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A Jonathan Edwards Scholar Talks about Revival and Emotional Responses

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
December 6, 2022 6:01 pm

A Jonathan Edwards Scholar Talks about Revival and Emotional Responses

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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December 6, 2022 6:01 pm

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The following is a pre-recorded program. What would Jonathan Edwards say to us today about revival? It's time for The Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown, your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity. Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on The Line of Fire. And now, here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Hey friends, welcome to The Line of Fire broadcast.

So delighted to be with you. We've got a very special interview. I've really been looking forward to doing this interview to talk with a specialist in Jonathan Edwards and his theology of revival. He is right now a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School. He's a highly respected scholar. He is a fellow Pentecostal charismatic. And Jonathan Edwards, during the first great awakening, wrote about revival and wrote about discernment in revival and dealt with critics of revival.

A lot of what was spoken about back then is tremendously relevant today. So I want to introduce a scholar that will be new to most everyone listening. He is Professor Camille. Oh, the last name, Helen Bietz.

In any case, I didn't get it right. Camille, welcome to the broadcast. Thanks for joining us. Thank you, sir. I'm so glad to be with you.

Thank you so much. You are born and raised in Poland, correct? Yes, sir. I was born and raised in Poland.

Impostor family. All right. So you were raised in the faith. Yes.

All right. How is it that you got into the academic studies? Well, that's very interesting story because obviously I was born during the time of communism and literally nobody in my family ever went to any kind of studies.

Great people, but not even my cousins when I was growing up, nobody. And so the passion for the academia in my heart was growing actually at the same time when I was studying revivals. When I was studying John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, I was able to see that God used their education as well as their heart and passion for revival. And so I decided I want to follow their footsteps. And I've read, you know, that Jonathan Edwards was studying at Yale.

John Wesley was studying at Oxford. So often when we were growing up in Poland, in Eastern Europe countries, we were thought that we shouldn't look for education. That education is not really something that we should be looking for.

But reading all those revivals, I said, OK, maybe I'm going to do something opposite. So that's how I was interested in the education. Very, very interesting.

All right. So tell us about your educational background. What degrees have you earned in what fields? So I started in Poland in Warsaw Theological Seminary.

Now the name has changed. It's the College of Theology and Social Sciences. It's also interesting story because we didn't have any kind of money. My parents were not able to support me, but I was very much devoted to God and I decided I want to be a minister. So this was the only option for me to go to the seminary. So I applied to the seminary. I remember during the interview, they they've asked me, how are you going to pay for the studies? My answer was, I have no money.

I have absolutely nothing. But if you don't accept me, I'm going to serve the Lord anyway. And funny thing, I was almost the only student that got the whole scholarship for all three years of my bachelor studies, including the food. So it was fully paid. So it was God's miracle for my life. So I did my bachelor. And after I did my bachelor, I was hired by the seminary and I went for my master studies in theology. And then I received another scholarship from England, Matersey Hall.

This was and it still is a Pentecostal school. And I did my another master in practical theology through Bangor University. And then I went for another master in philosophy. And then I decided I should study some of the philosophy. So I decided to apply for a doctoral program in philosophy because I'm making a long story very short.

But I was really into the revivals and I decided I'm going to study the philosophy of Jonathan Edwards. So I was doing my doctorate in philosophy. I also did my doctoral studies in theology. And then I did my studies, doctoral studies in the discipline of religion and culture. And I also did my master at Yale University and I also did my postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Divinity School. And in the meantime, obviously, I've been in different universities, like in Belgium, ETF, when I did my one year of studies in theology. This was part of my doctoral program, you know, and I did some visiting fellowships and different in different places.

So now this is this is my background. So ultimately, how many master's degrees did you earn for four and doctorates? Three.

OK. And one and one bachelor. And I did two postdoctoral fellowships. All right. And you're less than 90 years old. Correct.

And you've done all this. Yes, I am. I am.

