A Historian’s Take on the Asbury Revival with Mark Elliott
September 28, 2023
Mark R. Elliott is a church historian who has held several academic posts over his career and has specialized in East-West relationships in the church. He was a participant in the 1970 Asbury Revival as a graduate student in Lexington, Kentucky, as well as a witness to and servant of the 2023 Asbury Revival during its last days. He has written a new book called Taken By Surprise documenting this work of the Spirit.
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Welcome to the more, to the story. Podcast I'm so glad that you have come along. And this is gonna be a great show, because we have an expert guest who studied the history of revivals and is a history professor in general, but also has some other specialties, I think gives a nuance and unique perspective on what happened in Willmore, Kentucky, Kentucky, in February. But before I do that, I want to make sure you know
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Andy Miller III: awesome
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Andy Miller III: All right. I am glad to welcome to the podcast. Dr. Mark Elliott, who is the editor emeritus of the East West Church and Ministry Report. He is retired Professor. He served on the campuses of Wheaton College and Asbury University. He resides in Wilmore, Kentucky, and I am so glad mark to have you on the Podcast
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Mark Elliott: my pleasure.
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Andy Miller III: Mark, it's interesting. I saw a article that you submitted, and I found out that as a result of that article that you have a new book coming out
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Andy Miller III: on the revival or the outpouring. It's often called that happen at Asbury. And that's something that on this podcast we covered as it was happening. And just so interested in what's happening and what's continuing to happen as a result of that work of the spirit. But but before we get into that, this will help people understand why we brought you on. You come at this from a different perspective. So tell us a little bit about your
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Andy Miller III: story, and even like how you've arrived to be in Wilmore at this point in your life.
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Mark Elliott: Well, I think I'm both an insider and an outsider in terms of looking at this phenomenal outpouring of God's Spirit in Wilmorn at the Asbury institutions. The whole community.
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Mark Elliott: Yeah. Back this. Previous February.
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Mark Elliott: So as an insider, my wife and I are graduates of Asbury I taught at Asbury. I served on the alumni board the Board of Trustees.
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Mark Elliott: so I know the community from the inside from that perspective. But I've also, as you mentioned, taught at other schools I actually taught at other colleges and universities longer than I taught at Asbury, and I've had many decades of experience in
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Mark Elliott: ministry in Eastern Europe, short term projects of various kinds that's exposed me and helped me benefit from and better understand many other denominations, and also the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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Mark Elliott: So I think
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Mark Elliott: those life experiences away from Wilmore, as well as my deep ties in Wilmore, allow me to look at this wonderful revival from both an inside and an outside perspective.
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Andy Miller III: That's it. Let me stop you there for a second, too, because you mentioned like teaching history at these 2 institutions, and I think particularly so. Some of my
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Andy Miller III: mentors of sorts. They they might not know they're my mentors in history, as I'm doing my work in historical theology in nineteenth century. Of course I think of your colleague, Ed Mckinley, at Asbury University. But then even colleagues at Wheaton, and probably Mark Noel. Timothy Larson, these are these are 2 stout departments. So I I'm honored to have you on here.
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Mark Elliott: Well, let me just say that, Mark Noel, even though we come from different denominational traditions, was
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Mark Elliott: very helpful to me in my administrative as well as teaching role at Wheaton, and I consider him a dear friend.
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Andy Miller III: Yeah, I know. I know that many of us in the Holiness movement would like to kind of give him a little push for his scandal of the evangelical mind. But I certainly appreciate the you know the work that he's done through the years.
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Mark Elliott: Well, speaking of the scandal of Evangelical mine. I wrote a a long critique of that. It didn't hurt our friendship, but we were definitely on different pages. That's great. I mean, I think it's great cause. I think I'll probably be with you on that.
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Andy Miller III: Well, that that's helpful for us, I mean thinking of you functioning as a historian, and then also, of course, your work in Eastern Europe. That's your work, I mean, not just academic work, but your real ministry work there as well. You have a different vantage point than anybody else. So how can we describe and think about what happened at Asbury
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Andy Miller III: is as unusual, or even common within church history.
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Mark Elliott: Well, it has some commonalities with what's happened through Church history, and also some unique features in terms of what's common. Really, the the notion of revival is as old as the Christian faith itself. I mean, if we look at Acts 2. There was a powerful
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Mark Elliott: out working of the Holy Spirit and large scale
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Mark Elliott: movements of spiritual renewal, and there have been periods like that throughout
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Mark Elliott: church history and in our own history, just looking at the last couple of centuries, which is just a blink for somebody you get
00:08:01.860 --> 00:08:05.830
Mark Elliott: street there were, of course, the
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Mark Elliott: first great awakening in the eighteenth century, and then the second great awakening, which was mostly in the nineteenth century and one of the most dramatic illustrations of a
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Mark Elliott: revival.
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Mark Elliott: A spontaneous revival was the famous Cane Ridge meeting, 1801 part of the second great awakening, and that's only about 40 miles
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Mark Elliott: from where I speak. It's just north of Lexton and Asbury is a bit south of Lexington.
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Mark Elliott: So there have been periods of renewal and revival and refreshing, outpouring. Different words have been used. And then, in
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Mark Elliott: the globe we can look at the Welch revival. There was an amazing early eighteenth century children's revival, mostly orphaned kids. So there have been these periodic
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Mark Elliott: revivals or renewals of the church, the Korean revival of the early.
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Mark Elliott: the twentieth century.
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Mark Elliott: Yeah, I could go on and on. But you get the idea. Yeah. So those are some of the common features.
