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Evangelist: Book stirred him ‘to confess my sin and weep’

MAYFIELD, Ky. (BP)–The evangelist whose preaching helped spark an impromptu revival in western Kentucky credits this move of God to a book written by controversial Chattanooga, Tenn., pastor Ron Phillips.

Brady Weldon said “Awakened By The Spirit” had a profound effect on his spiritual life. He received the book in late April from Scott Monroe, a member of Phillips’ church who the music evangelist at a crusade Weldon was leading in Illinois.

As soon as he read how the pastor of Central Baptist Church felt spiritually dry before encountering the Holy Spirit, Weldon said he recognized that described his own life.

He read the entire book in one afternoon at the bed and breakfast where he was staying. When he finished, he fell on his face, weeping.

“I had a deep hunger for God which couldn’t be quenched by going to church and preaching revivals,” said the evangelist from Martin, Tenn. “God was speaking to me through this book. He broke me. I began to confess my sin and weep.

“God walked in and said, ‘You’ve been sinful. You’ve preached for 10 years under your own strength. It’s time to let go.’ It was like he was saying, ‘You’re not going to find it through preaching, you’re not going to find it through crusades, all your help comes through me.'”

In addition to “Awakened By The Spirit,” the evangelist said he had read many other books on revival movements, such as those led by John Wesley and Charles Finney. He had to confess that he didn’t see that kind of power in his evangelistic campaigns. In fact, preparing his messages had become drudgery, he said.

But when he read Phillips’ book, he sensed the Lord telling him, “When you’re willing to give up everything to know me, that’s when you’ll have your ministry.”

That afternoon, God gave him more than a dozen sermons. He has preached them all at Trace Creek Baptist Church near Mayfield, Ky., which is hosting the crusade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The church is located seven miles north of Mayfield in western Kentucky.

More than 650 salvation decisions have been recorded during the 10-week-long event, although one pastor believes the total number in the area is closer to 1,000.

A former president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and chairman of the Home (now North American) Mission Board, Phillips has upset some Southern Baptists with his advocacy of spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues.

Published last November, his book emphasizes Southern Baptists’ history as radical reformers and avid worshipers who participated in demonstrative revival movements. It also argues that spiritual gifts are still active in Christians’ lives.

While Weldon hasn’t experienced tongues or other signs associated with charismatics, he said he can’t ignore the key role Phillips played in his life.

“I am very much a conservative Baptist but God used that book,” he said. “Truth is truth and it will stand. As soon as I read it, I was aware of every sin in my life. It has changed me to this day.”

It also has had an impact at every meeting since, said the evangelist, who was preaching in Parsons, Tenn., before traveling to Jackson, Miss., the week of July 17.

His first meeting in Parsons, a small town in southwestern Tennessee, lasted for more than three hours. Many people were weeping and repenting of sin, he said.

“It’s God doing it,” Weldon said. “Since that day God rocked my world in that bed and breakfast, in every revival meeting I have seen a hunger among the people that grows as it goes along.

“[God] has continued teaching me ever since. I’m seeing him pour out his spirit in a way I’ve never seen in 10 years. The Lord is doing a great work.”

    About the Author

  • Ken Walker