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Revival: Biblically, Historically, and Asbury - Part 1

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2023 2:00 am

Revival: Biblically, Historically, and Asbury - Part 1

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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February 25, 2023 2:00 am

GUEST: JEREMY WALKER, pastor and writer/presenter, Revival documentary film

The term “revival” conveys the idea of “coming back to life” or “increasing in strength or intensity”. The word doesn’t appear in Scripture and yet there were times in the Bible or in history when Christians and churches revived spiritually, characterized by such things as fervent repentance of sin, earnest pleading in prayer, deep commitment to holiness, and boldness in proclaiming the truth and the gospel.

Christians were revived, nonbelievers were saved, and even communities were impacted with the good graces of God.

This weekend on The Christian Worldview, we will look back in history to examine what led to times of revival, such as the Reformation in Europe and the Great Awakening in America.

Jeremy Walker will be our guest. Jeremy is the pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, England and the writer and host of a brand new documentary film entitled “Revival: The Work of God”, which surveys great times of revival in the United Kingdom and the United States, featuring both well-known and lesser-known people and places.

We will also discuss what is being called a revival on the campus of Asbury University, a Christian liberal arts college in Wilmore, KY. For over two weeks, first students and then others from around the country have gathered continually in an auditorium for mostly music and prayer.
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Revival, Biblically, Historically, and Asbury. Today is part one of that topic right here on the Christian Worldview radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. I'm David Wheaton, the host. The Christian Worldview is a nonprofit, listener supported radio ministry.

We are able to broadcast on the radio station, website, or app on which you are listening today because of the support of listeners like you. So thank you for your prayer, your encouragement, and your support. You can connect with us by visiting our website, thechristianworldview.org, calling our toll free number, 1-888-646-2233, or by writing to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. The term revival conveys the idea of coming back to life or increasing in strength or intensity. Now the word doesn't appear in scripture, and yet there were times in the Bible or in history when Christians and churches revived spiritually, which is characterized by such things as fervent repentance of sin, earnest pleading in prayer, deep commitment to holiness, and a boldness in proclaiming the truth and the gospel.

In those times, Christians were revived, nonbelievers were then saved, and even communities were impacted with the good graces of God. This weekend on The Christian Worldview, we will look back in history to examine what led to these times of revival, such as the Reformation in Europe and the Great Awakenings in America. Jeremy Walker will be our guest. Jeremy is the pastor of Maidenbauer Baptist Church in Crawley in England and the writer and host of a brand new documentary film entitled Revival, the Work of God, which surveys great times of revival in the United Kingdom and the United States, featuring both well-known and lesser-known people and places. We will also discuss later in the program what is being called a revival on the campus of Asbury University, a Christian liberal arts college in Wilmore, Kentucky. For over two weeks now, first students and then others from around the country have gathered continually in an auditorium on campus for mostly music and prayer. But first, we'll lay some groundwork on revival with our guest, Jeremy Walker, the host of our new featured resource, the documentary film Revival, the Work of God.

We'll tell you how you can order the DVD throughout the program today. Jeremy, it's so good to have you on The Christian Worldview radio program today. Let's just start out with a personal question. Just tell us briefly about your background, how you came to saving faith in Christ and what you do now. Well, I was brought up in a home where both my parents were Christians and they faithfully cared for my soul, taught me the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. I think that I began to kick against that probably just before my teens and went through a quite a hard and difficult period in which I needed to be brought quite low until I realized that there was nothing I could do to save myself, nothing that I could offer to God, that I couldn't be worthy of his mercy. And really, I had to be brought to the point where I realized that God had done everything that I needed in Christ Jesus and that he needed to be humbly received by a man who was desperately needy, dead in sins and must remain helpless and hopeless without Christ.

And that was the beginning then of a long, slow climb up out of the gloom. God in his mercy and due course was pleased to call me to be a pastor and a preacher in a town of Crawley in West Sussex in the southeast of England. Thank you for sharing how God saved you. Jeremy Walker is our guest today here on the Christian Royal View, the pastor of Maidenbauer Baptist Church in Crawley, which is just south of London. Let's get to the documentary that you wrote and you're the presenter for called Revival, the Work of God.

