[This is a continuation of our thoughts on “revival” – See the previous posts here and here. We are simply exploring what some people consider revival to entail. This does not mean that we necessarily hold to these perspectives. We’d love to hear your thoughts too.]
Now this type of revival is really popular with some people. The be all and end all of revival is about people not doing stuff. Not only is it about not doing stuff, it’s about being against things. If you aren’t abstaining from just about everything and if you aren’t against everything, you probably haven’t experienced revival.
It all started when the pastor preached on why drinking alcohol was a sin. Never mind the fact that he didn’t give you a specific Scripture, he did tell you that it was sin and everyone knows that pastors are always right. But drinking beer isn’t the only sin. It’s a very bad sin, but it’s not the worst sin you can do. Drinking beer and smoking a cigar is worse. And so is gossip. Oh, and if you wear t-shirts and have long hair, you need to repent. Lying? Check. Stealing? Check. Punching people in the face? Double check. Drinking beer? Check (had to make sure to mention it twice). Looking at pornography? Check. Disobeying your pastor? Check. Thinking for yourself? Check… wait, I mean… errrr.
So you have a really long list of things that you can’t do. Most of them aren’t that big of a deal, but a couple of them are pretty big. You can’t listen to music anymore. Even most Christian music is actually evil because they have drums in them and drums were started in Africa and someone once said that Africa is where the devil lives. So avoid drums too.
This brings me to what we should be against. We’re against democrats. In fact, we hate them. They are evil. We’re against abortion. We’re against civil rights. We’re against your freedom of speech if you don’t say what we want you to say. Did I mention we’re against democrats? We’re also against any and every denomination other than ours. We’re against television. We’re against movies. Heck, we’re against all creative arts.
Just to be fair we should say that we’re not against everything. We love Walmart. We also like judging people. And we’re Republicans because God is a Republican. Everything else, we hate.
We’re about being holy. And being holy means you don’t do anything. You would be the most holy person in the world if you just sat in your bathtub continually washing yourself in scalding hot water with lots of soap. Revival is about being clean and not doing things.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
Wow. Thanks for the list. I didn’t know what was good and evil. I am glad we still love Walmart. I don’t know what I would do without Walmart. I think if we look into it more Walmart is bad too. Probably wouldn’t have to look to close. Well, gotta go start my bath now. Later. 😉
If external expectations could bring about holiness than this would be the way to go. But the problem is that desire defeats rules every time. That’s why there’s a lot of hypocrisy in this camp and the younger generation is leaving in droves. To some extent all of us are tempted by this model even in churches that are not legalistic overall. Just look at the way that we deal with sin, “Ok, that was wrong and I’m not going to do it again. I’m going to stop getting so angry. I’m going to stop eating too much. I’m going to stop giving in to lust.” Touch not, taste not, handle not…instead of making more rules for ourselves that fail why don’t we call out to God and ask Him to deliver us from evil and then act in faith to eradicate sin from our lives?
One thing is for sure, this is the camp the Emerging movement wants to be distanced from the most since the Emerging guys aren’t against anything except those who preach about sin, righteousness, and judgment. For an example watch Rob Bell’s “Bull Horn Guy” on youtube. So Luke, is there going to be a post on Emerging Revival where everybody gets together in a candlelit room and tells their story?
Yes, certain people in the Emerging Church Movement would shy away from this one. I’m not sure what their version of “revival” is. Let me think on that one!
The problem with this type of “revival” is that moralism is not the same as transformation. You hit the nail right on the head. That isn’t to suggest that sanctification is not serious, but that one can’t legislate Christian ethics to guarantee “revival.” Or… maybe it can… if this is your type.
This one reminds me of the holy roller churches that are all over Texas. Funny!
I have been exposed to much of this as well as a teenager and it never made sense to me…why was it raved against to such a degree during revival time? Shouldn’t moralism be a part of our everyday lives as Christians? (rhetorical of course). I especially enjoyed the line about “hating those who are not of our denomination.” I spent many years (developmental years) under a pastor who was a Baptist Brider (The idea that you can’t go to heaven if you’re not a baptist). Never such a doctrine bothered me so as that one did. Especially when my best friends (who believe in the true gospel) were told that they would go to hell because they were not baptists. That was the start of my break with this religious sect. I decided that I did not need to label myself outside of what God labeled me already by his choosing. This is definitely, I feel, a dangerous view on revival. Beware all who enter into such an ideal of revival!
When I first came to Christ I was about ten. I fell away after my teen years, never having know Christ as Lord, but only as my Savior. A little more than a year ago I was born again, accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. I almost immediately fell into this kind of mindset. mainly I think because I had many addictions that had me all chained up. So I ran away from pornography, alcohol, marijuana premarital sex, but at the same time I left behind other things such as television and caffeine.
I have since come to the conclusion that it is not about what one does or does not do, it is about the attitude of the heart. My attitude about porn and premarital sex have not changed. My attitude about alcohol became there is nothing wrong with alcohol, but there is much wrong with it’s abuse. (meaning enjoying a beer or cocktail every once in a while is okay, but drinking to get drunk would be abuse.) My attitude toward television is that is that it is almost entirely useless. I see nothing wrong with people watching television, but I choose not to sit down to watch it because there are far more useful things I could be doing with my time.
Basically, I try and think about things in a way that asks if this activity or that one are useful, productive, uplifting of others, or educational or enlightening, and if it draws me nearer to God. I think you get the gist of what I am saying. I see nothing wrong with choosing not to do things, and I also think there is a good argument for not doing things that are not wrong or sinful, simply because it would be a stumbling block for other believers. (1 Corinthians 8)
Anyways these are just some of my thoughts, hope they help and/or stimulate conversation!
God Bless all
servant of Christ,
Derek J. Brent
that should say 1 Corinthians 8 btw, not a sunglassed smiley face guy!
Very well put Derek. Far be it from me to trash the idea that TVs should be done away with. I believe it is 1 Corinthians 12 that states that our convictions should be stood by and yet not present a stumblingblock to others. My problem was when the pastor said it and that should be the way it was because he said it. The music director blindly followed such dogma, and while both had an awesome thirst for the word of God, they merely followed dogma, rather than really dig into the Scriptures for any solid reasoning.