The Dam Holding Back Revival

There is a “dam,” an obstruction, a powerful fortification barring revival in our churches and in our country. Unless we bring down this “dam,” its restraining force will continue to hold back the flood waters of spiritual cleansing and renewal for which all true followers of Christ thirst and pray.

Revival, or sweeping spiritual renewal, always exhibits the following two characteristics. First, revival always begins with the church (i.e., with those who claim to know Christ). Second, revival always results from a sharper consciousness of our sin, which evokes godly sorrow and true repentance (turning away from sin).

What is this “dam” holding back the flood waters of revival in our churches? Abortion. One third of our church family has at some time or another participated in an abortion.[1] And Life Services estimates that only five percent of those men and women have ever seriously dealt with this weighty matter in their lives.

Before you cut me off, my purpose is not to ostracize or make an example of these individuals. I know that many took part in one or more abortions before they came to Christ, but many others since declaring Christ as Lord. Eighteen percent of women who abort their children identify themselves as Evangelicals or born-again Christians.[2] True, the grace and mercy extended to us through the blood of Christ is more than sufficient to cover these or any other sins. The problem is that we’ve never dealt with our sins of abortion and we as a church continue to abort our children.

Why am I singling out this sin? First, because it is so pervasive. When I initially heard that one in three men and women in our Evangelical congregations has had one or more abortions, I didn’t believe it. But when I tested the statistic in my own church I found it to be accurate. A second reason I am singling out this sin is because it is so detestable to God.

Abortion is detestable to God for two reasons. First, because “Do not commit murder” is one of only Ten Commandments He gave us to live by. Yet we have brazenly redefined murder in order to excuse and rationalize taking the life of an unborn child. In God’s vernacular, “We have despised His Word.”

Equally detestable is the second reason. Due to our own self-centered lusts, pleasures, or desires we destroy the life of an innocent, unborn child. We are guilty of shedding innocent blood. Jesus declared the devil a liar and a murderer. Abortion is the devil’s work and many of us have become his accomplices.

Randy Alcorn asserts, “There are demonic forces behind child-killing. Abortion is Satan’s attempt to kill God in effigy by destroying the little ones created in God’s image. We are not dealing here with ‘one more social issue,’ but a unique and focused evil in which Satan has deeply vested interests.”[3]

The Bible says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 NIV) Of all the sins plaguing the church abortion is not only most prevalent, but also the one most concealed. Understandably, those who have participated in abortion feel the weight of their shame and guilt and fear being exposed. Yet, it is precisely that—exposure and confession that will begin the healing process. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16 NIV)

What other life-altering sin affects a full third of us? Do you see why dealing with abortion in our churches is so vital for revival to occur? Imagine what would happen if one third of your church experienced the refreshment of Christ’s mercy, grace and abundant forgiveness and unconditional love and acceptance from their brothers and sisters in Christ. Such confession and repentance would break down the “dam” that has been holding back revival for the past 40 years and wash over the other two-thirds of our congregations.

Consider that forty years ago, when our country dove headlong into abortion at Roe v. Wade, our last great revival known as the “Jesus People Movement” began to die along with our unborn children.

We must not be deceived into thinking that we need only wait for spiritual revival to come and solve the abortion problem. It is our responsibility to draw near to God by dealing with our sin and guilt, so that he is free to come near and bless us. Revival is likely not to precede, but to follow our coming to terms with child-killing:

‘Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:8-10 NIV)[4]


©2014 Rob Fischer

[1] Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States, Guttmacher Institute: “At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, ad, at current rates, about one-third will have had an abortion.” May 2010, www.guttmacher.org. See also: http://etb-political.blogspot.com/2012/03/christians-have-as-many-abortions-as.html and http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/40519-why-do-so-many-churchgoers-have-abortions.

[2] Randy Alcorn, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, (Sisters, OR: Multomah Publishers, 2000), p. 293.

[3] Randy Alcorn, pp. 295-296.

[4] Randy Alcorn, p. 295.