Bill Dupley shares a historical perspective of recent revivals, with a culminating challenge to each of us to "desire the fire" and to pass that passion on to our children. Now let's hear from Bill.
The church I grew up in closed this year. They were down to a dozen older adults, and I remembered how it was a real going concern when I was a boy, but now it is just a memory. All over Ontario churches are up for sale because members have dropped off.
The question begs to be asked, “why is that happening”? What is different between thriving churches and dying churches? I have read the following articles on this reality.“Dr. David Haskell from Wilfrid Laurier University tracked down (with difficulty) a sample of growing Canadian Mainline Protestant churches and compared the traits of their clergy and congregants to those of typical, declining Mainline Protestant churches (not difficult to find). The results from the surveys of over 2,200 growing and declining church attendees and the clergy that serve them showed that the single greatest difference between the growing Mainline churches and the declining was their theological orientation. The growing church pastors and attendees held conservative Christian beliefs while the declining folks, especially the pastors, tended to reject traditional doctrine. For example, when asked to agree or disagree with the statement, "Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb" 93 percent of growing church pastors agreed versus just 56 percent of the declining church pastors.” [i]“
Canada’s four mainline denominations — Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and United Churches — have lost over half their members since the 1960s, even while the population of the country as a whole has nearly doubled. However, Christianity is on the rise in the rest of the world. Asia is experiencing growth as world Christianity's center has moved not only South but also East. In the last century, Christianity grew at twice the rate of population in that continent. [ii]
Over the years in North America, there have been times of significant growth in Faith. A revival often precedes these events. A revival is an event where there is increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national, or global effect.[iii]
New Testament Church
The New Testament church was a supernatural church. All of the Gifts of the Spirit were all in operation. Many of the mainline churches say these Charismatic Gifts passed away with the apostles and are not for today. As a result, these churches have been robbed of the truth that empowered Paul to take the Gospel to most of the known world.
Desire the Gifts of the Spirit
Three times the apostle Paul exhorts us to desire earnestly spiritual gifts.
- 1 Cor 12: 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
- 1 Cor 14: 1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.
- 1 Cor 14: 39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
The word eagerly desire is the Greek word diókó it means to eagerly pursue aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch (prize)Paul uses this word to describe how we are to seek after the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are to desire the fire. It is to be a passion in our lives.
Baptism in the Holy Ghost
As a boy, I attended a church that did not believe in the gifts of the Spirit. As a result, I turned away from the church for nine years of my life. My girlfriend Susan started to read a book by Dennis Bennet called 9 o’clock in the morning. It was about an Anglican minister who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Susan's mother had started to attend Anglican charismatic meetings. Susan wanted to go to one of these meetings, I wasn't all that crazy, but I went anyway. We went into this orthodox Anglican church, and I saw people playing a guitar and singing choruses, not hymns. I saw men singing with their hands raised. I had never seen that before. I also felt something that I realize now it was the presence of God.
At the end of that service, we went forward, and I remember saying, "I believe this is what Christ church is supposed to be like." I asked these people what's different about you than any other Christians I had met. They said they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I had never heard this happening to anyone. Three months later, Sue and I went to a full gospel businessmen's breakfast. At the end of the meeting, they gave an invitation to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. I ran to the front. I wanted what these people had. As they lay hands on me, the Holy Spirit poured over me, and I felt like buckets of electricity came over my body. Susan began to speak in other tongues immediately, but I didn't want to have anything to do with that. Six months later, I woke up speaking in tongues.
We were transformed, we didn't know anything in the Bible, but we believed you need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to tell everyone. For the next 18 years, we attended a church that believed in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but there was little evidence of the gifts of the Spirit. I felt a gnawing in my heart on how will my children ever experience the fire like I did and began to search out another church.
Toronto Airport Vineyard
In 1992 we visited Toronto Airport Vineyard. As they worshipped, I felt the presence of God and they prophesied over my children. As a result, we decided to change churches. This was a tough choice. I loved my church, I had lots of friends there, and I loved the culture. But I loved the Holy Spirit more. I wanted the gifts of the Spirit. I loved the presence of God.
Catch the Fire Toronto
In 1994 on a Thursday night, a pastor from St. Louis came to our church, and the fire fell. People were laughing and falling, hollering, and shaking. As soon as we were prayed for, we were impacted by the Holy Spirit and fell to the ground. We were affected by an anointing that would later be called the Toronto Blessing. The Toronto Blessing has affected millions of people throughout the world. We have considered it a privilege to be a part of that movement for the last 25 years.
I have noticed that God seems to restore or provide power behind certain truths that have gone dormant during revivals.
Truth Restored: For example, in Toronto, God restored the following truths:
1. All can hear the voice of God,
2. Your Heavenly Father wants a relationship with you and that we can know his heart.
3. God wants to heal your heart.
I also believe that God broke the common ministry practice that prayer ministry is only done by ministers. For example, in most previous revivals, a charismatic leader facilitated the revival. Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, Evan Roberts are all examples of this type of revival. There was a personality related to the movement of God. These “men of power for the hour” would lay their hands on people, and the impartation would be released. I believe that this an Old Testament understanding of the anointing. In the Old Testament, the power of God would come on a person like Samson to do some great exploit. In Toronto, we saw a New Testament example of the anointing in operation. The ministry team imparted the power to anyone who wanted to receive it. This team was not made up of ministers. They were just ordinary people who had received the impartation and were committed to giving it away to others.
