Remember when that revival broke out at Asbury University in Kentucky for over two weeks back in February this year and thousands of people got involved?
I remember being both extremely encouraged that the Holy Spirit was moving in power and extremely discouraged by the response of some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. There was one individual in particular whom I gently warned about the Bible’s admonition not to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) who responded that if the revival was real, the little bit of cold water he was throwing on it would not put it out.
That, as they say in the old westerns, “stuck in my craw.”
So when Doug Johnson reported Monday afternoon on Kinship Radio that Asbury University and a great number of other evangelical universities are seeing record enrollment this fall, I had to do some investigating myself.
Sure enough, Christianity Today is reporting, “Evangelical Colleges Celebrate Best Ever Enrollment Numbers.” The publication said, “Asbury University saw enrollment jump 20 percent, while East Texas Baptist University’s student population climbed above 1,800, the highest in the school’s 111-year history.” It’s happening at Abilene Christian University, Cedarville University, Grace College, Taylor University, Samford University, Quachita Baptist University, Dordt University, Hillsdale College (53% increase in applications) and Concordia University in St. Paul.
And, in the meantime –lest we think this is not a move of the Holy Spirit– enrollment in secular public universities is in decline.
That comment about throwing cold water on revival bothered me so deeply because I have been praying for awakening, repentance, and revival for a long time. So, to see it happening, to see those prayers answered and God moving in power while the reaction of others as lukewarm or even downright cold had me struggling to maintain an attitude of Christian love for people who are supposed to be on the same page as I am. From what I could see, they weren’t even in the same Book, let alone the same page.
Now, I get that we have to be careful that we aren’t deceived. I understand the devil puts all kinds of fake things out there to side-track us and deceive us and to get us all indignant and upset with each other. I understand the enemy of my soul is more than capable and willing to use what sticks in my “craw” to further his nefarious and evil plans.
But Jesus told us in Matthew 7:20 and Luke 6:43 that we would recognize the tree by its fruit. Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees, bad fruit.
So, when enrollment in evangelical colleges sets records just a few months after revival breaks out, that’s some fruit that’s just a sweet, sweet balm to this old craw of mine.
And I have a warm feeling that the seeds planted in that revival will bear some very good fruit for a long, long time to come.
“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (NLT)