My father -- now retired from a full-time pastorate -- attended Asbury college in Wilmore, Kentucky in the late 50s and early 60s. He sent my brother and I the following e-mail on Wednesday. The indictments that he makes are the results of things that he has seen first-hand:
While I was at Asbury, at some point during that four year period, (I've never been good at remembering exact times and dates) I had many in depth spiritual experiences. One outstanding experience began in morning chapel, I believe on a Wednesday. I'm not sure if it was in response to a sermon and invitation to come forward and pray or not. I do know that the kneeling rail/altar area filled with students in waves. Students were praying, crying , confessing, witnessing and it continued all day and all night and all the next day, without stopping. Classes were suspended until the third day when we went back to class. I do know that many lives were forever changed when the Holy Spirit poured out His blessings and made His presence known at that time. I was deeply touched and learned the difference between Jesus as Savior and Jesus as Lord. Today, for no apparent logical reason I decided to visit YouTube and see if anything about Asbury was available. I came across a video of former president Dennis Kinlaw giving an account of an 8 day outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Asbury that occurred in 1970, just eight years after I left. It is an amazing account of a revival that went non stop 24 hours for eight days! It is also the account of how it spread to various parts of the country as the Holy Spirit prompted students to carry the message to other places. It is also the account of how the media picked it up and reported on this amazing event and did so with respect and reverence.
The thing that I enjoyed most about the Asbury '70s revival was the spiritual change that took place in the student body. The manner in which it all came about, the result of fervent prayer and seeking God, a commitment on the part of groups of students on campus to pray for 30 days, etc. There was an expectation amongst the students that God was going to move in their midst. When the Holy Spirit began to pour forth in such a powerful and marvelous way, no one was surprised because they knew what God was going to do and they were expecting and waiting for God to act. I wonder what would happen in any given local church that would do the same thing? The Asbury revival spilled out into the surrounding community and across the country. If this happened in a local church it has the potential to spread throughout the surrounding community and effect the lives of hundreds, even thousands of people. Revival is a spiritual phenomenon. It is first of all individual and personal before it spreads to the rest of the seekers or faith community and beyond. If it is real; if this spiritual awakening is more than an emotional binge, it will be demonstrated by action. The Holy Spirit does not infill us to wallow around in the experience and allow it to grow cold. I firmly believe this is why the Church today is so anemic and so powerless. We are full of good deeds, humanistic effort, politically correct programs, etc. but they are not of the Spirit! They are feel good attempts by man to live out the Gospel but the power of God is not in it! But, many pastors today don't believe in revival; not real revival. They believe in a series of preaching meetings but they don't even give an invitation for anyone to come forward and pray for any reason. I didn't always do everything right but I notice now that the order of service is changed at my last church so that there is a lot of stuff directly following the sermon that makes it impossible to open the altar and give an invitation for prayer. If anyone is there and they want to make a first time commitment to Christ, or pray for a deeper walk in the Spirit, or just come and spend a few minutes in prayer, the order of service makes that impossible. One reason for this is that many pastors today don't believe in a personal experience in Christ. They see no need for personal commitment. Most young pastors in mainline denominations are into universal salvation; it's communal worship and experience, not personal nor individual. I have always believed that it has to start with the individual first before it can spread to the community. Today they say it is all about community and the individual gets caught up in community and thus finds and fulfills his/her calling or function as a part of the community experience. I am convinced this is why the Church today is so ineffective and is no longer taken seriously by the community at large. When the local church is nothing more than a civic organization, with religious overtones, that goes about doing good deeds, it ceases to be the Church, the Body of Christ. The Knights of Columbus, the Masons, the Shriners, etc. do the same, with religious overtones. Am I making any sense? Just think what a positive dynamic effect a real God sent Holy Spirit infused REVIVAL would have on our nation! If a group of churches came together and did what those students did at Asbury in 1970 and God honored their faith and commitment, no telling what effect it would have on our nation! Immediately following 9-11 the churches filled up, but it was short lived. As soon as the smoke cleared and people began to realize this was a one time action and there was no mass invasion taking place, they went back to business as usual. A real Holy Ghost Revival might have a lasting effect that would bring about real change in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. I believe time is running out on our nation. Even the Church will not stand up for God today! We are no longer created in His image. We have created God in our image! We worship a false god! God help us!
I know you are busy and the video is long. I am asking you for about 30 minutes of your uninterrupted time to view this video. I urge you to do so. I truly believe God will bless you if you will give Him this time.
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
So, about the video: It is 37:15 long...which is still shorter than an hour spent in front of the TV! I commend it to you with my father's admonition as a launching point: "