It seems more popular in Christian circles to speak of, pray and hope for “revival.” We don’t often hear of people wanting reformation in the same way. But those who are born again already have “revival” in the most important sense — God has condescended to give us new hearts, breathed new life into us by the Holy Spirit, caused us to trust in Christ alone for salvation, and continued to strengthen us by His Spirit (John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:4-5, 3:16, Titus 3:4-7).

On “revival” in the sense of reformation, Steven Lawson writes, “(Revival) means a restoring back to fullness of life that which has become stagnant or dormant. It is a rekindling of spiritual life in individual believers and churches which have fallen into sluggish times.  True revival always returns God’s people to a fresh and vivid emphasis on the holiness and righteousness of God, His judgment on sin, true repentance, and the overflowing effect of personal conversions to Christ … Any period of revival has always been preceded by a dramatic return to the Word of God.” (Steven J. Lawson, Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalms 76-250. 2006).

Charles Spurgeon said, “Every generation needs regeneration.” We have revival. What we need, what we have and what God has promised is Reformation.


Further study

Roman Catholicism, Mormonism and the Biblical Gospel: A Comparative Analysis, Peter Benyola

Is the Reformation Over?, R.C. Sproul

The True Reformers, Burk Parsons

Semper Reformanda In Its Historical Context, Robert W. Godfrey

What Semper Reformanda Is And What It Isn’t, Carl R. Trueman

Always Abusing Semper Reformanda, R. Scott Clark

Ideally Speaking, David W. Hall

Always Changing?, Liam Goligher

The Continuing Influence of the Reformation: Our lives, our thoughts, our theology, J.W. Wartick

Resources on Revival,

Jonathan Edwards on Revival

church history, Reformation