And I want to play the opening clip from the beginning of the film where you talk about what revival is. It is something divinely powerful, probably painful, truly delightful, sweetly fruitful, often resisted, easily abused and greatly to be desired. We often call it revival. My own heart has often been stirred as I have read and heard of God's mighty acts in different times and places. I have been praying for years for the revival of true religion and the extension of Christ's kingdom in the earth for a stirring of spiritual life in myself and in others.

I hope that your hearts and your hands will also be stirred as you consider with me this matter of true revival. As we've heard this word revival, I think it's important to get a definition of that word because I think many professing Christians have different definitions of what revival is, what causes it, what the result will be. So how would you define revival from a biblical standpoint and perhaps contrast your definition with some other views of revival that are common in today's world? One of the working definitions that we were using when we were doing this documentary and a number of the people who were interviewed touched on exactly the same thing was that it is God's ordinary work, but carried out in an extraordinary way, perhaps with extraordinary intensity, with extraordinary speed, that it is what God normally does, but it is done in a way that we are not accustomed to. So the God who saves his people and stirs them, the God who gives life and who can increase life, he does that work, but he does it in a way that is perhaps unusual in our normal experience. Now what's important there is that this is a thing that begins with God.

It is not something that men can whip up, not something that we can stir up, we can seek it, we can ask for it, but it's God who does it. And that's really probably the key distinction between biblical revival, historical revival in that sense, and what sometimes might be referred to as revivalism. You often have a notion that revival can be perhaps scheduled, that it can be created. You have a revivalist, he's the guy who rides into town, he sets up his stall and he speaks or preaches in such a way as to invariably secure this outcome. And it's really important, I think, that we distinguish between the God-centered and the man-centered notion of revival. True revival will always and ultimately glorify the God of salvation rather than focus upon particular men or moments or ministries, even though God is pleased to typically use particular men or ministries to accomplish his purposes. That was well answered and interesting because I think that's going to be important to keep in mind as we think about the various revivals that you point out in the film, Revival the Work of God. And basically this film covers a period of time in the United Kingdom and the United States from the time of the Reformation in the 1500s all the way into, I think, even the 1800s, maybe even the 1900s as well. You didn't try to cover the whole world, of course. I know that you say that there are other places that revivals have taken place. Maybe just briefly on how you decided on the scope of the film, focusing on more the English-speaking world rather than other parts of the world where there have been revivals.

Sure. There were a number of constraints upon us when we were planning this. One was that we were doing most of the filming during the Covid lockdowns, and that meant that we were somewhat restrained as to where we could go and what we could do. One of the constraints was simply financial.

We had to concentrate on what was immediately available to us. Another constraint was that we wanted to concentrate on some of the better documented revivals so that we could make sure that we were speaking credibly and carefully rather than speculating. The disadvantage of operating with those constraints is primarily that there are things that we do know about and that are well documented. For example, my sort of favorite example of what I would have loved to address is the so-called Korean Pentecost, which predated the division of Korea into North and South. It was a work of God that was remarkable, I think, distinctly for the work of repentance that God accomplished amongst his people as that particular movement of the Holy Spirit began to take root. But there are things that we know about in other parts of the world that we just couldn't get to, places in Africa, for example, things that are currently hard to verify, like some of the reports that come out of China. And the other thing we have to take account of is how much we actually don't know, because God may have done these sorts of things in places and among people of whom we have no records, and yet they may have been as wonderful as anything that we've actually considered in the film itself. Well, what I really like about the film is the fact that it is about revival and how God produces revival, but it's really an excellent history lesson as well.

As you go back into some of these areas of the world and places and people that—some are well known, people I've heard of Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans and so forth and Reformation—but there are also other things that you featured in there, what was taking place in Wales and Ireland and different places of people that I hadn't heard of before. So it's really educational to hear how God is doing with people that are lesser known. Jeremy Walker is our guest today here on The Christian Worldview talking about revival in light of his film that he wrote and presented called Revival, the Work of God.

We will tell you how you can get a copy of this documentary through The Christian Worldview today. You've defined revival. Let's go next, Jeremy, to some biblical examples of revival. The word revival doesn't appear in Scripture, but neither does Trinity, and we know God is a triune God.

