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Vol II No. 5

Dead on Arrival

by
The Revd. Fr Gavin Dunbar

In every age, Robert Crouse remarked, there have been Christians who sought to relive the experience of the first Christian Pentecost, but American Christians seem specially addicted to such excitements, and there is indeed much talk about the revival which apparently has broken out at Asbury College (a Wesleyan religious school in Wilmore, Kentucky, a place with revivalism in heritage), and which it is said is spreading to other Christian colleges and schools of similar tradition. Since the end of service on February 8th, the chapel has been continuously occupied by students, faculty, and others in what is described as an “outpouring of the Spirit”, an intense worship experience involving, it is said, continuous prayer and singing, multiple miraculous healings and life-transforming conversions. It’s generated strong reactions both ways: though skeptics scoff, “cold-hearted Christians”, it is said, are “becoming red-hot for Jesus, and souls are being won for Christ”. 

What’s happening at Asbury? I don’t know and won’t pretend to know what is moving in the hearts and minds of those students, which may be as simple as people finding spiritual comfort in singing and praying together; but the commentary itself is an occasion to think about revivalism among Anglicans. “Wilt thou not turn again, and quicken [i.e. revive] us, that thy people may

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