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Mark Elliott: What's unique?
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Mark Elliott: About the Asbury revival? Maybe I should say revivals, because, you know, Andy, there have been repeated spontaneous outpourings of the work of the Holy Spirit. On our campus, going back as far as 1905, in which E. Stanley Jones
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Mark Elliott: Holmes was deeply influenced. Then, 1950, with Doctor Coleman, the author of the Master Plan of Evangelism, was deeply impacted by the 1950 revival, and then, 1970, probably the most famous Asbury revival prior to this past February, in which many, many students and others were deeply
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Mark Elliott: impacted. But in terms of what's unusual or unique. About February 2023, I think every one would agree. was the impact of social media. Yeah, just just to give you an example.
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Mark Elliott: Well, even the first day, which was February the eighth. Even before that day was out, students were texting their friends far and wide, and there were students coming to Asbury's campus even that first day from the University of Kentucky and several other schools, and then in just a couple of days.
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Mark Elliott: there were thousands of people pouring into 2 red light. Wilmore. Yes, a village of 6,000 people. So
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Mark Elliott: the the stunning impact of this
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Mark Elliott: pilgrimage, I think, is a good word to use to describe.
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Mark Elliott: The many people were so hungry, hungry, hungry hunger is a really important word to use in connection with the outpouring, because
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Mark Elliott: you could see it on people's faces as well as in their actions as they poured into Wilmore to see what God was doing.
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Andy Miller III: Yes, I love it. I like how you start your the article the kind of like shortened version of the book that you have coming out. But you say, why did Lexington's Costco and Sam's club outlets run low or out of bottled water more than once this past February, and I like I like the tack that you take, because in in this article. It comes out in Alexander Herald. Leader. It's
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Andy Miller III: you're you're trying to help people who are a half an hour away realize what was significant about this event. I mean it. It just had wide ranging implications.
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Mark Elliott: Well, that's right. One of my favorite stories is shared by a pastor from Arkansas who came after he heard about the revival, and he had a
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Mark Elliott: reservation to a hotel in Lexington, and the hotel was sold out
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Mark Elliott: and the gal at the desk, said to this, pastor, we didn't expect this revival, and he said nobody expected it in human terms. But yes, there was an impact on Lexington, as well as farther afield.
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Andy Miller III: Now you have a book coming out with seedbed on this, on the revival called Taken by surprise, which highlights that idea. What do you? What's the distinct tasks that you're trying to take on in this book? And you know so some have written a theological reflection. Tom Mccall and Jason Vickers. There's been a lot of, you know. The New York Times. A host of other Christianity today have covered it. What are you trying to do that's distinct in this book.
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Mark Elliott: Well, I think it's a first draft, because there are so many stories. It will be years or decades before the full story is told.
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Mark Elliott: but what I tried to do was pull together available evidence that showed both what was happening
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Mark Elliott: in front of our eyes. That is the obvious work of the Holy Spirit at the altar, and in the many overflow venues in Wilmore, at Asbury Seminary and local churches, and then I tried to take a step back
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Mark Elliott: and based on many interviews with administrators, faculty students, and volunteers. I tried to give the back story, which is as miraculous as the front story at the altar, I mean. Wow!
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Mark Elliott: My wife and I were just blessed. I would come home from an interview. Usually I would interview different people for about an hour I'd come home, share my notes with my wife, and we both be almost in tears. And repeatedly she typed 3 drafts of this thing. I'm an old school handwriting guy. She she'd be sitting at the
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Mark Elliott: computer typing, and she'd have tears in her eyes. It was just that moving.
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Andy Miller III: Wow! So tell me about your process, then, for writing this book. So you did. Were these interviews happening concurrently with the outpouring? Or do you wait a month or so before it was after it was over.
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Mark Elliott: Well, no, I started interviews even the last few days of the outpouring, and it continued through the next couple of months I was interviewing and writing almost at the same time. I I've done a lot of writing in my life, but I've never written as much
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Mark Elliott: in as short a space a time. I wrote this book in 3 months. Now it's taking longer to come out. That's just the process of publishing.
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Mark Elliott: but it was intense for me. I was writing morning, noon, and night, and I've never done that before. Typically I write in the mornings.
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Mark Elliott: but I just felt a compulsion to get this out as quickly as I could.
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Andy Miller III: So it's interesting, too. It's blended with your experience. Tell me about like your own. I mean, you had the experience of doing the interviews toward the end. But here you are. You live less than a mile from I'm guessing everybody in Willmore lives less than a mile, but a huge auditorium. But how did this? What was your experience with the outpouring yourself? When did you get over there, and and how did you interact with it?
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Mark Elliott: Well.
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Mark Elliott: we we left Wilmore at 5 A. M. On February the eighth.
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Mark Elliott: to visit family in Florida, and to attend
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Mark Elliott: Avon Park camp meeting. Oh, yeah.
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Mark Elliott: so it was terrible timing from my perspective. We found out about the revival when we arrived at Avon Park camp meeting, and Tom Hermes, the president of the camp meeting, said, we need to pray for what's going on at Asbury. So my wife and I look at each other.
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Mark Elliott: So for days while we were there. when we had any free time, we were reading as much as we could, we were looking at videos and so forth.
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Mark Elliott: So we were on campus only for the last few days. Fortunately we're able. We were able to volunteer as ushers, which was a great honor and privilege. I'm so thankful we had that first hand experience. And, by the way, the world was coming to Wilmore those last few days the large numbers of
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Mark Elliott: Latinos and African Americans, very unusual in my experience at Asbury, the percentage, I mean. And, by the way, there were bookends of the world, because in the beginning one of the formative
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Mark Elliott: factors was the
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Mark Elliott: call to revival by the gospel choir, which is predominantly African. American. Yeah, along with students who lingered after chapel at first day, so II refer to it as the multinational bookends at the beginning, at the end. Just to give you an example, at 1 point on the semicircle in front of Hughes Auditorium.
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Mark Elliott: There were 40 Brazilians from Brazil kneeling on the grass in front of a flag of their nation praying for Brazil. So there were just innumerable stories like that.
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Mark Elliott: And so it was a real privilege to be some small part of it personally.
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Andy Miller III: Now, mark. Were you present at the 1970? Revival?
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Mark Elliott: Yes and no. I had graduated in 69. I was in my first year of graduate studies at the University of Kentucky, and I heard about the 70 revival in the most bizarre way.
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Mark Elliott: I was in the main library, and I overheard 2 anthropology students saying, there's something weird going on at Asbury, we need to go down there and check it out. So that's how I found out something was going on so
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Mark Elliott: Saturday I went down, sat on the back row and hues.
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Mark Elliott: and I heard testimonies from students who I know the previous year were not following the Lord. So that's how, for my
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Mark Elliott: perspective.
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Mark Elliott: this was of the Lord. This was genuine, because I knew these students, and I knew
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Mark Elliott: first hand God was doing something remarkable in their lives.
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Andy Miller III: I love it compared to the other revivals that you've mentioned from East Stanley Jones to 50 s. To 70 s. You might have already covered this. But beyond social media was there something else, or anything else that was unique about
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Andy Miller III: the outpouring this year?
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Andy Miller III: If we can kind of compare to the other Asbury ones?
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Mark Elliott: not so much, I mean there are commonalities that have been observed by me and others.
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Mark Elliott: not only with previous Asbury revivals. But, for example, with the revival at Wheaton, which I happened to be a part of back in 1995, so II see more common features than unique features. But this
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Mark Elliott: phenomenon of social media just
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Mark Elliott: blows the February 2023 revival out of the water that just
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Mark Elliott: had such a dynamic impact on beginning to end.
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Andy Miller III: Yes, when you think about the the response, many of us were praying for our, you know, our friends who are engaged in the administration, and you mentioned that this was part of the unique feature was that the miracle is also on the back end. Did you interview, and administrators from the various institutions. And and what do you think is? Tell me about their response particularly now is where multiple months removed from it?
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Mark Elliott: Well, it was a spiritual experience for me interviewing administrators to a person. As I mentioned, these interviews would usually run about an hour and around 45, or 50 min into it. People started tearing up. And I'm talking about people that I've known for decades, and I've never seen them cry. Wow!
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Mark Elliott: As they talked about their experience, and how God, just in time provided all kinds of needed help.
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Mark Elliott: everything from food to security to
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Mark Elliott: people to watch the doors and watch the dorms. It! It was just remarkable, and
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Mark Elliott: I can't tell you how many administrators and faculty in my interview said it was just like Jesus feeding the 5,000, I mean, there was no chance for planning. Think about it. Wilmore
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Mark Elliott: had, between 50 and 70,000 people descend on the town and the campuses in 16 days.
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Mark Elliott: and when you think about food and provision and sleeping, and bathroom facilities with no planning, let me give you a story that, I think, illustrates the point. Mark Whitworth is Vice President of Athletics and communications
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Mark Elliott: prior to coming to Asbury. He was second in command of the South Eastern Conference sports.
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Mark Elliott: and he administered over the years many tournaments, basketball, football, tennis. You name it. And he told me that he typically planned for a year to a year and a half ahead of time, and here he is in charge of publicity and provisioning for this
00:21:55.930 --> 00:22:04.889
Mark Elliott: Asbury revival, and he has not one day to prepare or plan ahead of time. So, just to give you an example, he told me that
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Mark Elliott: about the third day he was standing in front of Hugh's auditorium, on the grass, on the semicircle, looking at the steps of Hugh's auditorium. And there were approximately a 400 people standing on those steps, waiting to go inside. A very dangerous situation, frankly, because those steps are steep. If some one had
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Mark Elliott: yelled, or there'd been a gun shot or a firecracker, or who knows what it could have been? It could have been.
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Mark Elliott: Injuries are even deadly. and some one came up to him whom he knew.
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Mark Elliott: It was the father of an Asbury student who's from Lexington. He owns a business in Lexington, and he said to Mark.
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Mark Elliott: looking at that scene of those 400 people on the steps accused. You all aren't ready.
00:22:57.960 --> 00:23:04.010
Mark Elliott: And Mark said, You're right. So this businessman got on his cell phone right that moment.
00:23:04.150 --> 00:23:10.190
Mark Elliott: called a colleague of his who owns an Event management company in Lexington.
00:23:10.260 --> 00:23:17.730
Mark Elliott: and within 2 h Asbury was in possession of 400 feet of crowd fencing.
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Mark Elliott: They were able to move those people off of the steps for a much safer scene. Just just one example of many here.
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Andy Miller III: That is amazing. I love. Yeah, I hadn't heard that one. There's there's a lot of the interesting stories that picked up on, for instance, like the a seminary student who walked for a couple of years with a placard saying he was praying for revival like this. Pizza that showed up other other things like that. Wha what about on the volunteer side. You did some interviews with volunteers. What were some of those experiences? Well, it was. It was really phenomenal to
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Mark Elliott: collect these stories. One of my favorites was in my interview with Timothy Tennant, president of the Seminary.
