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The Problem with the Asbury Revival

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Rabbi Eric Tokajer

By now, through either social media or regular media, most people have heard of what took place at Asbury University recently. It was labeled as “The Asbury Revival.”

On Feb. 8, a group of students at Asbury gathered for their regular chapel service and it became irregular. Thanks to social media, we learned that students attending chapel that day began to pray with earnest and worship fervently. This prayer resulted in students entering into deep and honest repentance, which resulted in even deeper worship and more repentance.

Almost from the moment the first post appeared on social media, discussions began about what was happening. An invisible line was drawn in the sand, delineating a clear divider between those who believed this was a real move of G-D’s Spirit and those who believed that what was taking place was another example of emotionalism running amuck.

This division was not the problem, and honestly should not be a surprise to anyone. After all, this same argument has arisen during every proclaimed move of G-D since the days of Peter and Paul. People have judged what happened at Asbury through the lens of a checklist they formulated through their own opinions. They concocted a checklist of requirements for revival, such as the right leaders, the right denomination, the right format, the right numbers, the right (fill in the blank).

Based on individual comparisons to previous moves of G-D, people traveled to Asbury with hopes of experiencing what Asbury students experienced. Some may have decided to stay far away from Asbury because they believed what happened doesn’t check enough boxes on their lists.

There has been no shortage of people sharing their thoughts and opinions about Asbury. So many, in fact, that I hesitated to share my views. However, the problem with the Asbury Revival is so significant that I felt strongly compelled to comment on it in hopes that some would read this blog and realign themselves with G-D’s Word.

The problem with the Asbury Revival has nothing to do with Asbury at all; it has to do with the fact that much of the body of Messiah has forgotten how G-D defines revival. Revival is when someone dead or dying is resuscitated and restored to life.

Revival doesn’t require a large group, a special service, a certain song or sermon. Revival only requires the breath of G-D, the Spirit of G-D to bring renewed life.

The problem with the Asbury Revival is that many are so busy debating whether revival is taking place that they have forgotten to join the angels in rejoicing every time a sinner comes to repentance.

After all, my friends, that is the one and only true definition of revival.

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Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.

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