The Future for Christianity in Australia (Synchroblog)

Update: My good friend Grendel was a late starter on this ‘synchroblog’ but you can check his post here. Its a beauty.

I’d like to start this post by saying that most of my life I have been an optimist – and have always believed – often for no good reason – that ‘things’ will get better… I guess there is as much irrationality about optimism as there is about pessimism!


However I am not so optimistic about the future of Australian Christianity. In fact I see a very bleak future for several generations to come. I hesitate to post this rather gloomy piece, but I am interested to see if its ‘just me’ or if others also have similar ruminations…

What provoked my thinking on this front was a recent church meeting I attended where the high powered speaker was ‘believing God for revival’… He and many others like him have been prophesying revival in Perth/Western Australia/Australia for more years than I can count now. You know the drill… ‘I believe there is going to be a mighty work of God in this land… a revival of epic proportions… God is doing a new thing… if my people will humble themselves and pray… blah blah blah…”

Some ‘ask’ for revival. Others predict it.

I believe both have missed the point.

I am tired of this revival talk and these false prophets, because in the 30 years I have been old enough to understand the concept I have actually observed the church (overall) in decline. And I haven’t seen any of the revivals that have been predicted ever actually happen. (I do know there have been movements of this ilk among aboriginal people – but these weren’t ‘prophesied’ – and of course because they are not white we don’t count them…)

Do I sound a tad cynical?…

The next time someone prophesies massive revival in your church tell them they are full of crap. Ok… maybe that’s a bit strong… Maybe just politely inquire when the revival will be, what download how the garcia girls spent their summer dvdrip will happen, how you will know it has happened and then bet them a carton of crownies it won’t happen. (Easy way to get free beer…)

No… on second thoughts I was right the first time.

I began pondering why we crave this revival experience and I wonder if it because we are too lazy to get off our own butts and get involved with the people in the communities we live in and do the hard yards of making connections, knowing that many of them will never lead to a person coming to faith? I wonder if we don’t just want God to do the ‘hard work’ of mission (we will hold prayer meetings – until we get bored because nothing has happened) and then when he has done his thing people will flock to our churches to join us… and become like us… and we won’t have to change one bit… we won’t have to experience any discomfort at all. Of course we only want ‘appropriate’ people to join our churches so it would need to be a selective revival of the middle classes.

In many churches the people pray and send God out on mission, when in reality it is us he has commissioned to the task.

Revival as I hear it depicted takes the responsibility off us to be salt and light. Its as if the people pray and send God out on mission, and then complain when he doesn’t get the job done.

I’m so tired of hearing preachers rant about ‘taking our city for God’, or taking the nation’. For one thing I don’t think people like being ‘taken’, and for another I don’t think anyone really wants to do it. Sure you might get a few wild eyed young people fired up and nutso the day after a Planetshakers conference, but talk to them in 6 months about their plans for ‘taking the city’ and chances are (if they are still in church) that they won’t even remember the whole thing.

The militaristic tone of that language harks back to our darkest days when crusades took people by force and needs to be dismantled and retired for ever. I remember when Erwin McManus was in Perth a few months back, during the open question time, he was asked ‘what we need to do to start taking our city for God’.

His response… ‘stop using that kinda language for a start!’

We really have to stop this nonsense talk about taking the world for Christ when most of us don’t even know our own next door neighbours. And we need to stop expecting God to do what we are too lazy or afraid to do ourselves.

I should say that I would love to be around if God ever did do something miraculous – if there ever was a genuine revival ala the Welsh revival. I’m sure that would be an incredible experience. But in the mean time – in the absence of the miraculous – I believe our job is not to pray God will pull his finger out and bring some pagans into church, but rather for us to get our own butts into gear and live the gospel in the worlds we are a part of.

Having said that I don’t think it will make a lot difference to the attendance figures at church. I’m not even convinced that many people will be interested in the gospel or faith. I think for anyone who is engaged in evangelistic work among adult Australians it will be a lean time. There’s no doubt young people are easier to influence, but that knife cuts both ways as they also easily influenced away from faith.

