|Title: Revival Centres and the Bible|
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Date Posted：09/12/2007 9:54 AMCopy HTML
The Revival Centres and the Bible
by Troy Waller
The EnlightenedAlthough Revivalists seem to strongly affirm the Bible as important, they reject scholarship and formal study at theological institutions believing that the Holy Spirit will guide them into correct doctrine (Longfield L: 1991). They believe that only those who have been ‘saved' according to their formula have been enlightened to truly understand the Bible. According to the Revival Centres, the reason why non-Revivalists have trouble understanding the King James Version of the Bible is,
'...because people have not been filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible is not understood by the intellect, but its truths are made clear by the light and understanding brought by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "...the Holy Spirit...shall teach you all things..." John 14,26.' (Revival Centres: 1972)This excludes Catholics and Protestants alike (Longfield, L: 1963). However, whilst affirming the enlightenment of all ‘true' believers, Lloyd Longfield was also quick to point out that he was the sole person responsible for the formulation of official Revival Centre doctrines (Longfield, L: 1995) prior to his retirement. It is also interesting to note that the original Revival Centres movement has splintered into a myriad of groups all claiming 'the Truth' whilst in doctrinal dispute with each other.
Bible NumericsThe Revival Centres' most commonly used argument for their belief in Scripture as the infallible, inspired Word of God is Bible Numerics.(see endnote) This theory was most probably introduced into the National Revival Crusade through its involvement with the British Israel World Federation (BIWF) and one can still buy books on Numerics in BIWF bookshops. The Bible Numerics theory asserts that there is a numerical pattern throughout the Bible that could not have occurred by chance, thus showing God's Divine inspiration. (Durrant: 4) According to Revival Centre author John Durrant, Bible Numerics was discovered by Ivan Panin (1855 - 1942), a Russian Communist who, whilst exiled to the United States, attended Harvard University. Following his graduation from Harvard, Panin converted to Christianity and in 1890 formulated his theory (Durrant: 4). Durrant claims that Panin devoted most of his life to the study of Bible Numerics and in 1934 published a Greek text of the New Testament formulated by his theory (Durrant: 4). Panin, according to Durrant, was
...able to ascertain which of the thousands of unsettled readings were the correct ones, and which passages, suspected or rejected by other textual critics, were part of the original writings (Durrant: 4).Durrant claims that Panin's works were examined by the Nobel Research Foundation of USA and received a favourable response (Durrant: 4). The theory asserts that the recurrences of certain numbers within Scripture such as 7, 8, 40 and 13 indicate them to be of special significance. The number 40 signifies testing or probation, whilst 8 is supposed to signify resurrection or regeneration (Durrant: 4, 5). Panin, utilising a numerical value assigned to each letter of both the New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew alphabets, claimed to find a recurrence of significant numbers within significant words. For example, seven of the titles used for Jesus, in the Greek text of the New Testament have a numerical value divisible by 8, the number signifying resurrection, whilst seven of the titles used of Satan have a numerical value divisible by 13, the number signifying rebellion (Durrant: 5). Durrant utilises Panin's formula to assert that the numerical values of Latin numerals within the titles of the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Pope add up to 666 (Durrant; 11, 12).
The King James VersionAlthough other versions of the Bible are allowed within the Revival Centres, the King James or Authorised Version is seen as the superior translation. Almost every Revivalist would own a copy of the Authorised Version and all ‘talks' or sermons given at meetings are from this translation. Several reasons are given by Revivalists for their adherence to the King James version. They assert that it was translated by forty seven distinguished scholars who all possessed a ‘great respect for the Bible as God's divinely inspired word', was rapidly accepted ‘almost universally' after being published, ‘has been the standard version used by the English-speaking peoples for over 350 years' and is still used by large numbers of people throughout the world (Revival Centres: 1972). This, Revivalists claim, demonstrates ‘that the blessing of the Author has surely been upon the Authorised Version of the Bible' (Revival Centres: 1972). They also claim that the King James Version, a direct translation of the original languages, was translated from manuscripts of ‘remarkable accuracy' possessing a ‘general purity' (Revival Centres: 1972). That neither King James I or any of the scholars commissioned openly taught or confessed a faith anything like Revival Centre teaching has not seemed to deter the Revivalists' assertion to the King James Version as a Divinely inspired translation.
The Revival Centres main reasons for affirming the Authorised Version as inspired is due largely to their British Israel teachings. Revivalists believe that the Royal House of Israel came to England from Scotland in 1603 when King James I took the throne, as he was a direct descendant of Israel's King David' (Revival Centres: 1972). It was at this time, they assert, that King James I united Scotland and England as the United Kingdom, merged the Scottish and English flag as the Union Jack, and introduced the ‘emblem of the Harp', the emblem of the throne of David, into the Royal Standard of England' (Revival Centres: 1972). Revivalists believe that this was to fulfil the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:22,
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
That this ‘fulfilment of prophecy' took place in the same period of history as the publishing of the King James Bible, is no coincidence according to Revivalists. They see it as further testimony to the Divine inspiration of the King James Version and their British Israel teachings (Revival Centres: 1972).
For an analysis of the problems with the Revival Centres view of the KJV please see 'King James Bible - the only Blessed Version?' available on this web site.
Endnote: The Geelong Revival Centres and Revival Fellowships still continue to subscribe to the numerics system. However, in 1999 the RCI retracted its official belief in Bible Numerics. The following statement was found on the official RCI web site.Numerous articles showing the folly of the numerics system are found on the Internet. One can be sure that these articles were at least partly responsible for the RCI decision to retract the doctrine.
Although it has never formed part of our core beliefs, our thoughts at that time were that that Numerics was a proof of the divine authorship of the Bible, but should not be used as a proof for any doctrinal point. Since then, however, while still noting that many numbers as used in the plain text of the Bible obviously have significance (eg 7 times punishment of Israel, 40 years in wilderness vs 40 days fasting etc) the thought that there are intricate numerical patterns hidden within the text of the Bible can actually be proved to be true for any text, including this morning's newspaper. Such proof (for any text) is mathematically proven, demonstratable and irrefutable.
Durrant, J.H. (n.d.), Bible Numerics, Melbourne: Revival Centres International.