Wide Asleep

A couple of years ago Church leaders in Reading reported an ‘unprecedented’ openness to the gospel with some 1200 people reportedly making commitments to Christ.

Whilst these church leaders did not call it a revival, they are calling it a ‘gospel awakening’.

American evangelist Tommie Zito was in Reading holding meetings when this ‘awakening’ first appeared.

I noticed that on Zito’s website was the catchy quote,

If we don’t burn they will…


Since then a ‘movement’ has been launched called “The Turning” where places within the UK and Europe are invited to be trained, to “soak in God’s presence” and then take to the streets with a script, the aim to get people to pray a sinner’s prayer.

Here are what the local Christians are using on the streets,



The problem with calling this a ‘gospel awakening’ is that the gospel has not been announced here! This is not the gospel. This is pseudo-spiritual sociological manipulation, preying on people’s fear and vulnerability, assuring them of eternal rewards in return of a short prayer.

We live in a culture saturated with fear, a desire for security and hope for reward. This whole methodology is simply an outworking of a cultural phenomenon, and example of how deeply saturated within consumerist ideology we are, convinced that our purpose is determined by the results we get.

So many churches in the UK are locked into this sacrificial deity who demands blood from us, a god of exchange who will bless us IF we say the right prayer, give money, sacrifice our lives. This god is to be feared for what might happen to us if we do not get in line. This god is both great and terrible, loving and full of wrath, merciful and vengeful. And it is this god being declared on the streets of Reading.

And it’s all bullshit.

Jesus called his followers to quietly and simply get on with loving others; no need to shout about it; God knows, that’s all that matters.

There are people everywhere, of faith and none, quietly getting on with loving others and serving their communities. No need for a ‘turning’, and Jesus makes it quite clear that it’s those who just get on a do it who regarded as his followers, even if they don’t see themselves as his followers.

And if your sole purpose to speak to someone is to manipulate them into a prayer, then you know nothing about unconditional love, grace, nor kindness in its truest sense.

“The Turning” and its endorsement by my own Baptist denomination is a prime example of the consumerist desire for quick fixes to deep and painful wounds.


Are people being awakened to the Abba of Jesus who is wholly Love, total forgiveness, eternal grace, Unconditionality?

Are people being awakened to the Trinitarian Life of nonviolent action who absorbs the totality of OUR violence and overcomes it with everlasting love and peace?

Are people being awakened to the One who says ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice’?

Are people being awakened to the One who is lifted up and will draw ALL to Life, none excluded, all welcomed in as children of the living God?

Are people being awakened to the One whose YES and AMEN is greater than our every NO?

I would argue that this is something of the Good News those involved in The Turning need to hear first before they make their way onto the streets.


8 thoughts on “Wide Asleep

  1. tonycutty says:

    “…assuring them of eternal rewards in return of a short prayer.” Even then, the stuff they have on that script is not actually what they believe. Because this is just the beginning; you’re now ‘sure’ you’re going to heaven but before long you learn of all the other hoops you have to jump through to get there. You have to follow certain rules, abstain from certain things, agree to certain doctrines. It’s classic bait-and-switch: baiting people with a promise of freedom from worry about life after death and then switching to good old fashioned legalism again. And it’s sickening. Thanks for posting this blog; I might have to pinch it for my blog if that’s ok 🙂 Blessings ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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