It is no secret that I am a "revivalist." If that sounds a little old fashioned then that is just fine because I'm a little old fashioned. However, I believe with all my heart that we are not beyond revival in our land and, in fact, are in desperate need of it. In light of that, I want to take this opportunity to share what I believe to be one of the keys to revival. You may have rightly ascertained from the title of the post that it is the Word of God so I will not waste valuable time be sneaky about it.
In the most uncanny way the evidence that I want to share to support this theory of mine come from the Bible, though the location may seem odd. If we look in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35 we find an account from the time of King Josiah of Judah. The passage in question actually begins in 34:14 and carries on through 35:19. Here we find that Hilkiah the priest has stumbled upon the "book of the law of the Lord given to Moses." As a side note, I can only imagine the state the Temple must have been in for the Law to have been lost! At any rate, Hilkiah sends Shaphan to tell the king what had been found. After hearing what the Law said we are told, "when the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes."
This is the first point I would like to make, the Word of God brings conviction of sin and wrongdoing. All too often we, as Christian, think we need to add some extra mustard to the Word to make it more convicting. At the risk of offending some of the readers I want to say this, God doesn't need our help. He uses us for His kingdom purposes but He doesn't need us, not one bit. If we truly believe what we say we believe about the Word then we know it is, living and active sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Why then do we insist on trying to bring conviction to people by the power of our own words? This is precisely why it is crucial for us, as teachers, preaching and followers of Christ, to faithfully proclaim His Word and not our own. If repentance is a necessary part of revival and the Word causes conviction that leads to repentance then the Word must be central to revival. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 helps shed further light on this biblical fact. It says, for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. When we share the Word it goes out with the power of the Holy Spirit behind it to speak to people's hearts in a way that they will respond to. This isn't magic or some foolish incantation, it is the mysterious power of God to use His Word to bring people to Himself.
The result of Josiah's conviction was major reforms in Judah. He immediately had the law read to the rest of the people. For the first time since the time of Joshua the Jews would celebrate the Passover. This is revival to the greatest degree, the spiritual life of the people was being renewed and their covenant with God was being renewed (34:31). It all started with the reading of God' Word.
There are plenty of examples of "revivals" in which the Word is not central. One of the more recent of these comes from the "ministry" of Todd Bentley who has held many, what I will call, events in which people were allegedly healed. His modus operandi was to physically assault people who were in need of healing. One of the infamous YouTube videos shows him telling how God commanded him to kick a woman in the face and punch a poor gentlemen in the aisle. I have two questions. 1)Where is the Word in all of this? 2)Where is all of this in the Word? If we do not have the Bible as our anchor for revival then we are bound to drift from God's plan for it. This is not to say that we don't have times of testimony and perhaps even times of healing but it all must be centered on what God has revealed to us in the Word. We know that if a revelation comes to us and it does not line up with the Bible then it is false, false, false!
Let me close with this equally as important point. I am not suggesting that we become worshipers of the Bible. A friend of mine asked how I felt about the pastor in Florida who was burning piles of the Koran. I told him that I thought it was a bad idea all the way around. Politically it isn't going to do anything and spiritually it is just going to drive a wedge and harm our chances of reaching Muslims. Initially, the thought was brought up that we would be equally as angry is people burned piles of the Bible. Then I thought about it for a moment and had this thought. Yes, I would be none to happy if people started burning the Bible. However, we don't worship the Bible. We worship the God that the Bible tells us of. Any time we begin to elevate something to the level of God we are treading on very thin ice. The Word points us to the God that gave it to us. It is not the end all, be all. God is. It is God who sends revival among His people and He has given us His Word to guide our live and our revivals.