Knowing How God has Worked in the Past is Critical to Understanding His Intentions for the Future
“Revival doesn’t come to respectable Christians. The basis of revival is men and women shattered by their failures—aware that all is not well, helpless to do anything about it.”
-Ugandan Bishop Festo Kivengere
Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge’s book, A God-sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir traces the historical and global impact of spiritual awakening. It is a perfect follow up to Tuesday’s post, Do America’s Schools and Churches Need ‘Revival’? The Culture-making Power of Spiritual Awakening.
I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the culture-making power of spiritual awakening.
Brandon O’Brien’s review below.
Book Review: A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir
By Brandon O’Brien editor at large for Leadership.
For me, the word “revival” usually brings to mind sweating, red-faced evangelists berating sweet old church ladies for letting their spiritual fires fizzle. …With A God-sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir (Zondervan), Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge restored my image of revival… (W)hat I found most interesting were stories of spiritual awakening worldwide, in places like East Africa, China, India, Wales, and Korea.
One of the authors’ great accomplishments, then, is correcting what may be a common stereotype of “revivalism” for many Americans. If they’re right, revival looks different in different places. For businessmen in North America in the mid-nineteenth century, revival began not with tents and sawdust trails, but with lunch-hour prayer meetings. In Korea, the movement of the Spirit ignited with the confession of sins—big ones, like adultery and murder—and brought missionaries of different denominations together for the gospel. In India, it began when Hindu convert PanditaRamabai provided room, board, and education for helpless Indian women and orphans and encouraged them to pray for a mighty work of God.
I don’t hear many people talking about revival these days. You might think, then, that the topic is interesting but ultimately irrelevant. Not so. Although the authors don’t make the connections explicit, A God-sized Vision intersects with and informs several important contemporary issues.
First, at a time when we Western Christians are increasingly aware that we should pay more attention to Christian traditions in other places on the planet, Hansen and Woodbridge introduce us to some important players and events in global Christian history in the last 100 years…
Second, there has been a division between the “head” and “heart” in American Christianity for almost as long as there have been Christians in America. A God-sized Vision challenges this easy distinction…
Third, in light of the renewed interest in social justice among American evangelicals, the authors do a great job pointing out the social benefits of revival, especially in other countries…