Mark Noll on Three Things about Awakenings in Church History

Evangelial Revival Whitefield

Mark Noll:

As a historian, three things increasingly impress me about awakenings in church history:

First, that they really do occur, and—from medieval, monastic revivals through classic evangelical awakenings to modern Pentecostal renewal—they really have brought great benefit to the church.

Second, revivals tend to exaggerate, so that along with the real benefit often come increased problems like exalted opinions of one’s self in God’s general design.

Third, most of the circumstances that have made a permanent difference in spreading the Gospel and deepening the church’s understanding of the Gospel have taken place in ordinary church settings rather than revivals.

—quoted in “What Christian Leaders Are Saying about Spiritual Renewal,” Vocatio 11, no. 1 (Winter 1999): 6.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.