Renewal, Revival, & Awakenings – Helpful Distinctions

The following are some notes from a talk titled Theology of Revival and which was given by Dr. Timothy Beougher at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Is there a distinction between revival and awakening? While much literature in times past have made no distinction between these two terms, more current literature are starting to make such a distinction. Here is what Dr. Beougher has to say about it.

Renewal: is when God touches the heart of a single individual (Romans 12:1-2). We should experience this daily.

Revival: is when God touches a community of faith. This is not something that happens on a daily basis. Revival is primarily a phenomena among believers and secondarily a phenomenon affecting unbelievers.

Awakening: is something that spills out into the overall community.

Another way to state it:
~ If a revival happens, everyone in the church will know it. If an awakening happens, everyone in the community will know it.

Other Notes:
(1) Some revivals spill over into the wider society. Others do not. I guess this means that some revivals transform into awakenings.

(2) Dr. Beougher also mentions that revivals have different expressions. In some Xtn communities, a revival may have people who will weep loudly and wail as they confess their sins. In other church they may be much more quiet and reserved.

(3) There will always be excesses and backsliding that come with every revival. This is the nature of every revival. Satan is right there creating opposition and spurious behavior in order to thwart the revival.