By Editorial Staff
Published March 31, 2008
By Nick Pappis
Could a Christian revival come to your campus? Many people today laugh at the idea. After all, they suppose, students on American campuses in the 1980s are far too sophisticated to want religion. And besides, they have adopted a new set of materialistic values that leave no room for God or the Bible.
Students at Yale College in the late 1700s also scoffed at the idea of Christian revival. Yale was at that time a hotbed of rationalism; the French philosophers had become popular among the students, along with the moral infidelity that men like Voltaire and Rousseau espoused. Students even called each other by the names of French intellectuals.
But, as history records, a revival did sweep Yale which “shook the institution to its center.” God’s instrument was Timothy Dwight, a grandson of the great preacher Jonathan Edwards. When Dwight became president of the college in 1795, the students handed him a list of subjects for class disputation, claiming that free discussion was limited in the classroom. To their surprise, Dwight chose one of their subjects: “Is the Bible the Word of God?”
Most of the students involved in the discussion took the side of infidelity. But when the debate was over, Dwight’s appraisal of their arguments convinced them that they were wrong. Dwight then preached a famous series of sermons in the college chapel. Most devastating was his 1796 sermon on “The Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy.”
The effect was immediate. “From that moment infidelity was not only without a stronghold,” wrote one student, “but without a lurking place. To espouse her cause was now as unpopular as it had been before to profess a belief in Christianity.”
That same year, 26 Yale students founded the Moral Society of Yale College. It discouraged profanity, immorality, and intemperance. By 1800, it included “between one-third and one-half of all the students in its membership.” Its influence laid the foundation for four revivals at Yale in the opening decades of the 19th century.
What had come upon one of the leading universities of that day has historically been called revival. A genuine awakening had come and turned the tide of humanism and ungodliness for a generation of young people. The seeds sown by infidel philosophers had dominated all of university life. Immorality, drunkenness, and the excesses of all forms had prevailed. One of America’s greatest universities had been brought down, reduced to nothing more than a haven of lust and debauchery.
How much different was Yale College prior to Timothy Dwight’s first sermon when compared to the universities of America today? Our classrooms are likewise filled with humanistic philosophy. Professors are endorsing humanism, Marxism, and Eastern ideas – while at the same time ridiculing Christianity as outdated and irrelevant. Students have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into sexual revolution, drug abuse, and the endless pursuit of more money and possessions.
The Yale College revival should serve to remind us that God can bring awakening into the darkest place. Can we look through the eyes of faith – as did Timothy Dwight – and believe that God can bring revival into the campuses and cities of this nation?
When the spirit of revival arrives, God always raises up men and women to speak for Him. They do not preach mere sermons – they speak as prophets of God. Their preaching does not come with persuasive words, but with power and conviction.
When the Apostle Peter preached at Pentecost, it was the multitude that gave the invitation. The Bible says that they were“pierced to the heart and cried out, ‘Brethren, what must we do to be saved?’” These people were not simply embracing a new philosophy. Their hearts had been eternally changed as the power of God broke through the darkness of sin in their lives.
Arthur Wallis states, “To aim at ‘decisions’ or ‘results’ before this work of convicting has been done is to build one’s castle on the sand. What is the good of offering a man a pardon when he has never been convicted of the crime? What is the good of urging a man to come to Jesus when he has no sense of his ‘lostness’?” This is the difference between preaching and revival preaching: it always grasps the consciences of men.
Prophetic revival preaching always goes deeper than a message by a well-prepared evangelist. To those who are on the receiving end, the reality of their sin and separation from God is overwhelming. Their consciences are smitten, and they cannot rest until they surrender to the lordship of Christ.
Charles Finney’s ministry is a good example of preaching that was immersed in a prophetic spirit. It has been said that for many years Finney would devote himself to prayer and intercession before he preached. He would then go to the meetings full of the Holy Spirit, and trust the Holy Spirit to anoint him.
On one occassion, Finney said, “I had not taken a thought with regard to what I should preach. The Holy Spirit came upon me, and I felt confident that when the time came for action, I should know. As soon as I found the house packed, I arose and, without any formal introduction or singing, opened upon them with these words: ‘Say to the righteous that it will be well with them; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill for him; for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
“The Spirit of God came upon me with such power that it was like opening a battery upon them. For more than an hour the words of God came through me to them in a manner that I could see was carrying all before it. It was like a fire and a hammer breaking the rock, and as a sword that was piercing … I saw that a general conviction was spreading over the whole congregation.”
Is it too much to believe that such power could be released once again in our day? Is it too much to believe that God could raise up an army of men and women like Timothy Dwight or Charles Finney, who can stand in the boldness of Christ and proclaim the truth of God to the university students of America once again?
Are the students on our campuses today any harder to reach with the gospel than the students at Yale in 1800? I believe that there is a wave of students emerging in this hour who will challenge every vain philosophy and turn our universities from humanism to the living God. Professors will once again call students to repentance. Students will gather by the thousands in university facilities to hear and respond to the Word of God. Similar events have happened in our nation’s past – we can expect them to happen again.
Selected quotes from Arthur Wallis taken from Rain from Heaven.
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Your comments are welcome!
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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“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.
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High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
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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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What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
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