God Wants More For You. So Do We.

What Should We Think About the Asbury Revival?

Ask Pastor Alex, Ep. 3

This is the Ask Pastor Alex podcast with your host, Pastor Alex.
Alright, welcome back to the Ask Pastor Alex podcast.
We’re here with another episode and another question to answer.
And the question this week is, what should we think about the Asbury revival?
Good question.
I really appreciate that question.
Incredibly relevant question too, because the Asbury revival, as it’s being referred
to, is still going on at this point.
I think it’s getting pretty close to two weeks at the time of the recording.
I think it’s getting pretty close to two weeks.
For those who might not be familiar, Asbury Seminary, they were having their regular chapel
service and the speaker was giving his message.
At the end of the message, he concluded in prayer.
And then it’s my understanding that students remained there at the chapel and began to
pray and that blossomed into some more worship songs and more prayer and confession.
And it just continued and it’s been spontaneous and unplanned.
At least it started out that way is my understanding.
And people have been participating in what’s being called the Asbury revival ever since
Again, I believe at this point it’s about two weeks.
And it’s gotten a lot of attention, right?
You look on social media, you look at the national media, and this thing is getting
a lot of attention where people are wondering what is actually going on at Asbury.
Is this a true revival?
And we’re finally seeing another true revival in America, not one that’s planned at your
typical Southern Baptist Church where it’s like, hey, we have a revival planned for November
and it’s going to be from these days to these days, but just a true, genuine revival from
And so I think it’s right and appropriate to be asking questions like this.
Hey, what should we think about the Asbury revival?
And I just want to start off by saying, number one, I can’t tell you what to think about
the Asbury revival.
I don’t want to tell you what to think.
I want to help you think and I want to be able to give you tools and resources for thinking
and maybe give you some ideas for how to think through this.
But at the end of the day, you should do your own research.
You should be well informed.
You should look to the scriptures and then you should form your own opinion based off
those things rather than just taking what I tell you and running with that.
So I don’t ever want to just tell you what to think, but I want to help you think through
these issues.
And so as we come to a situation like this in the Asbury revival, we need to understand
that there are typically two common responses immediately that happen when you hear about
a revival or some great movement of God.
And they’re on the opposite ends of the spectrum from each other.
So the first group you hear about a revival and this great movement of God that’s taking
place and one of the most common responses is immediate dismissal.
This is kind of the cynical, maybe overly critical group.
And they are very staunch and they like things nice and neat and orderly and like to try
to have everything work in a certain way.
And so when they hear about a revival, they are quick to dismiss and they’ll say, how
can you be so foolish to believe that this is actually a true revival and a true movement
from God?
And so there’s this kind of condescending attitude like you should know better.
You should know that this isn’t a true revival.
That kind of a thing might not happen anymore.
If it does, it looks like this rather than like this.
And so that’s the first common response is this immediate dismissal.
But I think there’s an equally unwise response that’s just as common and that’s immediate
affirmation, immediate approval.
And you see a lot of people do this.
They immediately jump on with their opinions of the situation and they say, of course this
is a true revival.
How dare you question this true movement of God?
Well, how do you know it’s a true revival?
Because it is.
Clearly it is, right?
And so they just give their immediate affirmation to this and their immediate approval and they
also have a condescending attitude.
I would say maybe the dismissal group kind of looks down on you intellectually like how
could you be so foolish?
And this group looks down on you spiritually and they’re saying, how can you deny this
true spiritual movement of God that’s taking place?
You should know better than that.
If you were more in line with Christ or if you were holier, then of course you would
immediately say that this is a true movement of God.
I’ve even seen some pastors and prominent people talk about the fact that if you’re
judging a spiritual movement from afar that says more about you than about that movement.
And I’m over here like, well, hey, can we just maybe have like a middle ground?
Is there something so wrong with taking the middle ground?
Because I think it’s unwise to immediately dismiss what could potentially be a true movement
of God.
And I also think it’s equally unwise to give your immediate affirmation and approval of
something without any level of discernment or critical thinking or evaluation.
Those things aren’t unbiblical.
It’s not wrong to question and ask good critical questions and to investigate something before
you give your approval to it.
I mean, that is biblical.
Think about Acts chapter 17 when Paul is in Berea and he’s preaching the word and he’s
sharing the gospel and it says that the people were eagerly receiving what he was saying.
So they are eager about it.
They’re excited.
They’re like, hey, this is amazing.
He’s explaining the Scriptures.
He’s showing that Jesus is the Messiah.
But what did they do?
They used discernment.
They asked very critical questions.
They went to the Scriptures, the Bible says, and they wanted to verify that what Paul was
saying was in line with the Scriptures.
They wanted to make sure that it was biblical.
Well, I’m wondering, well, why can’t we take the same response here?
Like, what’s so wrong with taking a discerning response?
And I do think that’s probably the best response and at least maybe the most biblical and wise
response we can take is the discerning one.
And be like the Bereans and look in Scripture and say, okay, what is happening at Asbury
in line with what the Bible says about true revivals and are the things that are going
on there in line with the true movement of God?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking those type of questions.
In fact, I think it’s very helpful and very biblical because the Bible also warns us.
I think this is important to remember in 1 John chapter 4, the Bible says, beloved, do