But here is a sound clip from the documentary about a well-known revival in Scripture. We first see these realities recorded in the book of Acts at Pentecost, a praying people gathered in obedience to the word of Christ upon whom his Spirit is poured out. Pentecost is both a unique occurrence and an underpinning reality. We read, for example, in Acts chapter 1 and verse 8 that the apostles went out from Jerusalem. They received power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them, and they became witnesses to Christ in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. So there's an example of revival at Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came, Christians were strengthened and many came to saving faith. But perhaps other revivals in Scripture that I could think of is maybe Jonah preaching to Nineveh where the whole city repented. What are some examples of revival from Scripture? That's a great question, and I think it's one we need to answer quite carefully because very often, and we've already used the adjective biblical to describe what we're talking about, and yet there is a concern among some that revival is not something that we find in the word of God.

And that has to do both with the way Scripture is interpreted, but also our understanding of what's taking place. Now, you're right to say that the word revival as such, that sort of noun in and of itself isn't there in the word of God, but both individually and corporately, we do see the kinds of things that we believe are involved in what we now call revival. And perhaps it's also helpful to think in terms of renewal or awakening. So what we're talking about when we speak of revival is not first and foremost the giving of life to that which is dead. That's something slightly different that typically follows on from and is associated with revival. But reviving is the stirring up of life that is possessed, but has perhaps reached a very low end. And so when you look at the Scriptures, you will find, for example, in Psalm 119, the Psalmist crying out, revive me, O Lord, for my soul clings to the dust. And it's out of that experience of a soul that has become wrapped up in the things of the world. That confession then precedes the cry for God to stir up the life that he has previously given.

You then find the same sorts of things perhaps happening on a corporate level. So, for example, in 2 Kings chapter 23, the same history is there in 2 Chronicles chapter 35, you've got the Passover of Josiah. And there is this reformation that takes place amongst God's old covenant people. The law of God has been recovered. Josiah and others with him feel the force of God's truth in their souls. And they call God's people back to God with renewed repentance and faith.

And out of that, then, God is pleased to restore his people to himself and to make them genuinely useful. Now, when you come into the new covenant, you've identified as well, we often talk about Pentecostal reality here. We need to be very comfortable with that language. Sometimes people say, are you a Pentecostal Christian? Are you a charismatic Christian?

And I want to say, absolutely, I am. But we need to define that language very carefully. So what we're talking about there is, is a group of disciples who are waiting for God's blessing. And God is pleased as the coronation gift of the ascended Christ to pour out his spirit upon his people. And at that point, there is then this manifestation of divine power amongst God's people, out of which not only are their souls enlivened and stirred up, but they speak with divine power and many others are subsequently converted. And then you see the more rapid progress of the kingdom of God. So when we're talking about revival in the scripture, I want to be very careful there to make sure that we're looking again at the way that God typically works and how God in his mercy can and does intensify his ordinary operations among his people. And when he does that, not only are his people blessed, but there's, if you like, an overflow or an overspill into the world around, and God's glory is seen then not just in the church, but in the world as well.

Thank you for clarifying that. So really, when Jonah preached to Nineveh, according to your last answer, that wouldn't really be considered revival because he was preaching to unbelievers. That was more just evangelistic, I guess you would say.

Yeah, I think that's where I'd go. Now, the challenge with Jonah is that you'd like to say, well, the Lord revived Jonah's heart before he preached to the Ninevites. And I think in measure he did. But you also see something that's important with regard to revival is that if you want to take Jonah as an example, that the Lord does not wait for perfect men or even form perfect men before he is pleased to bless. He uses the weak and the foolish and the base things of this world for the very reason that that is where and how his glory and majesty are best displayed. Jeremy Walker is our guest today here on The Christian Real View. He's a pastor and the writer and host of the documentary film we're discussing, Revival, the Work of God. It is our new featured resource here on The Christian Real View. This two-hour presentation looks at periods of revival over the past 500 years in the UK and the US and covering the Reformation, the Puritan era, Scotland, Wales, the Great Awakenings, and more.

Normal retail is $40 plus shipping for this two-disc set, plus you get 14 hours of in-depth bonus content. For a limited time, you can order the DVD set of Revival, the Work of God for a donation of any amount to The Christian Real View. Just get in contact with us the usual ways. You can order at thechristianrealview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or by writing to us at Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. We have much more coming up on the topic of revival, including some analysis of what's going on at Asbury University in Kentucky. You are listening to The Christian Real View.

