Are We On the Brink of Revival?

Years ago when I was a student involved in Cru at Texas A&M, a single photocopied sheet circulated among students allegedly originating from Dr. Bill Bright. As I recall the story, Dr. Bright had been studying John and Charles Wesley’s Holy Club that had formed on the campus of Oxford in 1729. The club composed a list of 22 self-reflective questions. They were replicated on many occasions throughout the course of history and in the 1980s they formed a foundation for our own personal self-reflection. Here’s that list of questions:

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

Eventually, the Wesleys formed a group that became known as the Methodists. They were not well respected in Britain at the time, but they did have a seriousness about their faith that seemed missing in the Church of England. Their dedication to personal holiness, improvement of people’s lives, their stance against slavery, and for education of the underserved among other issues were a catalyst for revival. However, as history shows, revival happened in particular environments where people had become disillusioned with what they viewed as a sort of dystopia. There was a loss of identity and growing counter-cultural movements. And there was definitely an anti-institutional sentiment as systems seemed to be failing the people.

All of this has recently caused me to wonder if we might be on the brink of another revival in the United States. I wonder, if we were to spend time as people in the household of God and reflect on those same questions that stirred the Wesleys, if we might also find ourselves stirred?

Rediscover the evangelical identity in When Evangelicals Sneeze: Curing the American Church from the Plague of Identity Loss

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