The Laws of Revival - James Burns
CONTENTSFOREWORD AND INTRODUCTION
1. LAW OF PROGRESS
2. LAW OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
3. LAW OF PERIODICITY
4. LAW OF EBBING TIDE
5. LAW OF THE FULLNESS OF TIME
6. LAW OF ADVENT OF THE PROPHET
7. LAW OF AWAKENING
8. LAW OF VARIETY
9. LAW OF RECOIL
10. LAW OF THE THEOLOGY OF
11. LAW OF THE COMING MOVEMENT
Revivals, the Law of the Theology of Revivals
It is important for us to know what the great doctrines have been which have awakened people to new life in past centuries.
First of all, we see that all revivals fall back upon simplicity. They cut through the accumulated doctrines and subtle complexities, until they arrive at some aspect of truth which has become forgotten or has been buried by tradition. In perspective, every revival goes back to apostolic times and to the spirit of the early Church. Each attempts to strip the Church and the individual of the heavy burdens imposed in a lime of decay, a time when men and women are more intent on proving the doctrines of the Church than on living them. Its central effort is to get back to the source of life.
When we analyze the messages in those great days of revival, we see one message which is never absent, a message which is at the heart of every movement. This is the message of the Cross.
How much we need the focus of the apostle Paul: "But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14, NKJV). In every case where the life of the Church has become powerless, it will be found that the message of the Cross has either been denied or forgotten.
If this is true, and it is, then its value is of the utmost importance. It shows that, whenever men's and women's hearts are profoundly moved, they turn to the Cross for satisfaction, with the same instinct with which a child in need turns to its mother. Redeeming love is the message underlying every great spiritual movement of the Church. Never has there been a spiritual movement in the Christian Church in which Christ has not been realized as the source of life. Every revival is a return to Christ. Each comes from a fresh recognition of His power to save.
In the time of the Reformation, the doctrine of justification by faith had ceased to exist. Ecclesiasticism so dominated people's minds that they were blind to the truth when reading Paul's epistles. This is a curious fact about the human mind, that it has the power only to see what agrees with current opinion. Every age is imprisoned in its own conceptions and has to be set free by the minds which refuse to be enslaved.
There is a vast difference in the ways people hold the same doctrines. They are held either as supreme, or as of secondary importance. It makes all the difference in the life of the Church when prominence is given to the essential doctrines. The Church is revived when it is brought back to Christ, when it lakes up the Cross again. With the message of salvation burning in its heart, it goes out once again as its Master did "to seek and to save I hem that are lost."
Also, it is a significant fact that no religious system which rejects the Cross knows anything of revivals in the same way that Christianity does. Their ranks are recruited from those who hecome skeptical in the days of depression. They are never flooded with enthusiastic life, nor charged with messages which move large amounts of people to the knowledge of divine things.