πας ο μισων τον αδελφον αυτου ανθρωποκτονος εστιν και οιδατε οτι πας ανθρωποκτονος ουκ εχει ζωην αιωνιον εν εαυτω μενουσαν εν – τουτω εγνωκαμεν την αγαπην οτι εκεινος υπερ υμων την ψυχην αυτου εθηκεν και ημεις οφειλομεν υπερ των αδελφων τας ψυχας θειναι 1 John 3:15-16

Revival & The Church

The Hebridean Revival

In the Outer Hebrides between 1949 and 1953 a work of God was seen; which being of such a magnitude of effects, came to be called revival. When I lived in the Hebrides with my family on Mission I met numerous brethren who had been saved in revival. 

Duncan Campbell spoke of Donald Macphail as the Evan Roberts of Lewis, and said of him that through him more men were saved in revival, in Lewis than through any other man. Yet Donald was a boy of sixteen years. I knew Donald and fellowshipped with him in Arnol with his family. What struck me about this man was his quiet attitude. And even though he always laboured to see the work of salvation done, in mission and in the church, his quietness was the witness that he understood that revival of God is always a matter for God. It is never a matter for men, save for obedient men and women, who through prayer and intercession seek God for that evidence of His power in the revival of the Church and its effect of revival in communities in which the church is visible. It is for this reason that when I speak of revival, both of the church and of men, I mean the power of God, the awareness of God, and the evidence of God to save men, women and children; as well, to make His servants obedient and faithful.

You would think that all who are born again of the Spirit of God ought to be outwardly set in conduct and speech so as to bear witness to this power of God to save. Yet as I know in my own life, and have seen in the lives of many others, our witness is so often prescribed and has little to do with true liberty and godliness. If liberty and godliness are ours, then so also will be sound doctrine, good character and a fruitful life without being judgemental, burdensome and merciless. We will in those circumstances be less inclined to put chains on others, and realise that God has given us both an inner measure and an outer witness to what it means to be Christians to others, and bondservants of Christ.

The inner measure is the cross unto death, and the outer witness is a true revival. It is the revival of the inner man through being identified with the cross, and the outer man by the salvation of others. In all it is God labouring in us both to will and to work according to His good pleasure. It is, therefore, the power of God in revival, from which power there is no escape, and by which power we are the workmen of God. All our work must be held in that quiet balance that Donald Macphail received when he was taken up in the power of the Holy Spirit and saw into heaven so that through a child it pleased God to save men. 

How much more will God save many others through men and women in every place if they are obedient unto the death of the cross, as Christ was obedient? Let our work be the work of the Church, let our churches be evidenced by the power of God to save others, and to see those saved grow into mature and fruitful servants of Christ. In all things let us also see that we too must become revived men and women.