A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
Firestorm of the Lord
It could be observed 'Not a another book on revival!'. Yet while revival tarries any stimulus to take the possibility seriously must be welcome. This book sets out the author's concern straightaway: 'I am more interested in removing prejudices against the ardent pursuit of revival than in addressing the excesses of those engaged in the pursuit. 1 would like to see a lot more fire before crying out for water'; and 'My aim is to address the deepest objections found among church leaders today'. A very commendable aim, but it remains to be seen whether he has made any progress in achieving it.
In the Introduction he clearly sets out his grasp of the fundamentals of genuine revival. 'Thus Jesus, not the Holy Spirit, will be the hero and focus of attention in every genuine revival. That is one reason why I have called this book Firestorm of the Lord rather than Firestorm of the Spirit. He identifies many of the pertinent points that are more fully explained in subsequent chapters of the book. Notably he makes the point (so often ignored or forgotten) that 'revival is concerned with the moral reform of the wider community as much as with the spiritual refreshment of the individual'. 1ime and again he underlines this vital matter and stresses that 'every genuine Spirit-sent revival will be a revival of Christlikeness'.
One very challenging aspect is the relationship, in the author's opinion, between revival and disaster. He says 'The critical importance of revival to the church and nation follows from any conclusion that communities will be visited either with revival or disaster'.
He draws primarily on the experience and teaching of Jonathan Edwards and addresses issues in his attempt to fulfil his aim. Many of these arguments deserve careful and prayerful thought, not least as some of the points may not immediately be accepted. On occasions it appears unclear how the argument is to be sustained and so it is especially helpful to have at the end of each chapter a summary or conclusion of the salient points 11ade. Naturally some space is given to defining revival (but why is it so necessary? The devil uses confusion tactics to thwart the work of the Kingdom), and biblical principles are set Jut first before dealing with such matters as revivalism, the charismatic movement and revival in Anglican and Catholic churches.
Much evidence is drawn from revival in the Southern hemisphere with occasional reports from nearer home. On the face of it the author appears to be unaware of the significance of the events of 31st December 1738/1st January 1739 which may have assisted when commenting on the Wesleys. Very helpful chapters on Preaching for, Praying for, Paying for and Planning for Revival come towards the end of the book, together with a good index of bibliography, authors, subjects and scriptures. A book to be warmly commended -but how will the opponents be persuaded to read it?