8 · September 2011 U. S.
CRY OUT AMERICA Continued from Page CoVer
10 years later our nation needs to be awakened again, not just to the threats of terrorism, but to our critical spiritual condition. Americans are now in desperate
need of a fresh Christ Awakening. Our economy has been deeply shaken. Overall church attendance continues to decline across the nation, America is now the third largest mission field in the world and an entire generation is growing up with little understanding of absolute truth. Yet, in what appears to be a very trying time for the Church in this nation, we believe that America is on the verge of a sweeping move of God’s Spirit that will touch every state, every county and every heart. Ameri- cans are now in desperate need of a fresh Christ Awakening. The historical patterns of America’s
Great Awakenings indicate that it is in precisely this type of seemingly hope- less national environment that God chooses to move in response to the cries of His people. Historically, when the people of God have set aside their differences to come together across this nation in extraordinary, united prayer, God has heard from heaven and responded with great outpourings of His Spirit. Billy Wilson, the chair of the Awak-
ening America Alliance, describes 9/11 as “one of the greatest wake-up call days of our generation.” Cry Out America was formed with the hope that God would lead the country into an even greater spiritual awakening.
The History of America’s Great Awakenings Early American colonists began their
life in the “new world” with dreams of religious freedom. Because of their influence on following generations, the United States has been marked by peri- ods of increased spiritual fervor, many of which have transcended denomina- tional, racial, and gender barriers while subsequently impacting the country’s social and political climate.
First Great Awakening The roots of America’s First Great
Awakening can be traced to European Christians in the early 18th century, particularly among splinter groups that emerged from the Protestant Reforma- tion, such as the Moravians, German Lutherans, and Anabaptists. The First Great Awakening sparked spiritual renewal among American colonists by suggesting that redemption was available to everyone who would ac- cept it, and often relaying this message through passionate preaching that was intensely convicting of personal sin. Consequently, thousands of Americans exchanged sinful practices for lifestyles aligned with Scripture, and it liberated individuals to share the gospel message with others on a personal level. As a result, the impact of the Great Awaken- ing transformed American culture and life for decades to come.
Second Great Awakening At the dawn of the 19th century,
several Christian denominations in America were experiencing internal un- rest concerning what many believed to be a waning spiritual condition within the country and its churches. It was during this time that Charles Finney emerged as a passionate, yet some- times controversial preacher. As the young country expanded
westward, the need for spiritual re- newal in these areas became evident. Several “protracted” camp meetings were conducted in these frontier areas, with the most well-known being the 1801 Cane Ridge meeting in the Cumberland River Valley of Kentucky. Clergyman Barton Stone organized the revival and was assisted by Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers. Unique to this meeting were numerous physical manifestations, such as men and women falling into trances, danc- ing, and even trembling uncontrollably as moved upon by the Holy Spirit. Although some of the practices were
controversial including the “protract- ed” camp meetings in Kentucky, the
This Prayer Revival of 1857-58 was
Twenty Indicators of a Spiritual Awakening “What would a contemporary spiritual awakening look like in America… in our church and culture?” asks the Awakening America Alliance. There are 20 indicators that will signal a Great Awakening in America: 10 in the Church and 10 in the Culture. These Spiritual indicators will ignite a passion for the body of Christ to unify in prayer, as we prepare our states, our counties, and our hearts.
In the Church
1. Increasing testimony of the manifest presence of God.
2. Increased conversions and baptisms.
3. Amplified participation in corporate as well as individual prayer, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines leading to more effective discipleship.
4. A decrease in divorces and renewed commitment to marriage between a man and a woman in covenant relationship as God intends.
5. Imparting faith to children and youth as parents are equipped by the church to become primary disciplers of their children.
6. Among churches, a passionate pursuit for the well-being of their cities through the planting of new congregations, benevolent ministries, practical service and focused evangelism.
7. Commitment to radical generosity as evidenced by compassion ministries and global missions.
8. Improved health among ministers as evidenced by their joy, decreased resignations, healthy loving relationships within their families, and an increased response among young people called to the ministry.
9. Christians involved in bold witness accompanied by miracles, dramatic conversions and Holy Spirit empowered victories over evil.
10. Heightened expressions of love and unity among all believers, as demonstrated by the unity of pastors and leaders.
new spiritual fervor was not limited only to such demonstrations, for the Second Great Awakening also extended into the more refined religious circles of the Northeast, where the initial Great Awakening had first transformed America’s spiritual conscience more than a half-century earlier. In addition, numerous initiatives
can be traced to the renewal of the Second Great Awakening, including educational endeavors, such as Sunday schools and seminaries, the temper- ance movement, the establishment of the American Bible Society, and social services for the underprivileged. The fruit of this awakening period also allowed evangelical churches to rise to a place of prominence in American spirituality and public life.
Holiness Movement Beginning in the 1830s, Methodism
was increasing in America, and it num- bered more than one-million members by the 1840s. Desiring holiness of heart and
lifestyle, which would be manifested through one’s love for God and neigh- bor, the Holiness Movement quickly spread throughout the United States. In 1867 the first holiness camp meeting was conducted in New Jersey and was soon followed by similarly successful meetings in other states. A prominent holiness association was formed, which helped propel the holiness message into an international movement. This period of renewal embraced the
philosophy that social and political re- forms were equally vital to the nation’s spiritual condition. As a result, those impacted by this movement promoted a social gospel that included confront- ing unfair labor conditions of children and women and seeking to prohibit alcohol. In addition to speaking out against societal ills, Christian organiza- tions initiated alternative programs, such as increasing educational oppor- tunities, sponsoring healing homes for recovering addicts and the physically ill, establishing orphanages and soup kitchens, and organizing youth centers, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). The Holiness Movement was characterized by an
In the Culture
1. Breakdowns of racial, social and status barriers as Christ’s church celebrates together - Jesus!
2. A restoration of morality, ethical foundations and accountability among leaders of church and government, business and politics.
