Evel Overcome With Good
At historic moments when God seems to be moving mountains, the emotional and physical strain of a revival can be exhausting, said Edith Blumhofer, director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, noting the reaction of missionaries in Korea at the start of the 20th century.
"After it was over, the people said they never wanted to go through a revival again," she said. "It was so agonizing, there was such depth, such conviction for sin, and the things people felt they needed to confess publicly was so difficult."
Blumhofer said that though revivals sometimes are considered evangelistic tools, their real rolewhether planned or spontaneousis to reinvigorate church regulars. "It is a deepening conviction of one's sinfulness, one's need of grace, one's need of God that transformsand then evangelism flows from that."
A Reformed Church in America congregation with no walls and 10,000 windows, Crystal Cathedral was founded in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller. Shaped like a star with its points aimed north, south, east, and west, the church reaches people in more than 100 countries via the Hour of Power, the largest component of Crystal Cathedral Ministries. The video from the Palm Sunday service will be broadcast on April 22.
The ministry, though, has been struggling recently. A week before Christmas 2004, the congregation's longtime orchestra conductor killed himself in a church bathroom. And last year, revenues for Hour of Power, which has a $40 million operating budget, were $3 million short, Schuller said. But he said he and his leaders hadn't been praying for a revival. They simply had been prayingfor the congregation and the community, for tragedies and triumphs. Now Schuller is trying to discern God's response.
"It may be too early to call it a revival," Schuller said. "But it was clearly a moving of the Holy Spirit, and everybody has been talking about it. Our congregation and church keeps saying, 'Okay, where do we go from here?' I'm not exactly sure. But I think the Holy Spirit will assist me in the doing the right thing."
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The Crystal Cathedral website now has a transcript of the event.