Yes, you read that title correctly. Since 1905, Asbury University, a Christian liberal arts university located in Wilmore, Kentucky, has been home to at least nine documented student revivals.
Of those nine, two began in March, and seven started in February, including the most recent one that has gone viral on social media and captured the attention of news outlets around the country.
For a full rundown of these various revival events, simply visit Asbury’s own website: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/resources/library/archives/history/revivals/
So what does that mean? Has history passively repeated itself?
Have people within the institution actively pushed for revival for decades until something notable breaks out again?
Has revival taken place for years in the hearts of Asbury’s students and at times simply happened on a larger scale from time to time?
I don’t know, and neither do you. Only God knows.
On the one hand, it does not seem coincidental that this has happened so many times at Asbury and that they always happen during the midwinter weeks. Why has revival never broken out in the fall or during a month other than February or March?
On the other hand, why don’t we see a history of revivals like this at many other universities and churches? Is Asbury doing something right that the rest of us are not? Or is something else going on here?
Once again, I don’t know, and neither do you.
But here is what I believe: True revival is not something that can be manufactured or orchestrated by human effort, but rather it is a work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals and communities.
Obviously, this is my opinion, and the many repeated attempts in American churches to bring about revival indicate that many people would disagree with me.
In fact, I must confess with a heavy heart that I do believe that some people will spend eternity apart from Christ even though a “revival” at some church gave them confidence that just the opposite would happen.
In a future blog post, I will explain why I believe this to be the case.
For some other perspectives on the topic of revival and what happened at Asbury, check out the following articles. I have no association with these authors or organizations and do not necessarily agree with everything that they say: