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Chapter 8 - Though The Vision Tarry, Wait For It

            “It is our earnest prayer that our beloved church may in these days experience a heaven sent revival and showers of blessings.  It is ‘Revival or Ruin.’”1  So said Evald J. Conrad on behalf of the whole Lutheran Inter-Synodical Evangelistic Committee in early 1940.  Their prayer echoed that same heart cry which had been brought out so prominently at the very first Inter-Synodical Evangelistic Conference in January 1937: the prayer that God might once again move powerfully within His church, arousing the unsaved out of their spiritual blindness and pouring new life and fervor into those who were called by His name.  “May God . . . stir our hearts and challenge us to pray without ceasing,” continued Conrad.  What was to be that prayer?  “’Revive Thy work in the midst of the years’ (Habakkuk 3:2), and may that revival begin in me.”2  It was the firm belief of the Committee that once God had rejuvenated Christians, the awakening and conversion of the unsaved would occur spontaneously through the witness of a revived church.

 

            On the one hand, perhaps it seems strange that a group of Christian leaders who had already seen God work in such mighty ways would still be seeking for something greater.  But on the other hand, it is logical that these men would have only joined forces in order to work towards something greater than they were currently seeing within the church or than they could accomplish within their own individual ministries.  They had come together with a specific goal in mind: revival within the 20th Century Lutheran church.  Of course they realized that this goal for which God had given them the vision was only one part of His bigger picture: a 20th Century revival within the entire church regardless of denomination.  But the Evangelistic Committee was happy to work where God had put them.  The things which God had given them to do were chiefly three: to evangelize the lost, to stir up others to do likewise, and to proclaim a deeper life message to believers.  These were merely the tools, the spiritual gifts, which God had given them towards the attainment of the goal.  When multitudes of unbelievers would respond to the gospel call, when leaders throughout the whole church would give priority to evangelism, and when Christians everywhere would submit to the Spirit’s deeper work in their lives, that would truly be revival.  Where was the Committee to utilize the tools which God had given them?  In the very place where revival was needed so badly: the existing Lutheran church.  “God has called us to be a blessing in the midst of our church,” declared Conrad.  “We are not to be a separatist or a ‘come-out’ movement . . . The call is to receive a blessing and to be a blessing in the midst of the church.”3  Therefore, the Committee resolved early “to always present the truth positively . . . [to] never negatively antagonize the church,”4 and “to guard against any tendency to separate or draw away from the church.”5  They believed that God wanted them to stay within the existing church so that He might send revival to it through them.  So strongly did they feel about this that they even declared at one Committee meeting, “[We believe] it is sin for a Christian to withdraw from a dead church, just as much as it would be for a missionary to leave a foreign field.”6  The members of the Evangelistic Committee saw themselves as revival missionaries within the Lutheran church in the homeland, but they knew that revival must first take hold in their own hearts before it could spread to others.

 

            At the first evening service of the January 1940 Midwinter Evangelistic Conference, the Holy Spirit was present in power as Rev. G.W. Busse preached a revival sermon so memorably stirring that the Evangelistic Committee later printed and distributed 3,000 copies of it.7  The following condensed version of his sermon, “God’s Plan for a Revival,”8 communicates more clearly and effectively than any other writing the Committee’s earliest beliefs about the necessity and nature of the revival for which they were waiting on God.

 

Introduction

            “If we look into the world . . . into our country . . . into our city . . . into our church, there is just one paramount need; and if we will look into our own hearts, we will find just one paramount need . . . a Holy Ghost wrought awakening; and for every soul that has been awakened, there is just one paramount need - a revival!”

            “We know this, that God is waiting; God is just aching to pour out upon this city, upon our churches, into our hearts - a Holy Ghost wrought awakening or revival.  It just depends on whether we are willing to say ‘Yes’ to God.  God is willing and God is able.  Will you listen to God?  We have here His own plan for a revival:

            “’If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land’ (II Chronicles 7:14).”

            “Oh, my dear friend, God isn’t talking about the ungodly; it is you He is talking about, you who have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb . . . you who are a child of God!”  “God gives us [herein] four steps in His plan for a revival.”

 

1.         “’If my people . . . shall humble themselves!’”

