On February 8, 2023, at a private Christian university called Asbury University in Kentucky, Texas, a preacher invited his young audience to an authentic relationship with Jesus, and to “be the love of God” in our world. What followed was an unexpected response of young men and women from the university, then from the community, and then from across the United States arriving to the chapel of the university where people have wept, repented, prayed, been healed, given testimony, and worshipped. It is being described as a revival or an awakening that has continued even up to today as this letter is being written. For 24 hours of each day, people have gathered at this chapel to seek God and to find healing in Him.
In a terribly bad news world, there is much to give thanks to God for as the gatherings of people increase at Asbury. Certainly, we do not want to focus our minds on the injustice of a war in Ukraine that turned a year old on February 24th, or horrific death tolls from natural disasters of earthquakes and cyclones. The wind of God’s freshness in Asbury is a welcome breath of rejoicing. What concerns me as I’ve carefully watched the unfolding events is three missing pieces that have made Asbury susceptible to Satan’s wiles. The first is the notable absence of God’s Word through preaching and teaching. Repetitive music and worship songs dominate the time. A few testimonies pepper the flow of events, but the teaching of God’s Word is sparse. Second, there is an absence of biblically sound doctrine. Increasing influences of charismatic practices that are far from biblical truth have been introduced, and no one has stopped to ask, “Wait, where do we find this in the Bible?” And third, an absence of accountability is growing. The university has taken a back seat to what is going on in their own backyard, and many recognizably false teachers and teachings have made their way among the young flock. As I see these things unfolding, I am reminded of Paul’s warning, “Beware of dogs.” (Philippians 3:2). Jesus tells us that there will be ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15), and Peter calls us to beware of destructive heresies that are sown among God’s people (2 Peter 2:1). A lesson is learned through history: every great movement of God must be guarded by the Word of God. Otherwise, the painful lesson would be that Satan would hijack that which God’s people may grow by. The war in Ukraine is a terrible physical war. The devastation in Turkey and Syria is a physical devastation. But the war against the saints, and the devastation that Satan wants to bring to the work of God is one that we must not be unaware. Brothers and sisters, pray for Asbury. Pray for God’s people to be committed to God’s Word. Pray that the battle will be engaged and won in the power of God. And pray for His Spirit to sweep this world as the water covers the sea!