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!
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.(We accept PayPal and all major credit cards.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes(We accept PayPal and all major credit cards.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes(We accept PayPal and all major credit cards.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes(We accept PayPal and all major credit cards.)
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.(We accept PayPal and all major credit cards.)