Ripe Time for a Spiritual Awakening

“I think we’re in the greatest spiritual opportunity for evangelism today since the Jesus Movement.”
( [email protected] ) Apr 09, 2004 04:33 PM EDT

According to the Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s newsletter, there may soon be another spiritual awakening and revival that could possibly rededicate the United States to God.

Pastor and author John Avant, one of the leaders of the Brownwood revival in 1995, in an interview with BP noted ‘three major historical signs’ that point toward a forthcoming spiritual change.

The first sign he noticed was a “tremendous moral depravity,” which, according to Avant, historically comes prior to revival.

“We’re there,” said Avant, the coauthor of “Revival!” “Look at the battle over gay ‘marriage,’ which I told our church is by far a secondary issue in marriage today.

“A bigger issue is heterosexual marriages divorcing. We want to give attention to the cultural battle about homosexual ‘marriage’ but in the midst of that we’ll lose sight of [this] fact: I don’t know anybody in my church that are homosexuals wanting to get married, but I know a whole lot [of members] that are divorcing,” he said.

Avant’s second point was of a growing ‘remnant’ of Christians who are more dedicated to prayer, and who plead with God for a revival.

This was also the pattern that was observed prior to the 1995 revival.

“Some of the phenomena died down but the remnant of strong leaders has remained,” Avant said. “So we may not fill a football stadium as easy any more, but I think there are far more men who are praying for revival than there were prior to those days.”

In December 1994, the late Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ gathered several church leaders to fast and pray to God for a revival. About a month later, the revival broke out at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas, said Avant. Other movements occurred in the mid-1990s, such as Promise Keepers rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of men to stadiums, Avant continued.

The third factor he noted was “some form of precipitating event.”

Avant said today’s desperate economic times, fear over renewed terrorist attacks and a widespread interest in Jesus because of “The Passion of the Christ” can be the precipitating events that can lead to a revival in this era.

“I think it’s completely possible,” the pastor said. “I think it’s the first time in my lifetime that these three elements are as clear as they are right now.”

However, Avant noted that a spiritual renewal is still not guaranteed. He said that unless God’s people want a revival, it wouldn’t come.

Avant gave the example of the 1970’s “Jesus Movement” which led to his own conversion. He said that while his own church, the First Baptist in Hendersonville N.C., opened its arms to him and other newcomers, many other Southern Baptist churches missed the chance because they were bound by convention.

“The Jesus Movement should have been a nationwide spiritual movement, but a majority of our churches weren’t interested in a bunch of hippies coming to their churches,” Avant said. “I think we’re in the greatest spiritual opportunity for evangelism today since the Jesus Movement.”