I managed to snag a ticket to the Gospel Coalition’s 2013 National Conference this week and sit in on a breakout session on the subject of revival by Dr. Keller. He gave a brief recap of some of the material in his recent book Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City ($5.69 on Kindle) for those who hadn’t encountered it yet.Read the rest. Very interesting stuff.
In a nutshell, his view of revival is that it is an intensification of the ordinary operation of the Holy Spirit in conviction, assurance, regeneration, and sanctification. He says, “You will see sleepy Christians waking up, nominal Christians being converted, and hard to reach cases being extraordinarily converted.” The marks of revival will include:
- The Gospel being recovered from legalism or antinomianism.
- True repentance, not just “emotional frothiness.”
- Anointed corporate worship.
- Some sort of church growth.
Of course, there was more to it than that, but for those of you who are really interested, I suggest picking up the book—it really is must-read stuff.
Now, I happened to be one of the lucky few to ask Keller a question after the session (at a distance…on a microphone) and seeing as how he’s probably the most astute cultural observer I know of working the pastorate today, I stumblingly asked him if he could identify a couple of the major obstacles for our current culture when it comes to the seeing revival or spiritual renewal in the church, especially with respect to repentance.
Drawing on his experience in urban, culture-shaping Manhattan, Keller responded that one of the biggest obstacles to repentance for revival in the Church is the basic fact that almost all singles outside the Church and a majority inside the Church are sleeping with each other. In other words, good old-fashioned fornication.
Thursday, April 11, 2013