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Mark Elliott: He shared that. One day a lady came in the front door of Morrison Administration building at the Seminary. His office is just off at that main entrance, and he connected with this woman, and she was a resident of Wilmore. But she had never had any connection
00:24:24.530 --> 00:24:37.659
Mark Elliott: with either the University or the seminary, but she wanted to do something to help, and she showed up with her vacuum cleaner, and she said, Is there anything I can do to help?
00:24:37.900 --> 00:24:39.649
Mark Elliott: And Dr. Tennett
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Mark Elliott: arrays for her to sweep Estie's chapel, which was one of the overflow venues when you know when there was an opportunity to do that.
00:24:50.840 --> 00:25:11.050
Mark Elliott: People volunteering food. Another favorite story of mine is a lady from Indianapolis heard about the revival, and she cooked chocolate, baked chocolate chip cookies all day. One day she drove 4 h from Indianapolis to Wilmore.
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Mark Elliott: She couldn't park in a reasonable distance from the campus because of the crowds.
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Mark Elliott: So she's with a little cart coming down Kinlaw Avenue. She's
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Mark Elliott: I don't know. Maybe a quarter of a mile from the campus at least.
00:25:27.390 --> 00:25:35.920
Mark Elliott: and Jonathan Raymond, a friend of mine who lives on Kinlaw, spoke to this woman, and she brought cookies
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Mark Elliott: to give away.
00:25:37.810 --> 00:25:48.990
Mark Elliott: pizzas were delivered without being requested. People showed up with pallets of water, with paper towels.
00:25:49.040 --> 00:25:56.249
Mark Elliott: there were street vendors who showed up giving away hot dogs.
00:25:56.300 --> 00:25:59.690
Mark Elliott: One fella showed up with a truck
00:25:59.770 --> 00:26:07.829
Mark Elliott: that he used as a a food vendor, and his plan was to stay one day and just give away hot dogs.
00:26:08.030 --> 00:26:09.960
Mark Elliott: but people
00:26:10.370 --> 00:26:15.090
Mark Elliott: gave donations so much that he was able to stay 4 days.
00:26:15.150 --> 00:26:41.519
Mark Elliott: and he gave away hot dogs. Non, stop for 4 days, and you'll love this story if you haven't heard it already. The salvation I've heard none of these. Keep going. Keep going. This is great. Well, the next one has to do with the Salvation Army, and you may have heard this one. Yeah, that the Salvation Army was able to declare the situation in Wilmore an emergency which gave them authority to bring their trucks.
00:26:41.520 --> 00:26:47.910
Mark Elliott: and they were giving away food and water. And that was just glorious.
00:26:48.060 --> 00:26:53.889
Andy Miller III: Yeah, now you talk about the pizza. It's just showing up randomly. Here's my my hypothesis. There is that.
00:26:53.980 --> 00:26:57.549
Andy Miller III: And I was one of these people who was on that campus
00:26:58.000 --> 00:27:18.290
Mark Elliott: praying. Lord, if you could just provide me enough money if you could provide me a pizza, and it is happened to be answered 20 years late. Well, speaking of pizza. You may enjoy this story. Steve Siemens, good friend of mine, just recently retired from Asbury Seminary, was in the lobby of Hughes Auditorium.
00:27:18.290 --> 00:27:30.729
Mark Elliott: and several people, including Doctor Tennant, were asking him how 2023 compared with 1970, because he was a senior at Asbury in 1970.
00:27:30.880 --> 00:27:57.730
Andy Miller III: And I've had him on the podcast talking about that. And then I just had him on to talk about his new book, about healing. So Francis back and checked that out in case you don't know, in case you're coming in mid stream here. I'm talking with Dr. Mark Elliot, who has a new book out, called Taken by surprise, published by seedbed. And I'm just reveling in in enjoying these stories. He's done this intense not intense. I guess it is intense but extensive research.
00:27:57.730 --> 00:28:14.279
Mark Elliott: Following up with people and their participation of the Asbury outpouring. So okay, keep going with this story, Steve. Seamans. Okay. So Steve Seamans is in the lobby of Hughes, Dr. Tennett. Several others are there, and they're asking him to compare his experience of 1970
00:28:14.280 --> 00:28:35.180
Mark Elliott: with February 2023, and they're right in the midst of the experience. About that time someone comes in with 15 pizzas that have not been ordered, and left them in the lobby of Hughes, and Steve said to the group in 1970, we didn't have pizzas. That's the difference.
00:28:35.360 --> 00:28:39.210
Mark Elliott: Another case of volunteers that I love
00:28:39.410 --> 00:28:56.340
Mark Elliott: are various stories of hospital. Betty Krause is a retired Korean missionary who lives in Wilmore now, and in the course of 16 days she had 32 different people staying with her over night, including one NBC. Reporter.
00:28:56.380 --> 00:29:13.830
Mark Elliott: Mark Whitworth got home about midnight one night, and there were 9 people staying with him that night. He knew 2 of them. His wife, had invited people in and over and over again these stories of hospitality. One of my favorites is
00:29:13.890 --> 00:29:26.840
Mark Elliott: a Washington post story. This reporter, whose African American met an African American couple from Columbus, Ohio, a pastoral couple that came with 3 children.
00:29:26.950 --> 00:29:30.269
Mark Elliott: and they didn't have a place to stay.