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I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website thechristianrealview.org where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter. Order resources for adults and children and support the ministry. Jeremy Walker, pastor of Maidenbauer Baptist Church in England, joins us today in the program. He's also the writer and host of the documentary film we're offering today entitled Revival, The Work of God.

Jeremy, let's hear another soundbite from the film. Joel Beekie, pastor in Michigan, talks about what kinds of things lead to revival. The living word, Jesus Christ, is on every page of the written word. So both the living word and the written word are central to every conversion. But in revival, the realization of that is heightened. It's a simple fact of history that wherever there is revival, there is a revival of preaching. Because the cause of God and preaching go hand in hand. When one suffers, the other suffers. When one prospers, the other prospers. Okay, Jeremy, I think this was an interesting part of the film.

Let me set that up a little bit. It seems to me that there'd be one group who would categorize revival as being sourced from scripture, preaching of scripture. It is more mind driven.

It touches the mind first and then it touches the affections, the will, and then the emotions follow. So there's, it would start with prayer and a strong emphasis on expository preaching, preaching the word of God, verse by verse. And while preaching, preaching a gospel of repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. And as a result of that, like you said, there would be a stirring up of professing Christians, and they would be urged to sanctification and transformation. Then there would be this overflow, like you mentioned, of salvation to the unbelieving world, as those Christians who are now revived go out and influence their own spheres of presence. And you can contrast that in a way to another more, let's say, let's use the word you've already brought up, more of a Pentecostal or charismatic version of revival, which is more, instead of being scripture driven so much, it's more spirit driven, they would say. There'd be a heightened emotional element to it. So they would for sure say it starts with prayer, but then there would be a more of a stimulation, a stirring of people's emotions through preaching, through dramatic music, an emphasis on spontaneity, the spirits moving, come into his presence, feel moved, there would be ecstatic utterances and behaviors and so forth.

So there's a contrast there. Back to that clip, though, why is the preaching of scripture so important to what you featured as part of revival in the film? I think that's such a helpful point, David, because what is often presented to us and sadly from both ends of that spectrum is essentially a false dichotomy. We are the word people or we are the spirit people and the word of God and the spirit of God are not in tension with one another and should not be opposed to one another. The spirit of God works in, with, by, through the word of God.

He takes and he shows to us, to use our Lord's language in John's gospel, he takes and shows to us the things that belong to Jesus Christ and those are the things that are in the scriptures. So if the emphasis is on spectacle, if the emphasis is on experience, you see even in saying, in speaking like that, that there's a shift away from God's truth, God's glory, towards our experience and our expectation. But there's a danger then that we emphasize or elevate the experience, the spectacle, that the outward demonstration over the fact that true reviving begins, true reformation or renewal or awakening begins, when the truth of God under the power of God's spirit, by his mighty operations, gets a fresh grip upon the souls of God's people. And you mentioned in your introduction to this question that very often one of the things that happens as God begins to work is that people who've thought they've been Christians, sometimes for years, even decades, realize that they never were converted and people who have been Christians but have been living, I think it's Isaac Watts talking about living at a poor dying rate.

They've been living at a very low spiritual level. They too come under conviction of sin with regard to their worldliness, with regard to their self-indulgence, their carelessness for God and for his glory. And they also are brought to repentance.

They call out for mercy. They receive then this gracious pouring in of God's spirit as the word has its effect upon them. But always in the word of God, we do not find a suspension of reason when God is at work. I mean, even if you take something like Romans chapter six, you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

That was the experience of conversion. The same is true when God is pleased to stir the life that he's given. He makes himself known through the word and by the Holy Spirit. So if someone says, well, you're only interested in the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit. I would say, well, who's given us the Bible?

Who is pleased to use the truth so that it comes to use the Thessalonian language? It comes not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much assurance. And this is so encouraging to hear this because the Holy Spirit is constantly moving in the world and the Holy Spirit will especially move through the preaching of the word that he inspired. So this is of great encouragement to people in churches listening today, pastors listening today that be faithful to preach the word of God faithfully and fully the whole counsel of God. And through that, the Spirit will enliven, revive those professing Christians to revive them to do his work in the church and the community. Right.

