Burlington Tent Revival Ends
Updated August 10, 2016 (first published August 3, 2016)
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
For related reports also see:
1. Burlington Tent Revival Ends (this report)
2. Burlington Tent Revival Follow Up
3. Burlington Revival Defenders
4. Burlington Tent Revival Leaders and Sincere Men of God
5. Burlington Tent Revival Correction and Update

he “Burlington Tent Revival” ended on July 29 after 11 weeks of services in Burlington, North Carolina. It began in May with a scheduled revival service led by evangelist C.T. Townsend at New Hope Baptist Church, pastored by Randy Hobbs. The meetings were extended and eventually moved into a large tent where there were two services a day, Monday through Friday. Many thousands attended.

A reported 1,250 people “accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.”

According to reports, New Hope Baptist has been praying for revival on Mondays for ten years. Prayer meetings were held each morning of the revival, and a prayer team prayed under the speaker’s platform during the services.

This is commendable, and I have no doubt that some lives were changed to the glory of God in answer to prayer.

At the same time, due to the unscriptural evangelism methodology of the host preachers, the unity emphasis which results in a narrowing of the message, and the hyped-up “camp meeting” atmosphere, it would be wise to have some doubt about the large salvation statistics. These are not people who are careful about dealing with souls and examining professions to look for evidence of biblical conversion.

Further, according to the Burlington Revival Facebook page and other reports, large numbers of the salvation professions were made by children, and while children can get saved, what typically happens in these cases is that when they return to shallow, worldly Christian homes and churches they do not make long-term spiritual progress, because the homes and churches are too weak to produce true disciples of Christ.

A church that sees most of its young people fall away to the world, walk in lukewarmness, or capitulate to a contemporary philosophy will only produce more of the same bitter fruit if provided with converts from a revival meeting.

Evangelist C.T. Townsend is out of Trinity Baptist Church of Asheville, North Carolina, pastored by Ralph Sexton, Jr.

Townsend described the meetings as an “
aftershock that has literally shook across this nation,” but we have seen no evidence of that in the many reports of the revival that we have read.

Townsend is exactly right that spiritual revival is the only hope for America, but the revival must be a true Bible revival in solid, convicting, far-reaching, deep-digging truth that transforms shallow, worldly, pragmatic-centered pastors and their shallow, worldly, entertainment-oriented churches, rather than raucous Southern Gospel-driven emotionalism spread with a veneer of Scripture.

It would be wonderful if Ralph Sexton and his compatriots would get on fire for the truth and repent of such things as quick-prayerism evangelism, worldly, entertainment-focused youth ministries (led by cool young men who take youth groups to places like Dollywood) that produce few if any serious disciples of Christ, worldly music, and ecumenism (big-tent Independent Baptist unity that includes Southern Baptists and beyond).

It would have been wonderful if the reports of the Burlington Revival had told of hundreds of pastors repenting of such things in tears and seeking wisdom about how to undo the effect of their shallow ministries.

To repent of such things would be the fruit of true biblical revival in holiness and truth, as described in James:

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse
your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:8-10).

But we have seen no evidence that James was at the Burlington Tent Revival.

Biblical unity is true oneness of mind and judgment.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and
that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

What Paul called for in this passage under divine inspiration is not a broad-tent Baptist unity in diversity. It is not a “unity” based on “essentials.”

Yet one of the very themes of the Burlington Revival was the latter type of unity.

Pastors are coming together in unity. On Friday, June 17, the revival team posted on Facebook: ‘311 preachers under the tent tonight’” (“Thousands Stretch NC Revival into 8th Week,” CBN News, June 27, 2016).

Townsend said, “I have never seen such unity.”

Sixty churches were directly involved in the meetings and “many other churches from many denominations and backgrounds are being drawn to the meeting” (“Has the Next Great Spiritual Revival Awakening Begun?” OpenHeaven.com, July 13, 2015).

To promote unity among North Carolina Baptist pastors in this day and age is to promote unity of truth with error, unity of holiness with worldliness, unity of faithfulness to the Word of God with compromise of the Word of God, unity of Christ-centered Biblicists with man-centered pragmatists.

And the unity went beyond Baptist. An Assemblies of God pastor opened in prayer one night.

The last night of the Burlington Revival was attended by the vice president and other members of the Billy Graham Association, and a more radical ecumenical outfit does not exist. Of course, their attendance in itself is not evidence of compromise on the part of the Burlington Revival, but BGEA VP Tom Phillips gave the opening prayer from the platform that evening, and a photo of these men with a smiling C.T Townsend holding a bag emblazoned with a Billy Graham logo was published on the Burlington Revival Facebook page with this caption: “What an honor to have the Vice President and other members of the Billy Graham Association under the tent with us last night as they came to see & be a part of the #BurlingtonRevival.” 

Honor, indeed! This act is clear evidence that Townsend is grossly lacking in a proper education about modern compromise and in the spiritual discernment that is needed in a Christian leader today.

Billy Graham’s Sad Disobedience and New Evangelicalism: History, Fruit, and Error, which are available in print or as free eBooks from Way of Life Literature, www.wayoflife.org.)

The Burlington Revival raised over $340,000 to purchase a tent for Townsend’s evangelistic ministry so that he can conduct tent meetings in other places.

But no one associated with the Burlington Revival is currently capable of bringing the level of change to Independent Baptist churches that would keep them from continuing on the path to the emerging church.

Why Most Independent Baptists Will Be Emerging within Twenty Years, a free eBook at www.wayoflife.org.

Pastor Steve Rogers observes: “
Not ‘revival,’ not our movement, not our church, not our college, not our mission board, not our association, not the cause of Christ, nothing is above scriptural testing. Our loyalty must always rest in His Word. May God make us once again people of The Book!”

For related reports also see:
1. Burlington Tent Revival Ends (this report)
2. Burlington Tent Revival Follow Up
3. Burlington Revival Defenders
4. Burlington Tent Revival Leaders and Sincere Men of God
5. Burlington Tent Revival Correction and Update

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- www.wayoflife.org


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