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  • My Impressions of the Lee University Revival

    My last post Lee University’s Statement About the “Revival” On Its Campus has garnered a good deal of interest. Since that gathering is “just around the corner” and my situation in the Church of God and Lee is strong, last evening my wife and I ascended up to the chapel on campus and experienced what is taking place.

    Pentecostal churches have had to rise to meet the pastoral challenges that come with worship in the Spirit, and have done so since the beginning of the movement over a hundred years ago. Those lessons were not transferred to many Charismatic groups in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which is one reason why the movement had structural and leadership problems. Some of that was made worse by the stand-offish attitude of some Pentecostal churches and ministers. One notable exception was Paul Laverne Walker, long time pastor of the Mt. Paran Church of God in Atlanta (not far from the Church of the Apostles) and later Presiding Bishop of the Church of God. His son Mark is now President of Lee, and that background has held him in good stead in this situation.

    Because of this heritage, as a Church of God institution Lee is better positioned than most to have such an event in its corporate life. That was evident when you walk into the chapel. Although many reports emphasise the spontaneity and lack of structure in the event, underneath the surface things are well in hand, something you don’t always see in a denomination which isn’t much on “organised” religion. Lee’s Campus Pastor, Robert Fultz, is best described as its facilitator, keeping things on track. Ushers find and direct you to an available seat, just like in church. As a result of this the flow of the Spirit is very smooth and not sidetracked by organisational problems.

    Since this is an event where the students have taken the lead, Lee has some advantages there too. Many were raised in the Church of God, product of its youth group system. That has been disparaged but in this case its products have risen to the occasion. They all know the same worship choruses and some older hymns, they’ve worshiped like this before in one form or another. Making things better is the fact that Lee has a very deep bench of musicians, many of which have done so in church. What is special about this gathering is that people who have been prepared for this without having the opportunity to lead suddenly step out and do it. In a society which tends to hold adulthood in abeyance, this is really important.

    If the praise and worship aspect sound like the big thing here…well, it is. There’s an altar open for prayer (for more of what this is about, click here) but in reality it’s an extended praise and worship session. Every so often someone will get to give his or her testimony of how God has moved in their life. Beyond all of that the whole object of a gathering like this is to experience God, and that’s something one does during this meeting. The Spirit is very sweet here.

    In his message to the “Lee family,” Dr. Walker was reluctant to call this a “revival.” After having been there, I can see why. There are many different ideas of what constitute a revival, but one element is conspicuous by its absence: a leading preacher. From the days of Finney to the Toronto and Pensacola revivals, most–but not all–have been preacher and sermon led. In a church where “bishops and other clergy” rule the roost, what’s going on is exceptional, and that may in part explain Dr. Walker’s reluctance.

    From my own standpoint, the problem with things called revivals is that the rhetoric surrounding them always ends up with a “Pickett’s Charge” mentality: starting with this event, we’re going to mount our spiritual steeds, rush and wipe out God’s opponents, and win the victory. The problem with this is that, like the last war we fought with cavalry, it’s too easy for the enemy to “empty the saddles.” What this needs to be is the beginning of a marathon. We didn’t get into the mess we’re in overnight and there’s no reason to believe it will be solved in a short period of time. In men’s ministries, one of our biggest challenges was to transition from an event-driven ministry to a sustainable discipleship based one. That’s what’s in front of us here: we need to move from an event to spread the joy through discipleship and Christian living.

    What is happening at Lee is beautiful, and my prayer is that this beauty can be poured out on the earth.

  • Lee University’s Statement About the “Revival” On Its Campus

    Following is a statement sent to Lee University’s friends about what’s going on at the Chapel from its President, Dr. Mark Walker. I put “revival” in quotes because the administration hasn’t definitely characterised it as such. It is reproduced without change.

    Hello Lee Family,

    You may have heard that Lee University is having revival. I don’t know if that’s what’s taking place, but it appears that God is doing something special on our campus. I’ll attempt to provide you a brief account of what has been occurring.

    On Monday morning, February 13, a group of students from a School of Theology and Ministry class had a desire to pray for Lee. They joined with their professor around 11:00am in The Chapel and throughout the day many other students joined them until out of this organic student led prayer vigil about 150 people were gathered in The Chapel praying together into the early morning hours. Most of those in attendance were students accompanied by faculty, staff, and administrators. A few community people began to gather as well.

    Since Monday, there has been a steady gathering of people in The Chapel praying, meditating, and worshipping. There have been a handful of people praying in the morning and throughout the day the gathering gradually grows to fill The Chapel by the evening. A rotation of Lee leadership and security are always present at these gatherings. While these prayer vigils include many students, more church groups, local pastors, and community people have started attending, especially at night. Many Lee faculty and staff are also present.