And when the apostle Paul was brutally honest with Timothy about what Timothy was going to face as a pastor and a preacher and the last times perilous seasons will come. This is what you're up against, Timothy. This is what you're going to have to do. This is what you've heard. This is what you believed.

This is what you've learned. Now, what are you going to do, Timothy? Preach the word, not seek a certain experience, not have a revival campaign or whatever it may be, but preach God's truth.

Do it in season and out of season. Bring that word to bear in prayerful dependence upon the Spirit of Christ, on the hearts and minds of the people who are in front of you. And God is the God who will bring his appointed consequences about. Jeremy Walker with us today on the Christian Rule of View radio program. We're talking about Revival, the work of God. That is the name of the documentary film that he is the writer and presenter of. We're offering here at the Christian Rule of View.

We'll tell you how you can get it in just a few minutes. Now, Jeremy, you divide the film into chapters. And so there are chapters on the Reformation and the Puritan era, and what took place in Scotland. Chapter four is on Jonathan Edwards and the Evangelical Awakening is another chapter, and what happened in Kilscyth. Probably most of our listeners never heard of Kilscyth.

I hadn't. Chapter seven, the revival under Charles Spurgeon took place in England, where we're talking with you today. The Isle of Louis, I never heard of that place. So this is what's very interesting about the film, is that you get some things that are really well known, and you get detail on that. But there are other things that aren't so well known, and you'll learn a lot about how God moved and not just well known people and places, but in lesser known too. The Reformation, most people will have heard about that incredible era in history. How was the Reformation started with Martin Luther and the posting of the Ninety-Nine Theses in 1517? How was that revival that took place?

I don't know how long you would define that as going on and being strong in Europe and then coming over to America in some ways. How was the Reformation revival able to take hold and continue across Europe, literally after centuries of Roman Catholic dominance that was termed the Dark Ages? Luther's nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517 is, it's a lovely, almost a sort of a romantic moment where we look at it and we say, that's it, that's where it all begins. But actually, what Luther is doing is part of a bigger change and a shift in the Lord's work. So you can go back, for example, before Luther to a man called Wycliffe, who was a priest in England. And Wycliffe had men who were translating the word of God, and he was sending out preachers called Lollards.

That was their handle, if you will, in the day. And then you've got a man like Jan Hus, who was a Bohemian reformer. So while Luther quite properly stands as a seminal figure in this work, it would be wrong to isolate either him or a moment and say, that's when it all sort of came out of the blue. But Luther himself, we need to remember, was a man who had been converted because the doctrines of Roman Catholicism had failed to give peace to his soul. The practices of the Roman Church could not give him that understanding of God and his work in Christ. And it was, again, by the word of God, Luther was a student of the scriptures.

He became a professor. And it was while studying the book of Romans and perhaps alongside of that, the book of Psalms, that Luther came to understand that the righteousness of God provided in Christ Jesus was the basis of his standing with God. And so here we are again, the word and the spirit blowing apart the idea of justification by works, the idea that we can get right and stay right with God on the basis of what we are and do, and rather justification by faith, faith gripping the finished work of the glorious son of God, Jesus the Christ, who lived, who died, who was buried, who rose again. And it's on the basis of what he has accomplished that I am both cleansed from my sin and clothed in divine righteousness.

And now I stand with God. And that kind of glorious truth gripped not just a Luther, but others in the same time and place. So you've got friends of Luther's like a man called Philip Melanchthon. In other parts of mainland Europe, you've got John Calvin, you've got Martin Butzer, you've got Ulrich Zwingli.

In England, you've got a man like William Tyndale. Tyndale's great driving force is I want people to be able to read God's word for themselves. And that's what makes, to use the old phrase, that's what makes England and the Great Britain, the people of the book and that book, the Bible. And it's very much again, then it's the recovery of scriptural understanding. And in God's mercy, there was a widespread recovery of learning in Europe at this time. And that laid the foundation for the recovery of the Bible in its original languages and then translated into the popular languages of Europe so that people were reading it for themselves. And the light of God's gospel was dawning in their hearts as the spirit carried into their souls. It certainly was. What a time that was that influenced Western civilizations. And in ways we probably don't even imagine how great of a period of history that was. Jeremy Walker with us today here on the Christian worldview. Let's move to another chapter of the film.