I actually believe the current decline in Australian Christianity will continue for maybe another couple of hundred years. If we are looking like following European trends then Australia is only going to become more secular,and more focussed on the material to bring us satisfaction in life. I can see that at least the next 50 years being ones of decline and challenge for us in the church. There will be some who will be faithful, who will take up the challenge of living for Jesus, but I believe it will be a dry, tough time and many will give the game up.

I have recently been wondering, what if our generation’s contribution will simply be that of ‘holding our ground’?

What if we are entering a period of time where there will be such a disinterest in faith that simply to ‘not give up and join in’ will be a great achievement? I haven’t thought like this before, but increasingly I am wondering if we really are in survival mode as the Australian church – even if our gung ho militaristic rhetoric suggests otherwise?

The optimist in me wants to believe that things will get better – that if we just ‘do more missionary stuff’ people will close encounters of the third kind divx download respond again to the gospel and that we will see a new generation of disciples who will chart the course for the future. But I just can’t see it. And while it disturbs me and makes me sad I feel this is a more accurate reality than revival next weeky…

What I do see is a fair share of Christians getting lured away from faith by affluence and self indulgence and laziness. I do see a general decline in the level of Christian discipleship as people work harder and generally ask ‘what’s the point’? I wonder where this laiodicean kind of faith will take us?…

No one is likely to get excited about being the people who simply ‘held the ground’. As a pastor I would have found that a hard sermon to preach. ‘Come on people! Lets just be faithful to what we know and try not to quit!’ Hmmm…

I believe there are sound biblical and practical principles for how a church is to function and operate in its community, but I don’t believe that just by being faithful we will see a substantial difference in the Australian spiritual landscape. I don’t think there is any easy answer to the current situation we find ourselves in as the church.

I don’t say that to discourage you, but I say it because I am tired of the false hopes that get thrust at us from so many directions. So many conferences with answers and plans and models to fix where we are at – and yet so little changes. Maybe that’s why we go the ‘revival’ route. We know we’re screwed and unless God shows up then in a miraculous way we have nothing left to stand on. And when the conferences and seminars don’t ‘work’ there begins the cycle of blame – its our pastor who can’t lead us – or for pastor’s ‘its our people who just aren’t committed’.

Folks – my Australia day post is somewhat bleak. I do realise that. But I also believe that if it were a prophesy it would have more of a chance of being accurate than the crap we currently get fed.

What do I suggest?

Honestly I don’t have any other answer than to say ‘be faithful disciples’… I think Peter had it right when Jesus asked him if he wanted to leave. Remember his words? ‘Lord to whom would we go?!’

I don’t believe there is a better ‘option’ out there for making sense of the world, but I’m not so sure we as the church believe that like we used to…

p>This post is part of the Christianity In Australia

divx confessions of an innocent man

synchroblog which a number of Australian Christians are participating in to celebrate Australia Day. For more on Christianity in Australia see:

57 thoughts on “The Future for Christianity in Australia (Synchroblog)

  1. It’s a difficult message, but it’s a remarkably insightful one too. The notion that revival will “just happen” without significant change in the hearts and actions of Christians is such a dangerous one. I do think there is hope, and it’s voices like yours that are bringing that hope to life. Great post!

  2. Hmm, I re-read my comment, it doesn’t sound right. Let me rephrase “thank you to people like yourself who are working for a more optimistic future”.

  3. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would do the harvesting Himself, because there aren’t enough workers… hang on, how does it go?

    May God enable you to keep working, and may he bring more workers alongside you.

  4. Ouch! I loved this post for its honesty, and hated it for telling the truth!

    I agree that much of the revival stuff that gets bandied about seems to encourage church complacency – one day God will just move and everything will be OK, and the church (preferably my paticular denomination) will once again be ‘the head and not the tail’ (another pet-hate misuse of the OT).

    But I too am an optimist. I keep looking for the ray of hope, the ideal that might just become reality despite the odds (for aren’t all things possible with God?).

