The views expressed in this opinion article do not neccessarily reflect the views of the Samford Crimson or Samford University
An unprecedented revival of faith has recently struck Samford’s campus. For the better part of a week, students, teachers, and families have been flocking to Reid Chapel, all for declarative praise to God. While this revival is not unique to Samford, the way God is moving at Samford is nevertheless incredible. There were of course both positives and negatives from the revival, but overall, it has been a positive experience that has brought renewed attention to the most essential thing: the abiding in and confidence we as Christians should have in our Lord.
The main positives from the revival were the demographics of the worshippers and the student-led aspect of the revival.
Firstly, when I attended the revival, I saw people of all colors, genders, and areas of campus come together for the sole purpose of praising the Lord. It was indeed a beautiful sight, and it reflects the heart and nature of Christ. He serves all who seek Him.
Furthermore, the revival was entirely student-led. The Office of Spiritual Life barely interfered with the event. It was student-created and student-led, through and through. This reflects Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
One negative aspect of the revival was that there were moments when worship did not feel authentic. For example, during testimonies, students sometimes prophesied and spoke in tongues. While I am not disputing that the Lord used these signs in the Bible, it felt that the prophecies were not inspired by God’s Word and were merely heretical thoughts since none of the students cited actual verses from the Bible in their prophecies.
Furthermore, the media attention surrounding the event created a performative fervor. Matthew 6:1 reads: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
While my hope and prayer is that no one was going to the revival to flex their faith or put on a show, it certainly felt that some students were treating it as a fun event rather than a sacred time to praise and extol the name of Christ. This isn’t to say that worshipping Christ cannot be fun; it is to say that it should be intentional and is not about us. It’s about lifting his name constantly.
Another point of contention with the revival was the slight changes and tweaks made after it began to gain traction.
While I was there, non-Samford students had to “make space” for actual Samford students by moving to the upper balcony of Reid Chapel or leaving the event altogether. Additionally, testimonies at the event had to be approved before they could be shared. While these decisions were ultimately made to protect Samford from harm and cut down on blasphemous, heretical testimonies, it initially felt exclusive. All of this to say, though, that I was impressed by how the Office of Spiritual Life handled a unique and complicated situation: they let Christ move without violence or heresy prevailing.
Overall, Samford’s revival was a unique experience that hopefully moved people to the heart of Christ and awakened their faith in a new way. However, if you seek a revival, you will get a performance. Only if you seek Christ will you then experience a genuine revival. The feeling of a spiritual high is fleeting. The God we encountered at the revival is the same God you experience in the mundanity of everyday life. Without the foundation of abiding in Him in word and prayer, the revival you experienced at Reid Chapel will be for naught.
I hope and pray that this revival awakened Christians and non-believers to the truth: that a life with Christ is the path to salvation and that His mercies and love for us are never-ending and become newer every sunrise. I pray for change in the hearts of all who would believe in the everlasting truth of God’s word and His perfect nature. I pray that we go beyond Reid Chapel and spread His holy name to all nations. This, after all, is a nameless movement pointing to the Name above Names.