“Pentecostal Outpourings” may not sound like the title of a Reformed book, but the collective authors of the new book, “Pentecostal Outpourings: Revival and the Reformed Tradition” show that such an assumption would be wrong. As the writers make clear, Spirit-wrought revival has had a strong and ongoing presence in the history of Reformed churches. The book is edited by Robert Davis Smart, Michael A.G. Haykin, and Ian Hugh Clary, and contains chapters from all three of these men together with contributions from Steve Lawson, Joel Beeke, Eifion Evans, Iain D. Campbell, Peter Beck, and Tom J. Nettles. This is an expansive book, with a range of authors discussing an assortment of issues related to the various revivals which have taken place in numerous countries over many centuries. The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with “Revival in the British Isles” looking at its impact and expression for the Welsh, the Irish, the English, and the Scottish in turn. Part two shifts to a discussion of “Revival in America” with chapters on revivals among Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and the American Dutch Reformed.
Through this thorough survey, the authors clearly show that revival is not foreign to the Reformed tradition. Indeed, not only is it something that has happened in the past, it is also something the we should long to see happen again. The final chapter of the book is aptly entitled: “A Concluding Word: A Call to Seek God for Revival Today”. While Reformed believers have always rightly been wary of Revivalism (and the emotionalism it produces), God-honoring, biblical revival is something that should be close to all of our hearts. This book goes a long way towards helping us understand what that has looked like over the centuries; and it points us towards what it might look like in our own day.
I would like to thank the good folks over at Cross Focused Reviews for providing me with a free review copy of this book. I was not obligated to provide a positive review.