    The only kind of revival I can predict is one in my own life. The only reason I could predict it is if I am committed to being revived in the Psalm 19:7 sense – “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul”.

    Send revival, start with me. Start with me committing to read God’s word. Start with me trusting that God’s ways really are perfect. Start with me acting out of faith on his word, believing it to be more true, real and relevant than all the competing ideas and lifestyles.

  5. The recent stockmarket crash has been called a ‘correction’ where over priced stocks have come back to where they realistically should be. Part time investors have been scared out of the market, and the serious, die hard guys are hanging in there because they know that it gets tough some times…..

    i wonder if the christian landscape in australia is perhaps in need of some correcting? that it needs to see people leaving and churches closing in order to get back to the reality of it all?

  6. I hope you’re wrong, but I think you’re right.

    One of the big “prophecies” down this way for the past 12 or 18 months has been a youth revival. A local church run, event centred outreach has been prophecying an explosion in young people attending their monthly events – they were even game enough to put numbers and a time frame on it. Needless to say, the date came and went and the numbers never eventuated. The stirrer in me just can’t wait for an oportunity to ask them what happened!

  7. I am with you mate. We have no right to demand revival in the way of oh so many charismatic songs, and it’s very unprophetic of our leaders that they still haven’t got the message that it ain’t coming while they keep going the way they’re going. As with yourself I think God’s word to us is “stand firm” and stay faithful in exile. No glamorous, but then, not many of God’s messages through the prophets ever were. I am think our focus should be more on the kingdom than revival anyway.

  8. Hamo – did I mention? Great post mate, great post.

    The American Frontier Revivalism turned church into a preaching station – she has never recovered, it reduced the experience of what ekklesia should be about into an evangelistic mission. Passive spectators directed by the ordained Pastor (he really had just replaced the priest).

  9. Thanks Mark 🙂

    i must admit this has been stirring in me for a while. It ‘leaked’ out during a sermon a couple of weeks back and it was as i was speaking that i realised how passionately disturbed I am by the current situation and how wrong I believe the claims are.



  10. Hey, thanks for your thoughts. I’ve never been a revivalist, but when I hear people talking like that I guess I have always thought I would rather see people expressing their hope and faith in this way than to have people overcome by feelings of doom about our future destruction. My personal encouragement comes from seeing God working in little ways every day – little surprises that remind me that Jesus is real and alive.

  11. Pingback: AJS OPINION » Backyard Missionary: The Future for Christianity in Australia

  12. Good post. Makes me thankful I don’t move in Christian circles with this “revival” mentality. *puke*.

    While I hesitate to prophesy the exact paramenters *grin* I do agree that Christianity will decline in Australia (even as it expands in leaps and bounds in Africa, Asia, South America…) BUT I actually see that as both expected and a good thing.

    Expected because the ancient Israelites copped some of the most dismal prophecy during times of affluence and relative peace. Why we say/sing the litany:

    In our times of trouble; in our times of prosperity; in the hour of death, and on the day of judgment, Good Lord, deliver us. …

    Good as it will muscle up Christians – as many as fall away, others will seriously reexamine their faith and – with the help of a fair bit of buffeting – find it grounded on a much more stable foundation. That makes for quite a creative minority. 🙂 Nothing like a bit of adversity and persecution to really get the church paying attention. I’ve actually found reading the Church Fathers great encouragement in this regard too…

  13. Thanks Hamo, you are not just talking about Australia here, you describe the UK (and most of protestant Europe) pretty well too.

    From my point of view, Saint has highlighted something really important: the growth of the church in other parts of the world is a reflection of the shrinkage happening in what were once the Christian heartlands. Andrew Walls has pointed out that historically the church has undergone a number of these shifts, shrinking at the centre while thriving at the periphery. The centre and periphery are more diffuse now than they once were, but the essentials are there. Rather worryingly, I find it hard to get away from the idea of God removing our candlestick from my mind – though I wouldn’t dispute that he would be well within his rights to do it.