            “Have you the courage to ask God to give you a broken heart; to break your hard heart?  Dare you pray, ‘O God, give me a broken heart; break it until You can fill it with a love for souls; break us until you can get us to the place where you can trust us with a revival’?”

            “The real example of humility is the Lord Jesus Himself!”

            “Until God has humbled and emptied us so that we are willing for His sake to let people spit in our face . . . smite us . . . wipe their shoes on us; then, and only then, will we possibly know what Jesus’ humility means.  How many of you that are here tonight are willing to let your standing in your church, your family, anything go to smithereens so God can bring about a revival?  ‘If my people shall humble themselves’ . . . then, we shall see revival!”

 

2.         “’If my people . . . shall . . . pray.’  We haven’t begun to harness and capitalize on the power God has promised to those who will lay hold on His promises in Jesus’ name.  And until we begin to pray and call upon God and know that it is God only, through the power of His Spirit who can stir souls and make us trustworthy, can God give us a revival.  Are we looking for a revival?  Praying for a revival?  Do we really want one?”

            “When we [at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church] asked God for a revival, he gave it, but it came differently from what we expected.  If I had known then what God would send to me along with the revival, I would have trembled, but praise God, it was worth it!  When you are willing to pay the price of revival, you will get it!”

            “Jesus promises: ‘How much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?’”

 

3.         “’If my people . . . shall . . . seek my face.’”

            “According to Scripture there is just one way to seek the Father’s face; just one way to approach God, and that is through the shed-blood of Jesus who is the Lamb of God that died on Calvary’s cross; whenever we seek God’s face in any other way, we can be sure God’s face is turned away.”

            “Cain tried to seek God’s face in his own way.  He was rejected.  You remember also the Pharisee . . . [who] tried to seek God’s face in his own way, but Jesus said the Publican went home justified rather than the Pharisee.  And the Publican‘s only cry . . . was, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’  God’s mercy in Christ; that was his one hope . . . .”

            “How are you seeking God’s face?  What are you thinking about?  You know there is such a thing as trusting in your experience instead of resting in grace that is new every morning.”  “But once and for all, the only way to approach God is the way God has given us and that is Christ crucified!”

 

4.         “‘If my people . . . shall . . . turn from their wicked ways.’”

“I wonder who God is talking to tonight!  Have any of you . . . a real wicked way in your heart?  Can you honestly - are you willing - to pray David’s prayer, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me’?  Oh, there are so many wicked ways that the flesh can concoct, that the devil can place before us; but the Bible says there is only one true way, and that is Christ.”

            “God is here tonight to turn you from your wicked ways, but it may mean that some of you will have to go back . . . and make confession and get right . . . .  It may cost you something.”

            “God . . . will give you grace to go and make right, if you will look to Him for courage and strength.”

 

Conclusion:

            “’If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways,’ - then the door swings - ‘I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’

            “Oh, doesn’t it thrill your hearts to know that God is looking upon His people and is listening to their cry, and says, ‘I will forgive their sins’?  Every one of God’s promises can be fulfilled; will you be turned so that God can forgive?”

            “Holy Spirit for Jesus’ sake, humble us . . . Teach us to pray . . . Grant us grace always to seek the Father’s face through the Blood of the Lamb that cleanses from all sin.  Turn us, O God, from every wicked way even tonight.  Hear from heaven, Father, forgive our sins, heal our souls, our church, and our land.  Amen.”

 

            One of the most visible proofs of the Evangelistic Committee’s commitment to seeking revival was their welcoming into their membership in January of 1941 one who was neither an evangelist nor an ordained pastor but who was definitely a child of revival.9  When Paul J. Lindell joined the Committee, he was just 25 years old and only eight years removed from the defining experience of his life when God had touched him so tremendously through one of the greatest revivals of the 20th Century, the Chinese Awakening.  Paul was born in 1915 and raised in China where his godly parents were missionaries under the Augustana Lutheran Church.10  When Paul and his two younger brothers were boys, their parents sent them away to the American school at another mission station where the parents would then join the boys during vacation times.  After such a vacation during the summer when Paul was fourteen, the Lindells and other missionaries hesitated to return to their mission posts due to the dangerous growing political discontent.  At last it was decided that only the men and single women should go back.  But before Pastor Lindell left his family, he quietly told his wife that the Lord had revealed to him that he would never see them again.  He would return to his post to die, but she must faithfully continue to raise and support their sons because God had also revealed to him that all three would become missionaries and that Paul in particular would have a special position of leadership.  Shortly after going back to his mission post, Pastor Lindell contracted typhus and died.  And Mrs. Lindell then took a full-time position at the mission school where she could be near her boys. 