3. A transformation of society through the restoration of Christ’s influence in the arts, media, and communications.
4. Increased care for the hungry and homeless, the most vulnerable and needy.
5. Young adults, students and children embracing the claims and lifestyle of Christ through the witness of peers who live and love as Jesus.
6. Community and national leaders seeking out the church as an answer to society’s problems.
7. Increased care for children as “gifts from the Lord” as the gospel addresses abortion, adoption, foster care and child well-being.
8. Righteous relations between men and women: decrease in divorce rates, co- habitation, same-sex relations, sexual abuse, sexual trafficking, out of wedlock children and STD’s.
9. An awakening to the “fear of the Lord” rather than the approval of people, thus restoring integrity and credibility.
10. Neighborhood transformation and an accompanying decrease of social ills through increased expressions of “loving your neighbor” in service, compassion and unity.
a spontaneous move of the Holy Spirit in which laity played a key role without any one personality dominating the prayer movement. It was a divine work of God that spread through the United States and across the sea as common men and women began to experience spiritual renewal as a result of spend- ing time together in unity and prayer. Its impact on American spirituality was evident for almost fifty years.
Pentecostal Awakening In the late 1800s, holiness churches
began to experience various spiritual manifestations similar to those expe- rienced at the Cane Ridge meeting of the Second Great Awakening. Often holiness adherents referred to their sanctification experience as the “bap- tism of the Holy Ghost”, according to the biblical term found in the New Tes- tament. However, because of their deep consecration to God and devotion to spiritual disciplines, holiness adherents saw a reappearance of spiritual gifts, including instantaneous physical heal- ings and individuals’ ability to speak in languages unknown to them. Studying the New Testament, these
individuals discovered similar spiritual gifts were commonplace among the early Christians as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.
Charismatic Awakening and the Jesus Movement In the early years of the modern
emphasis on Christian perfection that, they believed, would help usher in the return of Christ by transforming society into a people practicing righteousness, both individually and corporately.
Prayer Movement In 1857 Jeremiah Lanphier, a lay-
man, was appointed by New York City’s North Reformed Protestant Dutch Church to begin an outreach ministry to the unchurched. One of his initia- tives was leading a noonday prayer meeting each Wednesday for area residents, including everyone from merchants to businessmen. Beginning on September 23, 1857, attendance in- creased quickly and the prayer services soon relocated to the Fulton Street Church, where the meetings were held daily. The prayer services were com- prised mainly by a diverse group of laity and included singing, impromptu prayers and testimonies, and scripture reading, all of which were conducted in a solemn and orderly manner. Soon the Fulton Street Church was filled to capacity as some 700 individuals, including men and women of varying socioeconomic status, met to pray. As local newspapers began reporting the prayer services, churches among differ- ent denominations began conducting similar meetings. Soon the overflow crowds began to meet in other venues within NYC, including community meeting halls and theaters. Because of the popularity of the prayer meetings, area businesses soon closed for an ex- tended period around the lunch hour. Laity began sharing their faith with others, large numbers of individuals ac- cepted Christ, attendance increased at area churches, and an estimated total of 10,000 individuals attended the ser- vices each day. In addition, conversions numbered in the tens of thousands weekly, including students in local schools and even college campuses. Individuals from other states attended the prayer services and returned home to begin similar prayer meetings in such locations as Illinois, Maine, Mas- sachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. The spiri- tual fervor even spread among slaves in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
Pentecostal revival, individuals re- ceiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit accompanied by tongues-speech were often excommunicated from their de- nominational churches. Eventually new Pentecostal fellowships were formed, such as the Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland), Church of God in Christ, and Pentecostal Holiness Church. However, beginning in early 1960 (and as early as the 1940s in other parts of the world) some members of the long-established American denomi- nations began to experience the opera- tion of the spiritual gifts as practiced by Pentecostals. Other denominations reported similar experiences, includ- ing a large number of Roman Catholic students in 1967. By the 1970s virtually every denomination in America had some level of Charismatic or Pente- costal expression, although not all denominational leaders embraced the Charismatic Renewal. Hundreds of hippies began to accept
Christ weekly, bringing with them their unique style of music and worship and becoming known as “Jesus People” or “Jesus Freaks.” Labeled as America’s Fourth Great Awakening, the Jesus Movement invigorated the Charismatic Movement and eventually impacted both Pentecostal and many mainline denominations. Today Pentecostal and Charismatic adherents number more than a half billion throughout the world and comprise the fastest-growing seg- ment within Christianity.
Another Great Awakening? Despite their efforts, Wilson said
that there is one thing that could hinder the possibility of another Great Awakening: pride. “Our pride in America and in the
American church will probably be the one thing that would keep us from seeing God work in our nation like He wants to,” Wilson noted. “Pride keeps us divided. Pride keeps
us away from our ‘prayer closet.’ Pride keeps us away from God’s greatest riches and intimacy with Jesus that brings fruitfulness. So I think the one thing we’re calling for is that we humble ourselves first and if we do that I believe that God’s going to shower us with great, great grace and a new awakening.”
To find out more and for a list of sources and material used for this article, go to www. awakeningamerica.us
or google Cry Out America.
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16