We don't have time to really dig into lots of questions on various elements here. As a matter of fact, I would recommend that when listeners get this documentary film, they actually watch it in three sittings. It's a two-hour documentary. I think if you watch it in one sitting, maybe some people are able to, but I watched it over three sittings, about 40 minutes at a time. And I felt that it's a good way to be able to absorb, again, all the different places and people and things described in the film and in the content about what revival is. I think that's a good way to do it over three nights. Maybe you think differently Jeremy, watch it in one night or watch it three times.

I don't know. But there was a lot in the film that I think was very, very helpful to absorb piece by piece. And you can order the film Revival, The Work of God. It's our new featured resource. It's a two-hour, two-disc DVD set that looks at periods of revival over the past 500 years. Personal retail price is $40 plus shipping.

And that also includes not only the two-disc set, but also 14 hours of bonus content. So just order Revival by getting in contact with us. The usual ways, go to our website, thechristianrealview.org.

You can order it there, or you can call us toll-free, 1-888-646-2233, or you can write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. We're going to take a short break, but when we come back, we're going to talk about what's being called a revival at Asbury University in Kentucky. Stay tuned. Much more coming up on The Christian Real View. I'm David Wheaton.

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Plus, with the large 4GB capacity, you'll have plenty of extra space to load your own files. The flash drive is $25 and you can order by calling 1-888-646-2233, going to thechristianrealview.org, or writing to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Thanks for joining us today on The Christian Real View. I'm David Wheaton, the host. Just a reminder that today's program and past programs are archived at our website, thechristianrealview.org. Transcripts and short takes are also available. Jeremy Walker, the pastor of Maidenbauer Baptist Church in England, and also the writer and host of the revival documentary film that we are discussing and featuring today in the program, is our guest. Jeremy, many Christians around the world now have heard about what is taking place at a Christian college here in America in the state of Kentucky called Asbury University, with regard to a purported revival taking place on campus. Apparently, it started with a chapel message and then certain 20 or 30 students lingered to pray and to sing. I believe the president of the college saw what was taking place. He invited others from the student body to come in.

It's been going on for day after day after day, I think even weeks now. Some of the videos and reports coming out of Asbury right now are of students and people coming from long distances to be a part of, quote, the spirit moving there. I've actually had the opportunity to watch a good amount of live video stream, and it's really elicited a wide range of reactions. Some will just say this is the next great revival.

This is going to spread like fire nationwide across campuses, while others are very skeptical of some of the things going on and have basically almost downright dismissed it as being full of error. On Thursday night, there was a culminating event called the Collegiate Day of Prayer at Asbury. I watched quite a bit of that event. Basically, what I saw was you'd have one person after the next coming to the microphone for a short three or four-minute stint to read a passage of scripture, to offer a testimony of how they'd been delivered from sin. There was a heavy emphasis on what the Holy Spirit's doing in their life. One girl talked about how God spoke to her, direct revelation, God said to me, and so on. I did hear the gospel given once by, I think, either a student or a leader of the group. Then another person came up and told the audience to kneel, and then if they repented and believed, to stand up afterwards. The event was mostly worship music, repetitive and prayer groups, so they'd play music and then gather into prayer groups. There was absolutely no preaching at all, for sure no expository preaching. As I mentioned, watching some of the videos that have come out, like on Twitter and social media, there's been some instances, at least they look real from the place, but you can't verify them, that speaking in tongues and healing, you touch someone on the forehead and they fall, and even an exorcism purportedly took place, or an allegedly homosexual person leading worship in one.

But again, I can't verify all these things. The students appear earnest, they're expressive, they're emotional, they seem passionate. I wouldn't say this is extreme as the New Apostolic Reformation or the Bethel Church in Reading, which is kind of one and the same there, but there's a similar DNA, a similar methodology where you move the audience into an emotional state, particularly with an emphasis on music and prayer, in that contrast with the kind of revival you feature in the film that comes from a strong proclamation, preaching of the Word of God and the gospel from the local church. So Jeremy, you've written a column about what is taking place at Asbury University. We have it linked at our website, thechristianrealview.org. Share with us some of your perspective on what is taking place.

