What Doth Hinder?
Probably more Christians are praying today for a revival than at any other time in the history of the church, and yet no sign appears. Indeed, we have never known such indifference, such carelessness and absolute disregard for the claims of Christ as are manifested at the present time. How few are there who have any thought of God in their hearts! How few respond to the Gospel call! As we search our hearts and seek for an explanation of these conditions, there are some facts which face us and they speak plainly regarding the problem.
Leaven of Criticism
First, there is the leaven of destructive criticism working mightily against saving faith. In a most subtle way our children are being taught to question and doubt the authority and authenticity of God’s Book. A high school student in this day needs the courage of a martyr to stand for the faith of our fathers. But there is not much chance of their standing the test unless they come from homes of prayer and father. It used to be that the Sunday School and church offset these influences, but it is only the odd church and Sunday School now that believes and teaches the Bible as the absolute and infallible guide for faith and practice. Preachers in our pulpits and professors in our schools by thousands are helping on in this evil work. What a menace to the church and Christianity such men are! It used to be that men who believed and taught these things were outside of the church and were regarded as infidels. The church has nothing to fear from a fair foe. The great waves may beat against the ship from without and do little or no harm, but a few worms inside the hull may bore holes that will soon waterlog the vessel.
Enemies Within the Camp
Our real enemies are within, being supported by the money of those from whom they would take the most vital and precious possession—faith in the living Word of God. How great a place devotional services in the home and the church have held in the great spiritual movements of the past. In these days family worship is hardly more than a memory and meetings for prayer and praise in God’s house are, in very many instances, little more than a farce. Indeed, in some places they are abandoned altogether.
Take the membership of our most spiritual churches and find the percentage that attend the prayer and praise service and you will be amazed. Can any church hope for a revival or anything like a spiritual quickening when even on prayer meeting nights more of the members may be found in play houses and dance halls than at the place of prayer?
Playing Instead of Praying
While this down grade movement continues within we need not look for an outpouring of God’s spirit. We may multiply our organizations and increase our machinery, but these will not bring spiritual results. An increase of machinery may mean nothing but weakness. I think it is a fact in ecclesiastical history that with every increase of machinery there has been a decrease of power. It is not more organization that we need. It is a closer walk with God. The more we study the history of the church the more convinced we become that in the days of her power and victory she was remarkably free from machinery. Then there was room for God to work. The solution of this whole problem is in 2 Chronicles 7:14.