Revival and Reformation

“It is sometimes thought that revivals and reformation are two quite distinct things, and in some respects that is correct. Revivals relate to an inward quickening of life within the Church and to a resultant ingathering of souls. They are occasioned solely by the operations of the Holy Spirit and their influences are primarily internal-upon the hearts and souls of men. Reformations, on the other hand, mean the bringing back of the Church to the Word of God and a casting off of practices not according to that rule. They concern the carrying out of duties affecting the outward life of the Church. Now revivals may occur without an accompanying outward reformation of the Church and when they do, as in the 18th century, the emphasis is more or less exclusively confined to evangelism and holiness. But historically it can be established that reformations never occur without revivals, which is not surprising for although reform is the Church’s constant responsibility it is only as she is awakened and encouraged in this duty by the powerful operations of the Spirit of God that reformations are accomplished.” (Iain Murray, Biographical Introduction to William Cunningham’s Historical Theology, page xiv)

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