Here’s What’s at Stake for America in This Defining Hour: We Need a Nationwide Christ Awakening—Now!
[Editor’s Note: In this blog post, David Bryant proposes that when Christians become freshly stupefied with Christ it provides the world the ultimate antidote to being putrefied in soul.]
Five days ago I was stunned with these sobering reflections from syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. regarding the many tragic events of last week. His profound concern echoes recent warnings from a host of leaders on the national stage. He wrote:
This is a drifting, angry America that needs to find its way again . . . There is a sickness afoot in our country, my friends, a putrefaction of the soul, a rottenness in the spirit. Consider our politics. Consider the way we talk about one another—and to one another. Consider those two dead black men. Consider those five massacred cops. Deny it if you can. I sure can’t. Something is wrong with us. And I don’t mind telling you that I fear for my country (emphasis added).
I suspect you also are seeing it and feeling it much the same way. I know I am.
Putrefaction vs. Stupefaction
What really caught my attention in Pitt’s remarks, however, was one word: putrefaction. He speaks of the putrefaction of our nation’s soul.
The reason this stopped me is because, you may recall, my blog earlier this week carried a title with another word that looks almost identical. The word I used was stupefaction, as in “stupefaction with Christ.”
They sound the same but are virtual opposites. On one hand, there’s the repulsiveness and deadliness and hopelessness of putrefaction. On the other, there’s the awesomeness and exhilaration and fertileness of stupefaction.
But in another sense the two words complement each other by helping clarify what’s at stake for America in this defining hour.
That is because the only hope for reversing the putrefaction of our nation, so visible all around us on virtually every front—political, social, cultural, racial, ethical, moral, spiritual—is for God’s people across this land to experience a Spirit-infused stupefaction with the spectacular supremacy of God’s Son, individually and, more importantly, together—and then move out in obedience accordingly.
The hour for such stupefaction is upon us. In truth, America has no other hope. Let me explain.
It’s What We’ve Been Seeking All Along
Fortunately, millions of Christians have been praying for nothing less than “stupefaction with Christ” for over three decades now, in an unprecedented prayer movement rising up from every stream of the Church, seeking God’s face for a national spiritual revival.
This includes hundreds of thousands of millennials gathering this coming Saturday for twelve hours on the National Mall in Washington, DC, to focus specifically on worship and prayer that welcomes the Lord Jesus (in their words) to “reset America” back to himself in every way—in other words, to stupefy us with himself. They firmly believe he has the capacity to do just that at this critical juncture.
Such a revolution is what I’ve been talking about and writing about for twenty years—what I call a “Christ Awakening” movement, which I define like this:
When God’s Spirit uses God’s Word
to reintroduce God’s people to God’s Son for ALL he is.
Without question, stupefaction with Christ among Christians—a Christ Awakening—offers the one solitary remedy for the putrefaction of soul threatening the very future of our nation.
Let me explain why I believe this is so, what we should look for, and what difference it will make.
Stupefaction as a Way of Life
My previous blog this week listed synonyms for stupefaction found in a thesaurus: being astonished; bewildered; astounded; flabbergasted; stunned; speechless; totally shocked.
We looked at John’s experience in Revelation 1, face to face with Jesus in his ascended glory, when the disciple was so stupefied that he dropped to the ground like a dead man.
But this dramatic transaction is a frequent theme (and response) all through the Scriptures.
It’s what happens to believers any time the living God manifests himself to them in fresh and often unexpected ways. These are straightforward revelations of his presence—of his person and power and primacy. For example:
- when the Israelites recoiled, motionless, as Jehovah’s “Shekinah fire” filled Solomon’s newly dedicated temple
- when Isaiah surrendered himself unconditionally to the King of Glory as he saw him exalted like never before
- when on the first Easter two disciples had their hearts set on fire as Jesus ministered to them in resurrection fullness
- when the early church was so energized as the Spirit was poured out on them from Jesus’ throne they turned their city upside down proclaiming the gospel
- when Paul was transformed from a persecutor into a preacher in one single instant as the Redeemer engulfed him in saving splendor on a Palestinian highway
- when a prayer meeting of church leaders in Antioch was seized by Heaven and reconstituted in one day into a missionary sending base that changed the course of history
All such stories can rightly be termed Christ Awakenings—foreshadowed in the Old Testament, then fulfilled in the New Testament. Directly or indirectly, all of them speak of seasons of stupefaction with Christ—seasons repeated throughout the history of the Church. New England Puritans called such divine episodes “the manifest presence of Christ.”
