About 20 years ago, the state of Massachusetts launched a campaign to compete with “I Love New York” and “Virginia is for Lovers.” Since then, I haven’t seen too many “The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America” bumper stickers and t-shirts. Nevertheless, that statement is a profound truth. For good or evil, the spiritual trends that have taken place in Massachusetts since 1620 have influenced the rest of the nation and even the world. While Massachusetts is thought of as one of the most liberal and therefore Godless states in the union, there are several signs that a Christian Awakening is under way.
A few years ago, Christianity Today published an article on Boston’s “Quiet Revival” — a growing church movement has doubled the number of evangelicals in Massachusetts even while the population of the state has remained the same. The article notes that it is a “quiet revival” mainly because it is occurring among Hatian, Brazilian, Korean and other Asian churches in inner city Boston and Cambridge — ethnic churches that few in the white mainstream are aware of.
Soon after that the liberal Boston Globe published an article called “The God Squad” about the growing number of evangelical students at Harvard and MIT. One observer noted that there is a higher percentage of evangelical students at Harvard than at any time since the 17th century. While I think that is an exaggeration (the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century had a great influence too)even my native Bostonian skepticism is forced to take leave and I admit that God is up to something in Boston.
The Harvard Crimson has been running a lot of articles on the topic in the past few years. Understand that with a student population of only a few thousand, just a few hundred evangelicals at Harvard is a phenomenon. Contrast this with ten years ago, when the total number of professing conservative Christians was less than one hundred and you see what some have called an “Awakening” of evangelical Christianity. Some say it is a precursor to something major akin to the Awakenings of past centuries.
In order to really shake the nation, any type of student led revival will have to deviate from the pietistic movements that have characterized “revivals” in the past 100 years. In fact, every revival that has led to a Great Awakening (The Puritan movement, the First and Second Great Awakenings) have been Puritan or “Neo-Puritan” in character. It was when the majority of American churches rejected Calvinism in the mid-1800s that “revival” began to focus more on individual blessings rather than how the revived saints can be salt and light in the society. But even that is changing. Christianity Today this month ran an article about how more and more Christian youth are getting interested in theology and are rejecting the “seeker sensitive” and “emergent” models of church growth. They are looking for something of more substance and are finding it in Calvinism. After all, America was founded not just on Christianity, but on a Protestant model influenced more by the theology and social theory of John Knox and Oliver Cromwell than any other figures.
The Christianity Today article is not on-line yet, but check back at their site to see it eventually — or pick up a copy at your local Christian book store. I’ll be reviewing the article in a few days.
See a review of : Young, Restless and Reformed
Last month also marked the 200th anniversary of the “Haystack Revival” — a prayer awakening at Williams College in Western Massachusetts led by three students helped to launch the World Missions Movement in America. Students around the world are being asked to fast and pray for a revival of missionary vision among college students. What is strange about the anniversary is not that Christian groups such as InterVarsity are promoting it, but that it is getting favorable mention even from many liberal groups. That secularists would celebrate the positive influence of Christian Missions inthe world needs some explanation that I cannot explain other than a sovereign act of God.
Of course, I’ve written about these phenomena since 1989 in The Forerunner, so it is actually exciting to see these movements gain a beach head and get noticed by the national press. It’s happening at a time when I had almost despaired of ever seeing an Awakeing in the northeast in my lifetime. In 1989, I started a project called The Northeast Invasion. The plan was calculated to flood the Norteast College campuses and especially the Ivy League where future leaders are studying, with Christian literature.
This month we plan to continue this strategy with The Boston Awakening magazine. I was initially hesitant to take on the project, my skeptical nature rising to the forefront, but then I realized a simple truth. When one aims for great things, we only fail when we do not try.
«- The Boston Awakening magazine - Personal thoughts
- The Boston Awakening
- Revival and Spiritual Awakening
-» Thoughts on location, location, location
Your comments are welcome!
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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