The Church in Revival
E. A. Johnston
Paperback, 182 pp, Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, ON. L3K 6A6, Canada. Price $12.99. ISBN 978-1-897117-82-8.
This is a well-written and well-presented book. It is good to note that scripture references are generally set out in full. There is emphasis given to the importance of the prayer meeting, the discipling of believers, giving to missionaries and humility, amongst other matters. This is commendable. However, the book falls short on a number of counts.
The front cover states ‘a field manual for pushing back the darkness in your community’. What is implied by ‘manual’ is not clear as the book is like most of its kind, though one chapter is entitled, ‘How to do . . . ’. But is this what a local church is called to do? Are crime reduction, the stability of the family in our society, part of a church’s mandate?
Some statements are not scripturally accurate. For instance, we read of ‘the Church in America’. There is some blurring of the distinction between God’s people and the nation, ‘We as a nation, as a Church, have grieved the heart of God’. What grieves the Lord in regard to the ungodly and the godly is quite different. This statement is also a generalization and this reviewer feels the writer uses too many, including some that are unwise, especially in chapter 2.
In the author’s consideration of revival he applies promises given to Israel to the ‘church’ today, in particular the promise found in 2 Chronicles chapter 7 verse 14, where the deduction drawn is that our nation can be healed. He also examines the reign of Josiah. The Passover is largely ignored and there is little if any application to a local church in terms of worship, the Lord’s Supper and obedience to God’s word. He also writes of following ‘the biblical pattern in church planting’ and gives practical advice, including, ‘How you perform the ordinances of baptism and communion should depend on your sending church’s practice’. Are we to assume that the biblical pattern and the practice of any particular church are the same?
This book left me with the feeling that it could have been more helpful.
[Our thanks to Bryan Charles, Appledore, North Devon, UK, for this review.]