    If you are interested in thinking more about the shift of the centre of gravity of the church (to use Wall’s phrase) I’ve got an essay hosted on the Wycliffe Australia website which looks at this question from the point of view of cross-cultural missions

  14. but wouldn’t a revival be super convenient? it may result in an influx of cashed up folk streaming into churches to help pay for performance enhancing music, sound, lighting rigs and church building programs that will be able to prolong the move of the Holy Spirit. it seems to me that churches with such approaches believe the Holy Spirit needs all the help he can get.

  15. Hi Andrew,

    100% with you on being a little bit over the prophecies about a revival coming soon to Australia. Not quite 30 years, but a good 20 in my case.

    I remember in the early 1990’s hearing a spate of prophecies that God was about to do something massive in Australia, and it was going to begin in the South Western corner of the country. I remember thinking even back then (when I was more gullible) “I hope this guy has the decency to come back and apologize for lying in God’s name and breaking the second commandment if it turns out it’s not true.”

    Of course, no apology followed…

  16. I heard a heap of prophecies in my day and when events never panned out as prophesied it was always put down to ‘incorrect interpretation’. If the interpretation turns out to be always wrong (as opposed to the prophecy) then why does prophecy exist?

    God would surely have to be quite exasperated.

    Expect more lightning strikes.

  17. Thank you so much for this insightful post. What you describe in Australia is also true of the Church in the UK.

    One of my least favourite songs:

    ‘Step by step we’re moving forward

    Little by little we’re taking ground.

    Every prayer a powerful weapon,

    strongholds come tumbling down and blah blah blah…’

    … when in living memory there has been a massive decline in Christian involvement.

    The practical question is – if your analysis is right – what will it actually look like to be a faithful church in an increasingly hostile or indifferent culture?

  18. Great question David!

    I’m not sure there is any easy answer to that. Perhaps we will see some sifting of the genuine article from the convenient church goer, but I think we will always have people at different places in commitment.

    Some of this is because they are moving towards Christ and yet to appreciate his call on their lives. The flip side is that they have been moving towards Christ but are now moving away – but know they ‘shouldn’t go the whole hog – so they hang around and do the ‘church’ thing.

    I guess the ‘wheat and weeds’ comes to mind here. I am not sure we will ever know who is really with us or not.

    What does a faithful church look like – ‘ideally’?

    For me that would be a body of people who genuinely seek to ask the basic questions of discipleship and to discern what we do that is actually both a help and a hindrance to this.

    I tend to think the waters are so muddied now that it will be extremely hard to do.

    I guess if I were seeking a church and wasn’t currently part of one the core elements I would see as critical were:

    good music

    excellent preaching

    a top notch kids program

    plenty of parking

    clean toilets

    good looking people…

    ok… 🙂 really…

    A community that genuinely grapples with the question of how do we love God and live Christlike lives in this world would be pretty much the key. I guess that as distinct from a community that asks how can we get more bums on seats.

    I would sign up anywhere core discipleship issues are being held up as the main game.

    I don’t know that its so easy to discern a ‘faithful’ church though because as i said before different people will hold the values to different degrees.

    I reckon this question is worth a post of its own though! In a few days…

  19. After reading your post I spent some time on the the Elijah List website. I used to belong to the type of church that followed these guys. It made me sick. I have heard the same thing for 20 years and just this year have stepped away and asked what the…..??? What I love about backing away is finding writers and people like yourselves that are not trying to garner a following and are ready to say what is real. You won’t have thousands lining up to be in your seminar but you will face Father with a clear concience. Thanks for saying this. I needed to hear it.

  20. I visited a church a few weeks ago that is perhaps a stereotype of the old and new faces of the Aussie Church.

    The large building, with fine furniture and a big organ, speaks of a time when the church was strong. But at the beginning of the 21st century we look around and see that the younger generation has disappeared. Most of the people here now are old, and though there are still a decent number of them, they can’t get the younger generation back. The old face of the church.

    Only one thing will save them from a numerical death…

    Enter the Africans!

