Have We No Tears for Revival?
By Leonard Ravenhill
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5). This is the divine edict. This is more than preaching with zeal. This is more than scholarly exposition. This is more than delivering sermons of exegetical exactitude and homiletical perfection. Such a man, whether preacher or pew dweller, is appalled at the shrinking authority of the Church in the present drama of cruelty in the world. And he cringes with sorrow that men turn a deaf ear to the Gospel and willingly risk eternal hell in the process. Under this complex burden, his heart is crushed to tears.
The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church, grieved at the blindness of the Church, grieved at the corruption in the Church, grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil. He is embarrassed that the Church folks no longer cry in their despair before a devil-ridden, sin-mad society, “Why could we not cast him out?” (Matt. 17:19).
Many of us have no heart-sickness for the former glory of the Church because we have never known what true revival is. We stagnate in the status quo and sleep easy at night while our generation moves swiftly to the eternal night of hell. Shame, shame on us! Jesus whipped some money changers out of the temple; but before He whipped them, He wept over them. He knew how near their judgment was The Apostle Paul sent a tear-stained letter to the Philippian saints, writing: “I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18).
Notice that he does not say they are enemies of Christ; they are, rather, the enemies of the cross of Christ. They deny or diminish the redemptive values of the cross. There are many like this today. The church of Rome does not stand as an enemy of Christ; it traces heavily on His holy name. Yet it denies the cross by saying that the Blessed Virgin is co-redemptive. If this is so, why was she not also crucified? The Mormons use the name of Christ, yet they are astray on the atonement. Have we tears for them? Shall we face them without a blush when they accuse us of inertia at the Judgment Seat saying that they were our neighbors and an offense to us, but not a burden because they were lost?
The Salvationists can scarcely read their flaming evangelical history without tears. Has the glory of the evangelical revival under Wesley ever gripped the hearts of the Methodists of today? Have they read of the fire-baptized men in Wesley’s team? Men like John Nelson, Thomas Walsh, and a host of others whose names are written in the Book of Life; men persecuted and kicked in the streets when they held street meetings? Yet as their blood flowed from their wounds, their tears flowed from their eyes.
Have the Holiness people set a guard at the door of the beauty parlors lest any sister should enter to get her hair curled, while a block away there is a string of prostitutes trying to sell their sin-wracked bodies with none to tell them of eternal love? Do the Pentecostals look back with shame as they remember when they dwelt across the theological tracks, but with the glory of the Lord in their midst? When they had a normal church life, which meant nights of prayers, followed by signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, and genuine gifts of the Holy Ghost?
When they were not clock watchers, and their meetings lasted for hours, saturated with holy power? Have we no tears for these memories, or shame that our children know nothing of such power? Other denominations had their Glory Days of revival. Think of the mighty visitations to the Presbyterians in Korea. Remember the earth-shaking revival in Shantung. Are those days gone forever? Have we no tears for revival?