00:29:30.290 --> 00:29:40.819
Mark Elliott: and there were logistics involved and networking involved, and an elderly white couple in. Wilmore put this family up over night.
00:29:40.870 --> 00:29:44.960
Mark Elliott: and this African American couple were so impressed
00:29:45.140 --> 00:29:51.890
Mark Elliott: by the winsome witness and the hospitality of people in Wilmore, and there were
00:29:52.120 --> 00:30:03.090
Mark Elliott: probably a hundred different people in Wilmore who were putting people up over night, because. you know, it's a town O 6,000. There's no such thing as Em
00:30:03.480 --> 00:30:12.120
Mark Elliott: Hotel in Wilmore. There is Asbury Inn on the campus of Asbury Seminary. But that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the need.
00:30:12.230 --> 00:30:34.050
Andy Miller III: Yeah, you can't under. I mean folks who weren't there to understand the the size and how of Willmore it's just hard to grasp. And so those of us who have experience there, you know, can understand, like the the flexibility as needed, even just having enough water. Did you talk a mark to any of the city officials or people who work through that side?
00:30:34.330 --> 00:30:35.660
Mark Elliott: I had a
00:30:35.850 --> 00:30:59.680
Mark Elliott: an interview with Harold Rainwater, who's both the mayor of Wilmore and a longtime faculty member and leader of the equine program at Asbury, and he was deeply moved by the experience, and of course he had a double vision of this, because, as Mayor of Wilmore, he's dealing with challenges, and
00:30:59.820 --> 00:31:06.570
Mark Elliott: well, just to mention the police and the security situation. This was a fascinating story.
00:31:06.770 --> 00:31:30.709
Mark Elliott: The Wilmore police department, of course, was completely overwhelmed, and Harold and others were telling me about 10 different police departments that had people using overtime to help Wilmore out. Samaritan's purse paid for. I think it was 10 or 15 security
00:31:30.840 --> 00:31:33.480
Mark Elliott: to help the campus out.
00:31:33.630 --> 00:31:38.690
Mark Elliott: and David Hay, who is the head of security at Asbury.
00:31:38.840 --> 00:31:40.120
Mark Elliott: told many
00:31:40.270 --> 00:31:44.329
Mark Elliott: amazing stories. And think about this, Andy.
00:31:44.840 --> 00:31:50.220
Mark Elliott: This is in February of 2023, and on February the twelfth
00:31:50.280 --> 00:32:04.229
Mark Elliott: there was a shooting at Michigan State University. 4 students lost their lives, others were injured. and Asbury is anxious because, as thousands of people are descending on the village.
00:32:04.280 --> 00:32:15.160
Mark Elliott: they are in the vast majority, well meaning and hungry spiritually, but still they're unknown, and Asbury had to put in place
00:32:15.800 --> 00:32:29.569
Mark Elliott: various provisions for protecting students. Not that there was any danger of harm, but that students were just overwhelmed, I mean, people were wandering into dormitories. And
00:32:29.820 --> 00:32:34.610
Mark Elliott: you know it, just it just wasn't a secure situation.
00:32:34.680 --> 00:32:41.569
Mark Elliott: And again, God provided I love the story of one policeman from Danville. That's about
00:32:41.680 --> 00:32:56.320
Mark Elliott: an hour's drive from Wilmore, and he reported to Doctor Hay, Head of security at Asbury that 2 Asbury students had come up to him and said, can I pray for you, or can we pray for you?
00:32:56.430 --> 00:32:59.599
Mark Elliott: Well, he was a little bit stunned, but he said, Okay.
00:32:59.740 --> 00:33:06.510
Mark Elliott: so he is reporting to Doctor hay head of security. I'm not used to that. Huh?
00:33:06.560 --> 00:33:09.559
Mark Elliott: So when we think about America and
00:33:09.760 --> 00:33:19.630
Mark Elliott: the Jim Z. Generation is not the most sympathetic towards police nationwide. And here these Asbury students really are a witness to this policeman.
00:33:19.670 --> 00:33:20.810
Andy Miller III: Yes.
00:33:21.460 --> 00:33:37.119
Andy Miller III: I'm sure one of the things you have to track as well is the way that the outpouring has impacted communities and movements beyond will more. What's your sense of that? Have you been able to study that as well?
00:33:37.550 --> 00:33:42.730
Mark Elliott: I have. And you know information still keeps coming in. I had to
00:33:43.300 --> 00:33:52.399
Mark Elliott: call acquits to it at some point to get the Butter book published, but, like, I say, the stories will continue for years and decades.
00:33:52.490 --> 00:34:02.170
Mark Elliott: right away. Even before the revival was done. There were students coming on to the campus from all over the place.
00:34:02.270 --> 00:34:03.509
Mark Elliott: We have
00:34:03.860 --> 00:34:21.950
Mark Elliott: information on 279 colleges and universities that had some student representation. How so white boards were placed in the lobby of Hughes, and any students coming in from other campuses could write the name of their school on those white boards.
00:34:21.989 --> 00:34:25.800
Mark Elliott: and the tally is 279. But we know that's
00:34:26.650 --> 00:34:42.339
Mark Elliott: a very conservative estimate, because there were no white boards at the other venues, and there were 5 overflow venues at Asbury Seminary, Mount Freedom Baptist, Wilmore, United Methodist Church, great commissioned fellowship.
