Monday, June 19, 2023

Asbury Revival: Why Not The Salvation Army Next?

This is a personal blog. The views on this blog do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Salvation Army, it's employees, or partners. The views on this blog are solely of those making them, based on the teachings of the Bible, in the Spirit.

What would it take for a genuine revival in The Salvation Army? The short answer is: a move of God, the Spirit of God moving upon The Salvation Army. That isn't something we can control. But we can make sure we are "good ground" for a move of the Spirit of God.

What exactly would that look like? 

Examining the Asbury revival, there are several factors that are unique to how it happened and how it was managed. 

The event began with a very basic sermon, calling the students to repentance. You've sinned, you've become prideful, you've made it about you, now repent. Feel despair. Feel sorrow. Get down on your knees. Weep over your sins. And turn back to God, humble yourself and turn back to God. 

That is what happens in a real revival, is heartfelt repentance, an admission of pride, ego, self, sin, and the Lord convicting that, followed by intense turning away from sin, and toward God. Then with the sins cleared out, the pride replaced by humility, the Spirit of God moves in, and the hunger for God grows and grows into uncontrollable revival.

There is a fair amount of pride in The Salvation Army. "Look at us, the heroes doing the most good!" I'm speaking from personal experience. I became prideful. And I had to repent of it. 

We should be saying, "Look at Jesus and all he's doing here!" But instead we say look at us, look at our special organization. And in fact, to be honest, we kind of hide the name of Jesus. Oh no, just focus on the salvation army, just focus on our red logo. Focus on our social services. Let's pretend to be secular in our national messaging as well. Then we'll get the money we need, right? I'm sure it seems logical. But it doesn't bring revival. 

Is revival going to come to a place that hides the name of Jesus Christ? No, revival won't come there.

Repentance is the key to all this: We must repent on an individual basis. Let it start with you, whether you're a leader, a soldier, a friend, a volunteer, let it start with you, go before God, repent, and begin to pray for revival in The Salvation Army. 

Despite our flaws and our shortcomings and our problems and our messaging, there is hope for revival. There is reason to pray, and believe, and repent. God can do anything! Don't give up hope. Believe that God isn't done with The Salvation Army. Rise up and pray. Repent and turn from sins. Exalt the name of Jesus. Keep serving in Jesus name. Give Him all the glory. 

Notice also that once the revival started, the leaders of Asbury allowed it to flow freely. The leaders of the university didn't take the stage to make it about them. In fact, evangelical leaders came to Asbury asking to take the stage, and Asbury said no. It was grassroots. Just people hungry for God and turning from sin. 

If a revival broke out in The Salvation Army, how soon until someone took the stage to make it all about them? We'd have to make sure that wouldn't happen. No big name, no popular officer, no giant fan-fare, where the leader can begin to take the credit. No, just the Holy Spirit, getting all the credit. 

And people would criticize it. Like many criticized the Asbury revival. And what would we do? Would we shut it down when our donors said it wasn't good for business? Would we shut it down when our friends in the news media declared us religious extremists? Or would we let it flow and refuse to stop it? 

Those are the kinds of questions we'd have to ask. 

But in the end, if we want to see revival, it will take mass repentance in the Salvation Army. 

We must repent of pride.

We must repent of gossip.

We must repent of attempts to redefine biblical truth.

We must lift up the name of Jesus Christ the Lord of all.

We must give God all the glory. 

We must refuse and reject self-aggrandizement.

We must seek the face of God once again. 

Only then will we have real hope of revival. It seems like a tall order. I get it. But, anything is possible. Jesus Christ is alive right now. And there is hope, and reason to believe that God isn't done with The Salvation Army yet. Keep praying brothers and sisters! Don't give up hope!