No stranger to revivals, Asbury draws crowds and critics to newest one

No stranger to revivals, Asbury draws crowds and critics to newest one

No stranger to revivals, Asbury draws crowds and critics to newest one

It appears God is moving on the hearts of hundreds at Asbury University, a tiny private Christian college in Kentucky, and first-hand accounts insist a real, genuine revival has broken out on the campus.

What is now Day 8 in Hughes Auditorium reportedly began in the most simple way, with prayer and humility, when a few students prayed together at a mid-morning chapel service February 8.

Christians who know their church history know the name Asbury: In 1970, what began with a chapel service was followed with 144 hours of unbroken worship and repentance at a famous seminary once known as Kentucky Holiness College.

Jim Garlow, best known as a longtime California pastor, tells AFN he knows about the 1970 revival because he witnessed the effects of it. Garlow, now 75, started at the seminary in the fall of 1970.

Garlow, Jim (Well Versed) Garlow

“What happened in September,” he recalls, “was the students regathered from the summer, and we gathered back in this auditorium, and they reported all the places the revival had gone during the summer internationally.”

Yes, that one-week revival at a tiny seminary went worldwide.

According to a CBN news story, this newest outpouring at Asbury includes scripture reading, corporate worship, testimonies, and praying.

AFR "Exploring the Word" co-host Bert Harper, a Southern Baptist minister, tells AFN he is excitedly following the Asbury revival partly because he trusts those who have stepped foot inside Hughes Auditorium.

“A pastor friend visited Asbury to observe what God was doing,” Harper tells AFN, “and he said within an hour he was a participant.”

Harper, who knows the history of revivals in the United States, says he believes Asbury mirrors those genuine, Holy Spirit-inspired movements because the Spirit is leading the congregation in Wilmore just like the early Church in Jerusalem.

“God is doing a deep work and it is Holy Spirit-driven,” Harper says. “Emotions are following the Spirit without the emotions leading the way.”

“If a work is of God, no one will be able to stop it,” seminary professor Owen Strachan tweeted today, Day 8, regarding the revival. “If a work is of man, no one will be able to preserve it.”

World is watching Asbury in real time

Unlike the 1970 revival there, or the 1950 revival that preceded that one, news of Asbury’s ongoing, unbroken worship service is spreading online from YouTube videos to Twitter posts and the hash tag #asburyrevival. That accessibility news of the day-and-night worship service is spreading quickly, drawing crowds from all over who might be showing up to post a TikTok video or repent of their sins, or both.  

The worldwide exposure also means Asbury is the target of well-meaning critics and ill-intentioned wolves, which have both been around since the Jerusalem church.

Harper, Bert Harper

So everything from the choice of music to questions about preaching style are being raised from critics, and leaders at Asbury are reportedly watching for wolves inside and outside the auditorium, too.

Radio host Janet Mefford, an outspoken watchdog for orthodox Christianity, is watching out for those wolves, too. Using her Twitter account, she is warning a liberal "queer" group named The New Evangelicals has arrived on the seminary campus to stir up trouble.  

"Just met with an openly queer student," reads a New Evangelicals tweet on Day 7, "who said ultimately they have seen progress at the school over the past 4 years and believe this revival is planting seeds that will do more good than harm."

So it appears the Holy Spirit, and the rainbow flag-draped wolves, have both arrived in Wilmore, Kentucky.