Saturday, 11 August 2012

Towards a New Awakening: JI Packer on Martyn Lloyd-Jones

In his foreword to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Crossway, 1987), JI Packer writes how around the centenary of the great British revival of 1859, Lloyd-Jones was preaching for "a quickening divine visitation."
Revival for "the Doctor" meant more than evangelism that brings converts, and more than cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and a balanced budget in the local church. What he was after was the new quality of spiritual life that comes through knowing the greatness and nearness of our holy, gracious Creator—something that in former days would have been called enlargement of heart, and heart usually starts with a deepened sense of the power and authority of God in the preaching of the Biblical message.
I'm convinced that the only thing that can solve our denominational woes is the a new quality of spiritual life among the people in the pews.

I love the idea of hearts made large. See The Book of Common Prayer Prayers at Midday FOR MISSIONS p17—I referred to it yesterday in this post. A lovely prayer.

Packer continues:
The divine visitation that revives, he argued, cannot be precipitated by human effort, even though our not caring about it and not seeking it can effectively quench the Spirit and block it. To acknowledge our present impotence and cry to God for such a visitation is, as he saw it, a supreme priority for the church today. 
…and for today.
But we shall not do this until we grasp the need for revival, and that will not happen until we see that nothing less can help us.
The need remains fifty-two years later. The only thing which can ignite people for ministry and service across the church and the nation is the quickening divine visitation that revives. Rosters are filled, money flows, new Christ worshippers are created, churches are filled, justice wells up and society is transformed.