About the Book
The remarkable revival at Asbury University in 2023 started with a routine chapel service. On that morning in February, a group of students chose to linger after their Wednesday hour of prayer, and so began a movement of the Spirit that didn’t cease for another two weeks. What started with spontaneous worship and calls to renewal in the lives of college students turned into tens of thousands of pilgrims making their way to a small town in the middle of Kentucky, which then spilled over onto campuses across America and awakenings across the globe. In Taken by Surprise: The Asbury Revival of 2023, Mark R. Elliott writes as the seasoned historian he is—diving into the what, when, and how behind the revival that may very well be the first of its kind in our digital era.
As the world watched—some with awe and others with skepticism—this small Christian college and its sister seminary experienced a movement of the Holy Spirit not seen in more than 50 years. From the overfilled pews in the now storied Hughes Auditorium to the long lines outside its doors, Elliott lets the event itself do the talking.
About the Author
Mark R. Elliott (PhD in modern European and Russian history) has taught at Asbury University (KY); Wheaton College (IL); Samford University (AL); and Southern Wesleyan University (SC). In addition to teaching, Elliott held administrative posts for nineteen years as director of the Institute for East-West Christian Studies (Wheaton College) and as director of the Global Center (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University). He is the author of numerous books and editor emeritus of the East-West Church and Ministry Report (www.eastwestreport.org), which he edited for twenty-five years.
- Personal study for those interested in spiritual awakenings, revivals, renewal
- Those working with emerging adults and younger generations
- Church historians interested in the Asbury Revival
- Pastors praying for awakening in their communities
- Groups hoping to read and learn from inspiring accounts of awakening
In these pages you’ll:
- Learn about the 2023 Asbury Revival in Wilmore, Kentucky
- Read firsthand accounts about the outpouring
- Understand some of the spiritual, social, leadership, and logistical dynamics involved
- Be encouraged to posture your heart for awakening in your heart, home, church, city
Mark Elliott, a well-trained historian with a thorough knowledge of Asbury University’s record of earlier awakenings, is perfectly positioned to offer this balanced, superbly researched, insightful, but still probing account of the much-publicized revival that took place at Asbury in February 2023.
–Mark Noll is the author of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada (2nd ed., 2019) and America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911 (2022).
Reading this book is like walking on the Asbury University campus and experiencing the Kingdom of God: students praying and praising, repenting and reconciling, people from all over the world standing in line hungry for God.
–Rev. Eduard Khegay is the Resident Bishop of the Eurasia Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church.
My heart was stirred as I read Taken by Surprise. The 2023 “Asbury Spiritual Outpouring” is the first campus revival during the social media age. I commend this well researched and wonderfully written book. May God use it greatly to continue to kindle the flame of revival.
–Timothy K. Beougher is the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is the author of Invitation to Evangelism: Sharing the Gospel with Compassion and Conviction (2021).
This fascinating book not only takes my soul back to [Asbury’s] Hughes Auditorium and what God was doing there, but also stirred in my heart to continue to cry out for springs of living water to flow in Europe and beyond.
–Sarah Breuel is the Director of Revive Europe and the Evangelism Training Coordinator for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Europe.
This essential and moving account of the 2023 Asbury Revival is notable for several reasons. Full of firsthand eyewitness reports, yet it resonates with the long course of church history. Its author is both a sympathetic “insider” and a critical historian. Here the special uniqueness of the Asbury outpouring is cross-referenced to previous times of spiritual awakening both at Asbury and elsewhere.
–Howard A. Snyder is the author of The Radical Wesley and Patterns for Church Renewal (1996) and Signs of the Spirit: How God Reshapes the Church (1997).
What a blessing Taken by Surprise was to me and I am sure will be for many others. In reading, there were times I was brought to tears. As a historian and scholar Dr. Elliott appreciates the value of contemporaneous, first-hand accounts of historic events. Here he has captured many participants’ life-changing encounters with God as the result of an unplanned, unique visitation of the Holy Spirit on Asbury University’s campus. This is an excellent job of telling the story.
–Larry D. Brown is a retired partner of PricewaterhouseCooper LLP and chair of the Asbury University Board of Trustees.
- Page count: 238
- Trim: 5.5 x 8.5
- Video: N/A