Whatever you may or may not think about recent events at Asbury College, we were surprised that Ben Shapiro would gush over a New Testament phenomenon. Is this one of those somewhat-rare instances of Romans 11:11 occurring?
“I say then, did they stumble that they might fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.” (ASV)
Shapiro is a young Orthodox Jewish American commentator on political and cultural matters who has gained a large audience in conservative circles. Some Orthodox Jews remain opposed to anything smacking of the New Testament due to a painful history of Christian antisemitism, among other reasons. But not Ben Shapiro. Take a look at Asbury through his eyes. He calls it:
“One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen.”
“There’s been this amazing event that apparently has happened before at Asbury University. They had a 24/7 Revival meeting. It’s called the Asbury Revival, and it’s drawn tens of thousands of people… to this tiny Kentucky town over the course of 13 days just to pray.
“It’s not political.
“It’s not like a big Trump event.
“It’s not like a big right-wing event.
“It’s just a bunch of people who came to a church and then over the course of two weeks essentially they just prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed.
“The fact that this has not drawn intense media coverage is kind of shocking in the sense that it is a media story when 50,000 people descend on a very small town just to pray and find communion with each other and God…
“I guess it’s not that amazing the media won’t cover it. If [the story had been] 50,000 people arriving for a 13-day orgy then the media would be all over it…”
Revival and the Western Wall
Shapiro’s comments on the corporate nature of “religion” are also fascinating as a Judeo-Christian analysis of today’s emphasized individuality and as a suggestion for a course-correction for Christian practice.
Note also his comparison of revival with prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Many Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem have remarked that they felt the presence of God at the Wall.
“Religion requires community. One of the things that we have done by reducing religion to spirituality is we have suggested that religion really is about your internal feeling of solidarity with God… That is not the entirety of religion,” stressed Shapiro.
“Religion requires you to commune with others. It is why it happens in churches. It is why in the Talmud it says that … you have to have ten men to form a minyan in order to do certain aspects of Jewish prayer…
“Human beings have a very hard time congregating above a certain number … [but] there is something euphoric about worshiping with tens of thousands of other people. I’ve done it myself when I go to the Kotel on a Friday night – the Western Wall in Israel in Jerusalem.
“There is that feeling of ‘We are all here together and we’re all doing the same thing and we are all oriented toward a higher purpose.’ That is a good thing, and that hole in the spirit is filled in our society by either nothing (which is leading to rising tides of chaos, despair and loneliness) or it’s filled with really bad causes…
“Very often people need … to feel that feeling of belonging, a feeling of higher purpose and a feeling they’re part of something bigger than themselves. When that is oriented towards something proper like a relationship with God – a God who calls on you to be moral and good toward your fellow man…
“What I’m hoping is that what’s happening in Asbury is the forerunner to a broader religious revival. Because let’s be frank about this, without religion, society in the West is going to die. It is just that simple.”
Signs of the times
What a remarkable time to live in when a famous Orthodox Jew sees a Christian revival as a forerunner to something bigger, when an Orthodox Jew desperately wants to see on a worldwide scale the kind of thing that just happened in a church chapel in Kentucky!
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