What’s going on in Cwmbran, South Wales?
Some of you, particularly Christians may have heard there’s some interesting stuff going down in Wales, Cwmbran, near Newport. Some people are labelling it the 2013 Welsh Revival. Those closer to the events are simply calling in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It’s not a place I would have chosen to whiz across the country to go and see, yet I had the opportunity of a few days off so my wife encouraged me to go.
Yes, I saw people healed through the anointing of Nathan Morris. of various conditions. And yes, I saw people come to Christ for the first time. Does this make for a revival? It makes for a very exciting thing to witness for sure, but from learning from the writings of CH Spurgeon in 1866, this isn’t what revival is about.
Basically, you can’t revive something that wasn’t already alive. Someone who hasn’t been alive, can’t be revived. People who have come to Christ for the first time, aren’t being revived – they are being brought to Christ for the first time, been given life for the first time. So those who are being revived in this outpouring are those who are already followers of Christ.
Sadly, many Christians are limping along in their faith, barely spiritually alive however busy they are ‘doing Church’. When I turned up in Cwmbran, South Wales at Victory Church, I dare say I was one of those limping Christians who needed revival. Being curious, I walked along the queue (mainly to find the end which was half way round the church) and talked to people why they were there. The general feeling I got was there were many sightseers wanting to be witness to the outpouring. Yet underneath these words, I sensed most people were really there because they too were limping along in their faith and needed spiritual defibrillating. And that is what I saw on the Monday night in June – a re-ignition of faith delivered by people who were walking by faith, being led by the Spirit.
Many of the guys leading and serving at Victory Church were the kind of guys you might think about avoiding on the street. These were testosterone filled, working out, out of prison tattooed kind of men that sadly, is often lacking in our ever so comfortable middle class lovey-dovey churches. Guys with balls, each with an authentic relationship with Jesus, equipped with the Word and the Spirit, walking in faith, is a powerful thing to witness.
You see, when you’ve been stripped of everything, banged up in prison, labelled a drug addict, violent criminal, it’s easier in some ways to walk in faith because you’ve had all the worldly things around you taken away. Furthermore, it’s all too easy to have one’s faith pacified by an addiction to worldly, often ‘churchy’ things, by doing things in a worldly way, being ‘nice’, not rocking the boat, etc.
Here’s an example. In the B&B I met Tracey Elliot-Reep who rode 3000 miles from Mexico to Canada by faith. That’s what she does (google to find out more). She will take two horses, few provisions, and ride by faith, sharing the Gospel as she goes. Despite the real challenge of doing this, she shared that one of her biggest challenges is at home to remain faithful in a barrage of Christian’s advising her to be ‘sensible’ and bombarding her with the doubtful ‘what ifs?’ of worldly living. For her, the events at Victory Church were a personal revival, a re-igniting of the passion to live a spirit-led, faithful, authentic Christian walk, particularly when back to ‘normal’ living.
But this spiritual ‘pick me up’ is not revival either. It is only revival when it leads to repentance, to turning away from what is of this world and walk in faith filled with the Spirit. That is why so many revivals fizzle out. When the affects of that pick me up hit normal life, are brought back home, all too often the passion, power and authenticity are dampened down by the fire extinguishers of dysfunctional worldly communities, including the local church community.
Here’s a hypothetical suggestion. Transplant the spirit (and testosterone) filled, misfits of Victory Church into every single local church across the UK and let them loose. Boy would you see an explosion of real revival across the nation. As it is, the stuff in Cwmbran will come to an end, life may return to normal for most, and the ‘2013 revival’ in Wales will be consigned to one of those things Christians like to read about.
Lastly, revival starts with you. After the spiritual defibrillation however and wherever you receive it, can you turn away from worldly ways, equip yourself with the Word, power yourself with the Holy Spirit, and get on with being the misfit God calls you to be?
Misfit of Trowse, Norfolk.