    Refugees from many countries of Africa are coming here in larger numbers than ever before. Many are Christians, and unlike their white brothers, they don’t mind being part of an old peoples church.

    And so at this church I was at, while most of the worshippers were old and white, when it was time for Sunday school, about ten kids filed out and none of them where white. This is the new face of the church.

    With the current state of things in Sierra Leone and Sudan, we can probably expect more people in our churches. They will mostly be children and they won’t have any money, but they bring a perspective that we didn’t have before.

  21. Eric – my friend Mark Sayers tells me that a huge majority of the conversion growth happening in Oz is amongst migrants from dev world countries.

    Of course there are also young people but getting them to go the distance is a bit trickier!

  22. Hi ‘Former Leader’

    I just googled ELijah List to see what it was about. I guess the first paragraph gives a clue:

    “I sense we are trumpeting in a major shift and season, a mightier outpouring of the Holy Spirit to empower the saints for harvest! Are you postured for sweet and mighty things of the Lord? Be prepared to be saturated with honey from the Rock as the Holy Spirit infuses and drenches you with His presence and power that will release and equip you with divine impartation for His plan for your part in this new season!”

    The infuriating thing is that I believe in prophesy and believe it is God’s gift to the church.

    But this stuff really doesn’t make me want to do anything but vomit.

  23. Seems to me that there are a few former leaders no longer “paying Peter” and entering into the debate, maybe the future of Christianity in Australia will change through micro change, the baby boomers are entering the debate.

  24. When we look at the countries experiencing growth around the world, we also see a great amount of suffering.

    That’s something we’re not keen on, due to our prosperity and safety minded culture.

    I hesitate to pray for suffering, I know it will bring growth, but it hurts.

  25. Hi u sound pretty much like the rest of us , sick of people coming to Perth and telling us about the great things God is going to do but they never happen. I was bothered though by your comments regarding revival. Revival has always been a sovereign move of God , not something that men went around prophecying was about to come. If you read about some of the great revivals of the past you will find men hungry for God and helpless to know what to do about the decline that the church had taken (often no different to today). I also dont think it is just an excuse for people to sit around on their butts and not get involved in the lives of neighbours etc, there is plenty of that going on.

    Duncan Campbell was greatly used by God in the revival in the New Hebredes (you can read heaps about it on the net) basically it was about people being obedient to what god was calling them to do . Two elderly ladies obediently praying , one man obediently answering the call of god to join these women on the island of Lewis to pray and meet with others in their concern for the salvation of souls etc etc.

    Perhaps that is what we lack , obedience to the things God calls us to , we are always caught up in the latest fad or following what the church down the road are doing , or the next best selling christian purpose driven book out of America , then we end up so confused we throw our hands up in the air and do nothing.

    Look to the word of God and the fathers of the faith , they had nothing , no resources , no big flashy conferences, no “how to ” books yet for myself I find they bring a richness that we seem to lack today. Read Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones sermons on revival, looking back , re-digging the wells like Abraham , not looking for a “new thing” to transform the church , look for what has stood the test of time , will much of what goes on today be talked of in fifty years time.

    I am realising “I” cant make anything happen , its not about me its all about Jesus.

  26. I think if we just define “church” as those rather boring buildings that some Christians go to on Sunday morning, then yes, the church in Australia is looking sick.

    And thank God for that. Because it seems to me that the real church is what goes on between two or more gathered, or when a person is closing their door and praying in secret. If we’re not interested in being that kind of Church, then no, we will never see revival because revival doesn’t come from doing whatever for God to twist his hand. Revival comes when you get the relationship going on with him, grow in him and trust in him enough to lie down and let him start putting you through the furnace and getting rid of all that extraneous stuff that hinders.

    And I think that kind of stuff is going on all the time in the big “c” Church that we are all a part of – no matter what is happening in the buildings on a Sunday morning.