Much less. But more remarkably, you've kept your faith through all this because sometimes it's very easy to get so caught up in the world of academia and advanced studies and kind of the, you know, knowledge puffs up, as Paul writes in First Corinthians eight, that it's easy to get so caught up in that that we lose our connection with God. But the studies and your faith have gone hand in hand, haven't they? Yes, sir, because it all started from my passion for Christ. When I was when I was about 12, 13 years old, I devoted my my I mean, I got born again when I was a very little boy. But when I was about 12 years old, I devoted my whole life to Christ and and I decided I'm going to follow him. So my education was part of the journey of my consecration to God.

It was not the goal in itself. I always understood that the more I learn, the more questions I'm going to have, because that's how it works. I mean, at least in my in my from my perspective. So I understood that I have to have close relationship with Christ, because even when I don't have an answer for some questions, having relationship with him will keep me safe, will keep me in his arms because I'm going to know him. I'm going to trust him even when I don't have the answer.

When people don't have this relationship and suddenly the new questions are coming to their minds, they start losing their faith because they don't find that they don't find the answer and they don't have relationship with him. So the most important thing is to keep the relationship with Christ all the time, very closely. So I always started my day in prayer at the seminar in the school. This was my always the priority of my life. Wonderful.

Yeah. And the way it's got to be for me, there was a time even though I was actively following the Lord, that scholarship became an idol when it was supposed to be a tool. And it's so wonderful that that you always understood in your life it's a tool. So right now, teaching as a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, obviously it's a highly intellectual environment. You've got brilliant students there.

But I would assume that many of them have very liberal views of scripture and don't share some of your faith perspectives. So what's it like being a visiting prof there? Well, it's a great place, obviously, for all kinds of research.

The library is just wonderful. We have to admit you have all kinds of resources. I mean, there is no lack of any kind of book.

Whatever you need, you can find. And so it's great. And there are different students, different people, different professors. It's a very interesting question.

It's not very easy to answer. I think we have to always be honest with everybody and we have to be courageous in a way. But at the same time, we have to be respectful to other people. So whenever I have a conversation with people, I respect them as a person. However, I'm not afraid to tell them what's my view and what's my belief is. So I think it works well. And the other professors, obviously in an academic environment, there can be a setting of mutual honor and respect.

And because of the amount of academic work you've done, you realize that you can have profound differences with other people that are decent people. So have you been received well there as a believer, as a Pentecostal believer? Yes.

Yes. I think what's interesting about Divinity School, at least at Yale, they are really trying, obviously, from mostly from episcopal perspective. But they're really trying to raise ministers. While some of the other Divinity Schools of other prestigious universities, they are more about training people for some kind of cultural positions or politics, you know, whatever.

But at the Yale Divinity School, they still try to emphasize the path of training ministers. Obviously, from a little bit different perspective that Pentecostals would emphasize, but I think it's a good approach, at least in that sense. And most of the professors, at least those that I've been in contact with, they're very kind, they're very gracious and they're just very kind people.

And there are some who, you know, who maybe they are not Pentecostals, but they are very much open for God's moving among his people. Good. Well, that's wonderful to hear. And it's wonderful that you are there. And again, my experience with higher academics has been in the midst of differences. There's normally warmth and camaraderie and, you know, displaced to dialogue. And, you know, the key thing is your scholarship.

And when you come in with impeccable scholarship, and when you genuinely care for the students that you're interacting with, that's what really matters in that setting. All right. So what I want to focus on the rest of the broadcast is the subject of revival, Jonathan Edwards on revival, the question of discernment in the midst of revival. What about unusual manifestations and those kinds of things?

So we're going to take a break shortly and I want to ask you some of these things. But for those that are just tuning in and unfamiliar with the question of revival manifestations, we're not talking about like in the southern states in America, where we say we're holding a revival next week, meaning a few special meetings. We're talking about seasons of unusual divine visitation, and we can mark them out, the first great awakening in America, the second great awakening, the Welsh revival in 1904, 1905, Azusa Street, 1906, 1910. You can block these out, the Hebrides revival in 1949, 1952, Brown's revival that I got to serve in 1995, 2000, something distinct. But with every revival, there's always controversy.

