what happened to the Brownsville revival?

24 05 2006

I read an article today about the former Brownsville revival in Pensacola, FL, and it makes me so very sad.  It’s called
What Happened to Brownsville’s Fire?, featured in Charisma Magazine.  The church that hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world has dwindled to a few hundred members and has a lot of problems.  I cannot express how sad I feel about this…  There was an authentic move of God in that place, where thousands and thousands of people were changed, experiencing revival, finding a real relationship with God.  And now the fire is gone, and the charred remains are a detriment to the Kingdom of God.  Many of the members there have been hurt, some have even left church altogether, and of course this is a horrible testimony.

The author of that article asks, “Did it have to end this way?”  Of course it didn’t have to.  It shouldn’t have ended at all.  God wants to pour out His Spirit and see revival impact the world.  So what happened?  I don’t know the specifics, and it doesn’t matter — the problem is people and sin.  And of course the enemy attacked the revival, but ultimately it was people who let the opposition gain a foothold.

The falling apart of this revival is also sad because it makes God look bad to many people.  People may say, “If this was a real move of God, why did it end so badly?”  The answer is because people let it.  God gave us free will, and we can choose to walk in His presence or we can live apart from Him.  He doesn’t force Himself on us.  And the people that were involved in the revival are regular people, just like you and me.  They are tempted by offense, bitterness, power, selfishness, etc.  And they can get hurt just like any of us.  God gives us the ability to overcome all these things, but it’s often difficult for us to let go of our way of thinking and feeling.  And so any of us can mess up.  We all make mistakes.  It’s just sad that some people’s mistakes impacted a huge revival.

Some of us pray for revival, though I wonder if we realize the cost of it.  I’d like to point out something the author said :

“History shows us that revival is always risky.  The devil opposes it, and carnal flesh gets in the way of it.  The Holy Spirit is easily quenched by pride, greed, selfish religious agendas and broken relationships.” ~ J. Lee Grady

There’s a high cost (sacrifice) for revival, which is why we don’t see too much of it.  But we should still seek an outpouring of God’s Spirit, even though it’s costly.  It doesn’t have to end badly, nor should it.

So even though the Brownsville revival has ended, much of the fruit of it still grows and bears more fruit. Some critics will undoubtedly think it was a waste and/or it was fake, but God definitely changed thousands of lives through it.  I know it changed my life, in the dozens of services I attended there.  And I know a number of people who were changed during it.

And so I press on for revival in my city, praying for an outpouring that will impact the world, one that will last until Jesus returns…

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8 responses

1 08 2006
Beppo

The Brownsville church in Pensacola has posted a response to the Charisma article, correcting some inaccuracies and explaining some topics.

16 11 2006
Beppo

The author of the article I linked to has written another article, explaining what he meant originally. He wasn’t trying to be critical of the revival or any people, but he wanted to ask some tough questions like, “Did it have to end this way?” You can read his response here :

Why I Am Not Bashing Brownsville.

I agree with him, especially on the point of “The body of Christ would be a much healthier place if questions were tolerated.” We don’t want to be critical of those involved, yet we should look at what happened and try to learn from it. I desire to see a revival of God that will last until the second coming of Christ. Many thought the Brownsville Revival might be like that, but obviously it fell short. We’re all people, and history does tend to repeat itself, so we would be doing good to learn from the past, even if it involves examing the bad areas we’d rather not have to see…

8 06 2007
Chris Davis

Hey Chad. Was perusing through your blog entries… and thought I’d comment on this. :)

I find it interesting that Charisma actually was bashing Brownsville from the perspective of the Revival “not lasting”… yet the Early Church did not keep up their momentum for long… and we don’t bash them!?

I know this is an old/ancient topic by now… but thought I’d still give you my 3 cents worth.

11 06 2007
Beppo

Time makes events look differently. A lot of the smaller details tend to get forgotten, and summaries of the history become more prominent than detailed analysis.

The author wrote a second column explaining that he wasn’t bashing Brownsville but wanted to ask the tough questions.

I’d like to examine the Early Church on this, but there’s a shortage of details. With Brownsville, we have a lot more info on what was going on during the revival.

(FYI, feel free to comment on any post, regardless of how old it is.)

18 01 2011
markthegodchaser

Hey I was a student at the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry and was looking for answers and as to why the fire died. I read this blog but didn’t see any exact thing that happened, just curious and looking for a few answers.

19 01 2011
Chris Davis

Hey Mark.

I was a student at BRSM as well. Was honored to be a part of Brownsville for the time as was there and will be eternally grateful for it’s impact on my life. We’ll never know the sacrifice the leadership and the church went through in order to host what it did.

I personally have come full circle with trying to “figure out” what happened. Sure it would have been great for the fires to continue in that one location. But what I always remind myself is the lasting fruit from that movement. One aspect being there are now hundreds of missionaries around the world doing the work of the kingdom.

19 01 2011
markthegodchaser

Cool Chris! When did you attend? I attended from 2000-2002. I do believe in the lasting fruit as well. I was just curious especially when we had prophecies like Dr. Cho’s saying the this revival would last until Jesus returned. I had just expected the fire to grow hotter and sweep the nation instead of being like any former major revival I knew of. I just finished reading a book on the Argentine Revival and when it was written in 98′ or so the revival down there had been going on since the early eighties I believe. I wonder if it is still blazing.

24 01 2011
Chris Davis

Hey Mark.

I was there the same time as you (2000-2002)! I’ve scratched my head about the prophecy by Cho as well… but I do know the fires may have dwindled in that one location, but they have continued world wide!

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