“Back Door Revival” and Its Curious Catalyst

Leonard Ravenhill quote: You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes  running...

The church in America is in the middle of revival! Hallelujah!

The revival we are experiencing is not what most would typically expect, when considering what a revival is. The revival we are in the middle of, is a “back door revival” and not many Christians know what that means; not many would desire such move of God, if they understood its implications.

So, what is a “back door revival”? A “back door revival” is when many who call themselves Christians leave the church for various and sundry reasons; none of which are biblical. I first heard the phrase “back door revival” while counseling with mentors and leaders within the denominations that I ministered in, when people would leave churches that I pastored.

In “back door revival” a pastor or group of leaders, begins to preach and teach God’s word as intended, after a long period where God’s word and biblical practice were exchanged for the religious ideas of men. In this setting, people who had been accustomed too little to no conviction chafe under a resurgence of anointed preaching and a renewed commitment to biblical accountability.

Those irritated as such a resurgence, will challenge the leadership, until they realize their complaints will not change path forward. Because they were married to a location and its ministry modes and methods, rather than in fellowship with God and His children, they leave out the “back door”; often leaving wreckage in their wake. Although the church is smaller numerically, it is actually better off, hence “back door revival”.

For this reason, “back door revival” is also associated with the phrase “addition through subtraction”. Yes, it sounds harsh, but a person who is sinning and will not repent damages a fellowship’s relationship to God; therefore, we are to practice Matthew 18:15-20 for proper church discipline.

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In similar fashion, a person, or people, who desire to be spiritually selfish or spiritually immature, are walking in unbelief, which also hinders the fellowship’s relationship to God and His manifest presence.

Recently, I have seen several articles about how the church in America has shrunk in the last two years and with great how we can recover the lost numbers. Many church leaders are very concerned and attempting all kinds of methods to recover those who have not returned. Why has the church shrunk?


Simply put, Churches stopped meeting together, because the government told them not to, or suggested we stop meeting. Let me be clear: there is no biblical text which justifies the church of Jesus Christ ceasing to meet for any length of time. As I have stated, many times, Hebrews 10:25-26 commands we do not cease gathering together (physically) or we risk partaking in willful sin.

Many declared at the beginning of the lockdown measures “we’ll meet online, that fulfills the scriptural command.” If so, why have those participating in “online church”, not returned in numbers that are now affecting the finances of churches?

Because meeting online is not biblical (and a poor substitute) and now American Christians have an alternative they never should have been given. Looking honestly at the ten years prior to the rise of COVID-19, many Christian leaders knew online services have been hurting attendance and participation in fellowship for years. But none of that mattered at the time.

Truth told, if the those not returning continued to give as well as they did when meeting in person, I don’t think most churches would have cared; but the dwindling money has caused panic in many leaders. In my biblically informed opinion, I believe we are in a necessary “back door revival”, with a very curious catalyst of COVID-19.

Let’s review some facts before we discuss what is occurring as a necessary “back door revival”.

From the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan China, COVID-19 has been a jointly and intentionally released bioweapon, by China and the United States. American Scientists used U.S. taxpayer money to fund the research which led to this mess.

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Our leaders and their leaders knew and planned for the outcomes, as did the other governments of the world, for the removal of personal freedom for the purpose of global governance. This this truth is seen in how most world governments did the exact same things to “flatten the curve”, which only made COVID-19 grow like the Battle of the Bulge.

These measures were planned and practiced for decades, as the world moved closer to the characteristics of the last days, one world government, and religion. In 2017 they showed their hand in have a simulated global response to, you guessed an outbreak of Corona virus

The “flatten the curve measures” of masking, social distancing, and quarantining the healthy, did nothing but make the spread worse. The lock down mandates have changed the world economy so that it will never recover. All these measures were made with nefarious purpose.

The lockdowns were also to train the world’s population to submit through fear. Therefore, for many, it changed the way people think, and relate to one another. In nations the world over, people gave up their rights because it was in the best interest of them staying alive, or so they were told.

For churches in America, whether mandated by local and state governments or pressured through shaming in states where there were no mandates to cease gathering, shutting down fast became the “right” and “Christlike thing to do”, even though it was not Christ-like or biblical.

There were voices crying out to obey God rather than man and take the consequences as the blessing of partaking in the sufferings of Christ (I was one of them). There were churches that refused to be bullied and obeying God and remained open to fellowship. Those individuals were often shamed by their own denominational leaders and ignored as ignorant hicks who do not understand “science”.

On Resurrection Sunday 2020, the vast majority of Christian fellowships did not gather together. It was soon after that the financial hurt of not gathering in fellowship took its toll on pastoral salaries and churches ability to pay bills.  This led churches desiring to re-open and quickly.

