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  • Writer's pictureJohn Aziza

A Call to Discernment: What the Asbury "Revival" Can Teach Us

Updated: Apr 19, 2023



On February 8th, 2023, a routine chapel service at Asbury University sparked a non-stop worship and prayer event that lasted a full sixteen days and drew thousands of participants from around the United States. This is the official story and it's what Christian and secular news agencies alike are calling a "revival", "spiritual outpouring", and an "awakening".


But is there more to this story than meets the eye? And should Christians unreservedly support anything called "revival", or step back and exercise some prudent caution? According to the following scriptures, caution and spiritual discernment are the biblical prescription when encountering any movement claiming to originate with the Holy Spirit:


"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect"... "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (Mat. 24:24; 1Jn. 4:1-2).


Clearly, the Christian must be extra vigilant if they wish to avoid being deceived by false spiritual movements.


DISCLAIMER:

Before we continue, I wish to acknowledge that God is able to use almost anything, even a false revival or a counterfeit gospel, to save those whom He wishes (Phil. 1:18-20). In fact, some people have even been "saved" in the midst of binge drinking and immoral partying. This is simply because God will never miss an opportunity to redeem men's souls from sin. But it's usually despite the circumstances, NOT because of them. So I readily confess that souls may have been saved during the Asbury revival and that genuine repentance may have been present among some of the participants. However, while affirming this possibility, I must also warn of the false and dangerous elements present at the Asbury event in order to prevent sincere Christians from falling prey to deception.


WHAT DOES REAL REVIVAL LOOK LIKE?

While revival isn't necessarily a biblical term, the concept of revival, which conveys repentance and a wholehearted return to God, is certainly so. The greatest revival in history happened in Nineveh after God sent the prophet Jonah to preach repentance and the whole nation repented of their sin with fasting and sackcloth (Jon. 3). Real revival happened in Acts 2, when after hearing Peter preach repentance, three thousand souls were saved, water baptized, forsook all for Jesus, and continued faithfully in the Apostles' creed. Real revival happened again in Acts 4, when after Peter preached the Gospel, five thousand souls were added to the Church in a single day.


According to the Bible, real revival happens when we are willing to do the following:


1. Repent of all sin and practice restitution, if necessary, like Zacchaeus (Mat. 7:21; Mat. 21:44; Luk. 9:23; 19)


2. Deny self and surrender completely to the will of God (Mat. 7:21; Mat. 21:44; Luk. 9:23).


3. Obey the Bible and do everything it says!


But the modern church has lowered the bar so dramatically that long hours of Hillsong worship, feel-good sermonettes, and a whole lot of media hype have now become the new definition of revival. Sadly, that's exactly what we saw at Asbury. Endless hours of praise and worship intermingled with a few sensational testimonies were the only predominant features of the event. In fact, there was very little preaching or biblical instruction, and definitely NO public call to repentance for specific sin issues endemic to our modern culture. Yet notice what the Bible has to say about the fundamental value of preaching and discipleship:


"..it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21).


"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Mat. 28:19-20).


So preaching the Gospel and teaching the lost how to obey all of Christ's commands is how we ignite authentic revival. You simply can't have revival without those things.


Now a vital component of any genuine revival is a strong emphasis on sacrificial obedience. Jesus made it clear that salvation wasn't a simple matter of emotion, feelings, or even believing in Him. Rather, salvation is costly and depends on our willingness to enter by the "strait and narrow":

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" ..."Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Luk. 13:24; Mat. 7:13-14).


So what does this all mean? It means that simply attending a lengthy prayer and praise event and feeling good about the spiritual atmosphere there is meaningless if it doesn't produce biblical repentance, manifested in lasting change and a transformed life. Only this will help us gauge whether a revival is genuine or not.


THE TRUTH ABOUT ASBURY AND ITS THEOLOGY

According to the university's website, Asbury has been promoting and incorporating spiritual formation in their syllabus for a number of years (see here, here, and here). Spiritual formation involves contemplative prayer, meditative mantras, and the attainment of higher spiritual consciousness or "mystical states of consciousness", all of which have their roots in Eastern Religion and the New Age (see here at 22:54). One of the main pillars of spiritual formation is contemplative prayer, which requires emptying the mind of everything and repeating a single word or phrase over and over again until one enters into a "meditative state" (see here at 16:03). Contemplative prayer is a defining feature of the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) and Charismatic movements. Sadly, it's very highly encouraged at Asbury and amply rewarded under their FLEX credit system (see here and here).


