Is Southern Baptist culture conducive to Asbury-type revival?
By Diana Chandler, posted February 15, 2023
WILMORE, Ky. (BP) — Asbury University counts the current Holy Ghost revival, now surpassing a week, among eight spontaneous spiritual outbreaks at the small Wesleyan-Holiness campus since 1905, including the 1970s revival that spread nationally.
No such continuous revival is counted as having been birthed among the six Southern Baptist seminaries and the numerous undergraduate colleges supported with Southern Baptist dollars.
Is there anything in Southern Baptist theology, practice or culture that discourages the birth of such movements?
Both Tim Beougher and Bill Elliff, longtime students of revival who’ve attended and written about the Asbury event, shared their thoughts with Baptist Press. Both see components within and external to Southern Baptist life that tend to hinder revival.
Beougher, the Billy Graham professor of evangelism and church growth at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has studied revivals for more than 40 years.
“As far as I know, nothing has originated at a Southern Baptist seminary, although the 1995 revival did originate in a Southern Baptist church in Brownwood, Texas,” he said, referencing a revival that spread from Coggin Avenue Baptist Church to over 50 schools including Asbury.
“All of that started at a Southern Baptist church in Texas,” he said, noting a revival fire that sparked at Howard Payne University and Wheaton College before spreading to other schools. Beougher taught at Wheaton, an evangelical Christian school in Wheaton, Ill. “I wouldn’t automatically exclude Southern Baptists from this discussion.”