American Council of Christian Churches
82nd Annual Convention, October 24-26, 2023
Faith Baptist Church, Kittery, ME
Resolution on True Revival
Revive means to live again. Jesus used the term in His parable about the prodigal son (Luke 15). When the sinful prodigal returned to the outstretched arms of his offended father, the patriarch rejoiced: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (v. 24). To be separated from our heavenly Father is spiritual death. To be reunited with Him is revival, to live again. True revival looks like a refreshing dew quenching a parched land (Ps. 133:3) and like the miraculous breath of life blowing into a valley of dry bones with resurrection results (Ezek. 37:1-14). When God sends revival, the Word of God multiplies (Acts 12:24), disciples multiply (Acts 6:1, 7), and churches multiply (Acts 9:31).
God sent revival to New England during the Great Awakening of the mid-eighteenth century. In 1734-1735, Jonathan Edwards preached a series of messages on justification by faith alone, which ignited a revival in his church in Northampton, MA. Six years later, another revival brought spiritual life to New England, and Edwards traveled to Yale College to explain and defend this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a commencement address entitled, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, Applied to that Uncommon Operation that Has Lately Appeared on the Minds of the People of New England: with a Particular Consideration of the Extraordinary Circumstances with which This Work Is Attended.
In the preface to the published edition of this address, Rev. William Cooper commended Edwards as “‘a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven’; the place where he has been called to exercise his ministry has been famous for experimental religion; and he has had opportunities to observe this work in many places where it has powerfully appeared, and to converse with numbers that have been the subjects of it. These things qualify him for this undertaking above most.”
In the ensuing address, Edwards taught his audience that the distinguishing marks of true revival include (1) the raising of people’s esteem for Jesus Christ, (2) the diminishing of Satan’s hold on the lives of people, (3) a love for and trust in the Holy Scriptures, (4) a love of truth and rejection of error, and (5) a love for God and the brethren (1 John 4:1-8).
Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches at its 82nd annual convention, October 24-26, 2023, at Faith Baptist Church of Kittery, Maine, resolves to teach that true revival is a work of the Holy Spirit by which He causes dead and dying souls to live again spiritually, expressing the Father’s love for sinners and His joy in their salvation, blowing powerfully like wind and descending refreshingly like rain, multiplying the Word of God, disciples of Christ, and local churches, and marking these multiplied disciples and churches with the exaltation of Jesus Christ, lastingly changed lives, hunger for their Bibles, a commitment to truth over falsehood, and a selfless love for God and the brethren.
We shall also pray for renewed days of extraordinary revival. And whether given the harvest of Pentecost or the continued challenge of a reprobate world (as described in Romans 1), we shall faithfully trust that the gospel is ever the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). Furthermore, we shall discipline our hearts toward the personal revival each of us needs as prodigals of a forgiving Father, assiduously avoiding hindrances to revival, whether corrupting compromise or divisive contention, and we will carefully resist the temptation to embrace the false counterfeits of true revival.
Download this resolution:
 See Hank Hanegraaff, Counterfeit Revival: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2001).