A video of the campus of Asbury U, and the lawn in front of Hughes auditorium this morning shows the absence of people. The videos from last night showed thousands of people waiting to enter the auditorium. Today no one except the cameraman. The emptiness struck me as forlorn. My wife asked, “Do you suppose Holy Spirit feels lonely for the people who were worshipping?”
The “Asbury Revival” is not ending, it is being released. Just like the 24/7 event of the 1970s, this visitation will continue to scatter to other campuses. We have friends with connection to Lee, Cedarville and other colleges and universities which are also exhibiting student hunger and thirst for the presence of God. This longing for God’s presence has reached Texas A & M.
I’m in a dilemma.
During the last week of 2022, I began reading about and viewing accounts of national and world-wide “moves of God.” I’ve been a revival-evangelistic-crusade-junky most of my life. I have read the books by Finney on revival. My daily time in my office is interrupted multiple times by my wife saying, “You’ll want to see this!” She is calling me to view a video of the Asbury or Lee revival. Given my study habits of the past two months, I’m wondering what that was about. Was Holy Spirit preparing me for something? If so, what? One thing is apparent. I am not to be a bleacher-bound spectator.
Is this a real revival?
“A revival is when God chooses to visit His children,” Max Lucado.
“This is that!” (Acts 2) I keep in mind the difference between a revival and reformation; an evangelistic event compared to a revival meeting. One of the complaints about this Kentucky event is that the Gospel is not being preached. The Asbury-2023 is an awakening, not an evangelistic crusade. It is a renewal or revival or awakening. Honoring the sovereignty of God, this is a visitation. Where the Presence is, there will be deliverance, miracles, signs and wonders, as people respond. What the central emphasis will be depends on the context.
I’m amused by the questioners who say this is just an emotional thing. Compared to what? If they compare it to the Cane Ridge Revival which broke through a few miles from Wilmore—2023 looks mighty quiet and tame. An Asbury Seminary prof says he grew up on Nazarene camp meetings and what he witnessed in Hughes Auditorium “has none of that going on.”
Is this a real revival? To varying degrees, it certainly is real to those at Hughes. It is real to some news people in studios miles away. It is real to me. As one historian says, “the spirit in that gathering is contagious.” When I saw the thousands on the front lawn of Hughes auditorium not able to get inside, but worshiping and singing, the “contagion” reached me.
The question, “Is this a real revival?” probably is better worded by, “Is this reformation?” Meaning: will the culture be reformed? It is too early to give a definitive answer. If this revival meeting is only for a couple thousand students getting an upgrade of their relationship with God, and an upgrade of their life purpose, calling, assignments and realigning their commitments, habits and souls with their Heavenly Father’s holiness—it will be legitimate.
First, upgrade, and then response to impacting culture. “First I get me straight with Jesus; Tomorrow the world!” Isaiah 6 is demonstrative of that. “Here I am, Lord, send me.” The altar experiences must be lived out in obedience.
“Holiness unto the Lord.”
“The founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, said there are two types of holiness, personal holiness, which is growing your personal relationship with God, and social holiness, which is showing love to others through caring for their physical needs.”
Watching the events of this visitation has occupied most of our last two weeks. Carole’s question about Holy Spirit’s loneliness is spot-on when you think of His description as friend and companion. Holy Spirit is not of the Tribe of Spock! Then Carole said, “I know I am lonely for Asbury.”
We anticipate God’s visitation to continue in revival and reformation. Count me in! Today is Ash Wednesday which for some could be a natural next step. This weekend the movie “Revolution” opens in theatres across the nation. It is about the Jesus People movement which began about the same time of Asbury, 1970.
Love Song was one of the music groups that birthed CCM. The lead singer Chuck Girard is an important part of that story. His daughter commented on her podcast about the current awakening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMepqpxkwU4
Link to Love Song music:
©2023 D. Dean Benton—Meanderer, Ponderer, Wonderer