is now enjoying a revival, and the latest report from Japan indicates that after a brief eclipse following World War II Shintoism is making a remarkable come-back....

A religion, even popular Christianity, could enjoy a boom altogether divorced from the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and so leave the church of the next generation worse off than it would have been if the boom had never occurred. I believe that the imperative need of the day is not simply revival, but a radical reformation that will go to the root of our moral and spiritual maladies and deal with causes rather than with consequences, with the disease rather than with symptoms.

It is my considered opinion that under the present circumstances we do not want revival at all. A widespread revival of the kind of Christianity we know today in America might prove to be a moral tragedy from which we would not recover in a hundred years.

Here are my reasons. A generation ago, as a reaction from Higher Criticism and its offspring, Modernism, there arose in Protestantism a powerful movement in defense of the historic Christian faith. This, for obvious reasons, came to be known as Fundamentalism. It was a more or less spontaneous movement without much organization, but its purpose wherever it appeared was the same: to stay 'the rising tide of negation' in Christian theology and to restate and defend the basic doctrines of New Testament Christianity....

Falls Victim to Its Virtues

What is generally overlooked is that Fundamentalism, as it spread throughout the various denominations and nondenominational groups, fell victim to its own virtues. The Word died in the hands of its friends. ... An unofficial hierarchy decided what Christians were to believe. Not the Scriptures, but what the scribe thought the Scriptures meant became the Christian creed. Christian colleges, seminaries, Bible institutes, Bible conferences, popular Bible expositors all joined to promote the cult of textualism. The system of extreme dispensationalism which was devised, relieved the Christian of repentance, obedience and cross-carrying in any other than the most formal sense. Whole sections of the New Testament were taken from the church and disposed of after a rigid system of “dividing the Word of truth.”

All this resulted in a religious mentality inimical to the true faith of Christ. ... The basic doctrines of the Bible were there, but the climate was just not favorable to the sweet fruits of the Spirit.

The whole mood was different from that of the Early Church and of the great souls who suffered and sang and worshiped in the centuries past. The doctrines were sound but something vital was missing. The tree of correct doctrine was never allowed to blossom. The voice of the turtle [dove] was rarely heard in the land".... Faith, a mighty, vitalizing doctrine in the mouths of the apostles, became in the mouth of the scribe another thing altogether and power went from it. As the letter triumphed, the Spirit withdrew and textualism ruled supreme....

In the interest of accuracy it should be said that this was a general condition only. Certainly there were some even in those low times whose longing hearts were better theologians than their teachers were. These pressed on to a fullness and power unknown to the rest. But they were not many and the odds were too great" they could not dispel the mist that hung over the land.

The error of textualism is not doctrinal. It is far more subtle than that and much more difficult to discover, but its effects are just as deadly. Not its theological beliefs are at fault, but its assumptions.

It assumes, for instance, that if we have the word for a thing we have the thing itself. If it is in the Bible, it is in us. If we have the doctrine, we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity true of us because we accept Paul's epistles as divinely inspired. The Bible tells us how to be saved, but textualism goes on to make it tell us that we are saved, something which in the very nature of things it cannot do. Assurance of individual salvation is thus no more than a logical conclusion drawn from doctrinal premises, and the resultant experience wholly mental.

Revolt from Mental Tyranny
The human mind can endure textualism just so long, before it seeds a way of escape.... The result over the last twenty years has been a religious debauch hardly equaled since Israel worshipped the golden calf. Of us Bible Christians it may truthfully be said that we 'sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.' The separating line between the Church and the world has been all but obliterated.
Aside from a few of the gross sins, the sins of the unregenerate world are now approved by a shocking number of professedly "born-again' Christians, and copied eagerly. Young Christians take as their models the rankest kind of worldlings and try to be as much like them as possible. Religious leaders have adopted the techniques of the advertisers; boasting, bating and shameless exaggerating are now carried on as a normal procedure in church work.The moral climate is not that of the New Testament, but that of Hollywood....
The holy faith of our fathers has in many places been made a form of entertainment, and the appalling thing is that all this has been fed down to the masses from the top.
That note of protest which began with the New Testament and which was always heard loudest went the Church was most powerful has been successfully silenced. The radical element in testimony and life that once made Christians hated by the world is missing from present-day evangelism.
Christians where once revolutionists-- moral, not political -- but we have lost our revolutionary character. It is no longer either dangerous or costly to be a Christian.... Grace has become... cheap. We are busy these days proving to the world that they can have all the benefits of the Gospel without any of the inconvenience to their customary way of life. It's 'all this and heaven too.'...
For this reason it is useless for... believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform, we may as well not pray. Unless praying men have the insight and faith to amend their whole way of life to conform to the New Testament patters, there can be no true revival....

