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I often hear people talking about what we need to do to return our nation to “the way it ought to be.” But I wonder how many of them have a clear picture of exactly what is, “what it ought to be.” What would Biblical Reformation in America look like?
Actually, the years just before the American Revolution can give us a good starting point. The honest student of history finds in those years an evidence of a powerful move of God. That is what birthed America. This is all that can change her now. It is to that way of thinking we must return if America is to restore the liberty to get the Gospel to the next generation. A study of the man who spearheaded that revival is a good place to start toward reformation.
His name was George Whitefield. He was an Englishmen who had grown up with no Christian background. His parents ran a tavern; and from the shady characters that came there he learned how to think. He testified that as a boy he was a
“…liar, thief, and a gambler, addicted to filthy talk…and fantasy. He had a love for novels, [and] plays…”
(Biblical Revival and the Transformation of Nations, S. McDowell, Providence Foundation, 2013; p. 26-17)
His home was very unstable; his parents eventually divorced.
But in his later teenage years, he began to be very serious about his relationship to God. He read a book entitled The Life of God in the Soul of a Man. It showed him he must be born again or spend eternity in hell. The common thought of the day was that if you were a member of the church you were okay and would go to heaven when you die. Much like today, people were greatly deceived as to what a relationship with God really was. From the conviction which came from reading this book, God would eventually bring him to bow his will and surrender his life to Christ. He described the joy that came as being,
“…full and big with glory…when the weight of sin came off, and the pardoning of the love of God and a full assurance of faith broke in on my…soul!”
When Revival and Reformation occur in a life it always starts with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, brought about by repentance and surrender to Him.
He then began to affect his family and local community in England. Three hundred people, including his mother and many family members gathered to hear the changed young man preach. The pastor complained that Whitefield “drove them mad” with his convicting message (which probably tells us this pastor did not know God).
Whitefield would come to America in the 1730s and set it ablaze with the Gospel of Christ. His preaching was,
“…like a lion. His sermons were life and fire.”
He condemned the weak preaching of his day, declaring in Boston that the churches were dead because,
“…they had dead men preaching to them.”
In that city alone, at least 20 ministers testified that Whitefield was responsible for their conversion to Christ as Lord! This is what Reformation would look like in America! Liberal preachers would begin to turn to Christ as Lord and be born again. They would stir their congregations to repent and surrender to Christ as their Lord. This revival in the church would change the nation.
Ben Franklin reported that Whitefield’s preaching changed Americans. That,
“…from being…indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world was growing religious, so one could not walk through the town…without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.”
This is what revival and reformation would look like in our communities. Churches would come alive with joy and boldness to speak the Bible message in all areas of life, including the education system and the government. The Bible would reign as the standard for morality and marriage, business and lifestyle. Isn’t this worth earnestly praying and working for!!!
Think About It. Because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—
and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson, this has been Think About It.