Asbury revival’s reverberations felt far from the evangelical tent

While the Christian revival based at the evangelical Asbury College that was active in February has since simmered down [see March RW], it did spread to other schools and churches around the country and abroad, even outside evangelicalism. Writing in Public Discourse (April 10), Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd notes that the lasting effects of the work at Asbury are as yet unknown. “We won’t be able to tell for some time whether it was a one-off event or a pattern of larger, enduring renewal…Years from now, perhaps dozens or hundreds of pastors, missionaries, and other devoted Christians will look back and remember that God changed their life at Asbury or associated campus revivals in 2023.” He adds that one post-Asbury episode demonstrating the breadth of its impact is the recent Eucharistic renewal at the Holy Cross Church in Bronx, NY. While this Catholic renewal movement is self-consciously drawing on what happened at Asbury, it is dominated by urban Catholic immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa instead of white Protestants.

Holy Cross Church (Bronx) (source: Wikiwand).

One of the Bronx priests associated with the renewal said, “There were prayer teams, and music, and people just came and kneeled in the sanctuary close to the Lord. And by midnight, there were like 600 people there, still just praying and praising—and in the style of our communities; the style of the Caribbean Catholic culture is very charismatic, so that’s the style.” Charisma magazine (May/June) reports that the release of the recent film Jesus Revolution, which chronicles the Jesus movement of the 1960s and 1970s, also became part of the Asbury revival. Opening just when the Asbury revival was taking place, it finished number three at the box office on its opening weekend and brought in more than $15.5 million, more than doubling its projected $7 million take. Co-producer Andy Erwin said that the film’s popularity “represents a desire for God to do it again…like never before. For people outside the church, especially for a younger generation, it represents the answer to the equation for something I think they’ve been desperately looking for.”

(Public Discourse,; Charisma, 600 Rhinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32746)