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Friday, June 23, 2006
Revival Conference Day #3

Surprisingly, today I was invited to be part of a panel at this Institute on Campus Revival and Awakening. Pretty interesting, given that the panelists and presenters here have largely bought into reformed theology. Anyhow, as you might imagine, in a conference like this the ironic inquiries center around what responsibility people have in revival and what responsibility God has. You see the dilemma. The reformed thinkers, who clearly come down on the "revival is the sovereign act of a sovereign God" side, seem to be lauding the need for prayer and repentance and so forth as a condition for revival. This has the effect of shaping a what I call a "revival technology." (i.e. prayer as a lever to move God)

Interestingly, it is the more Wesleyan-Arminian oriented Christians (like myself) who are articulating a more cogent understanding of Divine Sovereignty. Our understanding of chief character of God's Sovereignty isn't wrathful power (i.e. see Jonathan Edwards famous sermon-- Sinners in the hands of an Angry God.). Our vision of Divine Sovereignty looks more like Holy Love. Try this: If our vision of Sovereignty is primarily "power" oriented, we tend to speak in terms of the "power of prayer." Prayer becomes the wielding of power under the guise of humility-- i.e. bowing down. It's the power-less invoking the powerful via the power of prayer. make sense? prayer easily becomes a form-- a format-- a formula which we seek after in the pursuit of getting God to do something.

Here's my take: God is not so much moved by prayer as God is moved by love. Not human love primarily, but Divine Love acting by faith in the human community. (that doesn't make it in-human-- it's actually God's intervention that restores us to true humanity-- which is the capacity to give ourselves for the sake of others). Stay with me. It's now the power of Love instead of the power of prayer. And what is real prayer but a laboring in love on behalf of others-- intercession. This is to imitate God-- to intervene or intercede. So revival is Love moving Love. It's breaking free from the shackles of religious duty and into the active responsiveness to the Love of God. You see, it's the Love of God released into the human community that becomes the kind of prayer that makes way for the Love of God to become manifest in the world. In this way we are responsive to the Love of God without being responsible for the Love of God. I hope I'm not committing some kind of heresy here on the blog--- but I'm thinking aloud as I write. This is why my blog was originally titled "rough draft."

My working definition of revival: the tipping point of Divine Love in the Christian community. Awakening is the outpouring of this Love in the unbelieving World in a way inviting and compelling response.

I'm going to release a new poem tomorrow which tries to come at this from yet another angle.
posted by John David Walt | at 6/23/2006 04:37:00 PM



Blogger mattmaher said...

and what is true love but the place where eros and agape meet - human and divine - imperfect being made perfect in the image of God.
great insights from the Holy Spirit here, and from your eager ear at the door of Heaven.......

2:30 AM EDT  
Blogger eli said...

exciting stuff, JD, and right on i think. There is a fluid-flow from God and rather than thinking of it as power needing to be diverted or directed by the dam of prayer, we see it as a stream of love that we are to jump into and...yes, i guess so...go with the flow.

8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Josh said...

I keep hearing "love" as I read through these days of yours. Based on my experience growing up, "love" would not be the first word I would connect with revival. But I know this is right. I feel tweak of the soul when hearing these thoughts. Praying for you in these last days there.

8:49 PM EDT  
Blogger DGH said...

Thank you so much! You are dealing with sme very early struggles of mine while we were @ undergrad in the BSM...they would pray for revivle each week, and it seemed almost as if they were thinking that if we just pray hard enough then God would send revival...it sounded much like the thought of a few of the Jews that if we all just followed te commandments just perfect then God would send us a messiah. hmmm, funny how that happened...and funnyhow it was love that prompted Christ to come..and it will be the same that will be the case in his return.... i wonder if that is how revival comes as well?

1:17 AM EDT  

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