The interview with Dr. Bill Bright in this issue raises the question whether a great spiritual awakening in North America or around the world seems likely. There has been no such awakening in this generation, nothing that can compare with those great eighteenth-century renewals, the Wesley revival in Britain and the Great Awakening in the American colonies. In fact, in North America the spiritual drift has been downward, not upward.
This does not mean that God has not been at work. Thousands of people have been converted, and many churches are spiritually alive and growing. Also, a growing chorus of Christians is calling for fasting and prayer, which are usually components of a revival.
But the conversion of many is only one aspect of the picture. The other has to do with decay and a deepening malaise that appears to be worldwide. Sociologists, economists, politicians, and writers constantly tell us that Western civilization is at an impasse. When so many voices, especially those outside the Church, sense the direction in which the Western world is moving, it would be the height of folly for Christian observers to bury their heads in the sand, assuring themselves and others that things are not so bad as they seem. Such facts of our life as high crime rates, sexual delinquency, pornography, ethical relativity, bribery, dictatorships, racism, and man’s increasing inhumanity to man tell an unhappy story.
Wherever great spiritual awakenings have occurred, they have been followed by vast changes in the social, economic and political realms. J. Wesley Bready (England: Before and After Wesley, published in 1938) and other authors have shown how the political, social and economic face of England was changed for the better because of ...1
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