Skip to content

ASBURY REVIVAL 2023: five perspectives, one source

February 13, 2023

Lawson Stone and I were at Asbury together. He’s since gone on to acclaim as an Old Testament scholar and archeologist. His perspectives as a Professor across the street at Asbury Theological Seminary are helpful, and here are several of his recent ones, with my editorial highlights if you’re in a hurry…but better you should treat yourself to lingering a savory moment – – –

I get calls and e-mails asking for “my take” on the revival happening at AU since I first got here shortly after the 1970 outpouring and have a history here reaching back almost 50 years. I’m so happy to hear of the wonderful things happening at the University.

So many people will suddenly become self-appointed experts on revival. Unless they have, say, 50-70 years of experience with such deep and free moves of God’s Spirit in this community, listen kindly to them, but ignore them. I”m happy to hear there are many grey heads in Hughes. The old saints know. And they’ve voted “Yea” by being there.

There is a kind of renewal that is distinctive to this community and long-termers recognize it. It doesn’t matter how much turnover there has been, there’s a kind of trademark transparency, vulnerability, and general absence of “manifestations” and drama. It’s focused on confession, repentance, restitution, reconciliation, renewed character and re-ignited love of Christ.

Every move of the Spirit will also attract crazies, semi-heretics, sectarians, legalists, and populists wanting to run to the front and claim they are leading it. At the margins are all the nit-pickers and nay-sayers, the ones starting sentences with “We’ll know it’s REALLY revival when…” That’s the sound of someone who is threatened, who doesn’t get it. Various groups have tried to force our revivals into different templates, their templates, whether it’s “Signs and Wonders” or “Last Days Great Awakening” notions… but they always peter out.

But the transparency, openness, the spirit of repentance and reconciliation… that is self-sustaining. That’s why people just come to Hughs and…. sit. In the end, it doesn’t matter what I think. I don’t have to have a “take.” I just love the way the Spirit washes over this community every generation or so. Flushes out a lot of junk, resets the community for fresh obedience. That’s my take.

—- And then —-

One other thought… some ask me do I think this kind of revival is unique to the Wilmore-Asbury community. After a while, I have to say well, no, but then again, yes. A constant theme in all the revivals we’ve experienced here that led to transformation is a lack of emphasis on manifestations, gifts, miracles, or sensationalism. It’s confession, repentance, reconciliation, restitution, and renewed love. People try to get control of it and the sweet water just runs through their fingers.

And yet again —

I am trying to think of another Christian academic institution where revivals like this happen and are considered healthy, normal, and allowed their gentle suspension of normal business. Something in the water here…

And still there’s more —

Just got back from a season at Hughs Auditorium. Felt like I had been on a long hike, and found a lovely cool stream and just peeled off my shoes and socks and let my hot, sore feet soak in the water. Reminded of a line of “Minny” from the novel “The Help”–“Truth. It feels cool, like water washing over my sticky-hot body. Cooling a heat that’s been burning me up all my life.”

But wait! There’s more, from just this morning —

I’m pondering something. Everyone is comparing the events of this week to the 1970 revival. Of course, the renewals of every age are unique and it’s not a contest. But watching events here, and the level of energy that is building, the wildfire effect of social media, and the sheer beauty of these days… I’m thinking–without thinking competitively–that this renewal will eclipse 1970 for the generations to come. It is this generation’s great renewal moment and it will not do to see it as “something like” any other moment. It is already spreading around the world. People are going to start saying that 1970 was a lot like 2023…

Don’t you love this guy and his observations?! So do I. Looking forward to more.

From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Mike Stidham permalink

    There have only been two or three such revivals that broke out in colleges outside of Asbury that I know of. There was one at Yale in the late 1700s, another at Amherst in the early 1800s, and one in the mid-1990s that started at a church in Brownwood, TX connected with Howard Payne University.
    All those, along with the 1906 Welsh revival, followed the same trajectory as the Asbury revivals.
    Having studied these, I’M not “waiting to see” before I make up my mind. This is the real deal going on here and I’m happy as can be to see it again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: