What is revival?

From the Revival and Reformation series.

—Jonathan Kuntaraf, PhD, is director of the Sabbath School Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

J. J. Parkers defines revival as “a work of God by His Spirit through His word bringing the spiritually dead to living faith in Christ and renewing the inner life of Christians who have grown slack and sleepy.” He further adds, “Revival thus animates or reanimates churches and Christians to make a spiritual and moral impact on communities. It comprises an initial reviving, followed by a maintained state of reviveness.” 1

The marks of genuine revival include (1) a sense of the presence of God and the truth of the gospel; (2) an awareness of sin that leads to repentance; (3) a heartfelt embrace of the glorified, loving, pardoning Christ; (4) an intensifying and speeding up of the work of grace; (5) many conversions; and (6) community involvement in the revival. 2

While we recognize that revival cannot possibly happen without the Holy Spirit, we also know the Holy Spirit as the Author of the Bible (2 Pet. 1:21). So, the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to bring revival, and the study of the Bible prepares the way for the Holy Spirit. This works both ways—a circular effect. Jesus said: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Studying the Bible helps us see that all genuine revivals are related to an increased study of the Word of God.

—Jonathan Kuntaraf, PhD, is director of the Sabbath School Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

 References:

1. Bill Hull, Revival That Reforms (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1998), 29.

2. Ibid

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—Jonathan Kuntaraf, PhD, is director of the Sabbath School Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

February 2013

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