    And hallelujah for that 🙂

  27. Like others have said, what you say makes for hard reading but echoes the truth of the situation we find ourselves in. Whilst the Welsh revival shows us just what God can do, we can fall into the trap of asking God well, if then why not now, why not all the time, everywhere? I think you have hit on a truth in that we can fall back to a reliance on God to everything for us so that if revival doesn’t happen it’s God’s fault rather than us not getting out there and beside people. I have felt for a while that if we are called to be salt and light to our communities – well, you don’t need a lot of salt to make a difference – and too much salt can ruin a meal. The Welsh revival was dramatic and the effects of it have been long lasting but Wales is no more or less a Christian country than England, Scotland or anywhere else. They may still sing hymns at Rugby matches but they also sing some other songs that definitely aren’t hymns! Part of our problem here in Australia is a lack of an authentic Australian Gospel, one that really reflects the suburban/urban Australia not the mythological Australian outback – not the Strine Bible telling tales of drovers visiting a baby Jesus round the back of a country pub. Australia is a suburban country and has a suburban mindset and none of the churches has ever really come to grips with how to speak to that mentality. (OK maybe a bit of a wide generalisation there but you know what I mean!)

    Thanks for your recent comments and I agree, Matt’s song is an absolute cracker – and one with extraordinary deepness and excruciating meaning that makes it difficult to sing with real conviction at times.

    Keep it up! Speak it, brother!!


  28. Hey Hamo,

    I sensed from my time in Melbourne that the greatest amount of growth that Australian churches can expect is, as has been noted, from migrants, but also from the lowest income block of Aussies. I had a lot of conversations on trams and trains with people who were desperate to be shown a better way, but didn’t really know much about faith; they’d been “innoculated” against Christianity. I think that if I were going to do more mission work there, that’d be the target group, not the middle- and upper-class people who have no reason to want anything more. If THEY are to be reached, it will be through mission work to the lower classes.

    Just a thought from an outsider who’s been away for too long already 🙂

  29. Lesley – which comments disturbed you? Its been interesting that so far there hasn’t been any push back on my reflection so I appreciate your thoughts.

    I think I said that I would love to see God at work dramatically, but I tend to think we chase that option because it is easier for us.

    I think the quest for revival has been with us for a long time – its only recently that we have made it into a commercial venture though! I remember reading a Charles Finney book as an 18 year old entitled something like ‘How to Start a Revival’ and even then finding it formulaic and dependent on us getting ourselves ‘right’.

    Now I must say that at least Finney had some idea of what he was speaking about – but I don’t think we can develop formulas to twist God’s arm.

  30. “we will hold prayer meetings – until we get bored because nothing has happened”

    I think that’s half the problem, Hamo. We don’t engage in mission, but even if we did, without persevering prayer, I don’t think we’d accomplish a lot. We lack a fundamental zeal for God, to use a word that God uses of himself!

    But bottoming out would be good (i.e. attendance in Aussie churches), at least there’s only one way to go – up!

  31. Sorry I’m a bit late to arrive at this discussion but the topic does interest me so I decided to comment whether anyone reads this or not.

    Hamo: Some ‘ask’ for revival. Others predict it. I believe both have missed the point.

    Me: I totally hear what you are saying re people predicting or prophesying revival (no argument here) but I’m not sure why you think people who are praying for or “asking” for revival have missed the point. My study of revivals throughout history has led me to the conclusion that this is a great thing to pray for: an outpouring of the Holy Spirit leading to an increase in the number of people following Christ and having a transforming effect on the society in which we live!!

    Hamo: I began pondering why we crave this revival experience and I wonder if it because we are too lazy to get off our own butts and get involved with the people in the communities we live in and do the hard yards of making connections…

    Me: I crave this revival experience because I want many people to come to know Jesus and I desire to see God’s kingdom expanding like leaven working its way through a batch of bread. I have no problem with getting involved with the people in my community at the same time…why can’t it be both/and?

    Hamo: In many churches the people pray and send God out on mission, when in reality it is us he has commissioned to the task.

    Me: Correct me if I am wrong but I always saw this as a “joint” project. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    Hamo: Revival as I hear it depicted takes the responsibility off us to be salt and light. It’s as if the people pray and send God out on mission, and then complain when he doesn’t get the job done.

