IT IS now a year since the appeal for revival, reformation, and evangelism came from our world leaders at the Autumn Council, October, 1966. Since then this call has been sounded again and again at division meetings, union conference sessions, conference workers' meetings, evangelistic councils and retreats, and through the various church journals, among them, THE MINISTRY.
This call has been re-emphasized at the Autumn Council session recently concluded. Our world leader, Robert H. Pierson, has emphasized in his public declarations, in committee meetings, and in private conversations, that this emphasis on revival and evangelism is not a passing whim but one that must be held up continually before the church until the work is done. There is to be no letup in its proclamation.
This note of urgency must grip the hearts of the working force of this denomination all over the world. It must be the burden of administrators, pastors, evangelists, educators, colporteurs, Bible instructors, departmental secretaries, institutional leaders—of God's workmen everywhere. If we do not have this burden, how can the multiplied thousands of our laymen be expected to respond and do their important part in the finishing of the work? The words of the Old Testament prophet are still true, "Like people, like priest."
Fellow workers, are we doing all that we can to keep this urgent and most necessary call to revival and reformation before our people? As they listen to our preaching, observe our conduct, take note of our first concerns, are they led to believe that we mean business—that we have a genuine burden for revival and the finishing of the work? How can we let our people down at such an hour as this? Now, above all times in the history of our work, the leaders of God's people must rally to the call to personal consecration and unparalleled dedication to the task. Our people must see that we are deeply in earnest about this. They must sense in our lives a renewal of the power of the Holy Spirit and a deep longing for that experience that we as a people must have before the work is done.
The pastors of our churches are in many ways the key men in this program, as they are in most others. The pastor forms that vital link with the people. He it is who stands before them week after week. He it is who, more than any other, molds their thinking and their lives. This being so, the pastor is now faced with a unique opportunity to bring to his flock, in a direct and personal way, the concern of the hour.
Would then that pastors everywhere follow through with this appeal as expressed by our world leaders—this concern for revival, for reformation, for an all-out evangelistic thrust that will see the work completed. Let there be more sermons preached on the subjects of revival, reformation, the work of the Holy Spirit, the early and the latter rain, righteousness by faith, and the closing work of Jesus our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.
These messages may be presented as a series of Sabbath sermons, or may be made the basis for prayer meeting studies, but let them be presented. One very worthwhile approach would be a series of studies of the revivals and reformations of the Bible. They may be listed as follows:
1. The Reform of Samuel (1 Samuel 7) Prophets and Kings, pp. 590, 591.
2. The Reforms of Judah
a. Asa—reigned 41 years, c. 911-c. 869 B.c.; 1 Kings 15:11-14; 2 Chronicles 14-16; Prophets and Kings, pp. 110-113.
b. Jehoshaphat—reigned 25 years, c. 872-c. 848 B.C.; 1 Kings 22:1-5; 2 Chronicles 17-20; Prophets and Kings, pp. 190-203.
c. Hezekiah—reigned 29 years, 715686 B.C.; 2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 29-32; Prophets and Kings., pp. 331361, 392.
d. Josiah—reigned 31 years, c. 639c. 609/08 B.c.; 2 Kings 22-23:29; 2 Chronicles 29-32; Prophets and Kings, pp. 384-406. Habakkuk and Zephaniah associated with him in the work of reform.
3. The Postexilic Reformation of Ezra and Nehemiah
Ezra 7:10; 8:21; 9, 10; Nehemiah 8:13; Prophets and Kings, pp. 618678.
4. The Revival of Pentecost
Acts 1,-2; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 35-56.
Passages for special study might well include Selected Messages, book 1, pages 120143; Testimonies to Ministers, pages 426456 and 506-512; and Testimonies, volume 9, pages 11-29.
Other books that will prove useful are Heart-Cry for Revival, by Stephen F. 01-ford, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1962, 128 pages; and Revivals of the Old Testament, by C. E. Autrey, Zondervan Publishing House, 1960, 160 pages.
There are many other books on the Holy Spirit and prayer that would prove helpful. However; let the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy be the principal sources.
Let each work in his own armor, but let the primary objective of the work of all of us be to seek most earnestly that latter rain experience for ourselves, for our people, and for our work around the world. Only then will Pentecost return to the church. Only then will the task be finished.
In the light of these words, the reader is invited to read with special care the article by Stan T. Leeder appearing on page 4 of this issue of THE MINISTRY. Also, beginning with the next issue, there will appear in THE MINISTRY a series of articles by Dallas Youngs on "The Ministry of the Holy Spirit." Readers' comments are always welcome. Especially welcome will be the sharing of experiences of revival and evangelism that come as a result of special seeking after God.
O. M. B