 

            Before Pastor Lindell died, one of the greatest burdens on his heart had been for revival to come to China, and for that he had prayed fervently.  He was not alone in this prayers because God had laid the same thing on the hearts of many other missionaries as well.  As early as 1927, the earnestly-sought-for awakening and revival had begun to break out in different parts of China, but it did not arrive at the Lindells’ station until several years after Pastor Lindell had died.  It was during Christmas vacation of 1932 that Paul and his brother Jonathan traveled from the mission school to visit their old home church, and they were amazed by what they saw.  Every day from early morning until late at night, the church was filled with people although the building was unheated and there was no planned program.  The people had gathered under great conviction of sin and agony of soul, searching their Bibles and seeking to experience cleansing from sin and peace with God.  Many lives had already been transformed and had found true peace and joy.  To Paul’s astonishment, even the missionaries whom he had known all his life seemed to have been completely changed.  Paul was deeply moved and decided that if he were to ever become a missionary he would like to be this new kind.  And that is exactly what God was about to make him.

 

            By the time Paul got back to the mission school, he too had begun to be convicted of his sin by the Holy Spirit.  As the days passed, his conviction grew until it was so overwhelming that he felt sick.  He prayed and looked for a solution but nothing worked.  Eventually he gave up trying and went into despair; he figured he ought to quit school and he didn’t even want to live anymore.  Finally, on a Saturday afternoon after three weeks of misery, Paul wrote out on two sides of a sheet of paper all of the sins of which God had convicted him; and he went to visit his school principal, Pastor Palmer Anderson.  “Pastor Anderson,” he said, “I don’t know how to say this, but I’m just wicked.”  “Why do you say that?” asked the pastor.  “Because of this; here are my sins,” and Paul handed him the paper.  Pastor Anderson sat there and read through the entire list, and when he finished he had tears on his face.  “You know, Paul,” he said, “I’ve got some sins too.”  “But what do we do about them?” asked Paul.  “We have to get them forgiven,” said the pastor.  Together the two of them knelt beside a big wicker chair as the pastor opened his Bible to I John 1:9.  “Paul, God says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’  Now, there are two parts to that verse.  The first part is what you do: confess your sins; and the second part is what God will do then: cleanse you and forgive you.  You’ve done the first part, haven’t you?  Have you confessed all of your sins?”  “Well, I don’t suppose so,” said Paul, “but I can’t think of any more.  This is all that I see for now.”  “Good; that’s good.  If there are more, the Holy Spirit will tell you about them too.  Now then, read the second half of the verse.”  So Paul read it: “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  “Do you see that?” asked Pastor Anderson eagerly.  “No.  No, I can’t see it.  I can’t make any sense out of it.  All I’m seeing are my big sins,” replied the troubled youth.  At the principal’s request, Paul read the verse over and over and over but still he saw nothing except his sins.  “All right, let’s wait a little,” said the pastor; and he prayed, “Dear God, will You help Paul to hear what you’re saying.”  After a while he said, “Now read it again.”  So Paul read it once more and it was as if light fell from heaven into his heart.  Suddenly, he saw it!  Yes, God had forgiven his sins for Jesus sake.  “They’re gone!” he exclaimed.  “Yes,” said Pastor Anderson as he put his hands of top of Paul‘s head, “They’re gone.  God has for Jesus’ sake forgiven all your sins and cleansed them away.”  In an instant, Paul’s burden was lifted and replaced by peace with God.  It was for him the start of a whole new way of life - a life of daily repentance toward God and faith in His promises and in His grace.  He began testifying to the other students of what God had done for him.  Before long, intense conviction of sin swept the whole school and regular classes had to be cancelled while the staff gave their full attention to helping eighty or so students find peace with God. 

