Part Four of Four: The Hub of 8 – The Gate of Apostolic Revival
In the final installment of these articles, we should begin by reminding ourselves that these are more than just amazing stories; they truly happened. There is a temptation with history, and even Scripture, to let the wonder take us over into fantasy, but these events must remain firmly grounded in reality. Samuel Carrick, R.C. Spurling—these were real men who encountered God and surrendered to Him. And through them, God shifted an entire region. They are just as real as A.A. Allen and his descendants, who are still alive today. And the miraculous healing of David H. sixty years ago was VERY real. In fact, though it seems strange to say, when the glory of God enveloped that little boy for a moment in 1959, the healing was so complete that it made him…normal. And somewhere, maybe even near us today, that boy is now almost sixty-three years old.
The importance of keeping a grip on reality here comes from the difference between history and a story. While a story can be dismissed, history always asks something from us. If we answer poorly, or not at all, we are doomed to repeat past failures, as the saying goes. In revival history, as we have seen, it is not just wisdom that inspects us but the Lord Himself. These are not just stories. These last two centuries have been a journey and relationship between a longing, Holy God and a maturing, sometimes rebellious, people across many generations. Now, it is our turn to make choices as a region of believers.
Part Three of Four: The Knoxville Boy, Healed from 26 Diseases
Consider the mercy of God for a moment. When A. A. Allen’s ministry visited this area, the Lord offered the gift of the Holy Spirit in a whole new dimension. Allen Meetings regularly saw power much like what was seen at the Shearer Schoolhouse with signs, wonders, and healings, except offered to thousands of people all at once. If it had been received, the immediate impact on Knoxville and region would have been tremendous. Yet rather than receive it, the Christian leadership of this area rejected it and viciously destroyed the character of the messenger. Imagine if one of us refused a precious gift from a friend or brother with such ferocity. It would be understandable for them to never speak to us again. Yet, the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are high above (Isaiah 55:9). Believe it or not, within 5 years of the rejection, the Lord would do something to communicate to this region that He was willing to show mercy and return if there was repentance. What is more, His message would come through the same vessel that was rejected: A.A. Allen.
Part Two of Four: Repairing the Reputation of A.A. Allen
[To read Part 1, click here.]
Before we examine the events of October 1955 in Knoxville, I feel I should explain the tone of these articles. Even in the study of secular history, we should seek to understand the causes and effects of choices, and hopefully, choose wisely in our own time because of them. When the threads of history lead directly to us, it is hard not to take our ancestors’ choices personally. We rejoice in their triumphs, lament their failures, and can almost feel their wounds. It should be even more personal when studying revival history. Not one negative comment is ever made about Daniel in the Bible. Yet when he interceded for his people as recorded in Daniel 9:16, he said, “Oh Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us.”
The Lord watches our history as well. He takes a personal interest in it, and believe it or not, His choices are affected as well.
Part One of Four: Introduction and The Shearer Schoolhouse
One of my favorite subjects of study is revival history. The study of other forms of history can be frightening considering how much we see it repeating itself lately, particularly in the government and economic realms. However, revival history takes the same principle question that usually causes fear – “What if it happens again?” – and makes it a buoy of our faith and overwhelmingly encouraging, “What if God does this again?!”. While we can certainly count on evil to continue in its dark agenda, we can rely on the Lord even more to bring about His kingdom here on earth. (Heb. 13:8)
Recently, I posted something every day for a week on Facebook regarding revival history in East Tennessee, about which I imagine, many around here may not know. I have two reasons for this. First, Friday, March 22, 2019, marked the 60th anniversary of an incredibly significant God-event in our local history, which I will touch on later. Second, there has been a considerable amount of future history written involving East Tennessee and the broader region in the last few years. And just like our past revivals, I am sure most around here do not know about it either. When I say, “future history”, that is my way of saying ‘promises from the Lord over an entire area which are confirmed by multiple sources who do not know each other.’ Call it prophecy if you like as that is what the Bible calls it. However, this is not like the abuses of prophecy you may have seen. And since it is in the Bible, we do not have permission to dismiss the real just because we have seen error. The truth is… the heart of the Lord for the future of our area has been disclosed, and we need to get ourselves connected with it through prayer, covenant-building and much more. Or else, He may walk on past our boat on His stroll across the stormy seas of our nation. (Mark 6:4)