The great John Wesley was passing through Newcastle, England, in May 1742, when he was taken aback by its carnal ways. He wrote in his journal: “I was surprised: so much drunkenness, cursing and swearing (even from the mouths of little children) do I never remember to have seen and heard before, in so small a compass of time. Surely this place is ripe for Him who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
If Wesley’s England was ripe, is it not more ripe today? Ripe for a sweeping, Holy Spirit-led move of God to grip the hearts and minds of unregenerate people in desperate need of the Savior? Isn’t this every person’s greatest need, whether or not he or she has yet realized it?
I pastored for 25 years at Westminster Chapel, London, and what I see in today’s U.K. is a nation ever more spiritually adrift and loosed from its historic moral and spiritual moorings. God is sovereign over nations as well as individual people. I believe that without a wave of repentance of sin in the churches and an awakening outside, we shall reap the bitter fruit of what we have sown, collectively and individually.
In this postmodern age, the U.K. is full of people who have never heard a clear proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is great opportunity before us—ripe for revival. Will we seize the moment?
Just last month, I was invited to a luncheon in London with evangelist Franklin Graham and church leaders who are wisely and courageously supporting his evangelistic meetings in eight cities. LGBTQ activists have threatened scheduled meetings for the Graham Tour UK, and Franklin has been maligned and mischaracterized.
As I wrote on my blog, I’d give anything if this luncheon had been filmed and shown all over Britain. Attitudes everywhere would change. Unlike the caricatures of the LGBTQ activists and their fellow travelers, Franklin is humble and unpretentious, though undeniably bold. He preaches the same simple Gospel his father preached, and that I have preached for decades.
That message, friends, is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For the heterosexual sinner and the homosexual sinner alike. For the adulterer and the tax cheat, for the thief and the backbiter, for the self-righteous religionist and the admitted skeptic. For the angry father and the desperate mother. For the depressed young person overwhelmed by the instability of this world.
That message is Good News, and it is what Britain needs.
Will Gospel-believing pastors and churches stand boldly and be counted at this strategic moment of opportunity? I pray so. Will you join me in praying for a sweeping move of God? If you are in the U.K., will you join in supporting Franklin Graham in a clear, unapologetic, Spirit-empowered proclamation of the Gospel?
Across the world today, there is not one social or spiritual problem that does not have its answer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter tells us that God has given His children “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Amid economic uncertainty, He is enough to sustain us. Problems of hopelessness, poverty, addiction, relational dysfunction, division driven by social media—not one problem fails to look small in the light of His glory.
As Franklin has preached numerous times, God sent His Son on a rescue mission for lost, sinful humanity. This is the greatest news ever, and we are the appointed messengers.
Paul said, “The god of this world”—little g—“has blinded the minds” of those who don’t believe
(2 Corinthians 4:4). Well, what we’re facing here is what has always been true. People don’t know they have a need. And it’s the Holy Spirit who will awaken them. Before Paul went to Corinth, he said, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The Greeks believed that only the scum of the earth would be crucified. So what does Paul preach? The cross and the blood. The very things the flesh would despise. The Holy Spirit’s power would be demonstrated in the Gospel message alone, and Paul knew that.
Franklin Graham knows that. He is upfront with the cross, and that is what is needed more than any degree of cleverness or novel approaches. You need to preach a message that will bring the Holy Spirit alongside to endorse what you’re saying. And if the power of the Spirit is on people to hear the Gospel, they’re going to be converted, regardless of their past sins or what they have believed. The Holy Spirit will overrule their weakness.
Paul had such a confidence in the Gospel, and I believe that’s where Franklin is. He is uncompromising about the power of the Gospel to convict and save souls.
My heart is to see revival here in the U.K. I used to say that the next great move of God would start in England, and it must be Gospel-centered. That is still my hope. And I pray that God would use Franklin Graham to initiate it.
Remember, John Wesley was not put off by what he saw that day in 1742. He didn’t say, “There’s no hope here; these people are too sinful.” He said, “Ripe for revival.” That’s the way to look at it. I look forward to seeing what God will do through Franklin’s Gospel preaching in these eight cities. May God be honored, may throngs of souls be converted, and may the faithful be bold to stand with him.
I, for one, can do no other. ©2020 R.T. Kendall
R.T. Kendall is an author, speaker and theologian. He served as pastor at Westminster Chapel in London from 1977 to 2002.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.