I've said for many years, you can have controversy without revival, but you can't have revival without controversy. How do we sort this out? How do we recognize what God is doing and separate that from what might be the flesh of the devil? Maybe it's not taught.

How do we work these things out? We'll talk about it when we come back. This is how we rise up. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown.

Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. I'm speaking with a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, highly academically trained, respected scholar in the field of Jonathan Edwards.

My struggle I have is pronouncing his last name, so we'll call him by first name, Professor Camille. So, sir, your specific interest in Jonathan Edwards. So as a young man raised in a pastoral home, you're studying about revival. You see how learning played into the ministries of Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley.

What is it that ultimately drew you specifically to Edwards? So when I was growing up as a Pentecostal, Eastern Pentecostalism in Europe was very much, wasn't very much charismatic. I would say the only manifestations that you would expect was tears, I mean, crying out maybe, but it was not very much open for any kind of manifestations.

And so my father was pretty much open. So we've experienced different move of God and we experienced his presence. But then we had different missionaries from the States, for example. And interestingly, those Pentecostal friends, whenever they spoke about revivals and whatever materials they were giving me to read, for example, Counterfeit Revival was one of the books that they gave me. And so reading all those books, which were against manifestations and almost against any kind of move of God, I started to wonder because on one hand, I read all those great stories about revivals, like Ken Ridge Revival. People were powerfully touched by the Spirit of God, including their bodies. And even when I was reading like scholarly books about Methodism and history of Methodist Church in America, and even First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening about Charles Feeney, even his own personal testimony of Charles Feeney, I was able to see that they had different kind of experiences, including bodily manifestations. So I thought to myself, if this is real, there must be some rational explanation for this.

Somebody is wrong. Either those people who are against all those manifestations are wrong, or these guys were wrong, but they are like heroes of our faith. So something, I had to put it in my mind, somehow logically, because I was, I am pretty rational guy as well. I'm, I'm a spiritual guy, but I'm also rational.

So, so then I decided, okay, what's the best place to start my research? And I found out Jonathan Edwards was not only a great theologian, but he was a great philosopher. So I thought, okay, he should have some rational explanation as a philosopher. He should have some rational explanation for all those manifestations. And I was right.

I was absolutely right. So that's how I got very much interested in Jonathan Edwards, because at the beginning, I was mostly fascinated with John Wesley, with the whole teaching on sanctification. This led me to my fascination of revivals.

And then because I was trying to understand the manifestations, I was led to studying Jonathan Edwards. And in fact, being at Yale, that's where they've had a series for how many years has they been working on the annotated works of Jonathan Edwards? I mean, this has been going on for decades, hasn't it?

Yes, 40 years or even more. So actually, Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale, it's a great place for all of the resources and most of the resources you can find on their website. So it's a great tool. Incredible. OK, so in the days of the first great awakening, unusual things are happening to people.

Jonathan Edwards' wife is going into trances, people are shaking, falling, crying out, all kinds of unusual things. So you had critics like Charles Chauncey and he was at that point respected minister. He hadn't gone into some of his later beliefs where he departed from fundamentals of the faith. But here's the Christian leader and he was not in favor of what was happening.

He was one of many speaking out against it. So what were the objections that people were bringing to the first great awakening? Because you have people today who are not Pentecostal, not charismatic, but they embrace the first great awakening. They say that was wonderful what God was doing. But then when things happen today, they say, oh, that's not God, that's the flesh, that's the devil. So why were Charles Chauncey and his colleagues rejecting what God was doing in the first great awakening? What were their objections?

That's a great question. And I think the same can happen today for everyone if we become too proud in our intellect. So Chauncey, for him, the awakening was not God's work. But merely it was like a vile appearance of mindless emotionalism.

This is what he was saying. He saw all of this as a false religious experience characterized by bizarre behavior while rejecting rational thought. He thought that all of those preachers like Edwards, they are rejecting rational thought.