not believe every spirit.
But what does the Bible tell us to do?
But test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone
out to the world.
Well, there’s the Bible telling us exactly how to handle the Asbury revival.
Don’t be immediately dismissive of it.
Don’t be immediately affirmative of it or approving of it.
Rather, test the spirits because not everything that claims to be a spiritual movement is
a true spiritual movement.
That doesn’t mean that this one is not.
It just means test the spirits.
Not every spirit is from God.
And so I think that is the approach that we need to take because we need to be looking
at the Asbury revival and we need to be asking some really good questions.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff that is trying to put it down.
I’ve seen some reports of maybe the leaders who are going and leading worship there and
some things about them.
I’ve seen some things about the message itself.
These are very good points to bring up, but at the end of the day, I think we have a responsibility
as Christians to give people, one, the benefit of the doubt and say, let’s not just be immediately
dismissive because we like being overly critical, but let’s not be immediately supportive and
affirmative just because we do want this to be a true revival.
I think we look at what’s going on.
We see if it aligns with Scripture.
We look at what is being taught there and said there at the revival.
We look at the movement itself and what is going on.
And we begin to ask very important questions about if that aligns with what the Scripture
says a true revival is and what a true revival looks like.
I think we need to remember that all true revivals are known in time.
So we don’t have to come to some sort of conclusion on our own thoughts even right now.
I think it’s okay to say, I’m not sure if this is a true revival or not.
I’m not saying that it’s not.
I’m not saying that it is.
I’m saying, I don’t know.
But time will tell.
Time is going to show us what to make of this revival and its long-term effects.
Is it going to be something that dies out and has no lasting impact on the people who
were there, the people who continue to be there, the area, the school, or is it going
to be something that has long-term effects and doesn’t just stay confined to one place
but something that spreads across our own country, across the world, that has long-term
effects on the students, the people who were there, the staff who continues to be there,
the people in the area.
We just say time will tell.
We will see in time what to make of the Asbury revival.
So what do we do now?
I think what we do now is admit that if you haven’t been, you don’t really know.
You’re seeing reports, good and bad.
You’re seeing a lot of good videos being posted.
You’re seeing a lot of critical things being posted.
At the end of the day, we say, I’m not there.
I don’t know.
I can say I’m pretty confident that there are certainly people there who have experienced
true revival, who have been awakened to the reality of their sin, and they have been convicted
by the Holy Spirit.
They have felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Maybe they have turned from their sins and trusted in Christ for the first time, and
now they are giving their lives to Jesus.
I feel pretty confident saying I believe that there are some people there who were already
true Christians but have maybe they were lax in their faith or maybe not very committed.
And when they went to this revival or whatever is going on here, they experienced an awakening
spiritually that they became aware of the fact that they had become lax in their faith
and they were awakened to the reality of ongoing sin in their life, their need to commit to
the spiritual disciplines and grow closer to Christ in that relationship with Him.
They had a renewed fear of the Lord and a desire to be in His Word and live in accordance
with His Word.
I feel very confident saying that, that there are people there who have experienced those
I feel also just as confident saying that I think there are many people who were there
who maybe went for the wrong reasons, who maybe just went strictly out of curiosity
and not to experience a movement of God.
I think there are probably some people there who genuinely are dedicating themselves to
prayer and worship, and I think there are probably some people there who were trying
to keep this revival going as long as they possibly can.
I think both things can be true at the same time without having to dismiss the whole thing
entirely or approve of the whole thing entirely.
So what can we do as Christians?
Well, I think one of the best things we can do is pray.
That’s always one of the best things we can do because God works in prayer and through
prayer and He can do great things through the prayers of His people.
And so I think one of the best things that we can do is pray, Lord, if this is a true
revival I pray that You will keep it going.
I pray that it won’t just be confined to Asbury Seminary, but I pray that it will begin
to spread to the community and then the state and then the nation and then the world and
that there will be revivals taking place all across our world.
I pray, Lord, that You would keep this revival going, that people would come to a true saving
faith in Christ, that those who were already Christians would have a renewed commitment
to Christ and His Kingdom and the gospel and the Lord’s purposes.
But I think we could also pray, Lord, if this is not a true revival, I pray that some good
will come from it, that You will use something that might not be genuine to bring about something
that is good.
I pray, Lord, that if this is not a true revival, that at least the amount of attention it’s
getting in the media and on social media will awaken people to their need for Christ and
our need as a people for revival.
I pray that people, because of their interest in what’s going on at Asbury, will seek out
a local church in their own community and begin to go to that church where they might
hear the gospel preached and experience the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
So we can pray that even if this is not a true revival, that the Lord would use it to
bring about good from it, which we know that He does.
He brings, even in bad situations or things that don’t necessarily align with what He
wants, He’s still able to bring good from those things.
So I think the wisest thing for us to do in this situation is to be discerning and to
be prayerful.
And I think those two things are always good responses.
So I appreciate the question and I look forward to answering some more in the future.