    Lee administration is providing guidance and support to the prayer vigils, working to ensure the safety of all participants, and that the prayer and worship are orderly and proper. There are periods when prayer and worship are loud, and there are also periods when there is silence and reflection. Praying for needs of people also occurs at different times and there have been demonstrations of the spiritual gifts. All these expressions are biblical and in order. However, these gatherings are not programmed worship services with an official start time like a chapel or convocation service, and there is no livestreaming. There is not a sound system being used and the only instrument is an electric piano. These are gatherings devoted to prayer.

    Lee has not promoted the prayer vigil and has not called it a revival. Media and social media have dubbed this a revival. Perhaps it is, yet in our hearts we believe it to be a student led prayer vigil for the heart of God. We are not attempting to manufacture anything nor are we attempting to compete with what are being called revivals at other colleges and institutions. We are attempting to follow what God is uniquely doing here. We do not know how long it will last. We will do everything within our power to discern, lead, and guide as it continues.

    Some of the Lee family may not understand what is occurring and that’s ok. Attending these meetings is not required, nor is it a sign of one’s spirituality. There is no judgment on anyone who attends or does not attend. God is very present and at work at Lee outside of what is currently taking place in The Chapel. Classes are continuing as scheduled, Conn Center and Dixon Center chapel services are taking place as scheduled, and other campus events are also ongoing as scheduled. Should you have questions regarding The Chapel prayer vigils, someone from campus ministries or administration is available to speak with you.

    Thank you for your prayers as we walk through this special and unique time together at Lee University.


    Mark Walker

  • Britain’s crisis of unbelief – New Statesman — Ɗϱϲάϝ ʗάեհṏɭΐϲ’s Commonplace Book

    Clip source: Britain’s crisis of unbelief – New Statesman Britain’s crisis of unbeliefIn a nation that binds spiritual and temporal power, will the end of the old metaphysical order threaten the state itself? By Madoc CairnsPhoto by Robert Greshoff / millennium images, uk In the autumn of 1969, during the darkest days of the conflict…

    Britain’s crisis of unbelief – New Statesman — Ɗϱϲάϝ ʗάեհṏɭΐϲ’s Commonplace Book
  • Why Anyone Thought the Church of England Would Go Another Way is a Mystery

    They didn’t:

    Church of England priests will be permitted to bless the civil marriages of same-sex couples in a profound shift in the church’s stance on homosexuality after a historic vote by its governing body.

    The first blessings for gay couples could happen this summer. Individual churches will be encouraged to state clearly whether they will offer blessings to avoid confusion and disappointment.

    After an impassioned debate lasting more than eight hours, the C of E’s national assembly, the General Synod, voted by 250 votes to 181 to back a proposal by bishops intended to end years of painful divisions and disagreement over sexuality.

    This has been coming for a long time, certainly for the last two decades since this website/blog has been covering the issue. Too many important people and institutions wanted this: Welby, the government, etc. North American experience should have been instructive. But some held out for hope, in part because of the Church of England’s central position in the Anglican Communion.

    Now it is done. And now we have Lenin’s favourite question: what is to be done? Will the Global South and GAFCON finally get together and take command of the Anglican Communion? Will they give the Episcopal Church the boot along with the Church of England and others? Will GAFCON’s institutions in the UK/Europe rise to the challenge? it took most of the first decade of this millennium, from Gene Robinson’s ordination to the formation of the ACNA, for the North Americans to come up with an alternative. It’s unlikely that the more complex situation in the UK and Europe, to say nothing of that of the Global South/GAFCON, will move faster.

    But move it must. After years of declarations a swelling words, it’s time for hard decisions and action. That’s not easy in the part of Christianity that invented the “Anglican Fudge,” but, as Our Lord put it, the hour has come.

  • Canon Law and the Ecclesiastical Leviathan — The North American Anglican

    In his classic 1987 book Crisis and Leviathan, economic historian Robert Higgs convincingly argued that the vast growth in the size and scope of the American government over the course of the twentieth century was due primarily to government actions taken in response to national emergencies. Higgs identifies critical events such as the Great Depression,…

    Canon Law and the Ecclesiastical Leviathan — The North American Anglican
  • The World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown (1971 2nd edition 1989)

    Books & Boots

    Peter Brown

    Peter Brown has been a pioneer of the study of the late Roman / Early Medieval world for 50 years.

    His books in the 1960s and 70s are credited with bringing a new coherence to the study of the period, and a new attitude which saw it not as a story of inevitable decline and fall, but as a period of surprising vigour and innovation – as a much more complex, rich and fascinating period than had previously been thought.

    Brown helped to bury the term ‘Dark Ages’ – which is now generally deprecated – and bring about the recategorising of the period as the ‘Early Middle Ages’, now generally defined as 500 to 1000 AD.