What few Christians realize, though, is that many of these meditative practices were introduced into Protestant universities by the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, who was trying to promote his order's Ignatian spirituality. Rahner was also directly involved in formulating the ecumenical ideals of Vatican II, which sought to unite Protestants with Catholics (see here and here). From Rahner's own words we discover that his aim was to create a strictly mystical "christian", who was no longer rooted in the Bible, but in the notion that truth is relative or subjective to the individual:


"The Christian of the future will be a mystic, or he will not exist at all." -Karl Rahner, SJ

The other disturbing component of Asbury's theology is that it appears to cater to woke/liberal philosophies, takes a diplomatic aproach to dealing with the LGBTQ community, and allows self identifying gay and lesbian alumni to participate in the spiritual leadership of their campus (see here, here, here, and here).


PRE-PLANNED & MANUFACTURED

So was the protracted season of worship that many refer to as the "Asbury revival” really a surprising move of the Spirit? Or was the whole event pre-planned and manufactured? To answer this question, we must first look at several pertinent facts. For starters, it's interesting that Asbury has had about nine revivals in their history. But what's a bit strange and suspect is that they all seem to occur in either February or March. In fact, seven out of the nine documented revivals have all occurred in the month of February (see here). So if God was behind this revival, I would like to know His motive for consistently showing up in February.


But there's more... According to the Christian Post, the president of the seminary sent an email to all of the students encouraging them to visit the chapel and join a group of 20 students on what he described as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see here). "Apparently, 200 students arrived for worship at the chapel soon after, and there has been non-stop worship ever since." I don't know about you, but this does not sound like an organic move of the Spirit.


It is also noteworthy that months before "revival" broke out, Asbury University had been planning to host the Collegiate Day of Prayer, a simulcast scheduled to air live on February 23rd 2023 across thousands of college campuses. The promo for this event was uploaded to the “Collegiate Day of Prayer” YouTube channel on February 1st and featured Francis Chan drumming up expectation for God to do again what He supposedly did at Asbury back in the 70s (see here). So if this event had been in the works at Asbury prior to the "revival", the students would have been led to believe that something big was coming on the 23rd and they would have wanted to prepare for it. We must not forget that the power of suggestion is strong. Therefore, it's fair to assume that the sermon that “kicked off the revival” (a call to experience God’s love) was most likely not responsible for the "revival" that followed.


Clearly, the Asbury "revival" was not merely spontaneous. And it's quite certain that the students were being prepared to be the forerunners of an explosive new movement that their leaders had been telling them was coming with the Collegiate Day of Prayer.


NAR HAD ITS HANDS ALL OVER IT!

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the whole Asbury "revival" was just how many famous leaders from Charismatic/NAR/ecumenical organizations were either promoting it or actively participating in it. The university partnered with quite a few of these organizations to prepare for the Collegiate Day of Prayer and that should speak to the issue of their affiliations. In case you doubt this, look no further than the Collegiate Day of Prayer YouTube promo, which still has the following announcement contained in the description box:


"Let's ADOPT and saturate EVERY CAMPUS in America in prayer (go to http://collegiatedayofprayer.org to adopt a campus) and join us LIVE from Asbury University on Feb 23rd at 8-10pm ET with special guests Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Allen Hood and worship leaders from International House of Prayer, Circuit Riders + Black Voices Movement, and Met By Love Worship. Let’s believe God for REVIVAL amongst believers on college campuses and SPIRITUAL AWAKENING amongst the lost. Father, revive the saved and save the lost!!"

So just who is Francis Chan? He's the same famous preacher that publicly participated in communion with a bunch of Roman Catholic priests back in 2020 (see here). Rick Warren is another high profile figure that openly promotes antichrist/false prophet pope Francis and refers to him as “our pope” (see here). Who is Allen Hood? Hood received his Masters of Divinity from Asbury University and was the associate director of IHOPKC up until 2020. IHOPKC is a Charismatic megachurch that is fully ecumenical and routinely embraces unity with Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc (see the Kairos 2017 event).