00:34:42.380 --> 00:34:43.929
Mark Elliott: So how many
00:34:44.010 --> 00:34:56.720
Mark Elliott: other students came from other schools? And we we just don't have a record of it so. Students were going back to their own campuses, even as the revival was ongoing
00:34:56.730 --> 00:35:06.930
Mark Elliott: Lee University in Tennessee, Cedarville, in Ohio, Baylor University, in Texas, Sanford University, where I used to teach in Alabama.
00:35:06.950 --> 00:35:25.870
Mark Elliott: Northern Kentucky University. A State school had students come, go back to their campus. They had a Mini revival at their campus, and they did baptisms on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. Even as the revival was continuing at Asbury. Amazing!
00:35:26.600 --> 00:35:30.810
Andy Miller III: Wow! It's happening in so many different places. Now.
00:35:30.880 --> 00:35:32.120
what do you hope
00:35:32.670 --> 00:35:38.400
Andy Miller III: Mark will be the the way that history will remember this moment.
00:35:40.260 --> 00:35:43.700
Mark Elliott: Well, I think one thing will be
00:35:43.760 --> 00:35:45.719
Mark Elliott: its authenticity.
00:35:46.020 --> 00:35:51.880
Mark Elliott: I spent a lot of time on this issue. I wasn't planning to. Originally.
00:35:52.030 --> 00:36:08.789
Mark Elliott: I wasn't planning when I started on this venture to address critics. But as I saw more and more negativity, especially on Youtube, mostly from people who hadn't been to Willmore. Yes, I felt like it needed to be addressed.
00:36:09.040 --> 00:36:14.750
Mark Elliott: So I ended up with an appendix. I didn't want to break up the flow of the blessing
00:36:14.840 --> 00:36:22.129
Mark Elliott: to address critics, but in a 25 page appendix. I have what's called a critique of the critics.
00:36:22.420 --> 00:36:35.339
Mark Elliott: and the way I framed it was to speak to the marks of authenticity, and I've got a few of those here that I'd like to share with you that yes, were really a blessing to me
00:36:35.570 --> 00:36:59.449
Mark Elliott: for one. The super Bowl, February the twelfth, could not compete with the revival. The building was packed in other venues as well. One student said to a local TV station like, I'm a big eagles, fan, and I didn't even watch the super bowl, so that to me was one mark of authenticity. Another was from
00:36:59.630 --> 00:37:07.719
Mark Elliott: the Asbury. Excuse me, the Washington Post reporter who interviewed one worshipper, not of the Asbury tribe.
00:37:07.840 --> 00:37:20.520
Mark Elliott: who said, You can't tell a bunch of college students that we're going to pray together all night and share our secrets. You can't plan that, or engineer that which is true. Who could possibly
00:37:20.670 --> 00:37:23.139
Mark Elliott: engineer something like that?
00:37:23.430 --> 00:37:43.560
Mark Elliott: Another mark of authenticity being this one to me is so concrete in terms of its documentation in the spring semester, after the revival last spring, February spring of 2023, the counselling service at Asbury University
00:37:43.860 --> 00:37:56.009
Mark Elliott: was down in terms of student appointments by 80%. Wow. Now, that is something that is concrete evidence of something unusual happening.
00:37:56.120 --> 00:38:00.700
Mark Elliott: And then the last one which I I just find so powerful.
00:38:00.870 --> 00:38:07.840
Mark Elliott: The student body president at Asbury had a number of national TV interviews.
00:38:07.940 --> 00:38:31.919
Mark Elliott: and she also wrote in the college newspaper which did a phenomenal job. By the way, the collegian reporting was outstanding, and people can readily access that if they want to read more, and many of my student quotes came from those Asbury collegian articles. Anyway, this is a statement that the student body President made, which I thought was so powerful.
00:38:32.050 --> 00:38:51.689
Mark Elliott: I know this campus very well. It's small, and I know exactly which students on this campus hate each other. Those are the people I have seen praying together, singing together, hugging, crying, it's been totally life changing.
00:38:52.020 --> 00:38:54.280
Mark Elliott: Praise the Lord! Well.
00:38:54.550 --> 00:38:56.230
Andy Miller III: yes, indeed.
00:38:56.600 --> 00:39:20.720
Andy Miller III: you know those are some of the critiques likely that came from outside of the Christian community. That about rather is real, and I imagine some of those, too, where the question authenticity came from inside as well. But there's also, like the internal critiques, one of the ones that I heard, and II had a an interview with Diane Yuri where she addressed this, but I thought I would be worth letting you respond to as well. One of the
00:39:20.960 --> 00:39:43.200
Andy Miller III: critiques was that it was what people saw from their phones was, it was just, and A lot of singing. And some people thought, this is just emotionally charging people up, and there wasn't in there what they could see conversions. There wasn't people coming to Jesus and and repenting of their sins. Was that true, Mark?
00:39:43.680 --> 00:40:06.080
Mark Elliott: No, I was in a meeting with Mark Troyer, who's Vice President of Advancement just the other day, and he said, the estimates are that at least 500 conversions occurred, and thousands of deeper walks in Christ through the Holy Spirit. And of course we'll never know the exact statistics for something like that.
00:40:06.210 --> 00:40:16.709
Mark Elliott: But I saw your podcast with Diane yuri. I thought she did a wonderful job, and one of my favorite comments that Diane made on your podcast. Was
00:40:16.850 --> 00:40:31.469
Mark Elliott: after she she spent, as you know, most of her time as a counsellor at the altar or several altars. and on one occasion she went outside and looked at the sea of people on this semicircle, as she was so moved
00:40:31.520 --> 00:40:33.150
Mark Elliott: by the world
00:40:33.350 --> 00:40:48.079
Mark Elliott: Latinos, African, Americans, people from all walks of life and all nationalities, and it was very moving to her, and it was to me, as I was ushering those last few days.
