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)
Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse (Mal. 4:4-6).
Curses crumble when generations are joined together. Curses impact generations in a specific bloodline through a family, and they also impact cultures or nations, through a tribe or people group. The cause and cure remain the same. The generations must join together, through the redemptive power of the cross and blood of Christ, or the bondage, habits and mindsets of peoples and nations will change little. But…this is changing. When God begins to answer the cries of His people for deliverance from bondage, he first moves on the “fathers,” or leaders, to make the initial step for change.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build for Me? And where is the place of My rest?’” Isaiah 66:1
The Lord is looking for a place to rest – a prepared people that have made Him and His purposes central. The place that He has chosen to rest is the regenerated heart of the surrendered soul – the New Testament ekklesia, both individually and corporately. Even though we are the temple of God individually and corporately (see 1 Cor. 3:17; 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1), the Lord is still looking for that place that has been prepared in every room and closet to be His abode where He is welcomed and made the central focus.
We Must Choose to be Chosen
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
To be the final, chosen generation…we must choose to be chosen. The call to salvation is a general call to “whosoever will.” (Romans 10:13; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17.) Anyone who responds in faith to the invitation of the gospel for redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, believing He died and rose again from the dead, and surrendering to Him as Lord, will receive eternal life. But there is another “whosoever will” extended to those who have been saved. It is the call to discipleship and destiny. We can do nothing to receive salvation except to accept what Christ has done for us. But, we must choose to be a disciple and we must choose to enter into His destiny for us.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).
The Lord Jesus reigns supreme and is the rightful heir of the throne of David: of His kingdom and government there shall be no end. Every covenantal promise ever given, in any age or dispensation, finds its ultimate fulfillment in Him. (Eph. 1:10; Heb. 1:2.) He is the promised Seed given to Abraham. (Gal. 3:16.) He is the “heir of all things.” (4:13; Heb. 1:2.) But it is also told that He will have a joint-heir, a “seed,” or children of His own.
Our Inheritance of Abraham’s Promises through Christ
…and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son–blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:16-18).
When the commanded blessing is released, the promises given to Abraham become an experiential reality in the lives of those who are in Christ. The blessings promised to Abraham include physical, mental, emotional, financial and family prosperity and blessings, as was demonstrated in the blessing of the Lord upon Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all their progeny. But there is another blessing promised to Abraham that all those in Christ have available to them: complete dominion over every enemy (“your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies”). This means there remains a promise yet unfulfilled that the Lord Himself said would happen.
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17a).
It is imperative that the church enter into the “bridal” identity designed for her by the Father on behalf of the Son. It has been the Father’s intention, from all eternity, to have the Son’s desire for an eternal companion fulfilled. (John 17:22-26.) The theme is continuous from Genesis through Revelation, and all throughout human history, that the purpose of humanity is to be the eternal companion of the Son of God.
The “bridal identity” of the church, by default, means entering into our identity as intimate, passionate lovers and partners of the Lord Jesus, in His Person and His work. The bridal identity of the church is summed up in the reality of becoming a kingdom of priests. (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.) Priestly ministry primarily involves worship and intercession.