Is There Revival in Bulgaria?

August 1, 2005 by  
Filed under News

al-nevsky.JPGThis question has been asked time and time again in the past 15 years since the fall of the Berlin wall. However, revival in Bulgaria is not a post-communist element alone. Regardless of the severe persecution of the Communist Regime, the underground church was in a state of nationwide revival and unstoppable growth. Through the testimony and the endurance of the saints, thousands were saved and sanctified. In the larger Pentecostal wing of the underground church, almost 100% were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Although the ruling atheism had proclaimed the death of the church and the communist regime had denied its existence, the Protestant church in Bulgaria was very much alive.

With the fall of the Berlin wall, the church in Bulgaria was liberated to express its faith and freedom which led to the ongoing state of open revival, which continues today. Unfortunately, this timing matched the entrance of postmodernism and secularism, which became enemies of the church. While over 100,000 Bulgarians claim to be born again Christians it is true that strange doctrines and new teachings are now entering the church and leading it astray. Many of them claim protestant-reformation origin while proclaiming teachings which have very little to do with the true gospel. At the same time, many within the church have lost motivation to follow their calling and have settled for the quite leman of mediocrity and nominal faith. While it is true Protestants membership, especially Pentecostal, keeps on growing, it is also true that the increase comes predominantly from new members while many of the people saved ten years ago do not attend church any longer.

The above raises the valid question of the continuation of revival in Bulgaria. Of course, if revival is understood as church growth it is clear that Bulgarian Protestantism has reached a plateau. While the movement is still strong in its evangelical outreaches, it continues to be weak in its discipleship and doctrinal maturity. Hence, the available vacuum has allowed for new teachings although they have not yet been tested by the true test of church persecution.

However, if revival is viewed as a continuous reviving process constantly reoccurring in the life of the believer it must be admitted that revival continues in Bulgaria with full strength, both spiritually and physically. The later is specifically important as it integrates the theological (theoretical) sense of the revival process into its practical supernatural manifestation. And if indeed revival means bringing back from the dead, the protestant church in Bulgaria is still very much alive. Miracles occur, healings take place and often, even the dead are raised back to life as the word is being preached.

Our mission outreach in the Yambol region reported a resurrection during Easter of 2004. In the report, an elderly man had passed away and the family prepared for the funeral. As the casket was ordered to the home, the wife brought an anointed cloth from one of our prayer meetings. At that very moment when the cloth touched the dead body, the man came back to life. We later spoke with the wife who reported that she was afraid that her resurrected husband would notice the casket prepared for him and then locked it in another room of the house. Our only regret was that by the time we arrived at the village, the doctor who pronounce the man dead was already fired and the death certificate was destroyed. But as the family told us with tears in their eyes, they needed no certificate to know what has happened.

This is certainly not the only example of such occurrences. In the years after the fall of the Berling Wall, the Lord brought to the Sofia Church of God a police officer who claimed to have been resurrected. He was found dead by his family after a party and was carried to the hospital where there he was pronounced dead. While in the morg, he recalls hearing a voice calling him to find the Church of God and testify. As soon as he agreed to this, he recalls coming back to life. He obeyed the heavenly calling and is a minister with the Bulgarian Church of God even now.

Similar is the occasion of an angelic appearance in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia during a service with the participation of Lee University students. The appearance was witnessed by the congregation and documented on video. In the background there are cries of joy as at the same time a lady who had been blind from birth received her sight.

During the process of completing this article, “Verfolgte Christen” (“Persecuted Christians”) published a letter by pastor Vesselin Lazarov from Shumen, Bulgaria. He reported that a young man fell to the ground, dead at a Turkish wedding. People tried to resuscitate him, but without success. Then a church member prayed for him and called him back to life. As the man stood up, over 100 astonished eyewitnesses shouted “A miracle! A miracle!”

These testimonies are only a few of over 600 cases of literal, physical resurrections, which have been documented in the past 15 years in Bulgaria. Virtually all of them have occurred in some relations to Bulgarian Protestant congregation(s) or minister(s). Is there revival in Bulgaria? I think this question has been already answered literally.