By Jerry Salzarulo
I believe the Asbury Revival could be the beginning of a great light that will shine throughout our world and impact our churches! Others disagree. Some have been critical of the Asbury College revival and have even cautioned others not to attend. I believe it’s crucial to get some understanding of revival, understand our role and responsibility, and answer opposing views, including:
- Some believe the Asbury Revival is NOT the will of God because it violates the typical preaching role that is consistent in our church services.
- Some have insinuated that it could be politically motivated.
- Others are saying it’s all manufactured emotionalism.
- Still others suggest that it could be the work of Satan!
- And finally, some just simply don’t want to get involved!
Let’s answer the preceding reactions.
REVIVAL HISTORY AND PREACHING
First, if we study the history of revival, especially those of the last century, we can clearly see that they were commonly marked by manifestations of the Spirit (especially those found in the great commission in Mk. 16). However, some revivals did NOT have very much in the form of preaching or teaching, especially The Azusa St. Revival led by William Seymour and The Welsh Revival led by Evan Roberts. Also, please note that the purpose of revival is to restore gifts back to our local churches. Thus the reason we named them revivals!
The definition of revival comes from the word revive, “to bring BACK to life.” Also please note that the word revival is not literally mentioned in the Bible. The same is true with the word trinity, but they can both be seen throughout the Bible. (See the book of Acts). For example, if we look at the end of the Healing/Tent Revival of the 50s, led by Oral Roberts, we can see a restoration of the gift of healing back to the local church. Revivals don’t last but its restorations in our churches do!
A MANUFACTURED REVIVAL?
The insinuation that The Asbury Revival could be politically motivated would also insinuate that it could be manufactured. What we see happening now in thousands of young people could NEVER be manufactured. Let’s keep in mind the words of Gamaliel (Acts 5:38-39), who said to the leaders who contemplated killing the apostles: “Leave these men alone; if what they are doing is from man it will come to nothing but if it’s from God you will NOT be able to stop it and you might find yourselves fighting against God!”
A WORK OF SATAN?
It grieves me to even answer such an insult but some in our church world have always said that the manifestations of the great commission today are the works of Satan! What’s interesting is that these same critics believe that the gifts of the Spirit were the will of God when they were done at the time of Jesus. However, Jesus himself said,“It’s better that I go!” It was better because greater miracles (in number) would happen. Furthermore the enemies of Christ also said His miracles were done via Satan. Enough said!
OUR ROLE IN REVIVAL
A fifth and final reaction was to not get involved or have an opinion. If we remain neutral we could find ourselves guilty of not supporting and praying for what God is desiring to do in these last days. I’m reminded of what Jesus said to his servant who did nothing with just one talent – He called him a wicked, lazy servant for doing nothing!
Back to the original question: Do we ALL have a responsibility in this revival? In looking back at the history of revival in the past 125 years—which includes The Welsh Revival 1901, Azusa St. 1906, Healing/Tent Revival of the 1950s, the Jesus Movement of the 60s (the movie is out now) and The Charismatic Movement of the 70s—we can see that they all had OUTSIDE opposition. Most survived until their purpose was fulfilled. However, the greatest revival in recent times abruptly ended. Allegedly, this was due to William Seymour’s mentor, who after three years travelled to Azusa St., only to agree with religious critics and called it “man made emotionalism.” This sharp DIVISION seems to have brought the incredible outpouring to a premature and sad ending.
Let’s get united by learning from church history. Please pray about supporting this revival and making the light of Christ burn even brighter!
“In a land of deep darkness a light will shine!” (Isaiah 9:2)
Jerry Salzarulo is a lay minister at Nutley Abundant Life Worship Center.
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