Well, I'm geographically at a fair distance, and so I need to be aware that what I know of this is already being filtered in terms of the media representation of it, and so I'm conscious that I don't have a complete picture. I think fundamentally we need to make sure that we steer between an unholy cynicism and an unholy naivety. Now, even in terms of what we've just been talking about, you hear that description of the context, and you might say, isn't that precisely where you might expect the Lord to work? If it's that needy, if it's got measures of confusion, then surely that is a place that is ripe for the work of God. So we should be hopeful. We should be expectant. We shouldn't look at that environment and conclude that because it's not what it should be, God cannot and will not work there, because that's precisely what you might then hope that God would do, that he would come to a place where there is confusion, where there is a low state of Christian living and believing.

If that's true of Asbury, I genuinely don't know. But we shouldn't then sort of say, well, how can God bless people like that? They don't deserve it. Well, you show me the people who do deserve the blessing of God.

So let's be careful on that side. However, we also need to say the other things that we've been saying about revival. What are the consequences of revival? What are the causes under God of revival?

Where is the powerful preaching of the gospel according to Jesus Christ? Are people being called to repentance and faith? God is not going to condone open sinfulness. God is a holy God and he will call people to himself and wickedness will not be overlooked or celebrated, but rather exposed and brought down. Godliness will be elevated. And so I'd be saying, let's look for what God is doing if this is a work of God.

So we expect that the Lord would use weak and foolish instruments to accomplish his purposes. We expect that the Lord will use the preaching of the gospel as the primary means to carry out the work of his kingdom. So we're asking, where's the preaching and teaching?

And of what order is it? Are people preaching the gospel as they've never preached it before? Is there been a rediscovery, a recovery, a re-proclamation of scriptural truth? Is the God of the Bible being presented? Is the Christ of scripture being held up?

Is the person of the Holy Spirit being expected and depended upon in accordance with what the word of God says? And is there then as a consequence of this immediate sense of God drawing near, a profound and humbling sense not just then of God himself, but a corresponding deep and accurate conviction of sin? Are people being stirred up to live the life that God calls his people to live? Are people being convinced of their sin and misery, crying out to God for mercy and their lives are being utterly transformed? Are people now pursuing true godliness? Are people looking at the life of the students on that campus and they're saying, these are holy people. They're living near God. They're living before God. There's been a transformation in the places that they go and the things that they do and the way that they live and the manner in which they speak.

And it's not a passing fad. These are people who God has drawn near to them and they will never be the same again. And there's a sincere appetite for and delight in the worship and the service of God, not just an extended Christian concert, not just a rolling program of a certain number of songs, but a hunger and a thirst for righteousness as God himself makes it known. So on the one hand, I think we want to be very careful that we don't just say, ha, not them and not there and sweep it all away. On the other hand, we don't want to say, well, how could it be anything but this and how can we be anything but excited? We're called upon. The apostle John tells us, test the spirits.

What does that look like? You're looking at whether or not it accords with the teaching of God's word and whether or not its consequences is the kind of holiness of life that God says always accompanies genuine faith and repentance as men and women, saved from their sins, are gradually conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. So I say be hopeful, but don't be foolish. Be careful, but don't be cynical.

And it is always the case that the tree will be known by its fruits. So what you're saying is, OK, not let's suspend our judgment and hope it all works out, but let's exercise biblical discernment and let us hope and pray, whether it's in Asbury, that that may be a genuine work of God and that if there are confusions and disappointments and frustrations within it, that nevertheless, in the midst of it, God may be doing certain things in which we should and could rejoice. But rather than just sniping from a distance or condemning things or becoming dismissive, let's be saying, well, Lord, if that is not everything that we might have longed for or even anything that we might have longed for, Lord, will you not work amongst us? Will you not deal with my heart? Will you not deal with my soul? Will you not work in the church where I serve to stir us up and to bring us closer to you, to show us our sin, to restore us to yourself and then to send us out to be useful in glorifying your name in the world? Jeremy, I just have to say that was so well answered and so biblically answered.

Thank you for responding in that way. There has been over this Asbury University purported revival. I say that because I don't maybe we don't even know yet.

It's going to take some time to see how things turn out. There's been so much division over it. Some people are just all in. This is it.