So Chauncey was advocating for more intellectual. Maybe we can say even if we would use the philosophical terms Aristotelian tradition. And so he was arguing that the will, we can use the synonymous word of hard feeling or passion, should follow the decision of reason. In other words, the reason is the most important part. And so all of the desires, inclinations, feelings and passions, they should follow the decisions of reason. And so to him, the true religion was, in essence, should be brought under the control of reason, not emotions. So whenever he saw some kind of emotions, he was against all of them because he was saying this is not a real move of God because God gave us a reason.

And all of this should submit to the reason. And then Jonathan Edwards gave a reasonable explanation as to why that was not true. In other words, Jonathan Edwards didn't say, well, just turn off your mind and feel the Holy Ghost, man.

He gave a rational explanation as to why Chauncey was not accurate. So we'll come to that in a moment. But I remember reading church historian Conrad Cherry, and he made the comment that whereas Charles Chauncey focused on the chaff, which seemed to be aberrant things, Jonathan Edwards focused on the wheat that God was doing and the good fruit. So is that a principle that you find to be important in revival, that we have to discern and see what God is actually doing and concentrate on that as opposed to majoring on the unusual things or the things that strike us as aberrant?

Most definitely, yes. We have to concentrate on what God is doing. We have to see how God is changing people. Constantly, I have this conversation with people and I can try to understand them because I was there.

I was the one who was thinking it. I was trying to understand all those manifestations and things so I can try to understand those people. But constantly I have those conversations and people say, oh, this person was acting like this. This person experienced this. I'm trying to tell them, listen, but this person was changed. I know this person was set free from being an alcoholic, but they cannot see any good thing as long as they see outworld manifestations of some kind of bodily movements or something like this.

And so, yes, I think it's a great quote of Conrad Cherry. All right, so in other words, here's a service and during the preaching someone is sitting there shaking and then after the service they're prayed for and they fall to the ground and they're shaking. And then for two or three days they're shaking in their home and weeping, but you find out that this person was a drug addict, an alcoholic, violent person, alienated their whole family.

Now radically born again, loving Jesus, reunited with the family, in Bible school studying to be a missionary, and ten years later they're still burning bright. So the question is, who did that? And that's ultimately what we have to look at. But Jonathan Edwards also said, well, it makes sense that they had bodily responses like this because of what's going on in their spirit. Am I oversimplifying that?

No, no, you're absolutely right. For example, we are not going to go too deep into this topic, but it was the view on how humans are operating. So for Edwards, he believed in dichotomy. There is, you know, will and intellect, and so he wanted to show that there is an organic human unity in both explaining, when he was explaining the nature of revival.

While, for example, Chauncey that we mentioned before, he divided human into three different parts. So what Edwards was saying is, if God is touching your inner being, your soul, it's connected to your whole being, it will be shown outwardly. It will be presented in your body because he was trying to explain that this excitement of your heart cannot only stay inside of you, but will be presented through your body, will be revealed in physical actions. In other words, the person's inner emotional state must be revealed in her or his physical actions. So the most dramatic manifestations of, let's say, laughter or tears, physical signs, or other kinds of experiences, they will be shown outwardly. But Edwards was actually believing this.

Yeah. And we're going to dig in a little deeper because there's some really fascinating things to unfold, friends. We're getting to the meat of this conversation. If you had problems with, how could that be God?

Why is this person acting like that? Stay tuned. You're going to learn a lot. This is how we rise up. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown.

Get on The Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. I'm speaking today with scholar, theologian, philosopher, and now visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, Camille Halndick. And again, my apologies for not pronouncing the last name properly.

These Polish names, the spelling's very interesting, the pronunciation even more interesting. But we've only recently gotten to know each other personally back and forth on Facebook Messenger. I was ministering in Poland and some about the same time began to learn about who you were and what you were doing, and we have some common friends in the Northeast United States where you are right now. So it's just been a delight to find out more about your background as a Pentecostal, as a scholar.

