Francis Schaeffer on Reformation and Revival

by monax

Francis Schaeffer excerpts based upon a lecture
given at Wheaton College (Illinois)
on September 30, 1968:

. .

The church in our generation needs reformation, revival, and constructive revolution.

At times men think of the two words, reformation and revival, as standing in contrast one to the other, but this is a mistake. Both words are related to the word restore.

Reformation refers to a restoration to pure doctrine; revival refers to a restoration in the Christian’s life. Reformation speaks of a return to the teachings of Scripture; revival speaks of a life brought into its proper relationship to the Holy Spirit.

The great moments of church history have come when these two restorations have simultaneously come into action so that the church has returned to pure doctrine and the lives of the Christians in the church have known the power of the Holy Spirit. There cannot be true revival unless there has been reformation; and reformation is not complete without revival.

Such a combination of reformation and revival would be revolutionary in our day—revolutionary in our individual lives as Christians, revolutionary not only in reference to the liberal church but constructively revolutionary in the evangelical, orthodox church as well.

May we be those who know the reality of both reformation and revival so that this poor dark world may have an exhibition of a portion of the church returned to both pure doctrine and Spirit-filled life.

(Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City [Inter-Varsity Press, 1969], 12)


‘[T]here was a period of history, biblical history, which greatly parallels our day. That is the day of Jeremiah. The book of Jeremiah and the book of Lamentations show how God looks at a culture which knew Him and deliberately turned away. But this is not just the character of Jeremiah’s day of apostasy. It’s my day. It’s your day. And if we are going to help our own generation, our perspective must be that of Jeremiah, that weeping prophet Rembrandt so magnificently pictured weeping over Jerusalem, yet in the midst of his tears speaking without mitigating his message of judgment to a people who had had so much yet turned away.’

‘In Lamentations 1:1 Jeremiah speaks of the city of Jerusalem: “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people!” Jerusalem, a city which used to be close to God, has been changed by the choice of significant men. They have turned away from Him when they knew Him, and now their city is under siege. There is death in the city.’

(Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City [Inter-Varsity Press, 1969], 16, 17-18)

. .

‘If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ (Psalm 11:3)

‘Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!’ (Lamentations 5:11)

. .

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