 

            This experience never left Paul Lindell’s memory but was always as vivid to him as the day that it happened.  Signs of revival were still abundant all around the Chinese countryside when Paul left for the United States later that year to attend Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.  However, he soon became disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm for the Lord among many of his fellow Gustavus students, and he sorely missed the atmosphere of revival he had known in China.  Then one Sunday he tuned his radio to “The Little Homelike Church” and listened to Pastor Evald J. Conrad preaching.  Excitedly, he recognized in Conrad the same revival spirit which he had experienced in China.  With $300 from his aunt, Paul bought a used car and began driving the 70 miles to Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis every weekend, usually taking several other students with him.  A life-long friendship with Pastor Conrad began and blossomed.  For his senior year, Paul transferred to the University of Minnesota; and Pastor and Mrs. Conrad invited him and his brother Jonathan to stay at their home in an upstairs bedroom.

 

            In the fall of 1937, Paul began seminary at Augsburg in Minneapolis.  The next year he transferred to Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois.  His plan was to return to China as a missionary, but first he must complete seminary and be ordained like the Augustana Synod required.  Just before he began at Rock Island, however, Paul heard a missionary speaker whom God used to make him rethink the exact direction of his life.  Over the next year at seminary, one thought grew increasingly distinct.  It was frighteningly unconventional, but a day of private prayer and Bible study convinced Paul that it was indeed God‘s will for him: he was never to become ordained but was instead to work in missions as a layman, and that might very well mean not being able to serve through a synod.  For the required pastoral internship during his third year of seminary, Paul chose Rev. Clarence O. Granlund’s church in Minneapolis.  Being the LBI teacher whose lecture had originally sparked what became the World Mission Prayer League, Rev. Granlund soon connected Paul with that group.  Paul thrived amid the fellowship he found there, and he never returned to seminary.  After the Augustana Synod made it clear that they would not sponsor unordained missionaries even if they were self-supporting, Paul and his brother Jonathan applied to the World Mission Prayer League to be their sending agency and they were accepted.  Paul felt called to the border of Tibet; but before he could go, God unexpectedly redirected the course of his life once more.

 

            The World Mission Prayer League home committee had for some time been considering starting what they called a “Prayer House,” a home where young missionary candidates could be trained in doctrine and lifestyle before going to the foreign field.  They had been given a building for this purpose, and now they asked Paul Lindell if he would be willing to direct the endeavor for one year before he left for Tibet.  After discussing it with his fiancée, missionary daughter Margaret Sovik, Paul accepted the job.  He and Margaret were married and moved into the old Minneapolis building which was converted into a house.  A number of young prospective missionaries soon joined them and together they lived in the style of a community fellowship, sharing everything from household chores to food and money.  Because studying full-time for missions left no time for outside jobs, learning to live by daily faith in the Lord’s provision became one important part of the young people’s training.  Every day Paul led the family in extensive times of Bible study and prayer, testimonies and singing, sharing and discussion.  Often they read and discussed Christian books and biographies together, and sometimes Paul assigned certain books to individuals to read on their own.  He took every opportunity to teach and expound the Christian life, and his gift for storytelling often held his listeners spellbound.  Paul began to feel that his life’s calling from God might be simply to stir up the hearts of other young people towards missions and the victorious Christian life.  The missionary candidates responded eagerly to his leadership, and before long the same revival spirit that Paul had known in China had sprung up in the Prayer House.  There was a tremendous hunger for the Word of God, a great desire to experience His sanctifying power over sin, a confident faith in His daily provision, and a humble willingness to surrender fully to His will.  The revival began to spread.  Open-house suppers and services on Saturday evenings began drawing others to the Prayer House, especially students from the Lutheran Bible Institute and from Augsburg College.  Within a few months the Prayer House chapel was regularly crowded with young people joyfully singing and eagerly testifying to God’s work in their own hearts.  Many young lives were fully surrendered to Christ and dynamically changed especially through the stirring messages given by Paul Lindell. 

 

            It was during the beginnings of this Prayer House movement that the Lutheran Inter-Synodical Evangelistic Committee agreed unanimously to ask Paul Lindell to join their membership.  He was young, but he embodied that spirit of revival which they longed to see throughout the whole church.  That was in January of 1941.  The rest of the year was to bring significant changes for Lindell.  That fall, when one of the Lutheran synods raised an outcry against the Prayer House for promoting a Christianity so zealous and unconventional as to border on being dangerous, the World Mission Prayer League severed ties with Lindell and the Prayer House.  Feeling that he could not desert his students now, Paul abandoned his plans for the mission field and stayed with the Prayer House group, ultimately organizing it into the Lutheran World Crusade.  Not until four years later did the Crusade and the Prayer League peacefully reunite.

