In 1701 a group of ministers established Yale University with the expressed aim of reaching North America. Over the years, secularism took hold and changed Yale for the worse. One observer explains:
“The college church was almost extinct. Most of the students were skeptical, and rowdies were plenty. Wine and liquors were kept in many rooms; intemperance, profanity, gambling, and licentiousness were common.”
The godless ideologies of pagan enlightenment thinkers undergirded such sin. Yet the flame was rekindled in 1795 when Timothy Dwight became president. He took on the skeptics by answering the question “Is the Bible the word of God?” with six months of preaching. Such proclamations demolish secular strongholds and turned hearts to the God of the Bible, the reality of the gospel, and the nature of true conversion. One third of the students repented and gave their lives to the Lord. In addition, nearly half of the new believers responded to the call of vocational ministry. These Christians became the future pastors and missionaries who fueled a passion for Christ through North America and the World. Rediscovering the Word led to repentance which brought on revival.
We see this in the Old Testament as well. After years of spiritual apostasy in Judah, young king Josiah discovered the Word of God in the House of the Lord. Upon listening to its contents the king tore his clothes and led Israel to national repentance. The glory of God and the revelation of His will led the masses to want to be right with Him. This is a lesson for us. Before we pray and evangelize we must let the Word of God have its way with us. We must submit to the glory of God and seek to obey His revealed will knowing that we will never change this town unless the Word changes us.