In 1830, Dr. Ebenezer Porter, the president of one of the great seminaries of New England, was invited back as president emeritus to present a series of lectures on spiritual awakenings. He described what he had personally observed having ministered during a time historians call the “Second Great Awakening” in America. Here’s one paragraph from this firsthand observer of how a Christ Awakening can become the hope for a whole nation after it impacts God’s people within that nation. He said:
When the Redeemer comes in the triumphs of his grace to visit his churches, then his true followers are seen waking from their apathy [Note: even true followers sometimes must be awakened] and going forth to welcome the King of Zion with an energy and an earnestness and ardor of affection greatly surpassing their first love.
In other words, when Christ manifests himself to his followers in his spectacular supremacy they rise up and embrace him like never before, ready to move outward with him in the advances of the Kingdom for their generation.
To say it another way: When Christians become freshly stupefied with Christ it provides the world the ultimate antidote to being putrefied in soul.
Dr. J. Edwin Orr, one of my mentors, held three earned doctorates in the study of Christ Awakenings (one from UCLA in Los Angeles, one from Oxford University in England, and one from Serampore University in Calcutta). Authoring scholarly books on the subject, Professor Orr certainly understood what a Christ Awakening is all about and the unparalleled hope it holds out to America. He summarized his years of research into one paragraph, writing that a Christ Awakening is:
. . . a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ and in its related community. The outpouring of Christ upon his people by his Spirit affects the reviving of the church, the awakening of the masses, and the movement of instructed peoples toward the Christian faith; the revived church by many or few is moved to engage in evangelism, in teaching, and in social action (emphasis added).
As I said above: When Christians become freshly stupefied with Christ it provides the world the ultimate antidote to being putrefied in soul.
Stupefaction with Christ and the Future of America
Bottom line, for America in this desperate hour, one issue is clear: In a time of putrefaction of soul we require more than some means of survival. The only prospect that matters for us now is spiritual and moral revival—beginning inside the Church. God’s people need to wake up to God’s Son in response to his arrival—as Jesus “shows up” among us through his Spirit to stupefy us with crisp, powerful, transforming revelations of his worthiness, of his wonders, and of his work and ways initiated already in every corner of the land.
Christ Awakenings. The stupefaction that comes about when the Father pulls back the curtains before his children so we can focus on and draw upon the fullness of his Son from loftier perspectives.
Christ Awakenings. The stupefaction that overtakes us when God ushers believers into worship and fellowship and discipleship and mission that are saturated with Christ, involving preliminary but substantial foretastes of all that awaits us when he returns in visible victory.
Christ Awakenings. The stupefaction that brings practical ramifications as Christians are so fully re-conquered and restored by Jesus as to be redeployed—sent out from sea to shining sea to lovingly share with fellow citizens, in every community and around every issue, the truth of Jesus, the fullness of Jesus, the promises of Jesus, the reconciling work of Jesus, the ministries of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, the majesty of Jesus, the justice of Jesus, the saving reign of Jesus.
Until . . . stupefaction with Christ among believers begins to sharply contrast with the putrefaction of soul in our nation—and then proceeds to replace it.
Until . . . by God’s grace, in his timing, stupefaction with Christ forms the prevailing experience of our nation as a whole because stupefaction with Christ has become the way of life for his Body.
Right now that’s precisely what’s at stake for America when many are saying, like Leonard Pitts, they fear for our country.
Stupefaction with Jesus is the only answer for the peril in which we find ourselves as a nation.
Believe it! Seek it! Foster it! Prepare for it! Enter into it! Spread it! Live it!
Start Here: Increase Your Confidence in God
But, you may ask, are there really solid reasons to expect such a Christ Awakening any time soon? Can I dare hope for it with the assurance I will not be disappointed?
Yes and yes!
Explore why many of us today believe it is not far off, and why we have no hesitancy saying so, by dipping into my free ebook, The Hope at Hand. Consider especially the middle chapters on the seven “confidence builders” about a coming Christ Awakening.
Then with renewed expectations pray and prepare for it with full confidence in God!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a proclaimer of Christ and Messenger of Hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, an outreach whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of many books, including Christ Is ALL! Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son. David and Robyne have been serving Christ together for over 40 years. Their most important ministry, however, remains centered on their three adult children and their spouses, and their four grandchildren.