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The Boston Awakening

Trends: Campus Awakenings of the Recent Past (1970-2006)

By Editorial Staff
Published April 10, 2008

It has been almost 40 years since the landmark 1970 Asbury College revival, an unplanned, student-led display of fervor that has been compared to the Great Awakenings. The Asbury Revival of 1970 had a dramatic impact throughout the United States, spreading to other places when Asbury students returned home and shared their testimonies. In the mid-1990s, a similar wave of revivals hit Christian colleges. The hallmark was not sensationalism, but public confession of sin, repentance and a heartfelt desire for intimacy with God and holiness. Although the revivals were reported as being spontaneous in nature, the fervent prayers of a handful of students preceded the revivals for several months. Many are now praying for an even greater visitation of God’s Spirit in campuses throughout America, beginning with college students in the Northeast.

Asbury Chapel

Asbury College, Wilmore Kentucky

One morning in 1970, without warning, what has been described as a “divine visitation” broke loose during Asbury College’s 10 am chapel service. “When you walked into the back of Hughes Auditorium there was a kind of a glow about the chapel,” said Dr. David Hunt, a Louisville physician who was then a student. “You just walked in and sensed that God had indeed sent His Spirit.” The service, a routine meeting, was scheduled for 50 minutes. Instead, it lasted 185 hours non-stop, 24 hours a day. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately, it spread across the United States and into foreign countries. Some say it is being felt even today.

Coggin Avenue Baptist Church

On January 22, 1995, in Brownwood, Texas two students from Howard Payne University, a Christian institution, stood up and confessed their sins. As a result of this incident, many others started to confess their own sins before the congregation. The events at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church were preceded by about seven weeks of widespread prayer. According to Pastor John Avant, “God began by doing some things in isolated ways. He transformed the life of a prominent man in the community who was considering suicide, and couples who were within days of divorce.” After the events, the motto among several local high school students had become, “God’s going to rock the world, and it’s starting in Brownwood.”

Howard Payne University

On January 26, 1995, a similar event took place on a nearby campus. At Howard Payne, revival broke out during a “Celebration” service, as students praised God in song and shared their testimonies. Students then began to schedule all-night prayer meetings in dormitories. Word quickly spread to other colleges, and Howard Payne students were soon being invited to other college campuses, which experienced similar revivals.

Howrd Payne: The Courtyard

Olivet Nazarene University

On February 23, at Olivet Nazarene, Kankakee, Illinois, Chaplain Bill Bray played an eight-minute video clip of the 1970 Asbury College revival at a chapel service. Students and faculty then began seven hours of sharing, praying, singing and exhortation among one another. As it continued, word spread off campus and members of the community came in order to experience the move of God. Other colleges affected by the video of the 1970 revival included Moorehead State and Murray State.

Southwestern Baptist Seminary

On February 28, three Howard Payne students spoke at an evangelism class taught by Roy Fish at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas to report on “the activity of God” in Brownwood. Students said that there was “an outpouring of healing, purging and cleansing among students, faculty, staff and administrators.” The meetings at Southwestern continued for several weeks with extended chapel services lasting all day long, with students and faculty confessing their sins publicly and praying for forgiveness and cleansing from the Lord. According to Bob Murdaugh, various ministers of churches in Fort Worth reported that their congregations were experiencing great moves of God.

Beeson School of Divinity

On March 7, Pastor John Avant spoke at Beeson Baptist Theological Seminary in Birmingham, Alabama at a three-hour service during which dozens of people went forward to pray, confess and seek reconciliation in personal relationships. Beeson’s dean, Timothy George, said that this was something that they had been “praying and yearning for.”

Wheaton College

At Wheaton College, Illinois, some students from Howard Payne University gave their testimonies at a weekly meeting of the World Christian Fellowship at Pierce Chapel on March 19, that lasted from 7:30 pm to 6 am the following day, when the custodial staff asked the remaining 400 people to leave so that the building could be cleaned. During that meeting, friends gathered around to embrace and pray for each other after each student spoke. Subsequent meetings were moved to College Church at Wheaton to facilitate the larger crowds.

Gordon College

Mike Shelton, a student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, wrote on April 10, “Some students from Wheaton came to Gordon College this past Friday to speak at an annual conference. Several student leaders came forward to confess their own pride and recounted how they had been humbled to see the need for revival in their own lives. After they finished, a steady stream of students came forward to confess sins or share what had been touching their hearts. Classes have been canceled this Tuesday at Gordon so that the entire campus can meet together. I’m seeing a widespread hunger for God and willingness to take up the cross that I’ve never seen before.”

Taylor University

The revival at Taylor in Fort Wayne, Indiana was prompted by some students from Wheaton and Asbury who came to Indiana to share testimonies about revivals on their campuses. According to one Taylor student, “Word spread like wildfire throughout the campus. I went there expecting little and wanting nothing. I stayed until 1 am. I have never felt so filled with the Holy Spirit. I have been able to see my fellow students through the eyes of God. I absorbed this love and radiance of God for five hours yet it felt like 15 minutes. God initiated the giving up of addictions, attitudes, and practices. It was real. It was not forced. Never will I forget this weekend and how God has broken me and the people around me.”

Criswell College

At Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, over 150 prayed and repented for four hours after hearing testimonies from some Howard Payne students. Doug Minton, pastor of First Baptist Church of Corinth, Texas, reported that his church experienced revival for weeks after a visit from the Howard Payne students.

Asbury 2006

In the first week of February 2006, during a worship service, students gathered around the altar in Hughes Auditorium where they had been for over three days. “God continues to move across the campus,” said Dr. Paul A. Rader.

“We have had students in Hughes Auditorium continuously since Monday at 10 am when God came in such power and blessing during our Student Chapel. Last night at midnight there were several hundred in Hughes. Some stayed until 4 am. We met for a Prayer and Praise Chapel this morning with an awesome sense of expectation. God did not disappoint us. From the first praise chorus students began coming to the long altar at the front of the auditorium. Soon the altar was crowded with students again. There was incredible freedom in the Spirit as we sang and prayed and shared testimonies of God’s gracious work in the hearts of students.”

The year 2006 is also the 56th anniversary of a similar revival at Asbury College in 1950. “A bigger outbreak a global revival will begin soon,” says David McKenna, former president of Asbury Theological Seminary. “The revival might not start at Asbury, but it probably will begin on campuses,” says McKenna, a noted author. He travels to many colleges and says, “I see the signs wherever I go.”

Those signs include a generation of students wounded by family breakdowns and searching for spiritual fulfillment. Much of the coming revival will be a delayed reaction, McKenna thinks, to what happened at Asbury College over 36 years ago.

Source: Richard M. Riss, Associate Professor of Church History, Somerset Christian College, Zarephath, NJ

See also:

Heirs of a Haystack

Asbury Revival 1970

Harvard Yard


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There is a revival that is happening every weekend in Kansas City, Mo. With healings, testimonies and people coming from all over the world to experince the presence of God. Look and see it at World Revival Church.com

Posted by Brenda Ashley on 06/28/2010 02:23 PM #

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“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.

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

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.

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

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Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

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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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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

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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