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Revival – The Need

Evan Roberts, founder of the Welsh Revival
‘Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?  Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.’ Psalm 85:6-7
Many years ago I went to Bradenton, Florida to spend time with the principal of a small private seminary. While I was there he invited me to come to a ‘revival’ that a local church was holding. The idea was that any church can create a revival by doing some things in a certain order. This was a foreign idea to me but I later learned that it stemmed from Charles Finney, a key figure in the Second Great Awakening in North America during the late eighteen hundreds. He taught that revivals followed along predictable lines and could be brought about by skilled revivalists.
My understanding of revival is very different to the Finney model. Historic revivals do teach us that certain things, such as prayer, precede revival, but prayer does not create a revival. The Holy Spirit stirs the hearts of a small number of people to pray for revival but when it comes, revival is entirely a sovereign act of God. It comes suddenly and with unmistakable divine power. Whole areas are saturated with the presence of God and great numbers of people turn to the Lord in repentance.
Moriah Chapel, Wales

History is replete with wonderful Christian revivals, and their names live on through the centuries; The Great Awakening, Azusa Street, The Welsh Revival, The Hebrides Revival, Indian Revival, Chinese Revival, Korean Revival, Philippians Revival, South African Revival, and so on. And from each of those revivals we remember the names of the key leaders; Evan Roberts, Campbell Morgan, Wesley, Whitfield, Seymour, John G Lake and many more. Each account tells of how God swept into a community and turned it from sin and apathy to glory!

Sadly, most of the recent ‘moves of God’ that have been hailed as revivals are just cheap spiritual forgeries. We have become accustomed to claims of gold teeth, silver dust, bizarre antics, and the reports of tens of thousands ‘saved’ through superficial altar-calls and simplistic parroted prayers. Would we recognise a true revival in our day? Yet the very abundance of the false is a strong indicator that we need the true – come Holy Spirit and revive your church again!
Revival in Australia – early 20th century

Revival is a ‘returning to life’ of a church or wider church community. It is not a reward for faithful ministry, but a remedy for apathy and dead religiosity. God comes to the aid of His struggling people when we have grown cold and ineffective, materialistic and religious. He comes with power and glory. Holy Spirit revival comes with repentance, confession, prayer, and new birth. It also comes with mighty works of healing and supernatural manifestations of the power of God.

In the next few posts I am going to touch on some of the characteristics of a true Holy Spirit revival. Won’t you search your heart right now and ask, ‘Do we need revival at this time?’ Then ask the harder question, ‘Do I want revival?’

Picture of Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



3 thoughts on “Revival – The Need”

  1. I think that, South Africa really is in desperate need of revival, and not on a basis of crime only, but we all need it, we need hope and joy. We need the lord to help us all.

  2. I think Peter’s actions during the transfiguration are similar to how people have reacted to the recent “revivals”. That is – wow God seems to be doing something and so lets keep it going by having nightly services, bigger buildings and people fly from around the world to attend. If revival were to happen, and I hope it does, it would be almost better if the Christian community involvement was kept to a minimum and just act as facilitators because revival is primarily aimed at non-Christians than Christians themselves.

  3. I dunno, I think Christians also need it… they also need Christ in their lives, and some need to be filled agian with the holy spirit. I dont think anyone can be more entitled or deserving…

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.