Thoughts on Revival – from Dynamics of Spiritual Life, by Richard Lovelace

“Jonathan Edwards was especially concerned to make clear that fallen human nature is fertile ground for a fleshly religiosity which is impressively ‘spiritual’ but ultimately rooted in self-love. High emotional experiences, effusive religious talk, and even praising God and experiencing love for God and man can be self-centered and self-motivated. In contrast to this, experiences of renewal which are genuinely from the Holy Spirit are God-centered in character, based on worship, an appreciation of God’s worth and grandeur divorced from self-interest. Such experiences create humility in the convert rather than pride and issue in the creation of a new spirit of meekness, gentleness, forgiveness and mercy. They leave the believer hungering and thirsting after righteousness instead of satiated with self-congratulation. Most important, their end result is the performance of works of mercy and justice.”

“In the extensive section on good works which closes Religious Affections, Edwards establishes the principle that a full-fledged revival will involve a balance between personal concern for individuals and social concern. A revival is therefore not something exclusively ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious.” Edwards insists that the proliferation of religiosity in the form of meetings, prayer, singing and religious talk will not promote or sustain revival without works of love and mercy, which will ‘bring the God of love down from heaven to earth … to set up his tabernacle with men on the earth, and dwell with them.’”

Contributed by Chris Musgrove, CCC staff at Auburn University