So here's where I tie in with all of this. In the midst of outpouring and revival, God moving in me in 82-83, sending an outpouring through me that touched the church I was part of then, seeing how things got resisted, rejected, reading about revival after that, and then being part of the Brown's revival, I was very aware of the criticism of revival. And one of the great books that I read and learned so much from was Jonathan Edwards' book, I guess, 1741, correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, about the distinguishing marks of a move of the Spirit. And in it, he gave nine non-signs and says, okay, you cannot use these things to prove that this is from God, you know, the outward manifestations and things, because you might say, oh, that must be God because look at this, this, this. He was saying, no, that in itself doesn't prove it, they weren't negative, but they were not in themselves positive signs, and then here are five ways that you can test, okay, if these things are happening, if the Jesus of the Scriptures is being exalted, in love for the Word of God, the Spirit of Truth is prevailing, etc., in other words, if people are being truly converted and walking with God, that's the ultimate proof that this is from God. So when, before Hank Hanegraaff and I became friends, and he had written the book, Counterfeit Revival, he didn't focus on Brownsville, the second edition, he did have some attacks on me and Brownsville, again, we're friends and colleagues, but, consider ourselves friends and colleagues, we don't see each other much, but point is, we're not hostile, etc. But, back then, things were a little different, so he took Jonathan Edwards' nine non-signs and made them negative signs, saying if this is happening, then it's clearly not from God, I went in those days and talked to professors at Yale and some other schools to say, okay, everything I understand, he's completely getting Jonathan Edwards wrong, it's upside down here, and I just wanted to verify, I never quoted their names because I didn't want to bring them into a national radio controversy with Hank's large radio. Radio ministry back in those days, but they confirmed everything I understood, so I want to come to you now as a premier Jonathan Edwards scholar and ask that same question, again, not to bash our brother, but for the sake of truth, because these things are still out there, did my friend Hank Hanegraaff misunderstand and misuse Jonathan Edwards in his book? No doubt, absolutely no doubt, this was my struggle a lot, like I mentioned before, when I read his book, I had this dissonance in my heart, because on one hand, I was reading the original works of Jonathan Edwards, and I was trying to compare it, and I said, something is wrong, he got it all wrong, Jonathan Edwards was not against manifestations.

Actually, some of the scholars says that it was expected that, of course, he was not saying, you know, that it must happen, because we have those nine signs, as you correctly said, but actually, without any kind of emotions, he wouldn't call it a revival, he was expecting that there will be some kind of manifestations of your inner experience. That will show outwardly. So definitely, I would say, why should we expect, you know, or even be open to the possibility of bodily physical manifestations when I study Edwards, because this bodily ecstasies, Edwards described them as being swallowed up in God, in other words, he appeals to what he calls the laws of the union between soul and body. So today, a lot of people say, you know, you can rejoice in your heart, but it's not seen outwardly.

Edwards would say it's impossible. If you have true joy in your heart, somehow it will be shown in your body. If you have true sadness in your heart, it will be shown in your body, there is a union between the soul and body. So this, he meant that it was not only a superficial effect of excitement, but a more profound work of God in a person. So if God is touching your inner being, the result of it can be seen outwardly in your body. So he definitely, definitely it was all wrong, because the signs that Edwards were saying, those negative signs, cannot prove or disprove events as being a true work of God. So it's not that we can take the signs and say, okay, if this happens, this happens, it means it's not from God. What Edwards was actually saying was, listen, if something is happening and he gave those signs, it doesn't mean it is from God just if you apply this kind of sign, but also you cannot disprove that it's not from God using this sign.

So he opened the doors for conversation. Yeah, so let's look, I'll quote the second one of his nine. A work is not to be judged of by any effects on the bodies of men, such as tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies of body, or the failing of body strength. So some might say, oh, this has to be God, look at what's happening. These people are crying out, shaking, and falling to the ground. And someone else is saying, oh, that can't be God.

Look, they're crying out, falling, and shaking, falling to the ground. Edwards is saying, no, you can't judge the work by that. Didn't he even explain that if God wanted us to judge by that, that the Bible would have been a different book, it would say, when the Holy Spirit moves, the pulse will rise to this, the eyes will dilate.

