The American longing for a Great Awakening

I’ve been calling for a Great Awakening for a while now, and it seems to be starting in Kentucky.

In the 1730s and 1740s, the first in a series of “Great Awakenings” came to America. Because it’s not a politically fraught subject, Wikipedia has a decent summary of that first wave of awakenings (hyperlinks omitted):

The First Great Awakening (sometimes Great Awakening) or the Evangelical Revival was a series of Christian revivals that swept Britain and its thirteen North American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s. The revival movement permanently affected Protestantism as adherents strove to renew individual piety and religious devotion. The Great Awakening marked the emergence of Anglo-American evangelicalism as a trans-denominational movement within the Protestant churches. In the United States, the term Great Awakening is most often used, while in the United Kingdom the movement is referred to as the Evangelical Revival.[1]

Building on the foundations of older traditions—Puritanism, Pietism and Presbyterianism—major leaders of the revival such as George Whitefield, John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards articulated a theology of revival and salvation that transcended denominational boundaries and helped forge a common evangelical identity. Revivalists added to the doctrinal imperatives of Reformation Protestantism an emphasis on providential outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Extemporaneous preaching gave listeners a sense of deep personal conviction of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ and fostered introspection and commitment to a new standard of personal morality. Revival theology stressed that religious conversion was not only intellectual assent to correct Christian doctrine but had to be a “new birth” experienced in the heart. Revivalists also taught that receiving assurance of salvation was a normal expectation in the Christian life.

I’ve written twice about Great Awakenings. In 2017, with regard to the sad state of so many black communities, I posited that America’s blacks badly needed a true Great Awakening, one that would force them to reckon with their communities’ pathologies and find the strength within to fix themselves. Briefly, American blacks need faith, family, and fathers if they are going to pull themselves out of the toxic swamp in which the Democrats have mired them.

Then, in 2018, I returned to that concept of a Great Awakening after I attended a Jordan Peterson talk in San Francisco. What blew me away was the range of people who were there to hear him — young, old, hip, square, single, married…. It was amazing and, to me, spoke of a longing in the human soul for a deeper meaning of the kind that Peterson provides. It was the antidote to the deadening superficiality of modern American culture.

Five years on, America is suffering the deepest spiritual crisis in my lifetime and, maybe, in its history, one that affects every aspect of life: national security, the economy, collapsing families, the drug crisis…heck, you name it, and America is in trouble.

And perhaps something miraculous has happened in response. At Asbury University in Kentucky, a religious revival, one that started as a routine church service at the Christian campus, has been going strong for eight days. Moreover, people are coming from around the world to participate. Tucker Carlson covered it well (and isn’t that a poised young woman?):

I continue to believe that America badly needs a revival. Like the black community, which is a microcosm of so many of our greatest woes, America, too, needs faith, family, and spiritual fatherhood. Indeed, given the number of women overall who are having children without fathers, it appears that non-blacks need real fathers as badly as blacks do.

Because Jews are hardwired to worry whenever there’s a rush to religion, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried that the rampant antisemitism moving through the U.S. today might get mixed up with this deeply Christian revival. However, I have faith that America’s rising antisemitism is almost entirely a leftist phenomenon and that the evangelical roots of this revival will not turn ugly.

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Image: Attendees at the Asbury Revival.