There is one particular historic subject that I am generally quick to pick up books on and that is the subject of revival. Pentecostal Outpourings edited by Robert Davis Smith, Michael A. G. Haykin, and Ian Hugh Clary has been an educational and encouraging look at revivals.
This book draws on the expertise of several historians to shed light on revivals that have occurred in differing geographical and historical contexts. The first section of this book addresses revivals in the the British isle beginning with Wales and ending with an examination of revival among the Particular Baptists of the eighteenth century. One is reminded how messy revival can be with the excesses that had occurred in some of the past revivals and the counterfeits that occurred parallel to them. The second section of the book addresses revival in America tracing the positives and negatives of the activities that took place in the First and Second Great Awakenings.
I believe that this book addresses to common erroneous lines of thought concerning revival. This book dispels the notion that revival is something that can be automatically created through the appropriate use of a given set of means. While we can and should pray for God to send revival, whether He does or not is not something we can directly control. We should also not dismiss the idea of revival simply because of abuses, excesses, and counterfeits. The history of the church gives a great amount of evidence for genuine revivals as evidenced in this book. So rather than attempt to do what only God can do in our own power we must pray that He would do only what he can do. We must look at the decline present even in the best of our churches, the insufficiency of our best efforts and cast our selves on the mercy of God.
As a student of the history of revivals I hope this book finds many readers and that those who read it would have a burden to see God do again what He has done in the past and that is revive His church.
Disclosure: I received this book free from from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html