Sometime praying is not only useless, it is wrong. Here is an example : Israel had been defeated at Ai, and "Joshua rent his clothes and fell to the earth upon his face before the Ark of the Lord until eventide, he and the elders of Israel and put dust upon their heads." According to modern philosophy of revival this was the thing to do and , if continued long enough should certainly have persuaded God and brought the blessing. But " the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up: wherefore liest thou upon thy face? Israel hath sinned and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them....Up, sanctify the people and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel. There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until you take away the accursed thing from among you."

We must haver a reformation within the Church. To beg for a flood of blessing to come upon a backslidden and disobedient Church is to waste time and effort. A new wave of religious interest will do no more than add numbers to the churches that have no intention to own the Lordship of Jesus and come under obedience to His commandments. God is not interested in increasing church attendance unless those who attend amend their ways and begin to live holy lives,

Once the Lord, through the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah said a word that should settle this thing forever : To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord : I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts: and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When you come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations: incense is an abomination unto me: the new moon and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with : it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting...Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: cease to do evil, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow......If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land."

Prayer for revival will prevail when it is accompanied by radical amendment of life : not before. All night prayer meetings that are not preceded by practical repentance may actually be displeasing to God. "To obey is better than sacrifice.

We must return to New Testament Christianity, not in creed only but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, gravity, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing: these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept and be carried out in everyday conduct. We must cleanse the Temple of the hucksters and the money-changers and come fully under the authority of our risen Lord once more. And this applies to this writer as well as to everyone that names the name of Jesus. Then we can pray with confidence and expect true revival to follow.

 2010/2/22 17:04
MaryJane
Member



Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


 Re: No revival without reformation

Greetings appolus

I just stumbled across this. It was so filled with convicting truth. I was much blessed by it. Thank you for sharing.
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It assumes, for instance, that if we have the word for a thing we have the thing itself. If it is in the Bible, it is in us. If we have the doctrine, we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity true of us because we accept Paul's epistles as divinely inspired. The Bible tells us how to be saved, but textualism goes on to make it tell us that we are saved, something which in the very nature of things it cannot do. Assurance of individual salvation is thus no more than a logical conclusion drawn from doctrinal premises, and the resultant experience wholly mental.
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This particular passage truly spoke to me. I have often shared with my boys that it is not enough to read the Word and know something we must put that which we have read and learned into action. The Bible if used only as a text book to gain information is useless, all that is read and learned must be put into daily living. It must become who we are not just simply what we know.

God Bless
mj

 2010/3/2 19:27Profile









 Re:

HI Maryjane,

That particular passage is very profound because its the difference between life and death. Its not even as much as doing what we read as knowing who we are reading about. Salvation is not a mental assent to an abstract truth, salvation is the person of Jesus and knowing Him and being known by Him. Below is a piece that I wrote a couple of years ago............

BIBLIOCENTRIC OR CHRISTOCENTRIC?

John 5:39-40 ..You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Jesus is clearly stating that there is no life in the Scriptures. It does not matter whether it is in the Old or the New Testament, there is no life in the Scriptures. If there was life in the words themselves and the knowledge of these words then the Pharisees would be men full of life. Yet what did Jesus say about these men? They were full of dead men’s bones, whitewashed tombs. They knew the word but they did not know God.

Words are vehicles for communicating. The word itself is a symbol of what is real. You may read about the truth or even hear about the truth and they may be precursors to life, but they are not life itself. Life comes to those who willingly come to Jesus and meet Him personally. And so the word without Jesus is empty and meaningless to the readers. It is in the person of Jesus that we are saved, and then He illuminates the word. The word of God must never be worshipped, how silly to worship the description rather that what is described. All of the word of God is useful to point us towards God, but it is only in His presence that anything is achieved. A man could read the sermon on the mount and rightly conclude that this was a masterpiece of teaching. Yet, outside of Gods presence, outside of His Spirit, all those who try and live by these commands will fail miserably or have some success and become self-righteous. The Bible is a treasure from God, but it is Jesus Himself, of whom the whole Bible testifies, who is the Word. Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word, Jesus, is eternal.

I was saved knowing virtually nothing of Scripture. Men were saved in the first three hundred years of the church by the declaration of Truth, Jesus being the truth, by the Holy Spirit of the living God. After I was saved I devoured the Scriptures and as I read it I saw my own story in it. All the promises, the new heart, the love, the joy, my Jesus, it testified to in all of the word. The Spirit had laid it all on my heart and every page was a confirmation and it was exciting. I had no intellectual battles. My spirit witnessed with the word of God. I read many parts that I did not understand but there was no resisting in my spirit, just a sense that somewhere down the line, if it pleased my Lord, I would understand.

