What’s Happening at Asbury College and Why?

Asbury Revival (2)
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“What’s happening at Asbury has been praised and critiqued. Before you condemn the critique of Asbury, remember healthy critique can be a good thing. It’s healthy for the people of God and if done with the proper motives and through the lens of Scripture as our authority—it exposes error and tests the spirits faithfully (1 John 4:1).” – Josh Buice 

As soon as the Asbury revival was brought to my attention through a news reporter, I naturally wanted to know what happened prior to it becoming viral. How did it begin and how did it continue to become something now being shared and promoted on social media and in national news? Any time we see a massive trend in and among evangelicalism, we are wise to ask the question, ‘Why?’ Why are people being drawn to this? Why are they seeking what they call an ‘outpouring of the Holy Spirit? What are they wanting to experience? What are they lacking in their life to desire and, (now as flocks of people from all over the nation are going), to seek a bigger and more dramatic ‘encounter’ with the Holy Spirit? We can’t and shouldn’t judge hearts, but we can go to the Scriptures and see how, when, where and why we find the regeneration of hearts and the transformation of lives, and how, when, where and why do see the ‘outpouring of the Holy Spirit’ in Scripture. We are wise to discern as Apostle John admonished in 1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

I found this excellent article written by Josh Buice, Founder and President of G3 Ministries. In the article he begins by saying,

“People have been filling up the auditorium and flooding the campus at Asbury for the last two weeks. Many people, including pastors of churches far and wide are making pilgrimages to Asbury in attempt to catch the winds of revival and take it back to their local churches. The Spirit of God is not a force or some contagious hype that can be caught and relocated into the life of another church. The Spirit of God is God and He moves as he so desires to accomplish the purpose of God’s glory. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and doesn’t need to be chased down to experience Him. What’s happening at Asbury has been praised and critiqued. Before you condemn the critique of Asbury, remember healthy critique can be a good thing. It’s healthy for the people of God and if done with the proper motives and through the lens of Scripture as our authority—it exposes error and tests the spirits faithfully (1 John 4:1). As we study history, we see some truly extraordinary movements of God. In the book of Acts, we see that God moves in an unusual manner at Pentecost (Acts 2) resulting in an explosion of saving grace where approximately 3,000 souls were saved. After a long period of darkness, there was a movement sparked in 1517 that resulted in the Protestant Reformation which had lasting fruit that remains to this very day. It produced the Scriptures in the common man’s language and a robust defense of justification by faith alone. R.C. Sproul explains:

The Reformation was not merely a Great Awakening; it was the Greatest Awakening to the true Gospel since the Apostolic Age.1

From 1734 until about 1749 there was what’s been called the Great Awakening in New England. The Puritans arrived in New England in the 1600s. They were largely Calvinistic and postmillennial in their view of eschatology. About 100 years later, there was another debatable movement referred to as the Second Great Awakening. Most students of church history would agree that America hasn’t seen another unique and extraordinary movement of God since this early period in American history.

This does not stop people from using the term revival to claim an extraordinary blessing or the unique presence of God. This happened with the Azusa Street movement 1906-1915, the Brownsville movement 1995-2000, and now the Asbury University movement. Each of these movements are labeled as revivals. Interestingly, this is not new territory for Asbury.  According to their website they have chronicled revivals that have happened on their campus since 1970.

Many people are skeptical when Asbury students are posting messages on Twitter about queer students leading in the revival services.

Another individual published a video of a supposed exorcism taking place in the middle of the auditorium. I couldn’t help but notice how calm people strolled by when demons were supposedly screaming from inside the body of a person in the auditorium. Add to those reports the fact that false teachers like Todd Bentley spent a few days there and was raving about his experience on social media stating “The Holy Spirit lingers and you feel tangible waves of his presence!” The Asbury movement appears to bear corrupt fruit on several levels.

The purpose of this article is not to debate the particulars of the Asbury movement in relation to the charismatic influences or the difference between awakening, reformation, and revival. I think there is a need for those conversations, but that is not my aim in this article. The real question that I want to focus on in this article is this: What evidence do we have from a local church perspective that this moment is a genuine revival? Asked a different way: Would an extraordinary blessing of God lead people away from the ordinary?” [READ THE REMAINING ARTICLE HERE]

Now, as I observed what all was happening prior to and during the Asbury movement, it was Scripture that came to mind. What did the Bible, Old and New Testament, teach about ‘revivals’…what did it teach about the ‘outpouring of the Holy Spirit,’ and most importantly what did Jesus and His apostles teach about the Church Age specifically regarding these continued corporate local church gathering experiences. What did Jesus promise? I read in 2 Chronicles 15, 2 Kings 11-12, 2 Kings 18, 2 Kings 22-23, and Acts 2, 10, and 19, in Matthew 24:9-14, John 16:8, letters from Paul to the church in Thessalonica , and in 2 Timothy 3:1, 12, 13.

Then as I researched even further, I came across another article from Scott Aniol titled, “Unbiblical Expectations of Revival.” This article is one that explains so well what I was sharing with Rip and close friends after studying in Scripture and it is this: Scripture (Old and New Testament) never promises or teaches mass revival in the Church Age…the Age of Grace that we are currently experiencing as His church. Jesus never says to expect it, and it is never promised because it is not needed. Jesus actually promised the opposite when He said,

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

The Holy Spirit was poured out as Jesus had promised in Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost (John 14:26) again in the conversion of 3,000 souls forming the first church in response to Peter’s sermon and the result was they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread [continuous repentance, confession of sin and receiving the Father’s forgiveness], and to prayer. We see similar events in Acts chapters 10 and 19.

We are wise to ask, ‘Where are revivals in Scripture?’ The fact is that nothing in Scripture is actually characterized as revival – the word simply does not appear. That in itself, of course, is not necessarily a problem; the word ‘trinity’ doesn’t appear in the Bible either. But we must at least acknowledge that the term ‘revival’ is an extra-biblical word that we have chosen to apply to particular events in church history, and thus we need to carefully examine Scripture to determine whether what we have labeled ‘revival’ should even be an expectation today.Scott Aniol, PhD, Executive Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of G3 Ministries.

Scott says in his article”

“The important point to recognize about these events is that they are unique. The Spirit was poured out as Jesus promised, and he does not need to be poured out again and again. He is now active in the world, convicting the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement (John 16:8), regenerating dead hearts (Tit 3:5), and sanctifying believers into the image of Christ (Romans 15:16) … we must always remember that Scripture must interpret experience, and not the other way around.” 

Reading and studying our Bibles to know God, to know Christ, to know the Holy Spirit, and to know who we are IN Christ can, for some, seem ‘boring and ordinary.’ The discipline of in-depth bible study, of ceaseless prayer, and of positioning ourselves to be taught from the preachers and teachers who are called by God to provide exposition of the Scripture doesn’t come, for some, with enough dramatic and emotionally charged experiences. Yet, individual bible study, group bible study, prayer, individual and local church worship, and obedience to the Word of God is exactly how the Holy Spirit coverts, how He renews minds, how He transforms our life, and how we experience the merciful and gracious fellowship with the Holy Trinity. Scott says;

“The bottom line is this: quick, extraordinary, mass cases of conversion and sanctification are simply not promised in the New Testament, nor is this ordinarily how conversion and sanctification take place. The Holy Spirit of God converts souls through the faithful, “ordinary” preaching of the Word, and this normally happens, not all at once or in mass numbers, but gradually as God’s people faithfully proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.”


CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE – “Unbiblical Expectations of Revival” – it is truly worth the time to read this very wise and informative article, or you can play the audio and hear him explain in a 13-minute audio clip.


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lisa rippy

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