Summary of "Mapping Revivals"

By Dustin Bruce

Catching up on some periodical reading over the weekend, I noticed an article on revival by The Andrew Fuller Center's very own Dr. Michael Haykin appeared in the July issue of The Banner of Truth Magazine.

I found the article, "Mapping Revivals: Five Marks," to be quite excellent and would like to share a brief summary with the hopes of piquing your interest.[1]

Haykin begins the essay by turning to the great theologian of revival, Jonathan Edwards, to link genuine revival with the work of the Holy Spirit. Haykin rightly understands that one’s understanding of Pentecost frames one’s theology of revival. He summarizes the options for interpretation,

Was that remarkable Sunday [Pentecost] a once-and-for-all event that established the ongoing presence of the Spirit in the church and is it henceforth foolish to pray for his coming? ...Or was Pentecost a paradigm of what happens from time to time as the church wanes and desperately needs reviving and renewing?[2]

For Haykin, the book of Ephesians offers a brief answer to the complex question. He summarizes,

There [in the book of Ephesians] the apostle affirms that genuine faith in Christ is accompanied by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which Paul describes as being sealed with the Spirit, a metaphor that speaks of a reality that cannot be lost. Yet, at the same time, the apostle can urge his readers in Ephesians 5:18 to ‘be filled with the Spirit,’ which implies that a genuine believer who is indwelt by the Spirit can live in such a way that while he does not lose the Spirit’s presence, he nonetheless stands in need of spiritual renewal and empowerment.[3]

The need for spiritual renewal and empowerment is not limited to individual Christians. Haykin goes on,

Now what is true on an individual level is also true on a corporate level: due to a multitude of reasons, God’s holy people can live at a level that really is sub-standard from a biblical perspective and that can only be rectified by what Christian authors have called a fresh outpouring of the Spirit.[4]

After establishing the biblical paradigm for understanding revival, Haykin then turns to three examples of revivals in church history. Citing the far-reaching French Reformation at the hands of John Calvin, the one-day revival experienced by the Puritan John Livingstone, and the extraordinary ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Haykin argues for an understanding of revival large enough to encompass various outpourings of genuine revival.

While revival has manifested itself in sundry ways, Haykin does isolate five marks of genuine revival. He summarizes,

1.    Revival is a work of God in which God takes the initiative and presences himself in power and glory.

2.    In times of revival, according to Jonathan Edwards, the Spirit used the Word of God to make a powerful impact upon people.

3.    Revival is a powerful intensification of the Holy Spirit’s normal activity of convicting, converting, regenerating, sanctifying, and empowering.

4.    Revival involves also a powerful intensification of the Holy Spirit’s normal activity of testifying to the Saviour–in other words, revival is a Christ-centred event.

5.    Revival leads to the diminution of sinful practices in the community.[5]

The remainder of the essay involves Haykin elaborating on each of the five marks of revival.[6]

This short piece provides one of the clearest paradigms for understanding and evaluating revival that I have encountered. In a day and time when churches think so-called ‘revivals’ occur because they get scheduled on the church calendar, Haykin provides a needed corrective by offering a simple, but biblical, paradigm for understanding great outpourings of the Spirit of God.

[1]Michael A.G. Haykin, “Mapping Revivals: Five Marks­—1,” The Banner of Truth Magazine 598 (July 2012), 20–28. This article is part one of a two-part series.

[2]Haykin, “Mapping Revivals,” 21.

[3]Haykin, “Mapping Revivals,” 21.

[4]Haykin, “Mapping Spiritual Revivals,” 21.

[5]Haykin, “Mapping Spiritual Revivals,” 26. This list is drawn from Stuart Piggin, Firestorm of the Lord: The History of Prospects for Revival in the Church and the World (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2000), 11.

[6]Though he only elaborates on the first mark in the July issue, the remainder is forthcoming.


Dustin Bruce lives in Louisville, KY where he is pursuing a PhD in Biblical Spirituality at Southern Seminary. He is a graduate of Auburn University and Southwestern Seminary. Dustin and his wife, Whitney, originally hail from Alabama.