Dr. Craig S. Keener, a highly respected New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary, is widely known for his work on the Bible’s background and his enormous books consisting of thousands of pages with tens of thousands of references. He’s not known to be a very emotional guy. And yet, during the Asbury revival, he proclaimed that he could feel the tangible presence of God just by walking near the chapel area.
The Asbury Revival, which took place at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, began on February 8, 2023, when a group of students spontaneously stayed in Hughes Auditorium after a regularly scheduled chapel service. Asbury President Kevin Brown sent out a brief email inviting others to join in the worship. News of the revival quickly spread through social media and Christian online publications, drawing thousands of people each day, with total visitors ranging between 50,000 and 70,000.
Dr. Keener, who joined the Asbury faculty in 2011 after teaching at Palmer Theological Seminary and Hood Theological Seminary, has authored 25 books and more than a million copies in circulation. He was an eyewitness to what went on during the revival meetings and has defended the outpouring against critics on YouTube. Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Keener about how the revival started, why the public phase eventually was shut down – and how the Holy Spirit impacted him personally:
It’s not every day that you see an accomplished New Testament scholar proclaim in all caps on social media: “I CAN FEEL THE TANGIBLE PRESENCE OF GOD”. But this was indeed what Dr. Keener experienced, and he hadn’t even got inside the building yet! Keener could tell me that a teacher he trusts reports that hundreds of people have been saved during the outpouring, including students who come from Christian families but have never taken the faith of their parents seriously. Additionally, there are many reports of healing as well as you can see in this video:
Dr. Craig Keener’s experience at the Asbury Revival serves as a powerful testimony to the profound impact that such events can have on individuals, regardless of their academic or spiritual background. It illustrates the importance of remaining open to the divine presence and the transformative power it can bring to our lives. As a testament to the power of faith and the presence of God, the revival demonstrates the potential for spiritual growth and transformation, even among those who approach their faith from a more intellectual perspective.