Posts Tagged ‘Great Awakening’

The scripture plainly states that we both know, and prophesy in part (1Cor.13:9), that we see as through a glass dimly (1Cor.13:12), and that the wisdom of men is foolishness to God (1Cor.3:19).  It also warns that we should not lean on our own understanding (Prov.3:5-6), and encourages us to be slow to speak, and quick to listen (James1:19).  Despite these admonishments, Christendom is filled with a host of confident voices, weighing in on every imaginable topic, and/or current event.

Sadly, much of this commentary centers on critiques, and criticisms of other believers, with countless “ministries” devoted to little more than discrediting and disparaging other doctrines, practices, ministers, and ministries.  While we may rationalize that we’re simply trying to champion some sort of orthodox theology, to the naked eye it appears to be the anti-thesis of Jesus’ description of His body (i.e. they will know you by the way you love one another – John 13:35).  Indeed, we “Christians” seem far more adept at expressing what we’re against, than manifesting what we claim to believe in.

Recent events at Asbury Theological Seminary are a great example of how this works.  On one side, we have a chorus of voices attacking the authenticity of what’s happening there, based on a wide range of objections (e.g. it’s just emotionalism, no one is getting saved, there’s no legitimate authority, United Methodists are heretics…).  On the other side, there are people declaring it, “The Third Great Awakening”. 

Is it a revival, is it an outpouring, or is it hype?  What actually constitutes revival?  Do we really need revival?  How does this compare with other revivals?  Would God really manifest to a denomination who believes what they do?  And on, and on, and on.  Has there ever been a “Revival” that the religious establishment didn’t’ find a way to quench?

My question is, who really knows what’s happening at Asbury, and why is it so important to assume a position one way or another.  Many of the loudest voices belong to those who haven’t actually been there.  Even those who have attended can only speak to their own experience. 

Does it really matter if we call it revival, or an outpouring, or an awakening, or simply a really good prayer meeting?  Why are we so threatened by the idea that God might manifest Himself in a special way to a small group of young people?  Could it be rooted in the fear that God may be doing something in someone else’s building that He’s not doing in ours.

Conversely, what is the value of declaring this to be the beginning of the next great move of God?  After years of so called “Prophets” predicting an endless array of events that never actually happened, it seems prudent to simply watch and pray, lest we fall into the temptation to make something happen in our own strength.  Haven’t we already cast enough doubt with regard to the prophetic? 

When we process information through the lens of our own experience, what we’ve been taught, and how it makes us feel, we formulate opinions, which could rightfully be characterized as, “The way that seems right to us”.  From a scriptural standpoint (Prov.14:12) that leads to death. Indeed, it is often our insatiable need to express our opinion that leads to the death of relationship; as we gleefully brag about blocking and/or unfriending anyone who might disagree with our perspective.  Considering that relationship is the conduit through which the Lord works, this is no small matter. 

As the extremes of any particular topic continue to provoke us into an endless loop of contentious verbal jousting, there is one issue that gains clarity.  And that would be why our efforts toward discipleship aren’t more fruitful.  Indeed, who would want to become a part of a community where neighbors treated each other with such apparent contempt?  Who would want to marry into such a dysfunctional family?

If darkness is simply the absence of light, the only way for the dark to get darker is for the light to abdicate its position.

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