The Asbury College Revival of 1970

Brothers and Sisters, I hope you will read this and be blessed.  Someone left a comment this evening under the  Lakeland Revival: Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, etc. topic by the name of Carol McClain…I pray you will read her account of this revival at the College she attended by going to the link.

After reading her account I also did a search of my own on this move of God, and wanted to share it with you..


WILMORE, Kentucky – One morning in 1970, without warning, all heaven broke loose during Asbury College’s 10 a.m. chapel service.

“When you walked into the back of Hughes Auditorium … there was a kind of an aura, kind of a glow about the chapel,” said Dr. David Hunt, a Louisville physician who was then a student.

“I always have been reminded of the verse ‘Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground.’ You just walked in and sensed that God had indeed sent His Spirit.”

The service, a routine meeting, was scheduled for 50 minutes. Instead, it lasted 185 hours non-stop, 24 hours a day. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately, it spread across the United States and into foreign countries. Some say it is being felt even today.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the landmark 1970 Asbury College revival, an unplanned, unled display of fervor that has been compared to the Great Awakenings of 1740 and 1800. This year is also the 41st anniversary of a strikingly similar revival Asbury experienced in 1950…

On February 3, 1970, students and faculty members had shown up at the college’s chapel, Hughes auditorium, for what they assumed would be one more routine meeting.

Students were required to attend chapel services three times a week. Asbury, in Wilmore, a city of 4,300 about 16 miles south of Lexington, is an interdenominational Christian college whose roots are in the Wesleyan tradition of the Methodist church. (John and Charles Wesley, brothers, were 18th century revivalists.)

On that Tuesday morning in 1970, Custer Reynolds, Asbury’s academic dean and a Methodist layman, was in charge. President Dennis Kinlaw was traveling. Reynolds did not preach. Instead, he briefly gave his testimony, then issued an invitation for students to talk about their own Christian experiences. There was nothing particularly unusual about that.

One student responded to his offer. Then another. Then another.

“Then they started pouring to the altar,” Reynolds said. “it just broke.”

Gradually, inexplicably, students and faculty members alike found themselves quietly praying, weeping, singing. They sought out others to whom they had done wrong deeds and asked for forgiveness. The chapel service went on and on.

Asbury, like many evangelical organizations, held annual, scheduled “revivals” with guest ministers and services booked in advance. This, however, was not the same. No one had planned it. No one was leading it.

There was just a different feeling about that day,” said Marilyn Blackburn, who was the a junior at the college. She is now a substitute schoolteacher in New Jersey.

People didn’t want to leave she said. They were afraid they would miss something wonderful. J.T. Seamands vividly remembers. Seamands, now retired, was then a professor at adjacent Asbury Theological Seminary, which is a separate institution from the college. He and his wife, author Ruth Seamonds, were waiting for their daughter to come home from lunch.

Sandra Seamonds, an undergraduate at the college, was late. She burst through the door and exclaimed, “You simply wouldn’t believe what’s happening at the college,” according to J.T. Seamand’s book, On Tiptoe With Love.

She was right. Her dad didn’t believe. Eventually, he went to Hughes Auditorium to investigate. The 1,500 seat chapel was packed. When he entered, J.T. Seamands felt as if he had been baptized in an unaccountable spirit of love, he said. His skepticism vanished.

“I said to myself, ‘This is not of man,'” he recalled recently. “‘This is of God.'”

‘The Lord walked in’

Reynolds, the dean, called Kinlaw, the president, who was at a conference in western Canada. Kinlaw, like Seamands, had reservations about the revival. He returned to the campus two days later, in the wee hours of the morning. The meeting, he found, was still going.

“I was scared,” Kinlaw said.

That is, he knew he would be held responsible if matters got out of hand. At the same time, he didn’t want to intervene and quench an authentic move of God.

It was after 2 a.m., but Kinlaw walked to Hughes Auditorium and sat on the back pew. He was approached by a student who asked for his counsel. Though no one knew it, she said quietly, she had been a habitual liar. She needed to make reparations to people on campus she had wronged.

Soon Kinlaw, too, was convinced that the revival was legitimate. Later, a reporter asked him to explain the outbreak.

“I said, ‘Well, you may not understand this,'” Kinlaw recalled, “‘but the only way I know how to account for this is that last Tuesday morning, about 20 of 11, the Lord Jesus walked into Hughes Auditorium, and He’s been there ever since, and you’ve got the whole community paying tribute to His presence.’

“It got real quiet,” Kinlaw said, chuckling at the memory of the reporter’s response.

Twenty years later, Kinlaw acknowledges that people might reasonably think the revival was the result of contagious emotions among students. It was after all, the Age of Aquarius, a time of runaway emotions of many kinds.

“There’s psychological factors involved,” Kinlaw agreed, “because we’re psyches…. But there’s something beyond that.”

One remarkable thing, given the youthfulness of the worshipers, he said, was that the marathon service was uncannily orderly. Worshipers did not become loud, did not speak out of turn, did not fall down on the floor in religious ecstasy.

The feelings were subtle yet, in their own way, overwhelming. Blackburn, the schoolteacher, said she had always been too meek. “I became aware that I needed more boldness in sharing my faith.”… (more at link)

*Sermon Index: Witness a Revival 1st Hand – 1970 Film of Asbury College’s Revival (video)

See inside a Real Revival that took place in 1970 at Asbury College in Kentucky. Told by the former President Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, who missed it completely and the world got to see it on the news (except for those blessed enough to either be there or traveled there). This 37-minute video presentation, narrated by the former president of Asbury College, is a powerful look into an incredible revival at that campus in 1970. A chapel service that began on Tuesday, February 3 went on without intermission for eight straight days. ‘An amazing openness and transparency’ among the students and an awesome awareness of the presence of God typified those precious days of visitation. ‘God has come to Asbury.’

The above video is a wonderful account–

4 comments on “The Asbury College Revival of 1970

  1. And that was a revival!! Please direct people to the Bible Hymn Video!


  2. Hi Erik…

    im so glad someone read/watched or listened to this.

    I’m going to post at least one of the video clips from this presentation from sermon index tonight.

  3. Thanking the Lord Jesus for guiding you to find this presentation.

    I REALLY ENJOYED watching and listening to what he had to say.

    Toward the end he explains what led up to the Outpouring of the Revival. Some hungry young people for Jesus, who also hungered for the True Spirit of God to come and REVIVE the hearts of men and women.

    I agree, every generation needs to experience this… yet I wonder: just how hungry are they? I know this is how I have been feeling… if feeling means anything at all… it seems like such a slow death inside.

  4. Thank you for sharing this… we just now returned from Atlanta (to Virginia) from a revival conference put on by sermon index. The primary concentration was not on revival however, it was on repentance and confession of sin with the prayer that God would send His Spirit on His church for His glory and to prepare us for the times to come… times of judgment and cleansing. Paul Washer shared 10 indictments on the church stating that WE have failed God, not the nation, not wall street, not the white house. To blame the dead for dead actions is folly… we have failed to worship Him in such a way that the world could see His glory… amen… thank you again brother in Christ…

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