by Paul L. Gavrilyuk | ελληνικά | Русский
On February 8, the students who gathered for a regular worship service at a chapel of Asbury University, a small Christian college in Wilmore, Kentucky, found themselves unable to leave at the service’s end. They continued to pray with their hands extended, making public confessions of repentance and praise, for hours. The nonstop service has gone on in this manner for two weeks, with over 50,000 people from other states and even other countries traveling to Asbury to experience the “outpouring.” When the university authorities had to close the service this Sunday, February 26, the Asbury Outpouring sparked nascent revivals in Ohio, Tennessee, and elsewhere.
Asbury University is a college in the Wesleyan theological tradition, which has an established history of revivals. Revivals have previously occurred on the Asbury campus in 1905, 1908, 1921, 1950, 1958, 1970, 1992, and 2006. Early Methodism was a vibrant missionary movement, which featured the revivals preached by such leaders as Francis Asbury and John Wesley. The revivals were prayer meetings accompanied by the outpouring of strong emotions, tears, confessions of guilt, professions of faith, and typically ending with “altar calls” or invitations to rededicate one’s life to Christ. The converts embraced revivals as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the renewal of the individual and the church, often in response to specific crises. The critics often scorned the revivals as forms of mass hysteria and as expressions of unbridled emotionalism (or “enthusiasm,” as it was called in the nineteenth century).Continue reading