Nolan Harkness on Is Revival Really Necessary?

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1.

In grasping for a metaphor to describe from the Lord’s perspective both the importance and necessity of the spiritually revived life, a nature scene flashed before my mind. I first saw the site of what had formally been a mountain stream, flowing down through some now dried up trees and water stained boulders. The dried flakes of algae clung to these once submerged stones and the partial remains of different species of fish dotted the now dried up mountain watering hole. Browns, greys, and different densities of black were the lifeless color tones of the panorama of a location which had obviously been a focal point of beauty and life. Now only one’s imagination could re-create an image that anyone would want to spend more than a moment’s concentration on.

Then however, in the flash of a moment, the scene changed before my eyes. Fresh water began to run down the formally dry streambed. What was previously dry and full of decay was now shiny wet and sparkling with bright sunlight. God allowed me to see His version of time lapse photography as I watched the greys and browns gradually turn to a beautifully bright springtime green and plants with flowers started sprouting up everywhere along the creek bed. Where there had been no sign of animal life before, deer, rabbits and other forms of mountain wildlife began to move to this new flowing stream to drink and graze on the fresh greenery now growing in abundance along its shoreline.

As I look back, I think it must have been as a small boy that I first started realizing my calling as a type of revivalist. I didn’t have a clue then what it was then. All I know is that whenever I recognized something was broken, I wanted to fix it! Whenever something was not running as smoothly as it could I wanted to adjust it. Whenever someone could obviously do better than they were doing I wanted to admonish them to do better and most of all whenever anyone was being mistreated everything in me wanted to come to the rescue.

Anyone who truly studies the scriptures will soon find out that Jesus was very much a revivalist. He did not come to leave things as they were. He was not content with the dried up lifeless mountain stream. In every single sermon He preached, in every parable He taught, He called people everywhere to take one step closer to God. He wanted them to seek to be baptized or totally immersed in God’s Holy Spirit and to be a bright light to the World.

In my early twenties, at a point when I was ready to throw in the towel on life, God reached into that sinful situation and saved me out of that self-destructive behavior. I had been raised in the church. I was a product of a multigenerational line of ordained ministers. From my perspective, the church was little different than the world and operated little differently than any secular organization. Now however, as as a newly reconverted believer studying the writings of the revivalists of the nineteenth century was a huge breath of fresh air, providing the answers to my many years of questions.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Nolan Harkness