A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Whitefield

Whitefield

   Great Awakenings  

Wesley

Wesley

 

The Oxford Association for Research in Revival, formed in 1974 through the work of revival historian J. Edwin Orr, distinguished between ‘revival’ for believers and ‘awakening’ for the community:

.
“A spiritual awakening is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the Church of Christ and its related community. … The outpouring of the Spirit accomplishes the reviving of the Church, the awakening of the masses and the movements of uninstructed people toward the Christian faith; the revived Church, by many or by few, is moved to engage in evangelism, in teaching and in social action” (J E Orr, The Eager Feet, p. vii)

The terms ‘revival’ and ‘awakening’ have been used interchangeably in revival literature.  However, ‘revival’ now usually refers to local revivals of spiritual life and commitment within the church but also touching the surrounding community through conversions and social transformation.  ‘Awakening’ usually refers to the more widespread influence of revivals across a large area and for a more extended period of time with considerable influence in the community and the nation.

Revival historian Edwin Orr described the major evangelical awakenings this way:

the First Great Awakening of 1727-1745, Evangelical Revivals in England & Great Awakening in America,

the Second Awakening of 1790-1830 (The Eager Feet, fired with missionary commitment),

the Third Awakening of 1858-60 (The Fervent Prayer, spread through countless prayer groups) and

the Worldwide Awakening from 1900 (The Flaming Tongue, spreading the word around the globe).

So, in very broad brush strokes the picture of Awakenings may be described in half-century cycles, while noting that waves of local revivals surged within these wider global Awakenings.  So, very broadly we also have:

the Healing Evangelism Revivals worldwide from the 1950s, and

the Transforming Revivals around 2000 into the 21st century.

See Revival Stories on the Blogs Contents page for many examples.

Overviews

The Great Awakening and Evangelical Revival (to 1750)

The powerful revivals of the eighteenth century spread through Europe, especially England, and North America.  They became known as the Evangelical Revivals in England and the Great Awakening in America.  They grew out of the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the Moravians, a community of refugees which has suffered severe persecution in Europe.  Leaders included Nicolaus von Zinzendorf in Germany, Jonathan Edwards and David Brainerd in North America, and John Wesley and George Whitefield in England.

Zinzendorf

Zinzendorf

Edwards

Edwards

Brainerd

Brainerd


*

*

*

*

*

The Second Great Awakening (from around 1800)

Edwin Orr’s research identified two major awakenings in Europe and North America in the nineteenth century following the first Great Awakening of the eighteenth century.  His earlier writings identified a second general awakening in 1798-1812 and a third general awakening in the 1830s, with another strong resurgence of revival in 1858-1860.  However, his later writings identified the second general awakening as covering 1798 to the 1830s, interrupted by the British-American War of 1812-15, and producing a wave of missionary societies early in the nineteenth century beginning with William Carey’s An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, and founding of the Baptist Missionary Society in 1792.  Revivals impacted college students on the east coast of America and broke out in the wild west with the Cane Ridge revival in Kentucky.  Charles Finney led revivals from his conversion in 1821.

William Carey

William Carey

Kentucky Revival in camp meetings

Kentucky Revival in camp meetings

Finney

Finney

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

The Third Great Awakening (late 1850s)

Orr identified the third general awakening as 1858-1860, preceding the American Civil War (1861-1865).  Often called the Prayer Revival it spread across America, the United Kingdom and worldwide through countless, fervent, evangelistic prayer groups often traced back to those in New York begun with Jeremiah Lanphier.  Charles Finney continued leading in America, D L Moody’s evangelistic ministry later spread beyond America, and C H Spurgeon led powerfully in England.

Lanphier

Lanphier

Moody

Moody

Spurgeon

Spurgeon

*

*

*

*

*

*

The Worldwide Awakening (from 1900)

Revival in the twentieth century had its roots in the eighteenth century Wesleyan concept of sanctification and the subsequent nineteenth century holiness churches emphasizing an experience of ‘entire sanctification’.  These movements promoted a ‘second blessing’ with increasing acceptance and discovery of a specific, empowering work of God’s grace.  Leaders included Evan Roberts in Wales and William Seymour in Azusa Street, with many Pentecostal evangelists emerging.

Roberts

Roberts

Seymour

Seymour

*

*

*

*

*

*

The Healing Evangelism Revivals (from 1950s)

Following the devastation of World War II, 1939-1945, including the genocide of six million Jews, revival again exploded across the world.  Jews returned to their homeland with the State of Israel proclaimed in 1948.  Healing evangelism spread worldwide, in spite of resistance and opposition from many traditional churches.  Revival spilled out from the churches into the community bringing to birth many revival movements and independent networks.  Leaders with worldwide ministries included evangelists Billy Graham, Tommy & Daisy Osborn, Oral Roberts, and Kathryn Kuhlman, and many others.  Revival exploded, often with severe persecution, in Africa’s independent churches, Latin America’s renewal communities, China’s house churches, and charismatic renewal in the West.

Graham

Graham

Osborn

Osborn

Roberts

Roberts

Kuhlman

Kuhlman

Charismatic renewal continued to spread into traditions resistant to using Pentecostal terminology but open to the impacts of the Spirit in revival.  This ‘Third Wave’ of renewal encompassed traditional evangelical churches, following the Pentecostal and Charismatic waves.  These streams, combined with the growing networks of independent churches, characterized renewal and revival in the last third of the twentieth century.  Many international evangelists promoted powerful Spirit movements in their crusades, which in turn impacted churches of all denominations, and produced a global shift to expanding networks of independent churches, house churches and renewal groups as well as many mega-churches.

The Transforming Revivals (into 2000s)

Revival movements of the twentieth century’s last decade demonstrated specific impacts of the Spirit on Christian communities, sometimes described as the River of God, Blessing, and Transforming revivals.  These Spirit movements included localized revivals affecting churches and local communities, particularly where churches co-operated in an area.  Some local revivals became influential worldwide, such as the ones in Toronto in Canada, Brompton and Sunderland in England, and Pensacola in North America (like Azusa Street but with much quicker and more far reaching global impacts).  Huge healing evangelism crusades bring multitudes into God’s Kingdom such as those with Reinhard Bonnke in Africa and globally.  Mega-churches emerged in the late 20th century and into the 21st century such as Yonggi Cho’s in Korea numbering a million by 2010.  Reports of community and ecological transformation continue to increase globally.

Cho

Cho

Bonnke

Bonnke

Lagos 1.6 mil.

Lagos 1.6 million

Where God’s people take his Word and his promises seriously revivals of New Testament proportions blaze globally with increasingly significant transformation of communities and the ecology.

*

*

*

*
*

We are reminded of God’s promise:  “If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Back to Blogs Contents

Back to Summaries of Revivals Contents

Comments on: "Revival Summaries – Great Awakenings" (3)

  1. lack William Branham led BIG great movement, healing cures 1947-1963 – T L Osborn bore witness to William Branham.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: