Asbury University revival: Will we miss the next revival?
In the Asbury University newspaper we read: “Very few seats remain empty, but people crowd the walls, the floor and the balcony. It’s been almost 60 hours since a pure Holy Spirit revival broke out.” Others declare they have never seen the student chapel with so many people. It started in a normal chapel service where there was a confession of sin by a student and 30 people stayed behind to seek God.
As we browse social media and look up hashtags such as #asburyrevival, one cannot miss all the criticisms, judgments and doubts about what is happening. The critical voices seem to be very loud shouting over some of the rejoicings by others.
The services have been not four or five hours but virtually non-stop for the last 100+ hours. Some are decrying this as “emotionalism.” This sort of thing is not just breaking the mold but making a lot of people feel uncomfortable or convicted!
If we consider revival history, there have always been the unusual, with God working in ways that broke the molds of those days.
Often, the generation after a revival seeks to sanitize it and the radical things God did through it. It is best to let God be God and not try and explain away everything or discard what was seemingly extreme.
Here are a few reasons why we often doubt when revival takes place:
1. When it goes beyond our ability or experience
When God called Moses or any other person by faith, it went against the natural reason and ability of the individual. If God’s call can be accomplished in our own strength, it’s not a call from God. Revival always empowers believers to do what they cannot do on their own.
God’s work always requires God's strength to accomplish it. The Bible goes so far as to say that whatever is not done in “faith” is actually sin. If we are not acting in ways beyond our strength and ability, we are not acting in faith.
When God is doing a work by His Spirit, we need to tread slowly, carefully examining the fruit by His Word. God will not act contrary to His written Word, but neither will He act in-line with our preferences in order to please our carnal minds or appetites. We pray like this: “God, send revival but just do it when we want and how we want it!” Of course, words like that don’t really fall from our lips, but if we’re honest, that is really what is in our hearts.
2. When it goes against our rational mind
We can fall into the danger of ignoring what the Spirit of God desires in a revival.
One way we can position ourselves is by humbly praying: “God please send revival; do it how you want; when you want; in whatever way you want; with whomever you want.” Or, at the very least, we can come to God asking Him to bend our wills to His own so we think and pray according to His will.
Revival is considered too loud or emotional by some. Sometimes revival breaks a traditional mold that has been in place for many years. The fact is that from time to time, God starts to run the Church in the way He desires, not in ways that we find acceptable or comfortable.
3. When it is something new
John Wesley, early in his ministry, started doubting the work of God in his midst. He was later part of the great Methodist Revival in England.
In his journal we read, “Sat. 16. We met at Fetter-lane, to humble ourselves before God, and own he had justly withdrawn his Spirit from us, for our manifold unfaithfulness. We acknowledged our having grieved him by our divisions and above all, by blaspheming his work among us, imputing it either to nature, to the force of imagination and animal spirits, or even to the delusion of the devil.”
The work of God was so powerful and “new” that he doubted God’s work.
We read again in his journal, “In that hour, we found God with us as at the first. Some fell prostrate upon the ground. Others burst out, as with one consent, into loud praise and thanksgiving. And many openly testified, there had been no such day as this since January the first preceding.”
God had mercy on Wesley and the move of God continued.
If the presence of God is not with us, are we grieving Him? May we humble ourselves and pursue Him as our first love.
God can have mercy and help you in carrying forth His purposes through the revivals He initiates.
Is God sending revival in Asbury College? At the very least we know something strange is going on. May we be careful not to doubt, grieve or criticize God’s work.
Greg Gordon is the founder of SermonIndex.net, which was established in 2002. Millions of audio sermons have been distributed through this world-wide ministry. He has also been involved in organizing over 12 international historic revival conference events where thousands of lives were impacted. Website: https://www.sermonindex.net/. email: firstname.lastname@example.org