Didn't he even talk about that as well? Well, yes, he was, he was very much open, like you mentioned, but at the same time, at the same time, I think, and I believe other scholars would agree, I had those conversations with other scholars of Edwards, that he was actually expecting a lot of emotionalism in people's reactions. And so, for example, I'm going to give you one of the quote of Edwards, which I really like, because he said, what the church has been used to is not a rule by which we are to judge, because there may be a new and extraordinary works of God. We ought not to limit God where he has not limited himself.

And he was mentioning manifestations. So past experience cannot be a criterion for determining the origin of a religious work. In fact, I was just about to ask you to comment on that Jonathan Edwards line, we ought not to limit God where he has not limited himself. So, where he says this, his first rule, or first non-sign, nothing can be certainly concluded from this, that a work is carried on in a very, in a way very unusual and extraordinary, provided the varieties or differences be such as may still be comprehended within the limits of Scripture rules. So the critics say, show me that in the Bible, show me chapter and verse, where people responded like that. His thing is, that's not Scripture rules, because Scripture rules don't tell us to judge by whether someone cries out or falls or shakes or anything like that. Scriptural rules are, you know, when it talks about self-control, it doesn't mean that John didn't fall like a dead man when he saw Jesus.

Self-control means you discipline your body, you discipline your mind, you walk in moral control. That's what we're looking for. So when he talks about scriptural rules, the critics are turning that somewhat on its head as well. Oh, yes. So, he stated that there are two main reasons why people experienced intense bodily manifestations. So, firstly, he would say, when they were in great distress from an apprehension of their sin and misery. He was saying, that's why he preached, you know, this famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and the whole place was shaking.

People were crying out. He actually believed when you stir up the people's mind and you create the illustrations for them, he was preaching through the illustrations a lot, that this kind of pictures will actually create the intense feelings in their hearts. And those feelings will influence the whole body, the whole person, including their body.

So, this was one of the reasons. But secondly, he was saying that people can have some intense bodily manifestations because they are overcome with a sweet sense of the greatness, wonderfulness and the excellency of divine things. In other words, when the presence of God comes to a person's life, it's such a beautiful experience.

God's greatness, God's beauty is such a big and beautiful experience that the body is overcome with this presence. The human body cannot stand in the presence of God, if we would put it in a simple words. This was his idea of why it can happen to people.

And I remember some of the quotes, Edwards was saying that there were meetings where people literally fell down to the ground, and they were laying down for the whole night. As he was saying, their body strength was taken away. This is my favorite illustration when people ask me, why do people fall down during the meetings? I like to give the same answer that Jonathan Edwards gave, because their body strength is taken away.

In the presence of God, our body, which is not perfect, we're going to receive the new bodies. So our body cannot stand in this presence of God, and the body strength is taken away. So this was Edwards explanation of why people cannot stand during the services. Yeah, so the layman's version of Jonathan Edwards then is when you ask, why do people fall down? Because they can't stand up.

It's that simple. You know, I remember I was ministering in Finland one time, in Pentecostal churches there in the 90s, and one of the pastors said, listen, you know, it's cold in Finland, when we really like the sermon on Sunday, we say amen on Wednesday, and they were explaining, you know, the lack of emotional response. And I said, so when you're watching, say, in the Olympic Games, and it's the gold medal in hockey, and it's Finland against Russia or Soviet Union, whatever it was then, and it's, you know, zero zero with 10 seconds left, and the Finnish star breaks away and scores the game winner, and you win the gold medal, you turn to your friend and say, what a wonderful display of skill that was.

That was a remarkable shot. I said, no, you're jumping up and down and hugging each other and screaming. I said, the husband and wife, you're on the edge of divorce. And, and you look at each other and say, I think it was a mistake that we got married. Yes, I've been having similar feelings. I said, no, you're yelling at each other, you're throwing dishes at each other.

You're furious. I said, but when it comes to church, it doesn't, that's the whole everything. It doesn't make sense. It's like looking at your best friend on the best day of your life and saying, with a sad face, I've never been happier in my life. No, if you're overflowing on the inside, it's going to be a sign on the outside.

