Hallelujah, it’s revival season once again! Revival season is a bit like silly season but a little more of a minefield for the unwary commentator.
Let me hand the blog over to the following quote from the website of Victory Church, Wales to fill you in on the latest phenomenon in the UK Christian community.
“At almost precisely 7.35pm on April 10, 2013 the heavens opened over Wales, in the town of Cwmbran…a man who had been wheelchair-bound for ten years was healed; he picked up his chair and ran around the church with his chair held over his head like a trophy, while his wife jumped and span in grateful awe.”
We are now past day 50 of what has been called: ‘The Welsh Outpouring’.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Christian revival then I can only envy you. Basically it’s a historic phenomenon which debatably results in reduced crime rates, miracles, mass conversions and a kind of spiritual awakening in a particular area.
It is also a minefield. Half of the Christian community adamantly opposes it and say that the whole thing is disturbingly fraudulent. The other half will not hear a bad word spoken about it. And the two groups will go at it like the dysfunctional family we can sometimes be. People get polarised one way or the other and it is not a very beautiful sight.
I sense a little cynicism out there. Don’t worry, you are not alone. But I’m qualified and trained to comment. What I cannot do is perform the miracle of validating a healing which no editor seems interested in commissioning a struggling freelancer like me to write about.
Here are the basic facts.
1. Victory Church is Elim Pentecostal in denomination.
2. There are blog reports of 400 people attending the church and queuing outside it.
3. The leader of the church is named Richard Taylor.
4. Since April 10 there have been meetings almost every night with more unverified reports of healings.
5. On Saturday 11th May the church claims that over 60 people were baptised. They intend to baptise more people.
6. Richard Taylor is an ex-drug user turned pastor who now spends his time trying to help drug users and offenders. He seems genuine and has written a book called ‘To Catch a Thief’. He collaborated with the BBC some years ago to produce a programme designed to help people protect their properties from thieves
So is he stealing money from people in a whole new way? Not really. From all accounts any offerings taken are voluntarily placed into buckets. There are no calls for donations in the meetings.
Someone on Mumsnet lamented that the whole thing hadn’t received any news coverage (on a discussion thread called: ’Welsh outpouring not in the news?’).
That’s because people want verification of the healing which is often very hard to get.
Another mum commented: "...the journalist who reported the first genuine healing would be set up for life.”
Hallelujah!? But sadly for your intrepid correspondent, it seems that this scoop will be earned by another. Not even considering the spiritual aspect to the whole story (which anyone who has tried to report on these things will always encounter), there are still certain problems.
1. Very few writers want to rubbish a genuine revival.
2. Very few writers want to support a fake revival.
3. The rest don’t even know what a revival is.
If you want to find out more then there is a Facebook page and a livestream of the church services linked to that. So those of us in need of some kind of healing can experience the dubious joy of watching other people get healed and not ourselves.
At this point I am neither for nor against it. All I know is that this blog entry will please neither side.