Where in the Holy Scriptures does Jesus or his apostles establish the practice of “revivals” or “religious revival services?” The answer is “nowhere.” Nowhere does Jesus or his apostles establish the practice of revivals in the original Christian church of the first century. As a matter of fact, the word “revival” doesn’t appear anywhere in the original language of the Bible. The nearest equivalents are “revive” (quicken) and “reviving,” but these may be applied to individual awakening and are not synonymous with, what is traditionally known as, “religious revival service.”
Religious revivals and the word “revival” descend from religious traditions absent of scriptural and apostolic authority and divine approval.
I realize that this is strong language and challenges most of our beliefs and religious practices. However, it is not my intention to be hurtful or confrontational but to edify the body of Christ as inspired and instructed by the Holy Spirit of God.
One may easily borrow from the earthly and scientific disciplines of etymology, philosophy, sociology and theology to explain the term “revival” and substantiate the practice of religious revival services. However, the fact would still remain that revivals, as we have come to know them, are not a part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For a Christian to accept the notion of or participate in the religious practice of “revival services” is for them to believe that a Christian can be dead spiritually and be brought back to life. This is contrary to everything that Jesus taught us about the ever-living Spirit of God and the born-again believer (John 11:26,John 6:47, Romans 8)
The word “revive” is made up of two parts: “re” meaning “again” and “vive” meaning to “live.” Thus, “revive” means “to live again, to be brought back to life, health or vitality.” Although this concept sounds good it lacks the authority of Holy Scripture and it contradicts the teaching of Christ and His apostles.
Neither Jesus nor his apostles ever advocated for revivals or accepted the notion that once you were born of the water and of the Spirit that the Spirit would die and need reviving. No! It is the Spirit of God that makes us alive (Romans 8:11). If indeed we have the Spirit of Christ, we are constantly revived (2 Cor. 4:16). Only those who are a part of the counterfeit church of Satan or those who have been deceived by religious traditions would dare think that God’s Holy Spirit needs reviving.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are instructed to build one another up and keep each other encouraged (Hebrews 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 12:20-27). We were not instructed to do this through some religious service but on a daily basis. It is The Way of LIFE.
However, in our contemporary Christian churches, especially in the predominately black southern churches (where my experience mostly lies), the word “revival” has become synonymous with fund-raising services.
In the name of “revival services,” most churches are just raising money. They choose the revivalist that can draw the largest crowd in the hope of raising the most money. There is little or no concern for the truthfulness of the revivalist’s message or the integrity of his salvation. The main concern is raising money.
In the name of “revival services,” many churches have membership drives whereby their goal is to see how many souls that they can get to join their religious institution. They just want to increase the number of potential paying members in the hope of increasing revenues. It is a calculated business strategy and promotional venture.
In the name of “revival services,” some Pastors exchange pulpits with each other and in essence exchange monies with each other so as to increase their own exposure, popularity and wealth.
In the name of “revival services,” many churches put on a religious production with various performers including preachers, comedians, singers, choirs, musicians and other talents that may or may not be true agents of God. Their goal is to create a festive atmosphere of joy and vibrancy whereby one may feel saved without actually being transformed. And in exchange for this false sense of salvation, the collection plate becomes the collection basket and the Alter becomes the place where people toss their monies in response to the performance much like a minstrel show.
I have yet to go to a revival service where money was not a significant part of the service. And I have never seen anyone revived at a revival service. I have seen them deceived. I have seen them lied to. I have seen them motivated to an emotional frenzy. I have seen them robbed of their money but I have never seen a spiritually dead person brought back to life simply by attending a revival service. Some may have gone through the motions of reanimation but I assure you that they did not experience genuine salvation in accordance with HOLY SCRIPTURE.
“You Cannot Revive That Which Was Never Alive.”
Not all so-called revivals have clandestine agendas. Some churches are sincerely trying to reach lost souls with the message of Jesus Christ. Some churches and some evangelist are adamant about teaching and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Some are devout followers of Christ and teach the importance of genuine repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. However, such churches should not call their services “revivals.” If they must have a distinction they should be called “evangelical services.” They are evangelical at heart; attempting to fulfill the ministry of the kingdom of God and not their own surreptitious ambitions, denominational policies, theological beliefs or financial agendas (2 Timothy 4:1-5). They have given themselves fully to the ministry of eternal Life (John 14:6). They are evangelizing.
The Word of God says, “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching… do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Obey The Word!