The revival continues at Asbury. But some are doubting. Social media skeptics abound. The questions range from the legitimate (what is the biblical and theological content of what’s going on?) to the nakedly cynical (why are there so many white people in these photos? why is there so much emotional singing?). But the reports seem pretty overwhelming at this point: something real and Christ-exalting is happening at Asbury.
Listen to this testimony from a visitor to the revival services, Robert Cunningham, director of Christ for Kentucky and a Presbyterian minister:
Lay down your doubts and believe. Open yourself to revival. A powerful exhortation.
Again, some initial questions are legitimate, but what does it say about us that we are so quick to be skeptical? We would rather remain cynical than risk looking naive. What does that choice say about us? Isn’t it better to believe and hope all things and risk the possibility of a later retraction or correction than to remain judgmentally aloof?
Something similar could be asked about the responses to the “He Gets Us” campaign and the commercials that aired during the Super Bowl last night. To be sure, there is a critique to be made of this ad campaign. Are all of these analogies between Christ and us really apt? What is the underlying theology? Why so much money devoted to this? All legitimate questions to ask. But that’s not really my point. The more revealing question is why are people this agitated by it? I have a friend who likes to say “mirrors before windows.” Before you focus on someone else, look at yourself first. Yes, there may be serious problems with the “He Gets Us” campaign, but why am I so bothered by it? It is not a little ironic that people got so angry over an ad that emphasized Jesus’ love for those who are the objects of our anger! Maybe you don’t like the message behind the ads. Okay. You can still use the conversations it raises to tell people about the biblical Jesus and his life-giving gospel.
Maybe these things are related. Maybe God is up to something in American Christianity. Maybe there are fresh openings for renewal popping up all around us. Maybe if we had eyes to see and hearts to pray, we would see more. Discernment is still needed. Every revival in history has had to distinguish between the true and the false. But, for my part, tenderhearted hope is a better posture than calculated coldness.
I don’t know about you, but I want revival on my campus! I want revival in my life and family and church. I want to see “each soul be rekindled with fire from above.” Don’t you?
UPDATE: Robert Cunningham has deleted the thread above. The gist of the thread was that this PCA minister witnessed an authentic revival focused on Jesus, Scripture, and prayer.