There have been times in the life of the Church, as there were in the life of our Lord, when things began to happen because of a new and sudden movement of the Spirit of God. After 30 years had passed Jesus suddenly began his public ministry, healing the sick and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. When the Spirit of God came upon him, he was abruptly thrust into the wilderness and onto the road that led to Calvary. And the abrupt “before” and “after” contrast that we see—the only one we see—in the lives of Jesus’ disciples occurred because of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, a coming which happened “suddenly” (Acts 2:1).

Similarly, there have been times of sudden outbursts of expansion and vitality, of reform and renewal in the history of the Church because the winds of the Spirit blew through the garden of God. The Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the upsurge of Revival in England and America and of Pietism in the arid rationalism of Germany, were emergents whose causation lay not in historical antecedents but in new and special stirrings of the Spirit. In such seasons of refreshing the Church recaptured the warmth and passion of her springtime and moved forward eagerly into her promised harvests. Indeed, for such times as these the Church has ever prayed: Come, Holy Spirit.

We seem to be living today in such a season of spiritual excitement. There are new and fresh energies of God bestirring the Church to new obedience to her calling and new awareness of fresh opportunities.

In all her long history there has not been a mission concern comparable to the modern concern to bring Christ to the nations. Not since Reformation times has there been anything comparable to the expansive Luther-Calvin research of recent ...

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