Ineffective Counterfeits of Revival

From Gary North’s The Pressing Need For Revival

Counterfeit Revival

In each century since the Reformation, Satan has raised up counterfeits. And as my friend Donald Heath said of the cults 25 years ago, if you plan to be a counterfeiter, you are not going to print up triangular orange bills with a picture of Bob Hope on them. The counterfeits are supposed to look real. They do mislead people.

In the Reformation, the counterfeit was the revolutionary Anabaptist movement: antinomian, utopian, sometimes tyrannical and violent, sometimes retreatist and pacifistic, and sometimes polygamist. Then in the next century it was the pietist movement: retreatist, quietistic, and internalizers of the faith. In the eighteenth century, it was the Great Awakenings itinerant preachers: antinomian, undisciplined, anti-intellectual, anti-ecclesiastical. In the nineteenth century, the second Great Awakening produced similar deviants: antinomians, utopians, perfectionists, moralists without biblical law.

In this century, there have been diluted and generally ineffective imitations of the first two Great Awakenings: antinomian, pietistic, bland, non-confrontational, generally anti-ecclesiastical, sometimes anti-intellectual (1900-1925: fundamentalist and early charismatic) and later pseudo-intellectual (1949-1980: neo-evangelical, neutralist, compromised, and humanistic). From 1925 through 1949, there was just about nothing that Christians really got excited about except Prohibition and then the anti-Prohibitionist New Deal.

Since about 1973 we have a late replay of the original conflict between the Reformers and the radical Anabaptists. The battle for the minds of Christians is now going on. With Francis Schaeffer’s forces, the anti-abortionists, the six-day creationists, the new charismatics, and the Reconstructionists loosely allied on one side, and the equally loosely allied forces of Ron Sider and the radical Anabaptists (Evangelicals for Social Action, Sojourners), the non-six-day creationists (American Scientific Affiliation), and the Christianity Today — Eternity crowd on the other.

The revivalism of the 1950’s did not survive the international social and cultural changes of the late 1960’s. This is why the old fundamentalism is dying of self-inflicted wounds. Having preached social irrelevance as a way of life, it has at last achieved its goal. Does anyone remember Explo-72 or Key-73? Can anyone point to the social, economic, and political effects of either? Some former fundamentalists have joined the New Christian Right; others have joined the radical Anabaptists. Most, however, have stayed in the historical shadows, waiting for Jesus to return to set them up as field grade officers in the millennium.


We need a revival. We do not need more revivalism. We need a comprehensive call to lost men to join an army that has been assigned the task of comprehensive dominion by means of Christ’s comprehensive redemption. We need a trained corps of field grade officers who understand the nature of the war. We need battle plans, a strategy of victory, tactics of confrontation, a team of recruiters, and specialists in every battle zone who know the terrain and have accurate maps. We need a comprehensive world-and-life view which is explicitly Christian. No more baptized humanism. No more neutrality. No more compulsory State-certified anything. And with respect to the humanist camp, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Having read this excerpt from North, I’m going to go over the key points that struck me:

  1. Counterfeits are supposed to look real. To detect and reject them, know your God and know your Bible.
  2. All counterfeits reject the application of Biblical Law. Naturally so: why would Satan teach us to obey Christ’s Law-Word? He wants to kill souls and destroy society – a true “kill all humans” kind of repulsive monster.
    1. Note, though, that he may well teach people to obey Christ’s Law-Word… while rejecting Christ as the very Son of God. The evil one is very clever…
  3. “This is why the old fundamentalism is dying of self-inflicted wounds. Having preached social irrelevance as a way of life, it has at last achieved its goal.” Retreat, retreat, bays the fearful and unbelieving, happily working with humanists and the disobedient spirits of the world so long as they get to live untroubled in their ever-shrinking ghettos.
    1. They think that the end-game involved a mystical escape form reality. That’s not what’s going to happen.
        1. Either there will be a major revival,
        2. or the current church will be destroyed (not so much by martyrdom and persecution, as much as to the public schools and media, combined by shrivelling churches and man-centred, man-fearful theology)… and then a new church arises from the ruins.

      But a rapture isn’t in the cards.


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