By that time, most of those with a spiritual heartbeat understood that the science did not justify the methods used to flatten the curve.

Although the reporting on COVID-19 was meant to induce irrational fear, there is no excuse for falling to that fear. There are 3 unbiblical reasons churches shut down and stayed shut down.

  1. By citing history. Many Christian leaders were duped into justifying shut down measures because of how the church is said to have responded to the flu pandemic of 1918. It was reported that in an effort to show the love of Christ, churches shut down to do their part. The problem is few asked, if is there a biblical justification for ceasing to gather together for any extended period? The answer is no.
  2. Giving in to the fear of man. Where does the above justification come from? Being in fear of man, which means we are not walking in the fear of God. When Covid hit and the prospect of potential lockdowns and restrictions were spoken to the public, Christian’s became concerned. In Ohio, pastors were instructed before any restrictions were made public, to shut down services for the greater good. When the restrictions came, none of which limited normal practice of our faith, more pressure and shaming were brought to bear on churches by denominational leaders and the governor. A majority of the over 90 percent of churches which shutdown, complied because of the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). Part of this fear of man is Christians being fearful of looking their community seeing them in a poor light.
  3. Giving into the fear of death. There were more than a few Christians, who were afraid of catching this virus and dying from it; being we were told it would kill 10’s of millions world-wide. This of course was not the case, but Christians gave into these three justifications.

As I said before, it is understandable that the church of Jesus Christ would stumble, as if sucker punched, at the outset of these circumstances; but we must bear the cost of the outcome, understanding how our unbelieving actions brought about this “back door revival”.  Although some may consider my words harsh, they are simply true, because we possess great and precious promises in Christ, which ought to have counteracted the three justifications.

  1. If we dwell in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, we will find His divine protection from any and all that comes against us, so long as our time on this earth (to minister in His name) is not up. In Psalm 91, one of those protections is “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
    Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling
    (Psalm 91:9-10)
  2. Should we become infected with the virus we have His promise of divine healing as earlier stated (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:1-3; Isaiah 53:5; James 5:16-17).
  3. Should the virus kill us, then “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8) and “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

None of what I just wrote is a declaration of not using common sense when a person is symptomatic, which means stay home and call for prayer (James 5:16-17), until well; but giving into the fear of man and the fear of death created an untenable pattern.

That untenable pattern: We can fellowship online and fulfill our call in Christ. Sadly, that pattern is false. Let us consider the book of Hebrews, where persecution was on the rise. This meant loss of home, job, family, personal freedom, and potentially the forfeiture of their lives.

Did the Lord give them an excuse because persecution would cause discomfort or possible death? No!

Despite the outcome of choosing to obey God rather than man, it catalyzed the “back door revival” we are in; and the church is better off for it.

For those who remained faithful in meeting and those who after a month or two returned, dealing with the error made, God has blessed us to see that we ought to obey God rather than man. Though many of that number, who remained in fellowship and returned have been touched by Covid-19, they have grown in wisdom and spiritual strength, being harassed by the world and a good portion of misguided “Christians”.

For those who have not returned, they need to return immediately, or they were never really a part of the fellowship…

 1 John 2:19-21 (NKJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

 Be encouraged not to be down concerning those who have not returned, pray for them to have the fear of the Lord and to be convicted of their willful sin; but rejoice in God’s work in the last two years in all who remained in fellowship.

For those of you who face fines or imprisonment, do not fear, obey God and begin fellowshipping again. We can endure fines, imprisonment, and yes even death for the sake of Christ, but we cannot endure the judgment against those who willfully disobey the command of the Lord to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some.

That warning to avoid willful sin, is for the purpose of avoiding the consequence of remaining in willful sin, where there is an “expectation of fiery judgment and indignation which will devour the adversaries… Of how much worse punishment do you suppose he will be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and insulted the Spirit of Grace?” (Hebrews 10:25-30).

The Church may be growing smaller numerically but remember, it is Christ Himself who declared that this is the word God. Every branch in Him bearing fruit is pruned, this diminishes the branch for a season. Every branch in Him not bearing fruit is cut off and cast into the fire (John 15:1-8).

This is “back door revival”, which may just lead to the Lord truly and powerfully reviving His church before His return. Even so, let it be and may Jesus Christ come soon.

The Shallow Dwellers of the Modern Church - SafeGuardYourSoul



About Michael J Erdel

Mike is a pastor with The Assembly of God Fellowship. He is the lead pastor at Encounter Church in Fostoria Ohio. His desire is to encourage the Church of Jesus Christ, and declare God's hope through His Son Jesus, to a world which is long on excuses and short on hope. Mike has experienced the truth that when we kneel before Christ, surrendering to Him as Savior and LORD, being led and empowered by His Spirit. To Jesus Christ be all glory and honor.
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