Many Christians are looking for revival. The prophets are predicting revival. Preachers are proclaiming a great end-time harvest. However, the world simply does not care. Large revival meetings do not even get noticed by the news media. Apathy is the spirit of the age. Christians must be careful that they do not get caught up in it.

One manifestation of apathy is the belief that revival will come easily. This is not true.

All the talk of revival is confusing people, giving many christians a false hope and a false understanding of what God is doing. They get the impression that God's spirit will move, a whole lot of people will come to the Lord and all that we will have to do is slot them into the church and teach them to worship. But, revival is not that easy. It may have happened like that in the past, but we live in a different world.

Previous revivals took place in Christian societies. The church had a significant role in society, even though it had become dead, and needed to be revived or reformed. When this took place society was transformed, because the church still had an influential role.

We are in a totally different situation. The western world is hostile to Christianity. Most people are glad to have thrown off the restraint of religion. They see the church as, at best, irrelevant or, at worst, as a relic from a primitive past. The Christian worldview is seen as obsolete.

So we are in a situation quite different from that faced in all previous revivals, including the New Testament Christians. They had a hostile audience, but it was an audience, which believed in God, accepted the authority of the scriptures, and certainly held a biblical worldview.

But that is not all. We live in a hostile society; but that is made worse by the fact that the church is seriously compromised with that society. Modern society is corrupted by individualism, consumerism, hedonism, etc. These sins have also weakened the church, making it ineffective in confronting the world.

Something more radical than a traditional revival will be needed to turn things around.

New Zealand (where I live) is different from the United States (40% of Americans still go to church). In the United States the church has more influence and there is less hostility, but I suspect it is even more compromised with the world than the church in New Zealand.

Something radical, but different, will be needed in both nations.

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