    Me: Again, when I read of revival it seems to be a “co-worker” model: fervent prayer and radical obedience and love! The most recent example of what I believe to be a current day revival is what has been happening in Mozambique over recent years. Rolland & Heidi Baker ( and other missionaries are totally being salt and light in their community. But they are also asking God to move in power through them. They see healings, miracles and many thousands of churches being planted full of new believers who are been transformed by the love and power of God being displayed through the “missionary revivalists” in that country.

    Hamo: I should say that I would love to be around if God ever did do something miraculous – if there ever was a genuine revival ala the Welsh revival. I’m sure that would be an incredible experience. But in the mean time – in the absence of the miraculous – I believe our job is not to pray God will pull his finger out and bring some pagans into church, but rather for us to get our own butts into gear and live the gospel in the worlds we are a part of.

    Me: Would we really love to be around if God did something miraculous?? I’m not convinced. Most revivals I have read about were precipitated by people who prayed fervently and for extensive periods of time. This even happened before Pentecost!! Rather than praying for God to “pull his finger out” maybe we can pray that not only would we “go” but that we would be open, humble and surrendered enough to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives…even in ways that may not be according to our own pre-conceived ideas. That we would go in the power of the Holy Spirit even at the risk of maybe looking a little foolish??

    Hamo: What I do see is a fair share of Christians getting lured away from faith by affluence and self indulgence and laziness. I do see a general decline in the level of Christian discipleship as people work harder and generally ask ‘what’s the point’? I wonder where this laiodicean kind of faith will take us?…

    Me: I totally agree!!

    Hamo: Honestly I don’t have any other answer than to say ‘be faithful disciples’… I think Peter had it right when Jesus asked him if he wanted to leave. Remember his words? ‘Lord to whom would we go?!’

    Me: What about Jesus’ words: “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Is this still part of being a faithful disciple??

    I agree with Alex.H when he said: “I think that’s half the problem, Hamo. We don’t engage in mission, but even if we did, without persevering prayer, I don’t think we’d accomplish a lot. We lack a fundamental zeal for God, to use a word that God uses of himself!”

  32. Ummm…

    A lot to respond to there!

    I hope I haven’t painted an either/or scenario here.

    The basic gist of the post is that Australian Christianity is in decline and the solution that seems to be called for is revival – where pagans come back to church. And my big gripe is that a bunch of people have prophesying ‘revival’ for the last 30 years with no accountability!

    I believe this is the core issue I was addressing and I believe there is some very flawed thinking here as well as a mentality that does not belong in this context – the whole crusade image.

    I wholeheartedly believe that if the church was really the church then we wouldn’t have all the cry for revival. If the people of God genuinely lived as disciples of Jesus then we would see society transformed.

    So my cry would be that ‘the church be the church’, that we be faithful to what we already know.

    My repulsion is primarily at so much of the so called prophesying that goes on, that is in actually showmanship and crowd-pleasing.

    I’m not quite sure what you are hearing me say here Andrew?

  33. Hamo have you seen the latest youth material at koorong? it’s all camouflage and about warfare and being a soldier for Christ. I suppose there is a heritage in the church of this thinking, what with songs like ‘onward christians soldiers’, but it still leaves me thinking it doesn’t quite fit with my understanding of Christ, regardless of what my forefathers sung about…

  34. Alex – i guess ‘revival’ by implication is re-viving those who are in a state of lethargy to aliveness again.

    So in that context revival is much more likely to be of benefit to those already in the church.

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  36. It seems the issue is probably more to do with the definition of revival rather than revival itself. You have defined revival as “when pagans come back to church”. I would see it more as “when pagans come back to God” through the witness and demonstration of a Spirit empowered church.

    You said, “If the people of God genuinely lived as disciples of Jesus then we would see society transformed.” But if this is not happening then maybe we need to cry out that God would “revive” his church and through us that we would see society transformed.

