Struthers Memorial Church and the revival problem






In September 2010 we published our article Struthers Memorial Church and the vision for revival. In it we asked the following 3 straightforward questions:




Do the SMC leaders today have their own personal God-given vision for revival coming to Scotland?

(by that we mean a revival similar to well documented historical examples)


Do the SMC leaders believe that God has indicated to them that revival will come to Scotland through Struthers Memorial Church?

(the previous leadership were very clear that this would be the case)


If so, who has received this prophetic vision and when did they each receive it?



14 months on and there is no statement which has been made available to the public which answers any of these important questions - which only sought to confirm whether this revival vision, often stated in the 80s and 90s, still remains in place.


The fact that this could not have been clearly stated and confirmed within days of the question being asked makes it look like this vision of a revival coming to Scotland through Struthers Memorial Church is no longer one the present leaders are willing to state publicly


Those who honestly and openly study the history of revival, in particular the historical accounts from the last 200 years, are obliged to note that certain things are characteristics and certain things have never occurred. The leadership of Struthers Memorial Church have persistently insisted since the 1970s that they believed they had been told by God that they would be at the centre of a major revival impacting on Scotland which would be recognisably similar, in its impact and the observed manifestations, to revivals seen in the past.


This prophecy increasingly seems to be something they do not want to talk about and restate in public – which must make us all ask what has changed?


It would be convenient for them if we accepted their threats that God will punish those who ask about such things. They seem to want to characterise as evil those who simply seek to bring required biblical tests to claimed prophecies from people who they regard as so holy and spiritual they were (and remain) beyond question. That is not something the bible permits any christian to do. The bible instructs us to judge and test all words given through people claiming to be prophetic.



So in relation to the "Struthers Revival" – now prophesied for a generation – was that prophecy wrong? If so who was wrong and what prophecies and what prophets have proved so far to be false?



But if this particular prophecy continues to be shown to be wrong that would be no surprise to those who have studied revival and understand there are patterns to what God does in the very rare occasions he moves in that way. Most fundamentally the observation is this – he does not ignore his own declared Word – the bible - and send revival where it is ignored. From our own studies and reading there are a number of specific reasons why a revival like those seen historicaly is not going to happen in an organisation set up and running like Struthers Memorial Church, and never has.


The historical issues are reasonably clear and we are happy to debate them. If any readers know of a revival which has happened in any of these circumstances please let us know and we can modify this article based on any new evidence.


No Revival in history has happened through churches and denominations which had the following characteristics:


• no full time professional ministry


• no trained ministry

in either pastoral or theological training.- If it is claimed SMC leaders have received pastoral or theological training perhaps the executive could explain to us all how that is done.


• lost their focus on mission

a focus on the “deepening of spiritual life” has not been the precedent to any recorded revival. For example the Lewis women who prayed, were praying for people they knew in their communities to come back to God, not for their own lives to be "deeper". The 1904 Welsh revival grew out of a planned week of youth mission.


• no one in leadership prepared to share publicly their vision for a revival.

certainly no current Struthers leader has yet placed in public a statement saying God has told them this will happen and when they personally received that prophetic word.


• no evidence of repentance by the leadership

not only is this about leading by example but also acknowledging in historical revival there is no hierarchy. There is God and sinful men. Hugh Black made it very clear that his understanding was revival would first come to those in leadership in the church. So keep observing the sermons given by the present leaders and note how many times they confess

their own current sin,

their own current need for repentance

and their own current need for humility.

Once that happens revival may be nearer. In the meantime look at the many testimonies on the Rick Ross Struthers forum and read about how ready for revival the Struthers leadership are.


• continually uses the platform to justify the actions and fine character of the leaders; and then blame those attending for the organisational and spiritual failings of the church.


• no involvement in prayer for their towns and communities with other local christian ministers and leaders.

The focus is almost exclusively on what they call the "movement" (ie the 11 Struthers group churches) rarely on the community God has placed them in.  

2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  

The question for the Struthers leadership is this;

In your town – who are "my people" ie God's people? Stuthers attendees who sought to be involved in cooperation with other churches and ministries in our towns were often criticised and ostracised by the Struthers leaders for doing so.


• frequently speak out a harsh and judgemental view of God's work in the other churches in their towns

referenced by many online sermons quoted on this site and elsewhere. You cannot be in pre-revival repentance (which we were always told "starts at the top") and still look down on others.


• harsh and judgemental view of God's work in Scotland

for example would any Stuthers person be asked to give a report of what God did in their lives at Clan Gathering? Or would they more likely be taken aside and advised not to go to such a place as it might hinder their spiritual growth?


• exclusivism

including, particularly in the central Scotland branches an extraordinary reluctance to publicly acknowledge anything God is doing in their communities via His other faithful churches (ouside of the Struthers enclaves).


• need for control of people and events

History shows things happen in true revival which Struthers leaders would not approve of. There is a consistent pattern of control and prevention of unfamilar things happening - except those things favoured by, and then tightly controlled by, the tiny executive and at the centre. We believe God doesn't hand control of a revival (or, indeed, of a person) to anyone


• seeking revival where there is nothing to be revived

try mission and outreach


• time and resources spent on the most recent leadership pet projects rather than that which was prophesied so often.

How much time and money have the SMC leadership spent preparing for the revival? How many attended the Greenock revival Conference in November 2008? Were any of the leadership asked to speak on revival at that internationally attended occasion in their town? We believe the focus of a church who believes a revival is coming through them would be on putting time and resources into reaching out to the lost and developing people's gifts and ministries to serve the lost.


• controlling leadership demanding blind obedience to those of their friends they have declared are "the anointed" rather than a servant leadership serving the needs of the people in the church and the world.


• unbiblical and false teaching on what is the road to revival.

A focus on making oneself more "holy" and somehow more acceptable to God by following endless rules and requirements of men has led to many dire and negative things such as personal misery, breakdown of health, marriage failure, exclusivism, judgementalism, vanity and pride - but never revival.  


• a care about leadership position and power more than they care about the lost

we can only go on the evidence Struthers has made available. We can find in the records not one sermon focussed mainly on the needs and the care of the lost and hurting. We do find multiple sermons, and reports of sermons, justifying and demanding obedience and servitude to whatever are the changing whims of the leadership at that point.


• care about disturbing the organisation's traditions, set ways of operating and limiting beliefs more than they care about the lost.

In revival we believe there would be more concern for the lost than the ways and the comfort and the position of leaders.  


• Revival has never come through a church without the new testament defined structure of churches with their own local plural eldership. Eldership is a role appointed by men using biblical criteria; not by a claimed "revelation of God's will" through an unchallengeable leader. Churches which have seen revival all had in place either meaningful denominational accountability or congregational accountability.

SMC has neither. It has a tiny group of controllers claiming God appointed them and they are therefore above the need to account for their decisions and actions to anyone. Unfortunately for Struthers revival has in almost all cases come through the established national churches where God has honoured these given biblical structures. If Struthers does really want revival they may need to change. “The price of revival” was a thing much spoken of and from the evidence of our eyes and senses clearly has not been “paid” by the Struthers leadership yet as there is no revival of the historical type they led us to believe would come.







These issues and realities make historical revival happening through SMC effectively impossible. According to the oft repeated teaching of Hugh Black, until leaders are the first to stand up publicly repenting of their sins there can be not even a beginning.


Public identification of their own sins – not other peoples.


If SMC leaders name and publicly repent of their sin the whole structure and their control by claiming God given spiritual superiority falls apart. Yet this humbling of the leaders of the people is a requirement of revival. Read  2 Chronicles 7:14.


The SMC leaders are quite happy to point out this repentance of the leaders happened in each historical case of a real revival. This is the price of revival. Are the leadership prepared to pay it? Or is there no longer a desire for revival if it interferes with the programme, focus and income of the Struthers charitable company?



What does that mean we are to think about the many and persistent prophecies of revival through Struthers from the 1970s onwards? Was that the prophetic voice of God or just fashionable and wishful thinking by the then leadership?


Either way the bible intructs us to judge the reality of the word coming from prophets. And the bible indicates some will be true prophets and some will be false prophets. The test is to observe if their prophecy comes true.


Struthers, when we belonged to it, was fundamentally based on prophecy of revival coming to Scotland through Struthers. Is this still the vision? Will anyone in leadership stand up and publicly say so? If not we have to assume that the prophecy as it was explained to us was incorrect because it has not happened and further noone remains who is - so far - willing to publicly confirm they believe God has told them it will happen.


We realise that our remembering this is inconvenient. We and many others who have left Struthers actually took this very seriously and dedicated years of our lives and our time and our resources to a church who claimed this was God's Word and a revival was going to happen. When we began to see drift in the church and the time and attention of the leaders going onto cake shops and schools (about which prophecy in our time was oddly silent) we asked why and how such dramatic change of the focus of the life of the church could happen - if the prophecies had been correct.


We were – it seemed to us - despised and rejected for doing so.



We are not claiming to be leaders – and we never claimed to prophesy a revival arising from the Struthers movement. Some did. What do the present day leadership have to say about that?


Similarly – to the remaining members. Do you still believe it? When did God tell you a revival would come through Struthers? If this was wrong what does that mean for other leadership claims and demands? Does living in the truth even matter to you any more? Or is it simply the case that you will live out your life and see out your years in Struthers while consenting to the regime ignoring the many claims of pain caused, of failed prohecy, of fundamental changes in core teachings, of complete refocus of the organisation from the one you originally joined, and with the questions you have remaining unanswered?



We hope that each and every person - as they seek to live in reality, and not in a fantasy based on human loyalty - will find the clear will of God for their lives and their families.