Book Review: Fresh Encounter: God's Pattern for Spiritual Awakening

Book details: 
Title: Fresh Encounter: God's Pattern for Spiritual Awakening
Author(s): Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby and Claude King

The first thing that I want to say about this book is that it is one of the best that I've read recently. It is a combination of revival history and practical application of Biblical principles. The first thing that you will notice about this book is that there is a theme...repentance. I am sure that if there was one thing that these authors would want any reader to take away from it, repentance would be it. They are clear and thorough in explaining that the Bible sets forth the fact that it is required of God's people before revival will happen. As I would have expected from these authors the Bible was the foundation of the entire book. They do not make points based on statistics or trends they make their claims based on the authority of God's Word. I, for one, really appreciate this.

One point that really shifted my perception of revival was that it is for the Church. Too often we think of "revivals" being these big evangelistic events but the spiritual awakening of the lost is actually a side-effect of true revival among God's people. Again, I think this is a big shift from where we, in America at least, are in terms of thinking about revival. Also, it is not something that we put on the calendar once or twice a year, it is something that God sends and His power is evident in it.

The Blackabys and King do a wonderful job of explaining what revival is and what it isn't. Along with that they give plenty of guidance on how to discern God sent revival from man-made entertainment and emotionalism. In fact, most of the chapters contain both positive and negative examples of the topic.

If I had any critiques of the book they would be these two things:
1. At times you can tell that three separate people were writing the book because there are instances where the same information is given as if it were completely new. This may just be the style that the editors put together but it read like different people were writing without knowing what the others were saying. This is not really a problem but something I noticed.
2. If you are sold out to contemporary worship you may find the chapter on worship a little hard to swallow. They don't completely discount it or write it off but they are fairly critical of contemporary worship practices and music. Although, it is not the old "I don't like loud music" argument. It is a well thought out critique of the practices.

Overall, as I mentioned at the outset, this is a fantastic book. If you are interested in revival and renewal or have a passion to see it come to your communities and land then it is well worth it. One word of caution, this is not a quick and easy read. Not only is it dense material wise, it is a full 300 pages of small print and you will want to absorb every bit of it.

Here is a link to the book at Christian Book Distributors.

447804: Fresh Encounter: God"s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening, Revised and Expanded Fresh Encounter: God's Pattern for Spiritual Awakening, Revised and Expanded

By Henry & Richard Blackaby, Claude King

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