00:40:48.090 --> 00:40:58.440
Mark Elliott: there would be whole groups of, for example, look to me like Mexicans. We know that there were large numbers of Mexicans who came.
00:40:58.580 --> 00:41:11.000
Mark Elliott: and so so that was one of the criticisms. It was too white. Others said it was not white enough. Christian Nationalists wanted to come and Co. Opt and take it over, and
00:41:11.080 --> 00:41:12.800
Mark Elliott: they were uncomfortable with
00:41:12.940 --> 00:41:22.770
Mark Elliott: the nationalities and ethnicities. Ethnicities here, and that's another great feather in the cap of the administration.
00:41:22.890 --> 00:41:47.609
Mark Elliott: I commend them for the way they not only provisioned the revival, but that they protected it. There was a concerted effort not to allow people to come who wanted to make a name for themselves, who wanted to increase their hits on their social media platforms, and some even wanted to
00:41:47.630 --> 00:42:06.800
Mark Elliott: get on the platform and preach without authorization, and Asbury had to place administrators at the steps leading up to the platform to keep people that were unknown from trying to take over and make a name for themselves, so to speak.
00:42:07.630 --> 00:42:23.470
Andy Miller III: Yes, I heard some of those stories that well known artists it may be with. Maybe it wasn't just selfishly motivated, but still it just kindly declined to not to not come. We we have our folks who are handling this
00:42:23.890 --> 00:42:44.260
Mark Elliott: well on the positive side as you're referring to. There were many Christian artists and evangelists. There were bishops coming who humbly accepted Asbury's desire to keep this a student phenomenon. There were hundreds of students involved in worship teams.
00:42:44.260 --> 00:42:56.629
Mark Elliott: and some were professional. Some were not so polished. And that's okay, it was a student generated, and a student led revival to many extents. So here are these
00:42:56.790 --> 00:43:10.439
Mark Elliott: well known figures coming into Wilmore, and they for the most part humbly accepted the fact that they were just going to be worshippers. They weren't going to be leaders, and one of my favorite stories is
00:43:10.910 --> 00:43:14.299
Mark Elliott: An award winning Christian musician
00:43:14.900 --> 00:43:16.969
Mark Elliott: was praying at the altar.
00:43:17.120 --> 00:43:26.419
Mark Elliott: and 2 Asbury students prayed with this woman who has a national reputation. They didn't know who she was, and she was.
00:43:27.070 --> 00:43:31.890
Mark Elliott: She was blessed by these students who were ministering to her.
00:43:32.100 --> 00:43:42.149
Mark Elliott: And you know many of these well known figures accepted the fact that this isn't their scene. This is the Holy Spirit. Scene. Yes.
00:43:42.940 --> 00:43:49.380
Andy Miller III: beautiful! Oh, man! Now, Mark, I keep thinking about the fact that last time I was in Wilmore I saw
00:43:49.390 --> 00:44:01.399
Andy Miller III: another book that you have recently published on my parents. My parents have retired to Wilmore. You you write about Wilmore. Okay, you have this book about the outpouring, but you also have
00:44:01.440 --> 00:44:14.189
Andy Miller III: a a book about the street names of Wilmore. So I mean, this is a you have a unique vantage point. So it it's interesting to think about even just hearing you say some of these names of people who've been involved.
00:44:14.400 --> 00:44:26.140
Andy Miller III: A lot of those people are a part of the history, and their their names are on the street signs in Wilmore. Is that right? Well, that's right. When you think about it. Many of the streets in Wilmore
00:44:26.240 --> 00:44:42.229
Mark Elliott: were carved out of former property of the Asbury College Farm, so naturally the University has the opportunity to name Street, so we have Ken law named after the revered former President of Asbury, Dennis Ken Law.
00:44:42.240 --> 00:44:50.200
Mark Elliott: I live on Brasher Street, named after a revered Alabama holiness evangelist.
00:44:50.260 --> 00:45:02.370
Mark Elliott: and I wish I had time to go into his story. But he was from. I'm the from the North, and introducing the holiness message in Alabama, and
00:45:02.420 --> 00:45:06.199
Mark Elliott: some of those early holiness evangelists in Alabama
00:45:06.220 --> 00:45:31.750
Andy Miller III: had to be careful because the Kkk. Was suspicious of anybody from the North, even if they were coming with a Christian message. Well, that's another story for another day, I understand. But I think maybe this comment, if you want to learn about a community. The street signs are a good place to start. Wouldn't you say if you're going to pick? So that's what I discovered. That was my Covid project. By the way. Okay.
00:45:32.050 --> 00:45:40.210
Andy Miller III: it's a neat idea. Well, I'm fascinated by this. tell me that. You know you do a lot of work and service
00:45:40.230 --> 00:45:46.889
Andy Miller III: in Eastern Europe and Russia. Have you? Have you heard anything about the outpouring and its impact there?
00:45:47.610 --> 00:45:54.939
Mark Elliott: Well, there were people coming in from Russia, from Latvia, from Estonia
00:45:55.040 --> 00:46:03.000
Mark Elliott: well, 40 different countries known by name, and I'm sure there are more than that. But we have documentation on on 40
00:46:03.070 --> 00:46:04.500
Mark Elliott: and
00:46:05.370 --> 00:46:29.170
Mark Elliott: yes, I'm going to be able to share my book with my friends in Russia and Ukraine. And what a tragic situation we're living through. Yeah. Help us know how to pray for. Pray for that situation. I mean, you're attuned to what's going on there. Not just historically, but with friends. There, you know II know we're talking about through the outpouring, but I would love for you to help us with your expertise there.
