This Week in AG History -- March 18, 1950
The recent move of the Holy Spirit on the Asbury University campus, which attracted 50,000 visitors to the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky, has been widely reported in the religious and secular media. The “Asbury revival” is the latest example in a long history of revivals on college campuses. An openness to the Holy Spirit has set many Pentecostal and evangelical institutions of higher education apart from their secular counterparts. This should not be surprising, as many Christian schools were birthed in times of revival.
Central Bible Institute (now consolidated into Evangel University) experienced brief, intense periods of spiritual renewal throughout its history. C.B.I. President Bartlett Peterson, in the March 18, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, reported on one such period of spiritual awakening, which he characterized as a “spontaneous Holy Ghost revival.” The Assemblies of God school, located in Springfield, Missouri, had been organized in 1922, but faculty members commented that it was “the deepest revival they can recall.”
Bartlett wrote the article 13 days into the revival. He described it as a sudden and transformative visitation of God: “With it came a breaking, melting process as lives were conscious of being remade and transformed on the Divine Potter’s wheel. At one instant one was conscious of the sweeping power of a great forest fire; in the next a cleansing, as if by colossal waves, overwhelmed us. Some testified that their lives had been completely transformed within minutes of time.”
The revival attracted the attention of the local press. Bartlett quoted an article in the Springfield Daily News, which stated that the revival had “consumed the feelings and interests of some 750 students.” School administrators quickly carved out time for students to meet for testimonies, preaching, confession of sins, singing, and waiting upon the Lord in prayer. For two weeks, three lengthy services were held each day at C.B.I. — 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The Springfield Daily News compared the revival at C.B.I. to revivals occurring at the same time at evangelical schools Wheaton College and Asbury College, noting the C.B.I. revival did not develop “into the extended around-the-clock exultations” of the other two schools. The newspaper noted that C.B.I. students exhibited a variety of emotional responses: some “demonstratively and others in quiet contemplation.” This and other times of spiritual renewal at Central Bible Institute nurtured deep spirituality and a passion for helping people in countless students who went on to serve the Lord in life and ministry.
Read the entire article by Bartlett Peterson, “Spontaneous Revival Sweeps C.B.I.,” on page 6 of the March 18, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Do You Have a Burden for Souls?” by Hattie Hammond
• “A Church-Building Miracle,” by Billie Davis
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
PHOTO: Revival that lasted several weeks in the Central Bible Institute chapel, fall of 1954.