Apostasy and Revival: Can They Happen at the Same Time?Feb 20, 2023
I'm writing this blog post on February 18, 2023. In the past few weeks news of revival has spread like wildfire across our nation from the small campus of Asbury University in the tiny town of Wilmore, Kentucky. Even CNN has reported on the unique, Christ-centered activity that is going on there, in this article titled,
What some people don't know is that spiritual awakening has happened before on the campus of this Christian university in this obscure town in Kentucky. You can read a quick documenting of these revivals on the school's website HERE.
How exciting is that?! A small Christian school (1600 students) where God shows up. We pray for revival every week in our churches. We sing for it in our worship services, and God is showing us that He is as eager as we are for us to experience a great outpouring of His power and love!
I watched an entire You Tube video of the chapel service on February 8. Zach Meerkreebs spoke. He was in a series titled "Becoming Love in Action" sharing from Romans 12. Rev. Zach challenged students attending chapel to allow themselves to be filled with the love of God. Then, he just walked off the stage. And there the video ended.
The message was good, but nothing remarkable. Nothing...not one thing...looked remarkable about the setting, the worship leaders, the speaker, or anything else going on February 8. The only explanation for what's happening at Asbury is GOD.
Alexandra Presta, the editor of the campus newspaper was interviewed by CBN on this YouTube video. She gives a tremendous testimony of what is going on! Here's a quote from the description written underneath the video: “Peers, professors, local church leaders and seminary students surround me — all of them praying, worshipping and praising God together,” She also wrote, “Voices are ringing out. People are bowing at the altar, arms stretched wide. A pair of friends cling to each other in a hug, one with tears in her eyes. A diverse group of individuals crowd the piano and flawlessly switch from song to song." She added something else worth pondering: "No one wants to leave.”
I LOVE THIS!!! How many times have we experienced worship services at our church, and known the Spirit of the LORD is there, and yet when the time is up, we close it down? What might happen if worship services all over the country just didn't end?!
God has whetted our appetite and He is drawing His people to Asbury, but just as Alexandra says, "the Holy Spirit is with you wherever you are." And I know He's eager to do this all over the place! Let's pray for more of this in our churches, our schools, wherever His people are gathering to worship.
But at the same time Asbury is experiencing this revival, we are living in a season of unprecedented apostasy.
In a quick google search I found these headlines (and articles) documenting the rapid decline of Christianity as people leave the church in record numbers.
Decline of Christianity Declines at Rapid Pace (Pew Research)
US Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time (Gallup Poll)
Why Young Adults are Dropping Out of Church (The Tennessean and Lifeway Research)
Do apostasy and revival operate together?
If you're like me and apostasy is only a slightly familiar word to you, let me share what I've come to understand that it means.
Apostasy is a falling away from Christian belief and practice by those who previously believed and associated with the Christian church.
Jesus refers to apostasy in relationship to the end times in Matthew 24:10-14. Paul wrote of apostasy to the church at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.
You can read a thorough article on the Great Apostasy and its significance in the timing of all things at the Gospel Coalition's Website, 10 Things You Should Know About the Great Apostasy.
There is so much to learn as you look around and watch events unfold in the world today! As followers of Jesus we want to be well-informed, spiritually attuned and ready to stand firm through all of it! So let me answer the original question:
Can apostasy and revival happen at the same time?
God is always working and always will be working. He is eager and determined to pour His Spirit out where His people are eager and determined to receive Him.
The devil is always working and always will be working until he is thrown into the lake of fire in the end. According to Scripture his strategy will be to deceive both those who have never given Christianity a 2nd thought AND those who formerly practiced Christian faith. He works subtly undercover to twist biblical doctrine in order to make it more palatable to the secular culture and often sways entire groups of people at one time!
So, what ought to be our response to this reality?
First, we remember that even the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.
Matthew 16:18, ESV: "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Second, we embrace the glorious truth that God has promised to pour out His Spirit to ALL generations!
Acts 2:17 NIV:“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
For those of you who have read to the end of this post:
Pastors: PREACH BIBLICAL TRUTH! Don't water down your messages, get your guts up and preach truth with boldness and anointing that comes from the Spirit of the living God!
Parents: PRAY FOR YOUR PRODIGALS! With the great apostasy some of our own children are going to get caught up in the fray. Don't toss your hands in the air and consider them lost forever. Press in and march on to secure the victory of their salvation.
People of God: LOVE each other well and PRAY for revival. Let's humble ourselves, live in authentic community, and make prayer a priority in our churches.
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