 

            The latter part of 1941 brought significant changes not only to Lindell but also to the whole United States - changes which gave the Evangelistic Committee its first visible proof of a coming revival.  On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and thus drew the U.S. into World War II.  Two weeks later, President Roosevelt declared Thursday, January 1, 1942, a national day of prayer, only the twelfth one ever.  His proclamation read in part,

            “I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint the first day of the year 1942 as a day of prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, of asking God’s help in days to come.

            “We need His guidance that this people may be humble in spirit but strong in the conviction of the right, steadfast to endure sacrifices, and brave to achieve a victory of liberty and peace.”11 

The President’s proclamation was not prompted merely by the U.S. entry into the war.  Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, many church bodies had requested the President to declare a day of penitence and prayer.12  In addition to this, the Great Commission Prayer League had organized the sending of about 1,000 telegrams to the President, to his cabinet members, to all members of Congress, and to every state governor, urging that a day of prayer be called; and the World-Wide Revival Movement had mailed out countless postcards to the same effect.13  Across the country, tens of thousands flocked to their churches for special New Year’s Day prayer services.  Among Lutherans, for example, the President of the Augustana Synod had written to every pastor, “I take for granted that every congregation will, in accordance with the President’s request, have a special service of prayer, in humility and penitence, praying for its own membership, for our nation and for the whole world;”14 and the editor of the Norwegian Lutheran Church’s synodical magazine reported that in his home congregation there had been “hundreds of worshippers present” who had joined together in sincere and fervent prayer.15

 

            Apparently, the National Day of Prayer created quite an atmosphere of Christian fervor throughout Minneapolis churches.  On the following day, the Evangelistic Committee met; and after a lengthy discussion of the vision which God had given them for the church, they resolved, “In view of the fact that we have an assurance that God has sent revival into our midst, it [is] agreed that contact should be made with revival centers in the United States.”16  They listed four such organizations which they would “tell of [the] revival in Minneapolis” and “God’s moving in our midst” and ask “to covenant in prayer” with them.  The Committee was more certain than ever that God was preparing to move mightily, and they knew that the National Day of Prayer had only been a foretaste of that coming revival.

 

Two weeks later during the Midwinter Evangelistic Conference, the Committee met again.17  As they considered the progression of the Conference and their overall longing for revival in the Lutheran church, they began to sense very strongly the need to wait patiently and expectantly on God.  The verse which God laid on their hearts to confirm this was Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV): “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”  Indeed, the Committee had received from God the vision of a coming revival within the church; but as they looked forward to that revival, they began to recognize that first their own “need of power in spiritual work” must be met.  How might they obtain that power?  Two things stuck out to the Committee that day.  First of all, they must wait upon God alone to endue them with His power.  Second, they must exercise great faith in the regular routine of the calling which God had already given them, “thus enlarging,” they stated, “the capacity of [our] faith until such time as God can trust us with the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel.”  The prophecy to which they were referring was, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” and “whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered.” (Joel 2:28a,32a KJV)

 

            For many months, the Evangelistic Committee waited on God in that spirit of patient expectance and faith.  As World War II continued and the months turned into years, they began to feel that God’s appointed time to stir the church was drawing near.  Believing that the times were critical and that the immediate future would be either “revival or ruin” for the church, the Committee chose as the theme for the 1944 Midwinter Evangelistic Conference, “For Such A Time As This.”18  The topics and messages which they planned revealed a group of leaders actively preparing to be part of a mighty work of God.  Some of the titles were:

How to Meet Times Like These,

God’s Man for Such a Time as This,

God’s Church for Such a Time as This,

God’s Provision for Such a Time as This,

Men of God Who Have Met Times of Crisis in the Past,

The Revival in the Latter Days,

The World-Wide Preaching of the Gospel,

and The Privilege Involved in Having a Part in God’s Purpose.19

After the conference, the Committee spent a morning praising God for the blessings received.  But they also continued to recognize the necessity of ongoing revival in their own hearts.  In their words,