But a whole retinue of false teachers attended the "revival" and openly promoted it, such as Nick Hall, Todd Bentley, Daniel Kolenda, Joshua Mills, Greg Locke, and Daniel McCormick. So why were all these men so eager to attend and endorse the Asbury "revival"??? Perhaps it was because of their longstanding ties with the university's faculty, as in the case with IHOP's Allen Hood (a former Asbury alumni).


A GIANT ECCUMENICAL PUSH FOR UNITY


In 1962, the Vatican convened a special council and began its formal push toward ecumenical unity with other Churches and religions. This council was called Vatican II (see here). Many of the current ecumenical programs can be traced directly to Vatican II and have one thing in common. They attempt to erase all doctrinal and theological distinctions within the Christian Church. Clearly, the overarching aim of this ecumenical push is to unite Christianity with other world religions under a common interfaith mission accountable to the United Nations and its global charter (see here). Few Christians realize that even the World Council of Churches, chaired by the heads of nearly every Protestant denomination, has been closely collaborating with the Catholic Church for the same purpose (see bellow video):


But the fact that the Vatican is seeking a one world religion headed by the pope should come as no surprise since it has a long history of attempting to centralize global power under papal leadership (see here). This fact is also evident by their direct contribution to the formation of the United Nations, as documented by the St. Louis Register in March of 1947:


"Washington.—The ninth annual conference of the Catholic Association for International Peace will be held in Boston April 6 to 8. The general theme of the discussion will be steps toward world government through the UN" -St. Louis Register, March 1947 (see here).

Yet before Rome can unify Christianity, it must first eradicate any form of religious fundamentalism, as it is attempting to do even now (see here, here, and here). At the same time, it must also create a universal "church" comprised of Christian mystics who rely solely on subjective feelings and emotions. To achieve this, we can be certain they will use every means necessary, including shaping public perception through movies and TV shows like The Chosen, Jesus Revolution, and The Secret, which dilute the Gospel message and weave a hodgepodge of false religious beliefs into the Christian narrative. Indeed, these are all part of the conspiracy. And so are the so called college campus revivals that are breaking out everywhere as if spontaneously. The covert aim of these "revivals" is to encourage Christians to embrace all expressions of the Faith, irregardless of whether or not they are correct.


Now don't get me wrong. A unified Christian Church is a great ideal. But only if it DOESN'T come at the cost of truth. And I'm afraid that's exactly what's at stake here.


Remarkably, Pastor David Wilkerson, a God fearing man with a burden for Christian purity, had prophesied of this very thing as early as the 1970s:


"I see rising a super world church. I see the formation of a super world church consisting of liberal ecumenical Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church, joining politically hand in hand to create one of the most powerful religious organizations on earth. This visible super world church is going to be spiritual in name only; freely using the name of Jesus Christ, but will in fact be antichrist and political in many of its activities. ...Its leaders will make statement about meeting human needs. They will send out a call for action--political action and a greater voice in world affairs. Rome is going to insist upon and receive concessions from the Protestant ecumenical leaders. I see a large army of career people invading the most influential posts in this super church. ...These hirelings are going to be harassing and persecuting everyone who does not come under their religious leadership." (see here)

When I became aware of these pertinent matters back in 2018, I put together a YouTube video in order to warn the Church of this satanic conspiracy against God's people. I hope you will take the time to examine the stunning events captured in the below video:



CONCLUSION

What's troubled me the most about the Asbury "revival' is the hostile environment it has created toward any type of reasonable dissent. Seemingly anyone who shares their caution or concern over the activities that have transpired at Asbury is immediately labeled a “Pharisee,” a “Doubting Thomas,” and even a blasphemer. It is clear that many would like to weaponize the Asbury “revival” in order to pressure conservative evangelicals into accepting their definition of a revival. And how this strategy will play out in the end, and whether it will lead to more aggressive forms of persecution against the non-conformist minority, only time will tell...


"..be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).

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