This is going to spread everywhere. Here we go. And other people have been very negative on this as well. And I just appreciate the way in which you had such a balanced answer, not trying to take a middle road here, but just analyzing it from a discerning biblical standpoint. So thank you for that. Now we're going to have a second part of the interview with Jeremy Walker, the writer and host of the documentary film revival, The Work of God, next week. Get much more into what is the film.

So I hope you can tune in for that. In the meantime, you can order this film from The Christian Real View. It's our new featured resource. This is a two-hour documentary. You get 14 hours of bonus content.

It's a two-disc set. And for a limited time, you can order the DVD set of Revival, The Work of God, for a donation of any amount to The Christian Real View. Just order it at our website, thechristianrealview.org.

You can call us toll-free, 1-888-646-2233, or you can write to us at Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. That information will also be given immediately following the program today. Just a few more thoughts on what is taking place at Asbury. I think if you understand the beliefs and history of the college, it will help explain what is occurring there and the means by which it is occurring.

According to the website, Asbury is a Christian liberal arts university grounded in the Westlian holiness movement. That's a movement that believes in what's called, quote-unquote, entire sanctification, that you're saved. And then at some point, subsequent to that, so after salvation is when you receive the Holy Spirit.

And then at some point, you're able to attain what they'd say in their Declaration of Principles from 1885, the entire extinction of the carnal mind, the total eradication of the birth principle of sin. So they believe you can become entirely holy or sinless. That's not something I see supported in Scripture. And certainly, the Holy Spirit being given at a point after salvation is not scriptural as well.

The Bible says that we're given the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. The college is also what they describe themselves as an evangelical Westlian Arminian perspective. Arminian, as opposed to Calvinism, believes that man is the determiner of one's salvation rather than God.

And it would be hard to overstate how much that will impact not only one's beliefs, but their practices of the college. So God is not sovereign in salvation. So therefore, man must get creative and contextualize things to move men to salvation, sanctification, and revival. Now, the Scripture is clear that God is sovereign in salvation. All you have to do is read one of the many passages of Scripture that say this.

I'll just give you one in Romans 8, verses 29 and 30. For those whom God foreknew, these are believers that He foreknew or foreloved before time even began. He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son so that He—Christ—would be the firstborn among many brethren. Verse 30, and those whom He predestined, He also called.

That's election. And these whom He called, He also justified, declared righteous, regenerated. And these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Very clear. That's not to say that man doesn't have responsibility in salvation because man does. Just read John chapter 1. But as many as received Him—there's man's responsibility—to them God gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. There's man's responsibility. Verse 13, this is where it goes to God's sovereignty. Who were born, not of blood—they weren't born this way—nor of the will of the flesh—they don't make themselves this way themselves—nor of the will of man, but they're born of God. So there you go.

The God election justifies is clearly taught in Scripture, but we must repent and believe. It's like two parallel train tracks that end up at the same place. They're both true. So just one more thing for today. It's really no surprise that a purported revival broke out at Asbury. This is what the college gears itself to do.

To manufacture, you could say. It says on their website Asbury University has been known through the years for its history of great revivals. There have been several occasions when significant moves of the Holy Spirit have swept the campus and reached across the nation. In February 1908, revival broke out while someone prayed in chapel. The revival lasted two weeks and was signified by a prevailing prayer and intercession. There have been other ones, but I'll just read one more. In March 1992, a student confession during the closing chapel of the annual Holiness Conference turned into 127 consecutive hours of prayer and praise. So what we're seeing at Asbury right now is something that's happened over and over again over their history.

I won't be so cynical to say that they manufacture this, but their beliefs and practices in history are geared toward producing this on occasion. We'll talk more about it next week as well as more about the film Revival the Work of God. Thank you for joining us today on the Christian Real View.

In just a moment, there will be all kinds of information on how you can connect with this nonprofit radio ministry. Let's be encouraged. We live in a challenging world, a sometimes confusing world spiritually, trying to discern the various movements and belief systems. But we know this, that Jesus Christ and His Word, they're the same yesterday and today and forever.

So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. The mission of the Christian Real View is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript, or find out what must I do to be saved, go to thechristianrealview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Real View is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Real View partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianrealview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian Real View.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 04:24:52 / 2023-02-25 04:44:29 / 20

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