The Asbury revival reminds us that God works in ways we cannot control.
This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.
Over the past several weeks, the world has looked to a phenomenon many assumed was of a bygone era: revival.
For some, the Asbury revival has sparked a renewed sense of hope for the future of the church. For others, though, reports of revival are met with something else—a jaded sense of cynicism.
By cynicism, I’m not referring to the professional social media contrarians of whatever sort or tribe—for whom almost anything is an occasion to reignite old fights with whomever they deem to be “the enemy.” I’m referring instead to those of you who are just disappointed and tired. You’ve seen so much that’s fake that it’s hard for you to believe that anything so extraordinary could be real.
A few weeks ago, my friend Yuval Levin said something in our conversation on my podcast that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. He commented that most people think of the cynical as the opposite of the naïve—when really, it’s just another way of being naïve. The more I ponder his point, the more I think he’s right.
The apostle Paul told us to “test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21, ESV). One type of person throws overboard the hard work of testing by just receiving everything—or, at least, everything preapproved by one’s tribe or ideology or movement.
That’s a lazy mindset that leads exactly where the Bible tells us it will—to inviting wolves who know how to exploit it. But cynicism exhibits the same kind of laziness. One need not do the hard work of testing the spirits if one rules everything as inauthentic …