Paul's Passing Thoughts

What’s Going On At Asbury, and What’s Driving It?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 24, 2023

If you are reading this, you have probably heard of the spiritual “revival” at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. The event has become famous, with everyone from the blogsphere to Tucker Carlson of Fox News weighing in on the event. Journalists like Carlson were persuaded not to do any onsite reporting on the event in order to, supposedly, “keep Jesus front and center.” By the way, considering the critical thinking skills of the average American, I deem it necessary to inform you that Jesus did not attend and speak. However, thousands of attendees able to jump and chant at the same time spoke many things for Jesus throughout the revival. This reminds me of the various church councils throughout history where dogma was determined by church authoritarians; we must remind ourselves that Jesus did not attend any of them. Basically, if you accept the authority of any of these councils, you are trusting the musings of men rather than the one who received ALL authority IN HEAVEN and ON EARTH (that pretty much covers everything) from God. The Bible is clear on this; the Bereans vetted the apostle Paul’s teachings with their own understanding of the Bible and were commended for it by the Holy Spirit. If the apostle Paul did not have the authority to tell people what to believe, no one does.

There is one common theme throughout the reporting of this event; it’s some sort mysterious moving of the Spirit that no one understands. Be sure of this: It’s not the Spirit’s work, and what is going on is perfectly understandable. The vast majority of American churchgoers don’t know why they do anything they are told to do, nor do they know anything about what they supposedly believe. So, the first element is mystery, then there are two more subthemes that define the event: “Brokenness,” marked by confession and repentance (which sparked the revival), and praising God.” These two define the lion’s share of the event’s activity. That’s because these two elements define the Protestant doctrine of mortification and vivification. And few of them, if any, know that this is what’s driving the activity because, again, people who go to church don’t know why they do anything except for the assumption that it is getting them to heaven because some pope or pastor said so.

So, what is the doctrine of mortification and vivification? Well, instead of defining the new birth as a one time act of God upon an individual that seals them with the Holy Spirit for eternity, mortification and vivification defines the new birth as a perpetual reoccurring event that must be pursued with intentionality in order to remain saved. Also, this doctrinal endeavor must take place in a location ordained by God and under the auspices of his appointed authoritarians, viz, church. That’s why this “revival” took place in a chapel. And, it’s why the event is marked by nonstop praise and worship, as that defines the vivification (rebirth) part of the process. The participant partakes in repentance for “present sins,” leading to brokenness (death, or mortification of sin, or death to self), which results in the Spirit re-resurrecting you (vivification, or what John Piper calls, “exultation”). John Calvin referred to it as a re-visiting of our original baptism, which signifies our death and resurrection with Christ (new birth). According to the biblical gospel, water baptism is only a picture of what God does spiritually to make us a once-and-for-eternity child of his, but Calvin and Luther both defined water baptism as an ordinance that supplies the power needed for continual re-salvation through the mortification and vivification process. Also, according to Luther and Calvin, water baptism initiates us into the church marriage covenant, where we have access to the ordinances that make mortification and vivification possible.

Asbury is just the practice of mortification and vivification x 10, or as one person put it, “nothing but a long church service.” And yes, it’s works salvation, or Jesus + church ritual…clearly. Hence, the number of people showing up shouldn’t surprise us; Asbury is a place to get a stronger dose of Jesus, which is efficacious for the progression of salvation.


3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on February 24, 2023 at 12:17 PM

    I have had some of my own thoughts about what is going on at Asbury. While I won’t presume to make any judgment about people’s intentions (I’m sure the majority of them are genuine in their motivations albeit ignorant what they believe), but I have made some observations. One in particular is in regard to something said by an AiG reporter who attended the event as a “disinterested observer” . Taking a quote from this particular article (, “The worship movement began, they explained, with a normal chapel service on Wednesday, February 8. After a presentation in a series of messages about ‘Love in Action,’ the speaker offered students an invitation to stay and pray after chapel dismissed, similar to how some churches allow congregants to remain for a time of informal prayer after service dismissal. A number of students did stay—and didn’t leave. Someone began worshipping, others joined in, and still others began returning and staying.” How did they know someone “began worshipping?” This begs the question of what is worship. It would seem that this statement implies that worship “looks like something”, in other words some particular action (ie. ritual). So in this instance, they define “worship” as some action that is directly related to a religious event or activity. Going one step further, it would also seem to imply that this activity is only considered “worship” when it occurs within the confines of a defined religious location.

    Contrast this with what Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:
    “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
    (John 4:19-24)

    The other observation I made is in contrasting this event with another “mass spiritual awaking” even that is recorded in Acts on the Day of Pentecost. The 150 or so saints who received the Holy Spirit did not stay in that house, nor did they bring others to that place to “worship”, but they went OUT and spoke their message to others. They took action! And as a result over 3000 more people were born again, and THEY took action not only preaching the gospel but seeing to the needs of others (“…sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. Acts 2:45). This is true to the spirit of what James preached when he said, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

    THAT is the definition of “worship”!


  2. dave sampoli said, on March 6, 2023 at 11:02 AM

    What is going on there is female sentimentality which has replaced religion altogether now. Think who first told you Asbury was even a thing. It was a woman, wasn’t it? Because women buy into it immediately.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on March 10, 2023 at 7:54 AM

      So, where are your references to substantiate this as the underlying premise? Please cite the origin of this doctrine, and examples of its progression.


Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s