Another interesting point of the Toronto outpouring was the prophetic word that was given at the beginning of the revival. This prophetic word said that the Toronto outpouring would be like Elisha’s oil.In 2 Kings 4:1-7, Elisha, the prophet, spoke a prophetic word to a widow who helped him. He said that the oil from her oil jar would never run out as long that there were vessels to fill. The outpouring in Toronto had the same prophetic word, and to this day, people continue to seek after the outpouring in Toronto. God continues to honor that prophetic word and fills them with His Spirit. The key, however, is they desire the fire.
I believe that this prophetic word is active in any place where God has poured out His Spirit in the past. We have visited many locations were revival had occurred before and honored what God did there. We then asked Him for the impartation that He released in that place. During the rest of this article, I will describe places we have gone to, and I will also explain the truths that He restored during those revivals.
These locations are like Bethel. They are places where God communicates with his people and reveals His heart.
Bethel is mentioned in over sixty verses in the Bible, representing over thirty distinct stories and prophecies, all of them in the Old Testament. When Jacob was fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau, he stopped for the night at Bethel. That is where he first encountered God, in a dream in which he saw a stairway to heaven, with angels of God ascending and descending on it, and the Lord standing above it. (Genesis 28:10–22)Bethel was one of the first places in the Holy Land where the ark of the covenant of God was set up, and where the priests offered sacrifices and inquired of God. (Judges 20:18, 26–28; 21:2)Bethel served the ancient Hebrews as an early point of communication with God, and God's people would regularly go there to hear from Him.
Unfortunately, Bethel eventually becomes corrupted and becomes a center for idolatry. In the New Testament, it is virtually forgotten. I believe it's a warning to all revival movements.
Our experience in Toronto has given us a passion to visit places where revivals have occurred in the past. For the rest of this article, I will describe some of these Bethel places we have visited and the truths imparted at those revivals.
The Azusa Street outpouring in Los Angeles that began the modern tongue-speaking movement in 1906, actually started in a house on Bonnie Brae Street. Susan and I went to that house, and although we could not get into the house as we stood against the wall on the property, we were overwhelmed by the power of God. Even as I think of it today, I feel at a deep desire to speak in tongues. The impartation that was released at that place overwhelmed us.
Truth Restored: Speaking in tongues and the other charismatic gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are for today.
In Toronto, the Holy Spirit that was poured out in Azuza Street was released in Toronto at two missions. One was called the Camden Street mission. I went down to Camden Street to see if I could sense if the presence of God. I desire fire. The Lord spoke to me and said it's on the north side of the street, as I walked along the sidewalk I walked right through the presence of God. I was filled with the impartation that was released in 1906, Toronto. The interesting point about this visitation is that there was no building remaining. They were building a new apartment building right on the spot, yet God's presence was still there.
Cane Ridge Kentucky
At the beginning of the 19th century, there was an outpouring near Cane Ridge, Kentucky. Twenty thousand people arrived for a six-day camp. James Finney, who was a later a Methodist circuit rider, wrote, “the noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of human beings seems to be agitated as if by a storm. I counted seven ministers, all preaching at one time standing on stumps or wagons. Some of the people were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy, others shouting. While witnessing the scenes of a peculiar sensation such as I'd never felt before came over me. My heartbeat tumultuously, my knees trembled, and my lips quivered, and I felt as though I must fall to the ground.
A strange supernatural power seemed to pervade the entire mass of men there collected. I stepped on a log where I could have a better view of the scene, it was indescribable. At one time, I saw at least 500 swept down in a moment as if the battery of 1000 guns had opened upon them and immediately followed with shrieks and shouts that rent the very heaven. The result of this outpouring was the American frontier was set ablaze the Presbyterians, and Methodists immediately caught fire and, in the flame, broke out in the Baptists. Baptist revivalism had its birth in this movement. [ix]
The Meeting spread all over Eastern America. The frontier was radically transformed. Instead of gambling cursing and vice, spirituality and genuine Christianity characterized the early westward movement.
Sue and I went to Cane Ridge Kentucky, and as we walked on the property, the presence of God began to overwhelm us. As we sat there we were overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord. God responds to hearts that desire the fire.
Truth Restored: Heart for evangelism and holiness.
On 29 September 1904, at Moriah Chapel in Loughor Wales, a young preacher named Evan Roberts preached a message. A tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit fell on that little church. Sue and I went to this church. We were told we would not be able to get in, but we were happy to stand around the outside. As we arrived, there was a man at the door. I asked if he was the pastor. He said, “no, I'm just waiting for an electrician." I told him we’ve come to see where the outpouring occurred in 1904.