00:46:30.240 --> 00:46:41.189
Mark Elliott: Well. I don't know where to begin and and stop, Andy, but I'll just say that one of the great tragedies is the division of the Church.
00:46:41.540 --> 00:46:47.870
Mark Elliott: In the former Soviet Union. There have been splits in every church. I know.
00:46:47.990 --> 00:46:56.100
Mark Elliott: between Russians and Ukrainians that previously were united to some degree or another. This goes for
00:46:56.220 --> 00:47:01.870
Mark Elliott: orthodox, for Baptists, for Methodus, for Pentecostals, Adventists.
00:47:02.010 --> 00:47:06.630
Mark Elliott: You name the church, and they've they've had serious troubles
00:47:06.800 --> 00:47:09.099
Mark Elliott: with trying to
00:47:10.220 --> 00:47:21.349
Mark Elliott: stay together, and you know it's easy for us in the West who haven't had loved ones killed. say, well, we need to forgive and forget. Well.
00:47:21.650 --> 00:47:28.369
Mark Elliott: I'm not in a position to tell people how they're to react to this, but all I can say is.
00:47:28.820 --> 00:47:40.810
Mark Elliott: there is tremendous need. And, by the way, I'm I'm deeply concerned and excited about the amount of humanitarian help that's come from Western churches and ministries which is ongoing.
00:47:40.930 --> 00:47:46.809
Mark Elliott: And I'm very excited, for example, that Asbury University and Asbury Seminary
00:47:46.820 --> 00:47:51.870
Mark Elliott: sent 4 counselling faculty to Ukraine. This past may to
00:47:52.050 --> 00:47:53.140
Mark Elliott: train
00:47:53.200 --> 00:48:03.740
Mark Elliott: pastors and social workers on how to counsel people who have been traumatized by this horrific war, and I'm hoping more of that will develop in time. I'm certainly
00:48:03.800 --> 00:48:08.919
Mark Elliott: networking and lobbying for the Asbury institutions to do as much as possible
00:48:09.080 --> 00:48:14.289
Mark Elliott: to be of service and to be the hands and feet of Jesus in that nightmare.
00:48:14.470 --> 00:48:15.240
Andy Miller III: Yeah.
00:48:15.440 --> 00:48:25.740
Andy Miller III: I know. I know that's so intense to hear this, and just know I mean, thank thank you for helping us understand that. And and people. I imagine the the East-west
00:48:25.850 --> 00:48:49.859
Andy Miller III: Church and Ministry report. I imagine it has some details on that. You want to tell us about that journal that you have edited, or you're the editor, Emeris, of Well, I edited it from 1,993 until 2,017. For several years I was looking for a successor. Praise the Lord! I found a wonderful successor, Geraldine Fagan, who previously was a reporter in Moscow for 12 years.
00:48:50.120 --> 00:48:56.539
Mark Elliott: I no longer am in charge of day to day operations, but there's been a great deal of coverage
00:48:56.550 --> 00:49:12.119
Mark Elliott: both prior to me, turning over the reins in 2,017, and Geraldine has done great reporting on how the war is impacting the churches in both Ukraine and Russia.
00:49:12.870 --> 00:49:13.820
Andy Miller III: Wonderful?
00:49:14.020 --> 00:49:38.859
Andy Miller III: Well, my last question is a question I ask everybody. So Mark, is there more to the story of you? That's the name. I podcast and you can probably pick up on the fact that II use that connection to the same heritage that we share in this holiest tradition, that there's more than just having our sins forgiven, that there's God sanctifying grace that's available for us. But I also like it to think of it as in a sense of there being more to the individuals I get to interview, so is there more to Mark Elliott?
00:49:40.700 --> 00:49:43.700
Mark Elliott: Well, you know part of our holiness. Tradition
00:49:43.810 --> 00:49:46.179
Mark Elliott: is the notion that
00:49:46.200 --> 00:49:54.810
Mark Elliott: true holiness is social holiness, that is to say. in response to God's great work in
00:49:55.180 --> 00:50:08.820
Mark Elliott: saving us is our opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. My wife and I have 4 children adopted from abroad, and I think one of the most exciting and
00:50:09.510 --> 00:50:13.950
Mark Elliott: life changing experiences we've had in ministry in Russia
00:50:14.080 --> 00:50:18.620
Mark Elliott: was hosting 5 summer camps for Russian orphans.
00:50:18.630 --> 00:50:30.039
Mark Elliott: I think if we'd been younger we would have probably tried to adopt some Russian kids in addition to our Colombian and Vietnamese children that we've adopted.
00:50:30.380 --> 00:50:53.449
Andy Miller III: So that's that's part of my story that I haven't talked about previously. Yeah, that's great. Well, thanks for sharing that. Well, thanks again, for coming on the podcast mark. It's a blessing. We look forward to seeing this book and thank you for setting the record for the world in a sense that this is here. If you want to find out about what happened from this broad perspective, from a historian's perspective, find this book.
00:50:53.460 --> 00:50:57.259
Andy Miller III: and it's called Taken by surprise. Thanks so much for joining us, mark
00:50:57.740 --> 00:50:59.059
Mark Elliott: thanks for having me.