On Sept. 12, in a show of hunger for Christ among GenZers, hundreds of students claimed their allegiance to Christ at Auburn University in Alabama during a night of worship called Unite Auburn at Neville Arena. The event drew a great deal of media coverage and, afterwards, many were baptized in a lake by Auburn's Red Barn.
Organized by Tonya Prewett and her husband, Chad Prewett, an assistant for the Auburn men's basketball team, the event was also promoted by head men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and head baseball coach Butch Thompson. Head football coach Hugh Freeze, a devout Christian, participated in helping students baptize others.
Students at nearby Snead State Community College also took part.
Unfortunately, the enemy is taking his best shot at squelching enthusiasm for Jesus at this major university in the south. The Lord certainly isn't buying into Satan's schemes, and neither are government officials. The event drew attention from the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation, who claimed the evening of worship was "unconstitutional." The FRFF wrote a letter to the university condemning it.
Clearly, religious freedom at a public university has come under fire, but some Auburn officials, including Pearl, as well as Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey refused to back down.
Ivey responded on X, formerly Twitter, by writing; "I am proud to stand in support of religious liberty at Snead State College and Auburn University. As governor, I can assure you Alabama will never be intimidated by out-of-state interest groups dedicated to destroying our nation's religious heritage."
Fox5 Atlanta reported that Ivey sent a letter to FRFF which "calls their complaints about the after-hours worship service "misleading and misguided."
"Here in Alabama, we stand with [Snead State] President [Joe] Whitmore; coaches Freeze, Pearl and Thompson; and countless other Alabamians who see to be true to themselves—and to God—as they live out their lives and see to do their jobs to the best of their abilities."
She reminded the FRFRF of the Alabama state motto, "We dare defend our rights."
Pearl defended his actions in a report by a local newspaper, The Observer, by saying after years of hosting a similar event called "Ignite," he, his wife Brandy, as well as Chad and Tonya Prewett "wanted to do something to help organize the students who were of Christian faith."
"Chad and Tonya Prewett are the ones who absolutely ran with this," Pearl told the newspaper. "The idea to simply have a night of worship, to have two incredible speakers and to allow the students to want to have a closer connection to both God as well as in the church community."
After the event, the Unite Auburn X account read, "We are still speechless in awe of what God did ... Hundreds of students were baptized at Red Barn. Thousands cheered as they were raised from death to life. God is moving on Auburn's campus and it doesn't stop here."
The Asbury Revival held earlier this year sparked a number of overwhelming responses to Jesus on several other campuses around the nation, giving an indication that, although many may be fed up with traditional Christianity, young adults are flocking to Jesus in great numbers these days.
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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