Revival Under Attack!
On Tuesday night, Sept. 12, a spontaneous revival broke out at Auburn University, in Alabama, following similar moves of God on the campuses of Asbury, Lee, and Samford universities earlier this year. According to the article on Faithwire, more than 5,000 people showed up to Unite Auburn’s Night of Worship, in the Neville Arena. The campus ministry’s outreach was created to bring together the Alabama school’s Christian community for a night of worship. It featured New York Times bestselling author Jennie Allen and Pastor Jonathan Pokluda as guest speakers, and worship music led by Passion. The event resulted in an impromptu baptism of 200 people in a lake near Auburn’s Red Barn. Allen and ten others, including head football coach Hugh Freeze, got into the water to baptize the hundreds that were crowding around the lake.
According to The Washington Times, Tonya Prewett, wife of assistant basketball coach Chad Prewitt and the evening’s principal organizer, said the event was designed to help students struggling with the pressure of post-pandemic life on campus. She said she’d begun praying in January with several students she had been mentoring. Prewitt continued to meet and pray weekly with those students through May. About six weeks ago, plans came together for the Unite Auburn event, which she anticipated would end with attendees singing some worship songs. Of Tuesday’s event, she said: “It started here, but it’s not going to stop here.” Since then, ten other schools have called to ask how their campuses can hold similar events.
God is on the move on America’s college and university campuses, and Satan hates it. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Auburn revival has come under attack. The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Auburn University President Christopher Roberts warning that more than 200 student baptisms, especially since they were assisted by the Auburn football head coach, somehow violate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
The letter includes the usual anti-Christian rhetoric: “These ongoing and repeated constitutional violations at the University create a coercive environment that excludes those students who don’t subscribe to the Christian views being pushed onto players by their coaches,” it states. “Auburn University is a public university, not a religious one. It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for university employees to use their university position to organize, promote, or participate in a religious worship event. Nor can Auburn’s coaches proselytize or participate in religious activities with students or hire a chaplain.”
However, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the most successful Supreme Court litigation firms, the letter itself is unconstitutional. According to them, religious coaches and students have the right to engage in religious activities on campus in their private capacity. FFRF’s desire to silence religious students sends a clear message: “You are not welcome here.”
The Washington Times reports that the Auburn revival also received support from several of Alabama’s most influential voices: Gov. Kay Ivey and Sen. Tommy Tuberville. “We will not be intimidated by out-of-state interest groups dedicated to destroying our nation’s religious heritage,” Ms. Ivey wrote to the Freedom from Religion Foundation‘s co-presidents, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker. “Please understand that our state motto is, ‘We dare defend our rights.’” And Sen. Tuberville, an Alabama Republican and a former football coach at Auburn, says he is “happy to be criticized for being ‘overly prayerful.’”
The opposition to the Auburn Revival is, however, a matter for prayer. Revivals on Christian Campuses are untouchable for legal eagles bent on attacking Christianity, but public schools are another matter. That is where anti-Christian groups like FFRF and the ACLU feel emboldened to wield the U.S. Constitution to thwart what God is doing, no matter how skewed their interpretation of the Constitution is. Their favorite weapon is “the wall of separation between church and state,” a quote from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists explaining the Bill of Rights, which forbids the formation of a national church overseen by the government. It later became part of the First Amendment jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. It was intended to protect religious institutions from government interference but has often been misinterpreted as a law prohibiting public institutions from allowing or promoting religious activities.
We recognize Satan’s handiwork in that organizations using the U.S. Constitution as the basis for their attack engage in two of his favorite tactics: deception and intimidation. The deception takes the form of misinterpreting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the intimidation is through threats of legal action that would force public institutions to use taxpayers’ money to defend themselves.
For that reason, we must pray. God’s moves are unstoppable, but He wants to engage His praying Body to ward off attacks of the Enemy so that the secular leadership of public universities where God is moving will not shut down gatherings such as the one that took place at Auburn.
Here are some points along which to pray:
- Pray for Auburn University President Roberts and other university presidents to have courage and not give in to threats.
- Pray for FFRF co-presidents Gaylor and Barker to come to Christ. It wouldn’t be the first time that staunch atheists have come to faith in Jesus!
- Pray for the Auburn revival to continue, expand, and spill over onto other campuses.
- Pray for the Lord to raise up bold and anointed leaders to fan into flame the revival fires on our campuses.
- Pray for the Lord to empower groups like the Alliance for Defending Freedom and the American Center for Law and Justice to continue defending the correct interpretations of constitutional law.
- Pray for Coach Freeze and other public figures in the sports world to stand firm in the face of harassment and threats to their jobs.
- Pray that the attacks will have the opposite effect of their intent and intensify commitment to Christ by those impacted by the revivals.
Father, we pray that the revival fires on our college campuses will continue, and that any attacks will serve to increase passion and resolve to walk with You. May the attackers find Christ, and may the university presidents affected by their attacks find the courage to stand up to them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Share your own prayers in the comments.
Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual-growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years of experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the U.S. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and pastored his first church in Amsterdam. He moved to the U.S. in 1986. He and his wife, Jennifer, live north of Atlanta. When not writing books, he blogs at www.deeperlifeblog.com and assists his wife as a content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Photo Credit: NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash.
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