It makes perfect sense. All right, we'll be right back. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown.

Get on The Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. All right, we are going to return to the subject of revival, Johnson Edwards' mutual manifestations. You know, Edwards said sign number six, non-sign. It is no sign that a work is not from the Spirit of God, that many who seem to be the subjects of it are guilty of great imprudences and irregularities in their conduct. So Edwards was saying, even if you've got people doing silly things or wrong things, it doesn't mean that the whole work is not from God.

Can you explain that to us? Yes, because obviously Edwards was able to see different things that happened and some theological errors that people may have. So you cannot judge the whole movement, if we can put this in this kind of perspective, based on theological error or some difficult situations that happened or even that somebody, you know, went back to the world or backslipped from the Lord. So you cannot say this is not from God just because you can see some things which are not of God. You cannot say the whole movement is not from God. This was his explanation of Great Awakening, because a lot of those people who were criticizing, they were trying to prove that is not from God by showing the small things or even big things that happened with different people. Somebody backslid, somebody preached, you know, bad doctrine. So it must mean the whole movement, the whole Great Awakening is not from God. So he was trying to say to people, no, it's not true. It may happen, but you cannot throw away the whole thing as not being from God.

So don't judge the whole by the part, but look at the general fruit that comes. Look, every big church, every big ministry is going to have people that have a bad report. I was in that church. It was terrible. I was part of this ministry.

I got burned. What you have to look at is the overall fruit that's produced. And of course, if it's a true move of God, the overall fruit is going to be glorious.

And then you will always going to have falling away aberrations and things like that. What about Jonathan Edwards' wife, Susanna? What kind of spiritual experiences did she have? Oh, she had a lot of spiritual experiences. And I think she must have somehow influenced Edwards to be more open for all of those manifestations. He was saying that there were days of her being wrapped up and swallowed up by God, in God. He was saying that it was like heavenly, heavenly realm that she was like swallowed up. And one time she was serving dinner to him and his friends.

And she just fell down by the power of God. And so she was very much open for the move of the Spirit. And through that, I think she must have opened up his heart also for all those manifestations, because it's, I found out in my life, it's harder for us to judge people's experience when they are close friends. When we don't know the thing, let's say there is a Pensacola revival, and we are Polish Christians in Poland, and we don't know anybody, we just watch five minutes video on YouTube, it's so easy to judge.

Because the only thing we see is some kind of outward manifestation. And then when we become friends with somebody who actually was there, who experienced the change in their life, we start to think differently. I experienced this, if I can share just one minute. Yeah, when I was when I was going through this period of doubt about different manifestations, because of all those books that I've read, and even my Pentecostal friends who are very much against all of the manifestations. God was placing people in my life, whom I didn't know they are open for God moving in different ways. And I got to know them first, by their character, I knew they are godly people, I prayed with them, I preached with them.

And suddenly during our conversations, those topics arose. And I was surprised when they told me, Oh, yes, I've experienced this, because then I had this thought in my mind, okay, either they are wrong, or I'm wrong, or something is wrong. Because they are good people. They are changed people, they love the Lord. And they experience all those things. So, again, it's easy to judge from the distance. A lot of people who judge the most, they don't really know anybody who experienced.

You are right. It's like, hey, I've known this person for years, they love the Word of God, they're sober, they're sound in their theology, they're mature people, and they're talking about what happened to them. I see the change in the lives that happens to someone close to me.

Yeah, especially a spouse, or someone that is close to you that you know well. Yeah, absolutely. And it's not throwing out the Bible, it's saying, no, they believe the Bible the same way I do. They're as orthodox as I am in the fundamentals.

And look at this. So, I should have asked this in the beginning, but if you put dates on the First Great Awakening, where would you date that, roughly? Well, obviously, so the dating may differ, but I would say 70-40 would be the peak of revival. And probably about six years, it's interesting because Edwards was ultimately fired from his church. So, it's another great lesson for us. Today, we study Edwards and we are thinking, oh, it would be wonderful to be a part of his church if he would be my pastor. Why, just a few years after the revival, the same church fired him.

