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There are two major bodies in Australia calling themselves Revival Centres. Both these bodies came out of the Christian Revival Crusade, when, in 1958, the Christian Revival Crusade (then known as the Commonwealth Revival Crusade) adopted a constitution . The Melbourne and Geelong churches withdrew under the leadership of Lloyd Longfield and Noel Hollins and were known as the Melbourne Revival Centre and the Geelong Revival Centre respectively. Some other assemblies joined them and by 1969 there were 14 assemblies.
In 1972 Noel Hollins accused Lloyd Longfield of interfering in his assembly and withdrew the fellowship. Other Revival pastors joined him and the following was about one third of the original group. The main centres are at Geelong and Kilsyth in Victoria.
Longfield’s group is now known as Revival Centres International, and has assemblies in all states, as well as centres in New Zealand and a few in the U.K./Ireland.
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF REVIVAL CENTRES
In early meetings of the founders of the Christian Revival Crusade it was clearly stated that they believed in salvation by Grace (Echoes of Grace, Cecil Harris and Leo Harris)
When Longfield and Hollins broke with the Crusade the doctrinal difference became quite clear. No longer was it salvation by the grace of God, but baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit were both regarded as necessary for salvation.
In the leaflet entitled, What must I do to be saved? Longfield wrote:
’If we really believe Him, we obey Him. We believe He is alive and that He has given to us the path of salvation. We accept gladly the pattern of repentance, of water baptism and the promised power of the Holy Spirit. Our obedience indicates that we "rely" on Him, we "trust" Him to save us from sin and to fill us with the Holy Spirit. Such believing will bring the power of God into our lives.’ (quote taken from Chant, Barry, Heart of Fire, p 207)
It was clear without baptism by immersion and baptism in the Spirit (evidenced by speaking in tongues), there was no real salvation.
Further - ’ To believe the Gospel is to accept the fact that it will be by obeying the commands we are now considering that our salvation will be effected.’ (ibid, p 208)
This was, and still is, the distinguishing difference between the Revival Centres and most other Pentecostal groups, and hence their exclusivity.
The British Israel teaching of the early Christian Revival Crusade remains. They state ’We believe the Bible identifies the Anglo-saxon-celtic peoples with the nation Israel.’ (Revival Centre and Fellowships Statement of Faith).
This teaching comes from a 19th century belief that the British people descended from the ten lost tribes of Israel who were deported from their homeland by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The movement was founded by Richard Brothers in 1794. Followers believe that the British, Americans and other Anglo-saxons were heirs to the promises given to Israel in Scripture. This is a dangerous doctrine because it can so readily lead to racism. Non Anglo-saxons can find fellow Christians looking down on them simply because there were not ’Israelites’
The Encyclopedia Brittannica says ’The theory of British-Israelism... rests on premises which are deemed by scholars - both theological and anthropological - to be utterly unsound.’ (11th ed. 1910, vol 11 p 31) British Israelites miss an important teaching of Scriptures. The Israel of God is found today in the body of Christ. In the Old Covenant, the nation of Israel was God’s holy nation. In the New Covenant the body of Christ is ’the chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people’ ( 1 Peter 2:9)
British Israelism is another doctrine which denies the abundance of God’s grace to all believers in Jesus Christ.
This doctrine is based on the idea that the Pyramid of Cheops, also called the Pyramid of Khufu, (or the Great Pyramid) was built under mystical direction. The Revival Centre pamphlet, The Great Pyramid - God’s Witness in Store, says ’...The Great Pyramid was constructed to a blueprint inspired by God , as a witness to the God of Creation, and His great plan of the ages.’
One argument against this idea is that the pyramid was built of quarried stone when in the Book of Exodus, Moses wrote ’if you make for me an altar of stone, do not build it of hewn stones, for if you use a chisel upon it you profane it (Exodus 20:25)
What was the Pyramid? It was a religious monument of sorts, and probably a pagan tomb to King Khufu.
What is the thinking behind believing the pyramid to have been built under mystical direction? The idea was first suggested by John Taylor of London, in 1859, in the book, The Great Pyramid, Why was It Built and Who Built It? This was then developed by Royal astronomer Piazzi Smyth who provided a connection between Britain and the Bible, and in the climate of British Israelism that was accepted at the time, this belief flourished. The theory held that the Pyramid of Cheops was built to express, firstly, a knowledge of the mathematical Pi; secondly, it’s measurements proved an understanding of geodesic and astronomic knowledge; thirdly, it embodied in cipher form, prophecies relating to events of the Old Testament, as well as Christendom and the second coming of Christ. The fourth proposition was that the pyramid was built under divine instruction by a race of people of whom the biblical Israelites and the latter day Anglo-Saxons were the descendents. Refutation of the theory came from Matthew Flinders Petrie who proved Smyth’s measurements to be inaccurate.
This doctrine also provides the idea that there is some unfulfilled need that the Great Pyramid might serve. Yet we need to look at God’s creation and not confuse His handiwork with the handiwork of the Egyptians, even if we respect their efforts. Christians do not need to look beyond the Bible for teaching, guidance and inspiration.
The Assembly Guidelines issued by the Revival Centres International reveal that the Pastor of an Assembly has a strong control over the lives of the members.
The following regulations are found in the Assembly Guidelines of 1990. [Headings are our own] :
Discussions: ’Members should not enter into any conversation criticising doctrines, practices or beliefs held by the Assembly’
Materials: ’No literature whatsoever is to be brought into the Assembly to be handed to others without permission. This includes full-gospel books, tapes and recordings’.
Absences: ’Members are asked to notify the Pastors if they intend being absent or visiting any other associated assemblies on Sunday’.
Home Accommodation: ’Members should not make accommodation available in their homes for anyone before notifying the Pastor.’
Disloyalty: ’Any case of disloyalty towards the Assembly or spreading of any discord whatsoever will be viewed as ’divisionary’ and dealt with severely.’
Keeping Company: ’Couples will not keep company until each person has been in the assembly three months.’
’Difficulties between couples must be brought to the Pastor by both persons together.’
’Parties to broken agreements must not expect to keep company with another for three months.’
’Kitchen tea/shower tea Parties - birthday parties - Engagement Parties or any such parties involving assembly members must not be arranged before checking with the Pastor.’
One ruling which appears to have caused much heart-ache is the one listed under the heading;
Moral Issues: ’Couples who have been petting (touching) unwisely are correctly being advised to marry...’
It seems that young people have been co-erced into marriages against their wishes and parties on both sides have been hurt.
Revival Centres International is a group of Assemblies which excludes all other Christian churches. It is highly critical of the Roman Catholic Church, scathing of Protestant churches and critical even of other Pentecostal groups. This is exclusivism.
Revival Centres are not in line with mainstream Christianity, and actually teach non-biblical doctrines regarding salvation.
It is a highly controlling body, whose members are not allowed to make decisions on many things for themselves.
Jesus said to the Jews aound him ’If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:31,32). Sadly, Revival Centres International deny their members the freedom Jesus offers his followers.
Ward, Rowland , Humphreys, Robert , Religious Bodies in Australia, 3rd Edition
Chant, Barry Heart of Fire 1984
Cavendish, Richard (editor) Man, Myth & Magic Vol 6
The Revival Centres of Australia ’Exposed" Enlightenment Ministries, Woodbridge, Qld
What must I do to be Saved?
The Great Pyramid or the Great Deception?
Lost Tribes of Israel really in Britain issued by Revival Centre Info