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article imageRevival Night Natchitoches Provokes Controversy, Debate

By Carol Forsloff     Mar 18, 2009 in World
It was revival night in Natchitoches. The church parking lot spilled over, and cars parked down the block as far as one could see. It was a big thing for the town. I was invited and told that the program would declare the old time religion returned.
While I question needing to go to a revival for myself and needing to be awakened that way, it turns out that Christians wonder whether it's needed as well. In fact there are major debates about it. These days revivals are to awaken churches that are called lethargic and bring new commitments to Jesus. For those who think revivals are only done in tents in the country, let me assure you that tonight's revival was at one of the biggest and most prominent churches in town, with people dressed in more than their Sunday best. They were called to what was a special moment to renew the call to Jesus. But some Christian scholars believe these are “unbiblical” and rely to much on a mystical and fanatical approach to faith as opposed to enlightenment, contemplation and dedication.
For those, however, interested in the revival effort, some churches provide specific guidance on how to carry one out. It is said to be organized and scripturally based, as well as having the program and an outside speaker for rejuvenation. But all that isn't enough. It's a time for dedication, for prayer, for uplifting of the spirit and re-dedication in all things, according to those who prepare for revivals.
Revivals allow emotional expression that it is outward ordinarily so that sedate churchgoers can proclaim faith in open declarations. Still there is great discussion among Christians about what a true revival is and who a true believer and minister to lead one might be. Some consider Robert Schuller, for example, too much of a materialist, man-centered minister. So there is struggle within the evangelist brigade over who is authentically capable of performing a true revival.
I have been to one, as a journalist, at invitation from the Pentecostals. I was honestly guided to a seat, allowed to come in my pantsuit with camera and video some of the event. It isn't my style of worship, but the folks enjoyed it themselves. Some Christians consider it special, while others debate its value. If it helps them become better persons, I suppose that is enough.
For those who would like to see some of this excitement without personally attending a revival, I share with you on this post the one I attended. That way you can learn vicariously and decide whether or not it is your proverbial “cup of tea.”
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