Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Revival At Asbury?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 12, 2023

See, a tree is not known by its fruit. In fact, apparently, a well can have fresh water and bitter water both. Many Churchians are anxious to point to events at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky this week as set against the usual weekly trends of church scandals. Supposedly, there isn’t a problem with the concept of church, it’s just full of a bunch of sinners saved by grace, and periodic “revivals” are God’s accreditation of his appointed authority over salvation on earth.

There is a lot I could write here, but I will keep it simple. With all the churches and all of the different denominations that supposedly set them apart, they all share common tenets that are problematic and antithetical to primary Bible principles.

First, church defines God’s ekklesia as an authoritative institution rather than the literal family of God functioning like a family. Institutions are driven by authority, and not the cooperation of various members that together contribute to the functioning of a body. The homeostasis of a body is determined by the health of each member and its cooperation with the other members. The health of an institution depends on obedience to authority as truth.

Secondly, church, as an institution, limits worship to a place and time, instead of being defined as one’s whole life. At Asbury, time was tossed out of the window, but notice how this supposed revival was once again, limited to a place, with the focus being, “standing room only.”

Thirdly, this “revival,” per the usual, isn’t defined by positive acts of love, but rather “brokenness” and “repentance,” leading to joyful singing (“worship”), which has been the primary focus of the church for more than 500 years (“confessionalism”). This is actually the common church doctrine of mortification and vivification, which is common in all forms of church to one degree or another. How’s it workin’ for ya?

By the way, Asbury had the same kind of revival in 1970, which was recently highlighted at the university. Hmmmmmm. However, the bigger point follows: what significant change came from it or any other revival of church history? The present-day church has never been a hotter mess or a larger train wreck.

I will keep the points basic here without visiting the the Wesleyan doctrine of the university, which is a whole other cause for skepticism.

I believe I witnessed the only true church revival ever, which was the impact of the original biblical counseling movement in the early 90’s after it began in 1970. That movement was decimated and replaced by the Neo-Calvinist movement. True spiritual revivals are going to have a broad positive impact on the lives of many people in many different ways, and are not going to be the focus of a particular place marked by emotional drama. Sure, it can start somewhere, but the true test is results over time.

let me give you an example. The first nurses were the 1st century deaconesses. Had that ministry not been wiped out in the 4th century when the ekklesia was institutionalized, we would not have a shortage of nurses today. A real revival is going to impact society in concrete ways. It will be the result of intentional loving acts, not emotional bloodletting at some alter limited to a place and time.


2 Responses

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  1. lydia00 said, on February 18, 2023 at 1:08 PM

    Let me add one more thing, every celebrity pastor or wannabe celebrity pastor in these parts are grifting this “revival” or awakening. I use the latter because they are obviously embarrassed to call it a revival. Lol. One celebrity mega pastor here put out a prayer guide for revival. Since I know the guy and he would never allow anyone to give a free-form testimony on his stage without vetting it first, this just cracked me up. They are busy putting out prayer guides, inspirational messages, etc to be a part of it. So are many small Christian colleges where it’s just not taking hold. They might want to stop putting pictures on Facebook.

    Then so-called revival experts from sbts and other seminaries are weighing in to quote their doctoral dissertations.


    • Alan in Colorado said, on February 24, 2023 at 12:13 PM

      Great insight, I was only aware of part of what you observed. Thank you.


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