Chick Tract Review: Why No Revival?

Jack Chick sez: A message to Christians shows why many churches have no revival.

This was Jack Chick’s first tract, self-published way back in 1961 and financed with an $800 loan from his credit union. Unlike the majority of his tracts, which are intended to scare godless heathens into the loving arms of Jesus, Why No Revival? is addressed to folks who are already Christian. In fact, the opening panel specifically states, “This book is for Christians only — not for the unsaved.”

Another thing that sets this tract apart from his future works is that it contains no narrative to speak of. Why No Revival? is a visual beat poem, a stream-of-consciousness collection of sketches that make ironic comparisons between the devout Christians of history and the tepid churchgoers of today.

When I teased this tract at the end of my last review, I thought it was going to be an easy target. And yeah, it does lay a lot of bricks in the foundation of Chick’s batshittery pyramid. But there’s a feeling of sincerity in this tract that’s missing from his later work. Instead of railing against his usual targets–science, Catholics, feminists, Muslims, and gay people–Chick is focusing his ire on the misguided priorities of modern Christians. Some of his observations are surprisingly witty and scathing…

But as seems to happen in most of his tracts, Chick sort of loses focus near the end and just starts flailing at anything that pops into his mind. He moves on from hypocrisy and begins attacking Christian rock, Catholicism, different translations of the Bible, and um… witches?

Chick also takes a little time out to address any “unsaved” who might be enjoying the tract, reminding us that we’re doomed to be physically flung into the Lake of Fire® by a burly angel.

So is there any hope for these Christians who fail to live up to the high standards of God and Jack Chick? Fortunately, yes. As in any 12-step program, the solution is to hit rock bottom. BROKEN CHRISTIANS = REVIVAL!

Since this tract is directed at Christians, Chick doesn’t do his usual altar call at the end. Instead, he rather poignantly reminds Christians that their bad behavior could have far-reaching consequences, as the unsaved might be discouraged by their hypocrisy.

And finally, Chick warns those Christians who are “playing games” may end up at the Great White Throne Judgment, rather than the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Things actually get a bit weird on this last page. Usually, Chick insists that it’s Jesus, not the life you live, that gets you into Heaven. In fact, he often leans into this trope with tales about horrible people skating into Heaven on a technicality while good and decent people are cast into Hell with reckless abandon.

But in this tract, his message is that simply believing isn’t enough. You have to back up your belief with your deeds. He even quotes two verses that emphasize this.

I know I’m grading on a curve, but this is a surprisingly insightful and honest message from Jack Chick. Or maybe it’s just kind of refreshing to see his vitriol leveled at misbehaving Christians instead of science, gay people, and Halloween.

Either way, it’s a shame this Jack Chick didn’t stick around longer. He actually seems to have something to say.

Published in: on January 12, 2021 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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