Andy Stanley, Lloyd-Jones and Revival

Last week I had the privilege to attend the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, MD.  I always enjoy that time and it's a joy to hear the work God is doing among Southern Baptists.

Any time Baptists get together theres no shortage of controversy, and this time was no exception.  Many articles around made note of our resolution on transgender identity, or on books about the after life. And there was a little thing about a Muslim man being admitted to one of our seminaries.

Before the convention is the Pastor Conference, in which various pastors come and preach, exhort, and encourage.  The theme this year was "Show Us Your Glory",  a call to echo the prayer of Moses in Exodus 33, and to pray for revival.

I usually follow the conversation on Twitter, and Monday night it blew up over a tweet by Andy Stanley.

Andy Stanley, popluar pastor of Northpoint Church in GA, seemed to be suggesting that Southern Baptists should quit praying for revival, and just get out and do it.  Many joined in the conversation over the course of the evening, but this tweet I think sums up his feelings on the subject.

This type of thinking makes me very uncomfortable, that we need go get out and make it happen.  As Alvin Reid has helpfully pointed out,

If we simply use prayer for revival as an excuse for our unwillingness to obey God, we should not pray for revival, we should repent.

But where does the initiative lie in trusting in God to move, and on doing the work ourselves.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his message on the passage in Exodus 33 gives us some clarification.

I am calling you to pray for revival. Yes, but why should you pray for revival? Why should anybody pray for revival? And the answer that is first given here is this: a concern for the glory of God. You will find it at the end of verse 13: ‘Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; and consider that this nation is thy people.’ That is the motive. That is the reason. Moses was concerned primarily about the glory of God.
 Or do we know something of a concern for the name of God? Are we pained? Are we hurt? Are we grieved? Does it weigh heavily upon our hearts, and minds, and spirits, when we see the godlessness that surrounds us, and the name of God taken in vain? Do we know something of this zeal, this holy zeal?

Lloyd-Jones says the  reasons to pray for revival are three fold:  concern for God's glory, concern for the sake of the church that is the Bride of Christ, and for the sake of the lost outside of it.

Moses indeed prayed with boldness, for God to move in a way that the people of Israel knew, that the surrounding nations would know that He is God. So too must we pray for God to move in such a way that it leaves no doubt who He is.  Pray for God to move so mightily that it cannot be attributed to human wisdom, or to man's plans and schemes.  An act that can only be credited to God Himself.


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