Are you ready to be reminded of the faithfulness of God? Are you ready to be encouraged by stories of how God has moved? Are you ready to start praying for revival? Then read this book.
In addition to the more 'popular' revivals that most of us have heard of, such as the 'Great Awakening' or the 'Azuza Street' revival, this tells about less well known (though equally inspiring) revavals, such as the 1857 Layman's Prayer revival (which started in New York City) and the 1800 Cane Ridge Revival.
The important theme to grasp is that revival does not wait until the country (or city) is moral and pure, it comes in the middle of depravity, sparked by the prayers of a believing remnant. So the time is ripe -- let's pray!
True revivals of religion are measured in the impact they have on society as a whole. If people are not soundly converted to Christ, with absolute assurance from God that the Spirit is indwelling them in Power, you are whistling in the wind. I detect a pattern throughout this book that reveals what has brought us to the deplorable state of affairs in the modern church concerning true conversion.
During the early awakenings Sound preaching was the rule, NOT the exception. As you will see in the chapters dealing with men like Wesley, Cartwright, Whitefield, Finney, the influence of revival was felt where it counted the most. Gin mills were closed down vain amusements lost their appeal, the crime rate was severely reduced, and people began to manifest the nature of Christ in their daily life! Surly a work of the Living God had taken place in the land.
How unlike the so-called revivals that took place toward the end of the ninetieth century under DL Moody & Charles Spurgeon where the mourner's bench was abandon and the protracted meeting became a thing of the past. People were TOLD they had salvation by merely acknowledging Christ as their personal savior, as though they could SAVE themselves by taking up a new resolution! Gone was godly sorrow that works true repentance unto salvation not to be regretted. GONE was the heaven sent assurance that comes from GOD alone when a soul takes hold of Christ in reality. And GONE was the Steadfast endurance in the faith described in Scripture as the 'only' faith that saves the soul! (Rom2:7)
By the time the 1950's rolled around and the 'mega' revivals started under Graham, Falwell, etc this notion was so entrenched into the mainstream that people were massed together in front of a podium and told to repeat a prayer that would guarantee their entrance into the kingdom for evermore. Is it any wonder why our society has become a decadent cease pool of immorality and the churches have lost any semblance of New Testament Christianity? When immoral behavior is condoned from the pulpits and the standard of conversion has fallen on its face, what else can be expected?
Overall the book is informative as a historical context. But counting the 'revivals' of the twentieth century as 'awakenings' of God can only be done from the 'cheap grace' perspective. (from which the book is obviously written) To sustain true revival, that transforms society, requires Sound teachers holding forth the WHOLE Counsel of God, without compromise! The pervasive message of our day has done nothing but populate the lower regions with more lost souls who 'think' themselves saved while living in bondage to sin. Until the Shepherds can awaken to the true heart of God and weep over the Lukewarm mess around them there's little hope we'll see Fire from heaven.