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ASBURY REVIVAL 2023: Dan’s perspective

February 19, 2023

Dan Hawk spoke for many when he wrote and shared this publicly earlier today about recent events at my alma mater – – –

Like many of you, I’ve been uplifted and blessed by testimonies of the divine visitation taking place at Asbury University. Many of my friends have experienced it. They use words like authentic, peaceful, repentance, and spontaneous to describe it.

What brings a tear to my eye, however, is the way that the Asbury community has been stewarding the holy treasure it has been given: keeping the focus on Christ; ensuring that no individual or team takes center stage with Jesus; allowing the Spirit to move as the Spirit wills and adapting to what transpires.

All of this exposes the hype and emptiness of celebrity Christianity:

  • Where personal charisma equates to divine anointing
  • Where the number of followers, likes, and views signals the extent of God’s blessing
  • Where media visibility automatically confers expertise and authority.
  • Where slick marketing campaigns shamelessly promote ministers and ministries
  • Where garish brochures advertise conferences that promise a divine encounter, a dynamic experience, or some other “you can’t miss this!” sales pitch
  • Where amped-up worship generates empty intimacy
  • Where leaders pad their resumes with George Santos-like claims of the powerful ministries they’ve established, the accolades they’ve received, or how many best-selling books they’ve written
  • Where ministries build their brands by trumpeting what and whom they are against
  • Where the prominent voices du jour pander to their supporters as enthusiastically as politicians pander to their constituents.
  • Where talking heads with empty minds craft messages that itching ears long to hear

Yet, in a small town in rural Kentucky, God is visiting a student-initiated, effectively leaderless gathering of hungry souls.

Isn’t that just like God?
The God who liberated a group of slaves from an imperial power and made them God’s own people?
The God whose glory filled a temple in a city located in the boondocks of the ancient world?
The God who chose to be born of a peasant woman living on the rim of a mighty empire?

The Somebodies of celebrity Christianity are already co-opting the Asbury visitation to promote their ministries. Evangelists are posting videos of themselves in Wilmore. YouTube prophets are claiming that the revival fulfills visions they received long ago. Christian media outlets that are underwriting ReAwaken roadshows are scripting the Asbury Revival as the first fruits of God’s work to restore a Christian nation.

Don’t their voices sound thin and shrill when compared to the sounds of worship at Asbury? Isn’t it evident, in the light of God’s glory in Wilmore, that the Somebodies of celebrity Christianity are pouring grape Kool-Aid out of faux-leather wineskins?

And me? I’m up in the stands, cheering on what God is doing at Asbury.

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