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A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir Hardcover – November 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

The importance of spiritual revival and the necessity of conversion is being questioned in many evangelical and Reformed circles. I'm so glad that this book is appearing now, as a witness both to how God has worked in the church in the past and what he can do in the future. --Tim Keller, Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church

My dear friend John Woodbridge has hooked up with one of the ablest young minds in the Christian world to produce a timely reminder of the great moments in the history of our faith. We live in immensely serious times, and this book is a serious response that could truly inspire the church to do what it must do in our world today. May God use this to light a fire among his people. --Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview

This book shows how God has moved in extraordinary ways throughout the history of the church. Genuine revival is not the result of marketing, technique, or entrepreneurship. As the stories here show, true revival comes as a "surprising work of God." When this happens, lives are changed, the church reformed, and the world renewed. How we need such a stirring today! --Timothy George, Dean of the School of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School

Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge write very much in the spirit of Jonathan Edwards in narrating revivals as a means of edifying and inspiring. A God-Sized Vision provides accessible and thoughtful accounts of classic American revivals from Edwards to Billy Graham and includes important stories of how in the twentieth-century revivals become some of the most remarkable developments worldwide. --George Marsden, Author, Jonathan Edwards: A Life and A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards

How soon we forget! While we must never despise the ordinary means of grace that God customarily uses in the salvation of men and women, we must not forget those extraordinary times when in his mercy God has seemed to come down and pour out his Spirit in such transforming power that all of our expectations are reduced to rubble in the sheer glory of the transforming presence of God. Yes, many of these movements had downsides and charlatans connected with them--but fair-minded assessment must stand in grateful awe for these "visitations." May the renewed knowledge of what God has done in the past incite us to prayer that God would do it again. --D. A. Carson, Professor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Review

Hansen and Woodbridge have given us a rare book on revival. They affirm the supernatural, without being sensationalistic. They celebrate the surprising work of God, without downplaying the ordinary. They demonstrate the ecumenical scope of revival, without ignoring the important role theology plays in the ongoing health of the church. This book will guard us against complacency, cynicism, and, just as importantly, the naiveté that thinks revival solves everything. An encouraging, judicious, well-told tale of God’s amazing work around the globe throughout the ages. -- Kevin DeYoung, , Author|Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge write very much in the spirit of Jonathan Edwards in narrating revivals as a means of edifying and inspiring. A God-Sized Vision provides accessible and thoughtful accounts of classic American revivals from Edwards to Billy Graham and includes important stories of how in the twentieth-century revivals become some of the most remarkable developments worldwide. -- George Marsden, , Author|In A God-Sized Vision, Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge do a remarkable job of summarizing the Spirit-wrought revivals of times past, and then challenging us to pray expectantly for the Holy Spirit to do a similar work in our day. There is no doubt that we desperately need such a ministry of the Spirit. I wish every pastor and Christian leader in America would read this book and begin to pray earnestly for authentic revival in our time. -- Jerry Bridges, , Author|This is the best book on Revival in decades. A magnificent, thoroughly biblically based look in the tradition of Edwards, Whitefield and Lloyd-Jones, with stories to transform your prayer life from Wales to China. Your vision of God will be far greater for reading this book. -- Christopher Catherwood, , Author|Hansen and Woodbridge rightly believe that our “modern crisis demands a God-sized response.” History demonstrates that true revival---the supernatural outpouring of God’s Spirit on and through His people---produces results that cannot be attributed to the best of human efforts or programs. The authors have done a great service to the Body of Christ by providing this treatment of the biblical moorings and patterns for revival and by chronicling some of those divine moments of the past when God pulled back the curtain and manifested his presence in an extraordinary way. This book will leave you longing for such a visitation of his Spirit in our day and praying, “Lord, do it again!” -- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, , Author|The importance of spiritual revival and the necessity of conversion is being questioned in many evangelical and Reformed circles. I’m so glad that this book is appearing now, as a witness both to how God has worked in the church in the past and what he can do in the future. -- Tim Keller, , Pastor|This book shows how God has moved in extraordinary ways throughout the history of the church. Genuine revival is not the result of marketing, technique, or entrepreneurship. As the stories here show, true revival comes as a “surprising work of God.” When this happens, lives are changed, the church reformed, and the world renewed. How we need such a stirring today! -- Timothy George, , Dean of the School of Divinity|The church is ripe for a revival that will bring back true Christian values and empower it to become a powerful force for the transformation of society and for the reaping of a ripe evangelistic harvest. I have been praying for this for my nation Sri Lanka for over thirty-five years. During this long wait, I have had periods when I lose the urgency of desire for revival. At such times, few things help reignite the yearning for revival as much as reading books describing God’s work of reviving the church in history. This is what happened to me when reading this book. While reading, I had to stop often to reflect and pray for God to deal with areas in my life which needed his sanctifying, forgiving and healing grace. God reminded me that those who pray for revival must first pray for revival in their own lives. An added value of this book is that it shows how during some revivals the church neglected emphasising some key biblical themes and the unfortunate consequences of such neglect. For example, some revivals were used to challenge prevailing prejudice and injustice in society, whereas others neglected these with dire consequences. May this book challenge Christians to yearn for and pray for the church to experience all that God wishes for it. -- Ajith Fernando, , National Director|Standing recently at the very spot where the Fulton Street revival broke out in the 19th century, I was struck anew by how God has shaped the church through periods of revival and reformation. Now, along come Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge to give us a panoramic and authoritative history of revival in America---and one that is accessible to every Christian. This is a book that will educate even as it will encourage all believers to pray for a revival of biblical Christianity in our times. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr, , President|Compacted in this volume are accounts of the awe-inspiring work of God when he moves upon his people in revival power. The story is told by careful scholars who have a gift for making history come alive. Reading the book will lift one to noble thoughts and dreams of greater things. Take it as a rejuvenating vitamin for your soul. -- Robert E. Coleman, , Professor|How soon we forget! While we must never despise the ordinary means of grace that God customarily uses in the salvation of men and women, we must not forget those extraordinary times when in his mercy God has seemed to come down and pour out his Spirit in such transforming power that all of our expectations are reduced to rubble in the sheer glory of the transforming presence of God. Yes, many of these movements had downsides and charlatans connected with them---but fair-minded assessment must stand in grateful awe for these “visitations.” May the renewed knowledge of what God has done in the past incite us to prayer that God would do it again. -- D. A. Carson, , Professor|When studying the history of revival, one thing stands out: it’s always packs of God-dependent, unafraid, praying, “Here am I, send me” people that God uses to awaken churches and cities and cultures to the power of his might---and if ever the world needed the church to be revived, it’s now. For, the world doesn’t need our savvy programs; it needs God’s sovereign power. I pray that this stimulating study of revival and those that God has used to bring revival about will indeed stretch and stir the twentieth-first century church to realize once again that the ultimate factor in the church’s engagement with society is the church’s engagement with God. -- Tullian Tchividjian, , Pastor and Author
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310327032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310327035
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Collin Hansen (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is editorial director for the Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists and has written for Books & Culture, Tabletalk, Leadership, and Christian History & Biography. He has appeared as a commentator on Fox News, and his work has been featured in Time magazine.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MomOfThreeBoys on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I spent an entire day listening to the audio version of this book. It is my passion to seek God and I hunger for revival. This book started out Awesome but ended up not making a distinction between true and false revival. I am not saying that it did not attempt to make a distinction but I am saying it got it very wrong. It was uncritical of the Finney "revival" which was not a true revival and it considered the Billy Graham Crusades which ended up having less than 5% of those who ever went forward ever joining a local church - Which is the definition of emotionalism and not revival. I thought this book went from being about a God sized vision for the first two thirds to being a man sized vision for the final third. Just because we have not had true revival in America since the Great Awakening does not mean that we need to look for sensationalism and call it revival. If true revival was marked by large numbers then Joel Osteen and his new age gospel would be a revival. We need another great awakening like the days of Whitefield and Edwards where God moves and men are broken over their sin and have a true God sized vision. Not a man made works based emotional movement that stirs people up and then leaves them unchanged - every youth rally in America does that. As Spurgeon said, "Discernment is not knowing right from wrong, it is knowing right from almost right." This book is almost right.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Lonas on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The prayer of so many Christians today and through the ages has been for revival--for the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to descend and move the Church to renewed faith and obedience. Often, however, we look around at the troubles in the world and the nominalistic apathy among Christians only to conclude that God is somehow done working among us with any power.

A look at the Church history does wonders to change that perspective, and with God-Sized Vision, Hansen and Woodbridge provide a focused look at the nature and role of revival through the centuries of God's work with His people. From the annals of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and the Great Awakening to 20th century outpourings in Africa and Asia, the authors show how, time and again, the Lord has seen fit to move in dramatic fashion.

Even as each of these revivals was manifested in a different way in different places at different times, a common theme emerges from each of these stories. Each instance began with the earnest prayer of believers, mindful of the depravity around them and of God's sole power to change men's hearts. Each revival began when the Lord answered those prayers by filling men and women with His Spirit and they expressed that anointing (as is always the case in Scripture) with the faithful preaching of the Word. Each had the effect of convicting believers of sin, stirring them to repentance and greater obedience to God's will. Each produced an outpouring of evangelism that brought many unbelievers to faith in Christ.

As the authors repeatedly point out, each true revival is marked by its leaders giving full glory to God, taking no credit for any of the effects of renewal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Umland on April 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a life long resident of Connecticut, but also a life long born again Christian, I have no idea what it's like to not live in a mission field. Connecticut, all of New England in fact, has some of the lowest concentrations of evangelical Christians in the nation. This means most (~95%) of my fellow flinty New Englanders do not share my belief in the Bible as the Word of God, in Jesus as the only savior of our souls, in salvation by grace, in a lifestyle of worship characterized by ethics defined biblically, etc. But it wasn't always so in the history of my neck of the woods. I was encouraged to read the similarity of the culture in New England 400 years ago before Jonathan Edwards witnessed a revival, America's First Great Awakening which broke out in his neighborhood of Northhampton, Mass. Then his grandson, Timothy Dwight witnessed a revival at Yale, in New Haven, Conn. a hundred years later. Dwight's observations show me that no matter who the anti-Christian philosopher of the era is, the effects are the same.

"Striplings scarcely found that the world had been enveloped in general darkness through a long succession of preceding ages, and that the light of human wisdom had just begun to dawn upon the human race. The world they resolutely concluded to have been probably eternal, and matter the only existence. Man, they determined, sprang like a mushroom out of the earth like a chemical process; and the power of thinking, choice and motive were merely a result of elective affinities. If, however, there was God and man was a creative being, he was created only to be happy. As therefore, animal pleasure is the only happiness, so they resolved that the enjoyment of that pleasure is the only end of his creation." p. 64

Wow! The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Noah Hutchison on January 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A God-Sized Vision by Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge is really a great book. They do a wonderful job placing the various pieces of revival stories together in one book that is easy to read. It is not an exhaustive account of every instance of revival that has ever occurred, but it does cover most of the notable ones that we as believers often hear about.

While there are many books out there discussing revivals, the heart behind this book is that "Christians who want to bring their lives in line with their deepest beliefs" would be able to by being stretched and stirred by these stories of revival. The writers say they want to "take you back to days when God tore open the heavens and gave this world a glimpse of blissful eternity, that it might stir you to offer prayers that move God."

When I think about what a reader could enjoy most about this book aside from becoming more familiar with the stories of our heritage as believers, I think about balance. I personally love the paradigm the writers bring forward of the need for us as believers to "strike the right balance between pleading for God to do what only he can do and striving in the meantime to bolster the church as a faithful minister of the gospel." All to often we see leaders and lay church members lose the balance between these two things and the result I see is a fragile place where sin and neglect often triumph in these individuals lives. We need to preach the gospel and we need to ask God for a move of His Spirit in the land, however we cannot afford to neglect one for the sake of the other.

In reading A God-Sized Vision the one thing I would have loved to have seen is a little more practical application for the reader.
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