Skillet frontman John Cooper is encouraging the Christian community to pray for the Asbury University revival instead of criticizing it, saying that revival never looks "exactly like what we think it's going to look like."
The revival on the Wilmore, Ky., campus began during a chapel service on Feb. 7 and entered its eighth consecutive day Wednesday. Although social media comments have been largely positive, a few social media users have questioned its legitimacy.
"I just want to warn people: Do not be cynical about what God might be doing," Cooper said on his podcast, Cooper Stuff. "Wouldn't it be great if he was doing something?"
America needs revival, he asserted.
"I don't want to throw water on a fire that the Holy Spirit might actually be starting," Cooper added. "… We need revival. We absolutely desperately need revival. Is this it? I have no idea. But let's not pretend that we don't need revival."
Revival, Cooper said, always starts with the people of God "repenting that we have forsaken our first love."
"I'm talking about people who already say they believe in Christ, but their lives they have not been walking in the fruits of repentance," he said.
Revival then overflows "into the world, to where the world hears the gospel and comes to Christ."
"But it begins in the church in holiness," he noted.
Revivals often are messy, Cooper added, pointing to the movements of God during the New Testament and during the Great Awakening of Jonathan Edwards' time. False teachers rose up in the New Testament even though the apostles were still alive, Cooper said. During Edwards' life, there were debates over emotional excess, he added.
"Revivals, as I understand them, are going to have some really great things," he explained. "And they're going to have some really bad things. Because they're not going to look exactly like we want it to look."
It is understandable if individuals experience emotions when faced with the reality of God's presence and love, Cooper said. The Skillet singer told a personal story from his college days when a crack dealer walked off the streets into Cooper's college group and became a Christian.
"All of a sudden, this young man hears a gospel message," Cooper recalled. "And he realizes for the first time in his life that he is not a cosmic accident. … And he starts to weep because he cannot believe that he matters."
Cooper and his friends helped the man flush illegal drugs down the toilet.
"He is shaking, and he is crying. And it's the best thing that's ever happened to him," he said.
Challenging critics of emotions, Cooper asked, "Are you telling me that there is no experiential aspect to lightening your load and dumping it at the foot of the cross? … There's going to be an emotional, physical feeling [in] your heart, there's going to be a peace that surpasses all understanding."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.