A Gentle Rebuttle To Che Ahn’s “Blueprints of Revival”
Perhaps the greatest of all buzzwords in charismatic Christian circles over the last 15 years is “revival”. Everyone wants it. Few have actually seen it. Many big name pastors carry publishing contracts to write about it. We make alliances named after it and organize conferences around the subject.
What is revival? Revive is to bring something back to life. In the Christian terminology, revival is bringing life and passion back to the believers, most commonly associated with mass outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Is “revival” worth desiring? You bet!
The problem with revival obsession isn’t that revival is bad, it’s that revival in itself can only be second best. It doesn’t take a big jump for someone’s hunger for revival to outpace his hunger for God. Through history we don’t see revivals spark because men and women were following blueprints to usher in revival. Revival sparks as the sovereign overflow of God’s presence pouring on people because the believer(s) was so hungry for God that knowing Him became the sole priority, which was evident in both public and private life. In Che Ahn’s “Blueprints of Revival: Building the Church” he mistakenly titles his post as if there could be a formula for revival. Worse off, Ahn’s proposed ingredient is for us, the believers, to build the church, which is something Jesus never told us to do.
In Ahn’s piece he writes,
“As the early Church experienced Pentecost in Acts 2, they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings, breaking of bread, fellowship and prayer. They continued building the Church in the midst of an incredible Revival.
The earliest Christians met from house to house. We know they were able to go from glory to glory because Acts 4:31 says they were filled with the Holy Spirit again, after their initial filling just two chapters earlier.
At the same time, they were able to grow in size.
‘The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’
— Acts 2:47
Why did they receive another infilling of the Holy Spirit and grow in number? They were building the Church in the midst of Revival.”
The key error in his post is that “they” (the disciples) were the church builders. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 16:18 that Jesus Himself builds the church, which Ahn cites. Jesus also made it clear that His disciples are to make disciples in Matthew 18:19. The descriptions Ahn gives regarding the early believers in Acts 2 is the formation of the church after the Holy Spirit has been poured out during Pentocost. They were emboldened by the Spirit, sharing the Gospel, and in prayer and fellowship, the Lord added to those being saved.
So often we want to do a role reversal with God. We decide we are more suitable to build the church, and He is more suitable to make disciples. When we do this, our primary focus shifts to how to organize and sustain, rather than the primary mission of disciple making.
Jesus will build His Church.
Disciples make disciples.
He will not renogotiate this.
If we truly want to experience authentic revival, we must want to truly experience Him even more. Revival doesn’t start at a conference or stadium; it begins in the quiet place where nobody sees you but Him.
If we want to see communities transformed with the Gospel, we need to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers into the harvest. Then, we need to answer when the Lord of the harvest knocks on your door and says, “Hey! The harvest is plentiful!”
If we hope to see a Book of Acts type lifestyle rebirthed in the lives of believers today, we must re-examine how we have built church today, and relook at how He built church in Acts. In the New Testament we see believers gathering house to house. Today, we depend on multi million dollar buildings. In the New Testament we see the Gospel boldly declared in the midst of persecution. Today, we see the vast majority of ministry carried out by a small minority, usually being church leadership. Professional Christianity won’t spark our sought after revival, only returning to our God and returning to our roots will.