Revival Defined

One of the most fascinating things about revival is that there are varied points of emphasis which all contribute to a desired end. It is quite interesting to see how different men of God have highlighted these points from their own perspective. This list is not an endorsement of men or ministries, but simply a collection of various statements about revival that are well worth considering.

  • T.S. Rendall – Revival is the king of heaven visiting His people in all His regal splendor and glory.
  • Roy Hession – Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts.
  • Richard Owen Roberts – Revival is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results.
  • Philip A. Jones – Revival may be defined as that situation that brings the glory of God back in the churches. Revival is a time of renewed spiritual health brought about by the touch of God.
  • Tom Palmer – Revival is a supernatural work of God as the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to turn the hearts of the people of God back to God Himself, all for the glory of God.
  • Mel Johnson – Revival is God’s finger pointed right at me!
  • Duncan Campbell – Revival must ever be related to holiness. True revival is a revival of holiness.
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones – We can define revival as a period of unusual blessing and activity in the life of the Christian Church. Revival means awakening, stimulating the life, bringing it to the surface again.
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones – A revival, then, really means days of heaven upon earth.
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones – A revival is a miracle. It is the hand of the Lord, and it is mighty. It can only be explained as the direct action and intervention of God.
  • Richard Owen Roberts – There is a very precious sense in which revival is literally “God in the midst of His people.”
  • Del Fehsenfeld Jr. – True revival is that divine moment when God bursts upon the scene and displays His glory.
  • Leonard Ravenhill – Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that He shows up Himself.
  • Lewis Drummond – A spiritual awakening is no more than God’s people seeing God in His holiness, turning from their wicked ways, and being transformed into His likeness.
  • Charles Finney – Revival is a renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one’s will to God in deep humility.
  • Philip Newell – (Revival is) …the recovery or restoration of spiritual blessing already possessed but not held fast — or never fully appropriated.
  • J. Edwin Orr – (Revival is) …the moving of the Holy Spirit bringing a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church.
  • J. Edwin Orr – (Revival is) …times of refreshing…from the presence of the Lord.
  • Duncan Campbell – (Revival is) …a community saturated with God.
  • Richard DeHaan – (Revival is) …a deep moving of God in the lives of believers, convicting them of sin and shaking them out of their lethargy.
  • David Bryant – (Spiritual awakening) …is when the Father wakes us up to see Christ’s fullness in new way.
  • Arthur Wallis – Revival is divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in awful holiness and irresistible power.
  • D.M. Patton – (Revival is) …the inrush of the Spirit into a body that threatens to become a corpse.
  • Charles Finney – A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.
  • Andrew Murray – (Revival is) …a life daily and wholly under the teaching of the Spirit.
  • Ralph Sutera – (Revival is) …a spiritual adjustment and cleansing for Christians, bringing them back to health and freedom.
  • Vance Havner – (Revival is) …a church falling in love with Jesus all over again.
  • Tom Palmer – Revival is a divine disruption. It is a time when God intervenes in our affairs and interrupts our activities. It is a time when God makes our “comfort zone Christianity” seem very uncomfortable.
  • William B. Sprague – It is a revival of scriptural knowledge, of vital godliness, and of practical obedience.
  • Stephen F. Olford – Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.
  • Stephen F. Olford – (Revival is) …that strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.
  • Unknown – Revival is a renewing and a reformation of the Church for action.
  • Roy Hession – Revival is not going down the street with a big drum; it is going back to Calvary with a big sob.
  • D.M. McIntyre – (Defined revival as) …the outpouring of the Holy Spirit by God upon His people. Basically such an event is dependent upon the good pleasure of God, but is likely to happen when certain conditions are present among believers. The power that throbs in a revival is the life-giving power of the Spirit of God. On such occasions, God comes “out of His place.”
  • R.B. Jones – Revival is a sovereign act of God in which He pours forth His Holy Spirit upon His people in a special way, whereby Christians are quickened, backsliders are restored, churches are set on fire spiritually, sinners are remarkably converted, and society is reformed.
  • A.W. Tozer – (Defined revival as) …that which changes the moral climate of a community.
  • A.J. Gossip – In revival, people are awed and solemnized; they meet the Almighty face to face; the hush of eternal things drowns the noises of earth and soaks into the soul.
  • J.W. Kempt – Revival, strictly speaking, means the reanimation of that which is already living, but is in a state of declension. It has to do principally with the Church as a whole and Christians as individuals.
  • Arthur Wallis – It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs are abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field.
  • Iain H. Murray – Revival is a manifestation of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in an uncommon measure, bringing refreshment to the church and salvation to the world. But although it is a sovereign work of God, it is also a work performed in answer to petitions offered by a praying people.