So to have life we must come to Jesus. The word “come ,” does not mean one time just as the word “abide,” is a continuous action verb better stated “keep abiding.” So we ought to keep coming to Jesus. Not keep getting saved, but keep seeking Him out. He is a treasure to be sought after, just “as the deer panteth for the water brooks,” then so my soul continually panteths after Him. He is my light and I detest the darkness. He is perfect light and I live in shades of gray at best. How could it be otherwise for in my flesh there is no good thing. Until it is raised in incorruption I can only know Him in measure. That is an agony and a despair that can be hard to live with. The only thing that makes it bearable is the measure I receive from Him daily, His blessings are new every morning and His steadfast love never ceases and His grace is sufficient to keep me wanting more. And every so often I am enraptured and filled to capacity, a continual baptism of the Holy Spirit if you like. And I am strengthened and encouraged and changed in the fire of His manifest presence and I move to a different level. Gratefulness and thankfulness keeps me in this place. I have found eternal life in the person and the manifest presence of Jesus and the Scriptures testify to that and there is unity……………………..Frank

 2010/3/2 20:27
hoohoou
Member



Joined: 2009/12/11
Posts: 212
Texas

 Re: No revival without reformation

Quote:
Certainly there were some even in those low times whose longing hearts were better theologians than their teachers were.



Very true. It would be completely true if not for this site. This entire piece really spoke loudly to me. I thank you for posting it. I've been really torn as of late as to whether or not where God is taking me is God or me thinking I'm better than everyone else. I've prayed for over a year now that God would reveal pride any time it rears it's ugly head. I've been thinking much the same thing. I sometimes feel I'm just fault finding and being prideful because I find so much wrong with some of the things I'm seeing. Everything is man centered. Sermons on the rapture where the only appeal to repent is because the streets are made of gold. Not one mention of hell, not one mention of a holy God who actually just wants us to be with Him and is certainly worth the effort. 10 minute sermonettes before every offering, faith promises, and business meetings.

What you are saying rings of my experience right now. Even what were recently strong churches I'm seeing descend into the money pit. It's so pervasive today that most don't even realize what's happening. The Lord is only recently beginning to reveal some of this to me. The churches do need much reforming and certainly revival. At this point I'm afraid reformation is impossible without a move of the Spirit, or better yet, impossible unless the Spirit move us.

Quote:
We must return to New Testament Christianity, not in creed only but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, gravity, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing: these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept and be carried out in everyday conduct. We must cleanse the Temple of the hucksters and the money-changers and come fully under the authority of our risen Lord once more. And this applies to this writer as well as to everyone that names the name of Jesus. Then we can pray with confidence and expect true revival to follow.



Amen.


_________________
Matt Smith

 2010/3/2 21:03Profile
MaryJane
Member



Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


 Re:

Hi Frank

you wrote:

Quote:
salvation is the person of Jesus and knowing Him and being known by Him.



___________________________________________________

This is it exactly!!! Have daily personal relationship with Christ. Spending the time to know the person Jesus is what He longs to have with us.
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Quote:
I read many parts that I did not understand but there was no resisting in my spirit, just a sense that somewhere down the line, if it pleased my Lord, I would understand.


________________________________________________________

This is something that I have at times struggled with. I always have had a "need to know" when it comes to some questions. As I grow in the Lord though He has shown me that there are some things that He does not have for me to know and that I just have to trust in Him and have faith. Learning to not only speak to the Lord but to take the time to be still and listen has been so important in learning to just rest in the Lord and not try to lean on "my understanding"
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Quote:
So to have life we must come to Jesus.


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This is so true! I was just reading a teaching on this. Here is a small part that I think goes along with what you are saying:
Jesus isn’t asking us to believe in and trust concepts, or words, but a Person, The Word, and it changes everything when i draw near to a PERSON rather than concepts, ideas, or words. The Love of the Person who has made and keeps all His Promises shatters all my fears, and He ALWAYS proves Himself TRUE, in ways beyond my grasp. So what am i saying? Just as holiness is always about a relationship (“set apart FOR __”)—not simply a lifestyle or action, so also is faith always about a relationship. My ability to grasp ideas and retain concepts and remember and execute ordinances is exceedingly limited and fluctuates daily, but the invitation for me to turn to, cling to, rely on and respond to a PERSON is open forever, and that changes everything because then it’s all about Him and not limited by me. My relationship with this reliable, dependable, responsive, protective, determined, committed, fully-capable Person is what sustains me, hourly, and it is in HIM that i so fully BELIEVE, and the more i turn to Him, the more He proves Himself all of those things and more!
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I do believe the more I come to know Jesus the Person the more I fall in love with Him and long to be with Him. I am also learning though that a way of expressing that love for Him comes in obeying Him. "If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15. That was what I meant when I spoke of the bible being more then a textbook to gain information from, it must be put into daily living. It must become who we are not just simply what we know. In knowing Him I can not help but love Him and desire to do those things He commands of me!

God Bless
mj

 2010/3/2 21:21Profile









 Re:

"I do believe the more I come to know Jesus the Person the more I fall in love with Him and long to be with Him. I am also learning though that a way of expressing that love for Him comes in obeying Him. "If you love me, you will obey what I command."

Amen sister.............Frank

 2010/3/14 23:07





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