So, it's very interesting. So, the revival changed the lives of a lot of people, but Edwards was very much radical. He wanted to go even deeper and people were not willing to go deeper. The controversy was about testifying. Edwards wanted every member in the church to testify publicly and people were not willing to do this. To testify of their new birth, right? Of the new birth, of their faith, you know. Because Edwards said, if you are truly a Christian, you should be able to testify publicly.

And people said, no, we don't have to testify in order to receive the communion or whatever, to be an active member of the church. And so, they ultimately fired Edwards. Yeah, amazing. And George Whitefield played a key role in the Great Awakening. Whitefield, who lived from 1714 to 1770, overlaps with his life and lived within the time of John Wesley who was 1703 to 1791. So, George Whitefield, we've just got a couple minutes, but what kind of things happened when Whitefield preached? Oh, Whitefield was, I think it was a divine gift in his voice.

He probably had the most powerful voice in his generation, if not even, you know, in all of the generations. He could preach to 10,000 people, you know, in the field, and everybody was able to hear his message. So, he was a tremendous preacher. He was very dynamic preacher. For example, his colleague, John Wesley, they studied together at Oxford. John Wesley was, you know, more calm preacher. Probably today, we would say John Wesley was more like a teacher, and Whitefield was more like a preacher. But so, Whitefield was an absolutely great preacher. He had a powerful voice.

And somebody did like a test. They were trying to check how strong was his voice. And it was like, thousands of people were able to hear him.

I think it's in natural, it's not possible. It must have been like a divine gift. Yeah, I think it was Benjamin Franklin was at a meeting and stepped backward, kept stepping back until he was like a mile away and could still hear him. The only amplification it had was maybe a soundboard over the person.

So, it was a supernatural gift. But he and Wesley, I remember studying this, but people would be, as he'd be preaching, screaming and crying out and collapsing to the ground. And he didn't like it and was trying to stop it.

And one of his supporters, Lady Huntington, said, leave it, leave it, go, it does more good than your preaching. But I mean, this was, the meetings could get pretty intense. Oh, they were very intense. I mean, sometimes people were falling down from the trees. So, Wesley was telling them, please don't climb up on the trees because when the presence of God comes down, you may fall down from the trees.

So, it was very intense. It's amazing when we read those stories, I would encourage our listeners to check even the Google, Cain and Rich revival, and you know, what John Wesley revival, George Wheatfield revival, people were shaking, people were crying out. Ultimately, it's not about manifestations. Ultimately, it's about the new birth, the experience of God that changed life.

This was the ultimate goal. But when people experience God, their whole being is shaken, the soul, spirit and body. That's what we can, I think, conclude from all those reawakenings that this was happening, the whole being of a person was changed. And as you've emphasized, it makes perfect sense.

And that's what Jonathan Edwards had to say. Hey, listen, friends, we get into this, not just because it's fascinating and historical level, I have the privilege of interviewing a scholar and an expert in the field. But because these things apply practically as God moves, you will see unusual things happen. You don't major on those. You major on exalting Jesus and seeing lives changed and people being drawn to God. But when these things happen, you cannot say, well, this can't be God because of this, this, this.

No, it commonly happens and it makes sense that it happens. And it's even in harmony with scriptural principles. And that's what we want to emphasize.

My book, The Revival Answer Book, I have a whole book where I deal with this with lots of quotes from Edwards and Finney and Whitfield and Wesley in their meetings and what was happening and talk about it so that we can rightly discern because the Holy Spirit is moving and will continue to move. Professor, Camille, wonderful to have you. I can't wait to meet face to face, have some fellowship and timing the Lord together. But thank you for giving us your time. You've richly blessed us. Well, thank you, sir. I'm so much blessed. And thank you for the invitation. I really appreciate it. Thank you, Dr. Brown. Wonderful. All right, friends, back with you tomorrow, right here on the Line of Fire. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-06 20:08:35 / 2022-12-06 20:26:23 / 18

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