Guest / Limited Access /

The Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto, which has been well-publicized during the past year for the unusual physical manifestations that mark its services-including laughter, shaking, bouncing, and "resting in the Spirit"-has experienced spiritual refreshment but has also received criticism from Christians (CT, Oct. 24, 1994, p. 78). Despite the skepticism, the Airport Vineyard's renewal fervor has spread to many churches around the world.

In light of recent campus renewals, some leaders have compared the "Toronto Blessing" and its emphasis on the physical experience of the Holy Spirit to the pattern of confession, repentance, and service exhibited by the student revival meetings-and have found the Vineyard manifestations wanting. "What I'm hearing about the Toronto Blessing has none of the marks of the Bible," says Henry Blackaby, Southern Baptist director of prayer and spiritual awakening.

Differing opinions among scholars concerning the definition of revival also contribute to the debate. "True revival begins with an awareness of God's holiness," says Wheaton professor Timothy Beougher.

Others believe that defining revival is irrelevant. "Any outsider trying to estimate spiritual fruit of revivals always has trouble, even with 100 years of history, let alone at the moment," says John Stackhouse, professor of religion at the University of Manitoba.

What may be more pertinent is a similarity between the movements-the "dramatic lowering of inhibitions," according to Stackhouse. "Anglo-Canadians are not renowned for a demonstrative personality," he says. "For a middle-aged Anglo-Canadian to quiver, shake, and fall to the ground is pretty incredible. [Christians] now feel social permission to jump into the deep end of the pool." ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
TrendingWhy Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
It's one the great mysteries of ministry. Why do pastors have such a bad reputation for answering or returning phone calls? Here are 9 reasons.
Editor's PickThe Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
The Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
‘Christian colleges are as strong as they’ve been since the 1920s,’ says historian William Ringenberg. But there are challenges on the horizon.
Christianity Today
Toronto Blessing: Is It a Revival?
hide thisMay 15 May 15

In the Magazine

May 15, 1995

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.