He let us in the church, and immediately we were welcomed by the Holy Spirit, again we felt the overpowering presence of the Holy Spirit. The man said the outpouring started next-door in the Sunday school. As we went into that building, we felt a tremendous outpouring, Susan was radically impacted by the power of God. We honored the outpouring that was given here and received the impartation that was released in that revival.
Truth Restored: Supernatural vision
North Battleford Saskatchewan
In 1948 at the Sharon orphanage in North Battleford Saskatchewan in a room called the cloud room, a remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred. It was part of the Latter Rain Movement. A unique impartation happened here. Here is an Account.“During the day men of God, who have been called to various offices by the Lord, as they feel led by the Spirit, call out of the congregation folks whose hearts have been made ready, lay hands upon them and set them apart for God. This laying on of hands is accompanied by various prophecies relative to their ministries and gifts of the Spirit that God has bestowed upon them."
Truth Restored: It was one of the first times in modern history that impartations of an office such as prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist, were imparted to people through prophetic utterance.
I visited the cloud room, and I was overwhelmed by the power of God, and I asked for the impartation that was released in this room, and God gave it to me.
The men who were part of this original impartation in 1948 were meeting that day and, one of them asked if I would talk to them. The first thing I noticed was that they were all old. There were no young people. For whatever reason, there were no young ministers there to continue on the impartation that was released in that place. Now it could be that the leaders did not authorize young people to do the work of the ministry and kept doing it themselves. I'm not sure, but it will die out with them. I believe it is critical to inspire the next generation to desire the fire and to desire to impart the fire, and we, the older, must allow them to do just that.
The impartation in Toronto has continued because of the ministry school. It is a school that is dedicated to impart to the next generation all the truth of the revival and equip them to teach others.
In 1850 a significant revival broke out at a Methodist camp near Grimsby Ontario. Over the next 40 years, people would come and seek the Holy Spirit there. At one point, they build a tabernacle that could seat 5000 people. Unfortunately, by 1900, it had become an amusement park. What happened? Why did it go from being a center of outpouring to just a social experience? I believe people stopped desiring the fire. They just enjoyed the social event of getting together and reminiscing. The desire to be filled and to be passionate about pursuing the Spirit did not pass on to the next generation. The next generation no longer desires the fire.
Warning: You cannot inherit the fire. Every generation must desire the fire for themselves.
1. Some say I don't have to go to a particular place or to the front of the church for God to fill me. Although it is true, God can fill you in your seat that facts are He looks for those who desire His fire. He specifically tells us to desire earnestly spiritual gifts. I have found great value going to these holy places where God has poured out in the past and desiring the impartation given there. To receive the fire, you have to desire the fire. I want to challenge you with the following and ask yourself if you fall into these categories
2. Some have stopped desiring the Fire. I encourage you to light the fire again. Don't be satisfied with just the social life of the Church. We are called to transform our nations. We need the Holy Spirit to do that.
3. Some have not inspired the next generation to desire the fire or created an opportunity for them to impart the fire. I encourage you to change that and open opportunities for them.
4. Some don’t know how to receive the Fire. When I say desire the fire, I do not mean to strive for the fire. Early in the outpouring in Toronto, I invited several young men from my previous church to come to the meetings. They stood on the lines and began to cry out to God, saying, "oh God, we must have this outpouring." I stood behind them, crying out, “yes, God, you must give it to them." The overseer for the Vineyard looked at the five boys and said none of them would receive. I ran up to him and said, how do you know? He said they're all striving to receive, you need to rest to receive. I realized I was also striving to get them to receive. Being filled with the Spirit is like filling a cup with oil. You need to hold the cup still. As we remain still, open our hearts, and trust God, the Holy Spirit will pour into us. It is like Elijah’s oil. You have to hold a glass still for the oil to be poured in. The same is true when being filled with the Holy Spirit.
5. Some people are afraid to receive and close up their hearts. God will not force himself on us, but we have to open our heart and desire the fire to be filled. Often people fall when the Holy Spirit comes upon them because they can't stand up, I recommend you sit down.
Today I would like to give you all an opportunity to receive. Quietly come before the Lord and ask him, Lord, fill you with His fire. Be like Elisha's cups; don't be satisfied with a little and keep asking for more, and the Lord will fill you and fill you.
Who would like a fresh impartation of God's anointing? Ask and you shall receive.
Past Revival Locations
Perhaps you would like to visit some of these places. Here are the locations.
- Catch The Fire Toronto 272 Attwell Dr, Etobicoke, ON M9W 6M3
- Camden Street Mission 42 Camden St, Toronto, ON M5V 1V
- Bonnie Brae Street 216 N Bonnie Brae St, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA
- Moriah Chapel 66-68 Glebe Rd, Loughor, Swansea SA4 6QD, United Kingdom
- Cane Ridge 1655 Cane Ridge Rd, Paris, KY 40361, United States
- Sharon Orphanage 802 Airport Rd, North Battleford, SK S9A 2Z3
- Grimsby Beach Auditorium Grimsby Ontario Canada
[ix] Mendell Taylor Exploring Evangelism Page 142