Revival vs. Reformation

I was cleaning out my car and found a book (don't ask how it got there.) The Spirit of Revival is basically a revision of Jonathan Edwards classic work The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God with a preface by R. C. Sproul. In the preface he talks about the difference between a revival and a reformation. Revival describes a renewal of spiritual life, while reformation describes a renewal of the forms and structures of society and culture. He writes

"It is not possible to have true reformation without first having true revival. The renewal of spiritual life under the power of the Holy Spirit is a necessary condition for revival, but not a sufficient condition for it."

"...revival brings with it the conversion of souls to Christ, who are at the moment of conversion spiritual babes. Infants have little impact on the shaping of cultural institutions. It is when vast numbers of converted people approach maturity in their faith and sanctification that the structures of the world are seriously challenged and changed. "

I have thought and thought about this, and I am just not sure what to think. Revival, to me, is the act of re-viving something. This implies that something must have been "vived" in the first place. Maybe a revival is not sufficient for the world today. Perhaps what we need to also pray for is a reformation of the church today. It obviously needs a overhaul.


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