“Our fellowship then turned to our own individual needs and [to] the work that God is doing in our individual lives.  We ended the morning . . . with the laying on of hands and prayer for each present for the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit for the task to which God has called each.  It was a time of real melting together and we sensed in a new way our unity together and the call of God to us as a Committee.”20

 

            Over the next year, that call from God became even clearer to the Committee.  It seemed to them, as World War II entered what proved to be its final months, that revival was more imminent than ever.  For their January 1945 Midwinter Evangelistic Conference, they decided that the “program should be along the line of revival and awakening”21 and ultimately chose the theme, “Awake to Righteousness.”  Among the significant messages delivered at this four-day conference were the two following series:22

The Revival We Need                         Revivals in the Bible

1. Awakening                                      1. Under Josiah in II Kings 22-23

2. Repentance                                     2. Under John the Baptist

3. Assurance                                        3. Under Samuel in I Samuel 7

4. Consecration                                   4. At Pentecost in Acts 2

Afternoon sessions on “How to Permit a Revival” included two hours with Rev. Armin Gesswein sharing his experiences from the recent revival in Norway and the lessons learned from that movement.23  Rev. Gesswein also brought the evening messages, during the last of which he outlined from Acts the six outstanding characteristics of the dynamic New Testament church:24

1. A praying church

2. A pure and holy church

3. A powerful church filled with the Spirit

4. A church which loved and lived God’s Word

5. An evangelistic church

6. A missionary church

Having made reference to “the revival we are looking for,“ Rev. Gesswein concluded his message and the conference with these words: “Let us consecrate ourselves anew to our risen Lord and Saviour, that He may give to us the power of His Holy Spirit for a weary warring world that is lost in sin and needs more than ever the Saviour which is Christ the Lord!”

 

            But the most significant statement as to the revival for which the Evangelistic Committee was waiting expectantly upon God had come earlier that morning from Paul Lindell as he spoke on “The Revival We Need - Consecration.”25  In definition of that revival, Lindell had explained,

“Since the very nature of sin is insubordination to the rule of God and the disposition to ‘have my own way,’ then it is clear that the purpose of Christ’s coming was to restore once again God’s dominion in the hearts of men.”  “Nothing less than to know the reality of this is the revival we need - a revival which will set us free by making us the glad bond-slaves of our Lord Christ; a revival that will put to death the great usurper, ‘Me, I, My, Mine,’ and give to the Spirit of Christ the right to reign over us, the chance to fill us with His rich gifts, the freedom to use us as He pleases; a revival that will pour out upon God’s people such a tidal wave of love, power, self-sacrifice and faith as shall sweep before it the barriers of selfishness, stagnancy, narrow conservatism and dead tradition which have bound us for so long, and shall release torrents of ‘living water’ through every Christian life-channel into the remotest corners of the earth.”

And then, almost prophetically, Lindell had concluded,

“Again and again the Holy Spirit has brought forth revival and spiritual life movements within the church . . . .”  “Has the time come when we can look for another similar movement in our own ranks?  Is it true that we face the alternatives of ‘revival or ruin,’ or is that simply the prattle of unbalanced fanatics?  There are many of us who believe that conditions within and without the church are such today that only a mighty, deep-working revival will preserve us from rot and ruin.  If we do not have ‘seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,’ we shall have visitations of judgment.  For this reason we have rejoiced greatly to see in the rise of such revival efforts as the Lutheran Evangelistic Movement the promise of coming revival.  And as we have sought to ‘first give ourselves to the Lord,’ we have not had to wait long to see that ‘through the will of God’ we must give ourselves also to this movement of His Spirit.  And this we gladly do with the earnest prayer that Christ’s dominion may be fully established among us and that His light may shine through us to the ends of the earth.”

 

            If the history of the Lutheran Inter-Synodical Evangelistic Committee and the Lutheran Evangelistic Movement had ceased at this point in early 1945, the blessings already received from God would have totaled up to be tremendous.  But the Evangelistic Committee was convinced that their major purpose had not yet been fulfilled; that the best was yet to come; and that, comparatively speaking, the first eight years of their existence had been merely preparatory for the coming revival for which they were expectantly waiting upon God.  And the years ahead would prove that they were certainly not mistaken in this belief.


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