    I also agree with you about the “so-called prophesying” Hamo (and feel the same repulsion) and agree that this was the main thrust of your post and is worth addressing. I hear and understand the call to incarnational mission and agree that this is an ongoing call that needs to be heard and responded to. I also believe though that we need to be called back to persevering and persistent prayer and just like in the early church we should be crying out, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:30)

    I feel it is easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater and that your post was heading in this direction 🙂

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  38. I stumbled across this while trying to discover if there was any history of ‘revival’ in Perth (have to love google!)

    I love how you challenge what’s become a cliched call for revival. It sounds like the meaning of the word has been lost somewhere along the way.

    The Hebrew word ‘Ruah’ comes into it a lot for me. Something along the lines of breath, an inhaling, this idea of the very breath of God upon a situation in a new, fresh way that inspires and draws others to Christ.

    I suppose it happens in the church – in the sense of a community of believers, whether they be two or whether they be five thousand – first, before it happens anywhere else. And the prayer and the living it go completely hand-in-hand – to separate one from the other is to break down the whole thing itself, whatever the ‘thing’ is.

    Something I’m already grappling with, trying to mull over. Thanks for the further food for thought:-)

    Ultimately, as someone else mentioned waaaay up in the post list, “It’s all about Jesus…” With that as the starting point, the through line, and the end point, it all makes sense. Somehow.

  39. So what do you think about what is going on in Florida at the moment. Genuine revival/outpouring/move of God??

    “Report of the Lakeland, Florida, outpouring (May 4–9) by Shawn Gabie.

    WOW!!!!! Is all I can say, these last couple nights and weeks have been wild. This anointing is so tangible and contagious in Lakeland, Florida at the meetings led by Todd Bentley. We have just been in some of the most powerful meetings and it’s been so incredible. The healing explosion that has happened has just been amazing as we’ve seen testimony after testimony of notable, medically documented miracles. Thousands of people are being delivered, saved and healed by the power of God everyday. Even in the market within 48 hours on the street we’ve heard reports of over 400 people giving their hearts to the LORD. It’s breaking out in the market where it is supposed to go…I’m hearing new reports of explosions of His power on the street all the time…This is just some of the fruit that’s being produced from this outpouring in Lakeland. I’ve been under the heavy influence of His glory for a while now and we’re so excited to bring it back to Ottawa and around everywhere we go. It’s transforming us and taking us to new heights in the spirit. It’s not just happening in Lakeland but its already breaking out everywhere around the world. People are holding extended meetings every night and people are getting saved, healed and delivered by the masses. This is truly historic, and is only the beginning of something incredible.”

    So what do you think??

  40. The words and concerns you have writen in this blog touch not only the shores of your Nation but I suspect every nation on the face of this earth… A friend of mine in Oregon, USA came across this blog and we discussed it… We have felt just as you do for a time now… So many are claiming revival has come or is coming yet there is no visable evidence of revival… When the Word of God is preached in true revival Signs… Wonders and Miracles will follow… Repentance will be preached… And all… not some or many… will be healed Spiritually… Emotionally and Physically… And this will bring the multitudes to Christ… Just as in the day of Christ himself… God is trying to be heard in the hearts of His Children but who is listening… He is not satisfied with what is going on in the body of Christ and He is seeking change… I suspect you have heard a glimmer of His voice in your spirit that is why I believe you are restless for change… But what will those of us who are restless do when we have heard his voice… Will we rise up to the challange or will we too fade away with time… Will we too hunker down in our pews and just hold on until the Lord returns… We will continue to settle as those in the body of Christ have and who are not even aware they have…


    Okalhoma USA… And we here are supposed to be the Buckle of the Bible belt in America… How tarnished is our Buckle today… We no longer shine…

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  45. All of its true, I sometimes wonder how Aussies let it get to this stage. I think we will become more of an Atheist county in the future. 20% of all Aussies don’t have a religion. That figure scares me. Yet its also 20% of people i believe we can influence. Christianity has 60% and declining.
    I worry for my great country.

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