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Leonard Ravenhill (June 18, 1907 – November 27, 1994) was an English Christian evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging western evangelicalism (through his books and sermons) to compare itself to the early Christian Church as chronicled in the Book of Acts. He was a proponent of the moral government or Governmental theory of atonement. His most notable book is Why Revival Tarries which has sold over a million copies worldwide.
Born in Leeds, in Yorkshire, England, on June 18, 1907, Ravenhill was educated at Cliff College in England and sat under the ministry of Samuel Chadwick. He was a student of church history, with a particular interest in Christian revival. His evangelistic meetings during the Second World War drew large crowds. Many converts devoted themselves to Christian ministry and foreign missions.
In 1939, he married an Irish nurse, Martha (1912-2001). The Ravenhills had three sons: Paul, David, and Philip. Paul and David are Christian ministers. Philip was in ministry for a while before moving on to specialize in African art history. He died of a heart attack in 1994.
In 1950, Ravenhill and his family moved from Great Britain to the United States. In the 1960s they travelled within the United States, holding tent revivals and evangelistic meetings.
In the 1980s, Ravenhill moved to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries Ranch. He regularly taught classes at LDM and was a mentor to the late Keith Green. He also spent some time teaching at Bethany College of Missions in Minnesota and some time in Seguin, Texas.
Through his teaching and books, Ravenhill addressed the disparities he perceived between the New Testament Church and the Church in his time and called for adherence to the principles of biblical revival.
Tozer said of Ravenhill:
"To such men as this, the church owes a debt too heavy to pay. The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him while he lives. Rather, the next generation builds his sepulchre and writes his biography – as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored."
In 2011 Free Grace Press published a full biography of Leonard Ravenhill written by Mack Tomlinson titled, "In Light of Eternity."
"The only reason we don't have revival is because we are willing to live without it!"
"I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell."
"Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility."
"If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere."
"Men give advice; God gives guidance."
"Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?"
"A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning"
"God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink, exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church age since Pentecost."
"The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising."
"The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity."
"My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
"If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified."
"Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy"
"Jesus did not come into the world to make bad men good. He came into the world to make dead men live!"
"A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man."
No Man is greater than his prayer life
- Why Revival Tarries, (1959) (Expanded edition, Bethany House Publishers, 1979)
- Sodom Had No Bible, Bethany House Publishers (June 1981), ISBN 0-87123-496-3
- Tried & Transfigured, Bethany House Publishers (June 1982), ISBN 0-87123-544-7
- Meat For Men, Bethany House Publishers (June 1979), ISBN 0-87123-362-2
- Revival Praying, Bethany House Publishers (June 1981), ISBN 0-87123-482-3
- America is Too Young To Die, Bethany House Publishers (September 1979), ISBN 0-87123-013-5
- Revival God's Way, Bethany House Publishers (June 1986), ISBN 0-87123-620-6
- A Treasury of Prayer, from the writings of E. M. Bounds, compiled by Leonard Ravenhill, Bethany Fellowship Inc., (December 1961)
- Leonard Ravenhill Official Website
- Interview with Leonard Ravenhill on the topic of Revival
- Excerpt from Revival God's Way
- Excerpt from Why Revival Tarries (from a book published in 1959)
- Leonard Ravenhill at Find a Grave
- Biographical Sketch by David Bercot
- Ravenhill's Sermon The Judgement Seat of Christ
- Leonard Ravenhill: A Man on Fire for God
- Tomlinson, M. (2011) In Light of Eternity Lionshare Books.
- No Compromise, Melody Green with David Hazard
- Amazon.com editorial review
- Ravenhill, L. (1959) Why Revival Tarries Bethany Fellowship, Inc.
- Foreword by A.W. Tozer in Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill published by Bethany House Publishers; Expanded edition, August 1979