    The World of Late Antiquity was published in 1971 as an extended essay or meditation on the earlier part of this period, from roughly 250 to 750 AD. It was published by…

    View original post 3,739 more words

  • Inside the Catholic civil war — UnHerd

    In the early hours of January 2, the fully robed body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was transferred from the little monastery in the Vatican where he had died on the last day of 2022 to St Peter’s Basilica. 2,549 more words

    Inside the Catholic civil war — UnHerd
  • Lost and found: a 1964 interview with Georges Lemaitre, the Father of the Big Bang theory — Science meets Faith

    The Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT), the national public-service broadcaster for the Flemish Community of Belgium, has found in its archives an interview with Georges Lemaître that was thought to be lost. The cosmologist from Leuven was the founder of the big bang theory in the 1920s and 1930s. He was interviewed about it in […]

    Lost and found: a 1964 interview with Georges Lemaitre, the Father of the Big Bang theory — Science meets Faith
  • On Specialisation and Mathematics

    From R.G. Manley’s Waveform Analysis, this observation, at the start:

    At a not very remote period in the past, a university education in Natural Philosophy, together with a small amount of private reading, enabled a man to claim fairly the he knew the whole of science, so far as it was at that time revealed. In contrast, the present-day study of science is so extensive and intensive that no one can hope to acquire a thorough knowledge of more than a small portion of one of the sciences. Specialisation is forced upon the scientific worker who desires to contribute useful original work, for the successful and economical achievement of which it is essential to be well-informed of contemporary progress by other investigators in the same field of study. This unavoidable trend towards learning “more and more about less and less” necessarily involves some considerable dependence upon the results of research and development in other subjects; and perhaps the greatest disadvantage of the situation is that one has to accept without question those results, as time along prevents a thorough ab initio investigation of principles and methods from being made.

    While the foregoing remarks are broadly true of science in general there is a conspicuous exception to the rule in the case of mathematics. Mathematics is, in its utilitarian aspect, the hand maid of all the sciences, in that it provides a set of processes for solving problems posed in their most general terms. Everyday life is permeated with the use of figures, and a mathematical undercurrent is observable in any study of physical phenomena. It is not surprising, therefore, that workers in very different fields make use of identical or similar mathematical processes, the the solution of problems which have a common mathematical nature, although they made differ widely in physical significance.

    It’s interesting to note that he starts by referring to the sciences as “Natural Philosophy.” That was common practice for a long time; Manley wrote this in 1945. The separation of science from any kind of philosophy was, in part, a result of the specialisation that he describes in the first paragraph.

    But his case that mathematics is what ties the sciences together–and ultimately what makes them work–is one that has been lost in our “believe the science” rhetoric. He is correct that mathematics allows bridging the gaps created by the expansion of knowledge, which allows scientific analysis, especially for general discussion, to not be reserved strictly to the specialists. The virtue of that is on display in what passes for public discussion on just about any scientific or engineering topic.

  • Someone Else Figures Out When Church is Pointless

    In this interesting article by the Rev. Ben Crosby, he asks two questions as the starting point of why churches are in decline and if it really matters:

    Specifically, I believe that our conversations about church decline would be much more clarifying if we began by answering the following questions:

    1. 1. Do we think that a relationship with Jesus is necessary to achieve certain goods (traditionally, salvation)? If the ‘relationship’ language concerns you, feel free to substitute ‘connected with’, ‘joined to’, or what have you.
    2. 2. Do we think that the church is the normative means by which that necessary relationship with Jesus is established, nurtured, and maintained?

    If we answer these questions “no,” Rev. Crosby comes to this conclusion:

    In either of these cases, church decline might be something to be mourned but it is hardly a disaster. This is perhaps most obvious in the first case discussed above: if Christianity is no truer than anything else, if it is simply a particular human expression of certain eternal universal truths equally expressed elsewhere, what does it matter if people be Christians? What’s important is finding – or making – meaning somewhere. Maybe it’s another religion, maybe it’s tarot or crystals, maybe it’s politics, maybe it’s Harry Potter, but it certainly needn’t be the church. Decline might be difficult for those experiencing it, for those who are accustomed to find in the Christian religion their source of comfort or meaning, and certainly it would be important to provide pastoral care for these people. But decline, while sad, is no disaster – after all, the decline of organized religion just seems to be a consequence of modernity, in which people are freed to find meaning in increasingly informal, mix-and-match ways.

    Nothing like being a quarter century late…decline from these conclusions was what I predicted in my 1997 piece When Church Becomes Pointless. Unfortunately that’s the message that’s come from the Episcopal Church and churches like it, and people have been connecting the dots and acting accordingly. For the church to reverse this downward slide will require a completely different idea from the one they’ve been propagating for years, more like those churches which Episcopalians have turned their noses up at for generations. Perhaps something like this, at the end of Crosby’s article:

    After all, we have found in the ACC that those Anglican churches which actually grow are those which believe – truly believe, in a lived-out way — that evangelism is important.


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