  • James Buchanan – (Revival is) …the imparting of life to those who are dead, and the imparting of health to those who are dying.
  • Jonathan Edwards – (Revival is) …God’s major means of extending His kingdom.
  • Wesley Duewel – Revival is the manifestation of God to His people, convicting by His awesome presence and by His infinite holiness.
  • Wesley Duewel – Revival is God holding out His arms of love to us and refusing to give up on us.
  • Christmas Evans – Revival is God bending down to the dying embers of a fire just about to go out and breathing into it until it bursts into flame.
  • Andrew Murray – A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness, making God’s love triumph in the heart.
  • John Elias (preacher in Wales during the 18th century) – The word revival means the gracious visitation of God to His people in the ordinances of the gospel and by the outpouring of the Spirit.
  • James A. Stewart – Revival is the people of God constrained, gripped, overmastered, and overwhelmed by the love of Christ so that they are feverishly restless to win souls for Christ.
  • Unknown – Revival is Jesus bringing the fullness of His life into the emptiness of ours.
  • Brian Edwards – Revival is a sovereign work of God’s Holy Spirit that produces an unusual awakening of spiritual life among God’s people, resulting in an awesome awareness of God, a sincere repentance for sin, a deep longing for God and holiness, and an effective passion to reach the unsaved.
  • Norman Grubb – Revival is a clean-cut breakthrough of the Holy Spirit, a sweep of Holy Spirit power, bending the hardened hearts of sinners as the wheat before the wind, sweeping the whole range of the emotions, as the master hand moves across the harp strings, from the tears and cries of the penitent to the triumphant joy of the cleansed.
  • Stephen Olford – Revival is ultimately Christ Himself, seen, felt, heard, living, active, moving in and through His body on earth.
  • Ted Rendall – Revival is the healing of God’s people. It is the binding up of their wounds.
  • It is being raised up from the sickbed. It is to receive health and strength, not primarily in a physical sense, but in the spiritual. It is the recovery of spiritual health. (based on Hos. 6:1-3)
  • Tom Philips – Revival springs from God’s initiation, not from our determination. Revival is the new light and life of God that come in His time, for His purpose, to lead us out of wandering and back to Himself.
  • Tommy Tenney – For years we have thought of revival in terms of a banner across the road or over a church entry-way. Real revival is when people are eating in a restaurant or walking through the mall when they suddenly begin to weep and turn to their friends and say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I know I’ve got to get right with God.”
  • Brian Edwards – Revival is remarkable, large, effective, and, above all, it is something that God brings about…Though men may prepare and pray for it, revival is the work of a sovereign God, not primarily for the benefit of His people, but for His own honour and glory.
  • J.I. Packer – Revival is God touching minds and hearts in an arresting, devastating, exalting way to draw them to Himself through working from the inside out rather than the outside in.
  • Jim Dykes – Revival is a renewal of our experience with God that redeems what is past, reclaims us for the present, and rescues our future.
  • Del Fehsenfeld Jr. – Revival is a divine military strategy to counteract spiritual decline.
  • R.A. Torrey – A revival is a time when God visits His people, and, by the power of His Spirit imparts new life to them, and through them imparts life to sinners dead in trespasses and sins. New life from God – that is revival!
  • Vance Havner – (What we call revival) …is simply a return to normal New Testament Christianity.
  • Dr. Kirk – A revival is the result of special impulses on the religious sensibilities of a community, characterized by these features – a change, a religious change, wrought by the supernatural action of the Holy Ghost, tending to the advancement of true religion, directly or indirectly.
  • Unknown – (Revivals of religion are) …Times of spiritual awakening, when different classes in community have their attention directed to the great subject of salvation, and earnestly desire to lay up their treasure in heaven.
  • Charles Finney – (Revival is) …a work of grace, which includes conviction of sin, repentance, new obedience and faith in the church, breaking the power of the world and of sin over Christians, a condition from which reformation and salvation of sinners will follow, going through the same stages of conviction, repentance, and reformation.
  • Unknown – Revival of religion is a movement among the people produced by the power of the truth, and the agency of God’s Spirit, resulting in the quickening of God’s children, and the conversion and reformation of sinners.
  • Unknown – Revival is nothing more than having our experience catch up with our theology.
  • Henry C. Fish – Revivals, then, are seasons when Christians are awakened to a more spiritual frame, to more fervent prayer, and to more earnest endeavors to promote the cause of Christ and redemption; and consequent upon this, seasons when the impenitent are aroused to the concerns of the soul and the work of personal religion.
  • Unknown – Revival is a renewing and a reformation of the church for action.
  • Jonathan Goforth – Revival is simply the Spirit of God fully controlling the surrendered life.
  • Walter Boldt – (Revival is) God at work, restoring His Church to health.

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Harold Vaughan

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Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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