The Reformation was a great work of the Holy Spirit of God, and it was a royal mess. Is there a problem? One of the problems we have when we remember and appreciate great events from the past — which of course we ought to do — is that a number of these messy details fall away and are forgotten. This means that when we pray for a return of such a kindness — a divine intervention, an awakening, a reformation — we frequently have a wildly distorted view of what we are actually asking for. Reformations are never accomplished to the sound of polite golf applause in the background.
When Critics Triple
There are many examples of this principle — ranging from the presence of sweat to the palpable need for courage — but I want to focus on one particular aspect of it. Those laboring in the work of reformation, those praying for God to grant us a great revival, often do their preparatory work in the face of great criticism. Often the critics are very capable, and their arguments are cogent. Those working for reformation are sometimes tempted to redouble their efforts, not to mention their prayers, in the belief that the arrival of a great reformation would finally vindicate them against their critics. What it would more likely do is triple the number of their critics. The critics don't go away until the reformer has been dead for a safe number of years, and it is time to burnish his legacy.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]