I have an interest in extraordinary seasons of Spiritual Awakening both from experience (I came to faith in the midst of "the Jesus Movement" of the late '60's/early '70's.) and study (I did doctoral work on Spiritual Awakening with Dr. Richard Lovelace of Gordon-Conwell Seminary in the '90's.).
Part of that interest is to prayerfully pursue and support any glimmers of "Authentic Revival" while also resisting and tamping down counterfeit "Revivalism."
I use the term "Authentic Revival" to distinguish between an outpouring of the Spirit and the practices associated with "Revivalism." There is a difference between a season of God's renewing work and a series of meetings in a local church aimed at "getting people saved." The one can be transforming for people and community, the other is prone to manipulation and dysfunctional excesses. One I pray for daily, the other I resist.
Against that backdrop, let me pass on several recent postings on the topic: (I've been updating this regularly, so check back and see what might have been added.)
American Christianity Is Due for a Revival by Tim Keller from February 5, 2023 in The Atlantic magazine/website. CLICK HERE - Of course it is readable, thoughtful, helpful and thoroughly biblical, it's Tim Keller. But in Atlantic magazine?!?
Thoughts On The Asbury Revival by Dr. Dean Weaver, Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church - Dean is the "Stated Clerk" - highest organizational officer - of the EPC, the denomination in which I am ordained and active for more than 30 years. I know him to be a faithful follower of Jesus, with years of fruitful ministry as a pastor and mission leader. He offers these wise words to our denomination, that I am happy to share. CLICK HERE for the 4 minute YouTube video.
Asbury Professor: We’re Witnessing a ‘Surprising Work of God’ by Tom McCall from February 13, 2023 on Christianity Today website. This is an eyewitness account and reflection on what may be an actual experience of "Authentic Revival" occurring even as I type. Is this real or fake? Is it local or just the first expression of something bigger? Will it pass by? Or could the people of our nation find a new hope in the Gospel? My answer: Time Will Tell. CLICK HERE
9 Things You Should Know About Revivals in America by Joe Carter on TheGospelCoalition.org - CLICK HERE for a succinct collection of history and reflections.
Campus Revival: How 1740s Yale Gives Hope for Today by Thomas Kidd - Dr. Kidd is my favorite currently writing Church Historian. In this post he gathers fascinating stories from the historic revival at Yale while providing even-handed analysis. CLICK HERE
And for the Dutch: Revival Born in a Prayer Meeting - CLICK HERE for a great summary of the events and impact of the 1857 Fulton St. Prayer Revival that began in a waning Dutch Reformed church in Manhatten under the leadership of layman Jeremiah Lanphier.
The Burning Question From Asbury Isn't About Asbury by Trevin Wax (added Feb 20) I read Trevin regularly and find him incisive and gospel-focused. Here he has a great focus on this event and what it means for each of us. CLICK HERE
Ordinary and Extraordinary: A Day at the Asbury Awakening by Dr Doug Hankins (added Feb 22) is an interesting and detailed eye-witness account from a pastor with background in historical theology. "If you want to know what it's really like there," this is the best description I've found. CLICK HERE
Ane One In The "Good Timing Department" - Yesterday, February 22, was the release for a film entitled "Jesus Revolution." CLICK HERE for the Official Trailer.
What Happens When A Christian Revival Goes Viral? (Added Feb 23) - Whoa?!? The Atlantic magazine/website is not your usual source for info or reflection on events like this, but this is a helpful and hopeful view from guy with a PhD in Biblical Studies who went there and observed for nine days! CLICK HERE
'No Celebrities Except Jesus': How Asbury Protected the Revival by Daniel Sillman in Christianity Today (Added Feb 24) - Very interesting, "behind-the-scenes" perspective on how the Asbury University - in ways I find responsible, biblical and exemplary - helped "steward" the outpouring, "protecting" it if you will from other agendas. CLICK HERE
For GenZ, Revival Is Not A Bandwagon (Added Feb 28) - A post in Christianity Today written by a Gen Z believer with interesting interview of other Gen Z believers' thoughts and responses to the Asbury Awakening. CLICK HERE
What Revivals Can Teach Us - A Revival Historian Looks At Four Possible Lessons From Asbury (Added March 1) from Christianity Today by Michael McClymond - Make sure to work to the end and consider his Four Lessons. I thought he was on target there. CLICK HERE
What to Do When Revivals Come? (Added March 10) - Theologian and missionary Don Carson has helpful reflections as well as personal experience from a move of the Spirit in Canada where he was a church planter in the 1970's. CLICK HERE
‘Lord, Do It Again’: Tim Keller on Revival (Added March 18) - Wisdom, depth and more time to reflect make this my favorite article of this collection. CLICK HERE
So what are we to think regarding this "Surprising Event" outside of Louisville? Again, I am "Time will tell" on this. We will know in five years whether this is the product of human intentions - it will fail - or a local blessing - it will pass - or the first inkling of a mighty work of God. I am hopeful, and praying for the latter. So for now, I encourage people to follow the counsel of Gamaliel in Acts 5:38-39: If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop this, for will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
If you have interest in more resources, I will repost below a listing from a presentation I made for the University of Mary Washington InterVarsity chapter on March 30, 2011
CLICK HERE for a chapter from my biography of Andrew Murray that recounts a season of revival in his church in Worcester, South Africa in 1860. This was Murray's first direct experience of a move of God like this, and it has always left me giggling to see that he almost stood opposed to it!
CLICK HERE for the Kindle version of the entire biography of Andrew Murray. Full disclosure: I think I make about a quarter on each purchase.
CLICK HERE for an article I wrote on this particular revival for the Haddington House Journal. I aim to look at this revival through the lens of Dr. Lovelace's pattern of revival.
I'm thankful for the years I was able to study with Dr. Richard Lovelace, church history professor at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, reading, praying and thinking about "Authentic Revival." His book Dynamics of Spiritual Life is rich with insight and scholarship. CLICK HERE to order/see more.In addition, I've been reading a new book on Authentic Revival called A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir. It's a great way to get started in learning more about revivals through history. CLICK HERE to order/see more.