This book is about revival. The author is convinced that it can happen again in Western Europe, despite the sad state of the church. He writes in order to urge readers to believe that God can work again.
Dr Green maintains that such renewal is the work of God, but emphasises the great need for the church to pray expectantly to that end and live holy lives that display repentance. The need to be serious about heaven and hell, to return to Scripture as our authority and to face the reality of suffering and persecution are also underlined.
However, unless the reader’s sympathies lie with Anglicanism, the Charismatic movement or with those in the Roman Catholic Church (such as the late Charismatic prelate, Cardinal Suenens), you are unlikely to be fully satisfied with Green’s treatment of the subject.
The bulk of this fast-moving, well written book scans the history of divine renewal in the church. Beginning with Pentecost, the author covers the Reformation, the days of Whitefield and Wesley, and then nineteenth-century revivals.
Continuing with the 1904 Welsh revival, he assesses the modern Charismatic movement (including the Toronto Blessing) and its precursor, Pentecostalism. He concludes with overviews of revivals in Mongolia, Singapore and China.
He briefly alludes to aspects of the Oxford Movement and revival on the Isle of Lewis from 1949 to 1953, treating both as additional yet different revivals. While the author is not uncritical of these events, he writes as one who endorses wholeheartedly the Charismatic experience and the widespread use of Charismatic gifts.
We long to see spiritual awakening and recognise that God, in his sovereignty, can cross man-made boundaries, working in unexpected people and places. Nevertheless, the judicious insights of a man like Jonathan Edwards — who saw the great works of God in New England in the 1730s and 1740s — would, in the opinion of this reviewer, lead to some very different assessments from those of Dr Green.