Matt Self over at The Gad(d)about, besides having the common sense to pick drums over all other musical instruments, also has the brains to quote Leonard Ravenhill. Good for Matt. The American Church needs to hear more Ravenhill.
If you haven’t been around Cerulean Sanctum very long, you’ll get to know Ravenhill soon enough. He and A.W. Tozer are the “patron saints” of this blog. No one in the last century wrote blistering words like Tozer and no one preached with more fire than Ravenhill. That they were friends in real life is the icing on the cake.
I don’t do a lot of imploring on this blog, but if you’ve never heard Ravenhill preach, I implore you to go to SermonIndex.net and check out the Ravenhill section at this link (with videos at this link).
Ravenhill was more than a preacher, though; he may have been the last true English-speaking revivalist with roots that went back to the Welsh Revival. He passed away in 1994, and one of the greatest losses in my own life is that I mismarked a calendar and missed him preaching at a local church. He passed away not too long afterward.
Yet he lives on in his teaching tapes, and most of them are incendiary. Not only did Ravenhill handle the Scriptures in a way unmatched today, but he could draw parallels and bring two disparate Biblical concepts together like no other preacher I’ve ever heard. He not only knew the ins and outs of the Bible, but hundreds of hymns, too. Best of all, he had a solid understanding of how the charismata work today. He was the total package. Listening to him is so convicting I find it hard not to keep from rending my clothes and pouring ashes on myself. If you want to know that “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” may have sounded like to Jonathan Edwards’ listeners, check out few of the highest-rated Ravenhill sermons on SermonIndex.net, especially those before he was slowed by a stroke in the mid-1980s.
God knows that we need another like him to rouse the Church in 2006.
And though it’s a shame to limit the breadth of Leonard Ravenhill’s wisdom to a few zingers, I’ll end with some of his more pithy statements:
The only time you can really say that ‘Christ is all I need’ is when Christ is all you have.
If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.
A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscience.
The last words of Jesus to the church (in Revelation) were ‘Repent!’
A true shepherd leads the way. He does not merely point the way.
Your doctrine can be as straight as a gun barrel…and just as empty!
John the Baptist never performed any miracles; yet, he was greater than any of the Old Testament prophets.
I doubt that more than two percent of professing Christians in the United States are truly born again.
Our God is a consuming fire. He consumes pride, lust, materialism, and other sin.
There are only two kinds of persons: those dead in sin and those dead to sin.
[Concerning the darkness that has enveloped most of Christendom:] When you’re sitting in a dark room, you can either sit and curse the darkness, or you can light a candle.
Children can tell you what Channel 7 says, but not what Matthew 7 says.
Some women will spend 30 minutes to an hour preparing for church externally (putting on special clothes and makeup, etc.). What would happen if we all spent the same amount of time preparing internally for church, with prayer and meditation?
Maturity comes from obedience, not necessarily from age.
What good does it do to speak in tongues on Sunday if you have been using your tongue during the week to curse and gossip?
The Bible is either absolute or it’s obsolete.
Why do we expect to be better treated in this world than Jesus was?
Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.
Testimonies are wonderful. But so often our lives don’t fit our testimonies.
[Concerning one of the new movements in the church that was causing a stir among Christians:] There’s also a stir when the circus comes to town.
My main ambition in life is to be on the Devil’s most wanted list.
You can’t develop character by reading books. You develop it from conflict.
When there’s something in the Bible that churches don’t like, they call it ‘legalism.’
We can’t serve God by proxy.
We must do what we can do for God before He will give us the power to do what we can’t do.
There’s a difference between changing your opinion and changing your lifestyle.
Our seminaries today are turning out dead men.
How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don’t even have the strength to turn off your TV?
Everyone recognizes that Stephen was Spirit-filled when he was performing wonders. Yet, he was just as Spirit-filled when he was being stoned to death.
If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong!
[Concerning the fixation that today’s church has with numbers, with growth at any price:] The church has paid a terrible price for statistics!
Any method of evangelism will work if God is in it.
Church unity comes from corporate humility.
You can have all of your doctrines right, yet still not have the presence of God.
Many pastors criticize me for taking the Gospel so seriously. But do they really think that on Judgment Day Christ will chastise me, saying, ‘Leonard, you took Me too seriously’?
You can know a lot about the atonement and yet receive no benefit from it.
If the whole church goes off into deception, that will in no way excuse us for not following Christ.
You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.