Overview of Revivals 2

The revival of 1792 onwards lasted around 30 years until around the early 1820’s but was soon followed by the 1830’s revival, which lasted about 12 years before a decade of decline.

THIRD GREAT AWAKENING 1830 Onwards

Asahel Nettleton and Charles Finney are names which dominate during this period and the American scene, while another American, James Caughey was the most notable revival evangelist active in England.

Finney’s well-documented ministry began in 1830 and netted 100,000 souls within one year! The Methodist Episcopal church steadily increased in the 1830’s, especially through camp-meetings. But their numbers doubled in 1840-1842. Other denominations flourished too.

The greatest effect of this revival was felt far beyond the borders of North America and for centuries to come. Finney’s philosophy of revival, expressed in his autobiography and explained in his “Revivals of Religion”, has subsequently affected thousands of Christians and precipitated revivals around the world.

In the UK revivals were widespread throughout the 1830’s. Evangelists like Robert Aitkin and William Haslam held highly successful missions. Brethrenism began during this period, restoring the doctrine of the church and the doctrine of the return of Christ. It’s noticeable personalities were J. N. Darby and George Müller who pioneered orphanage work, evangelism and missionary enterprise. Another restoration movement was led by Edward Irving, who strongly believed in the restoration of spiritual gifts and apostolic ministries to the church.

John Elias, Christmas Evans and William Williams stormed Wales with their powerful preaching. Scotland also boasted some great revivalists like John and Horatius Bonar, the revival veteran, Thomas Chalmers, Robert Murray McCheyne, W. H. Burns and his son, William Chalmers Burns.

On the wider international front, there were local revivals in various parts of the world, particularly in Scandinavia, central Europe, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, India, Malabar, and Ceylon.

This awakening, which began in 1830 only lasted about 12 years ending around 1842

The Fourth Great Awakening of 1857 Onwards

This Great Awakening (often called the 3rd) was the greatest to date in its extent, effects and lasting impact. It began slowly in Canada when 21 were saved and grew steadily until between 25 and forty were converted each day. Slowly reports of small awakenings began to emerge from various states in America. Then, in September 1857 Jeremiah Lanphier, a businessman and convert of Finney’s (a decade before), began a noonday prayer meeting on Wednesdays in a New York church. The small but growing numbers decided to meet daily in early October. Within six months over 10,000 businessmen were meeting in similar meetings across America; confessing sins, being converted and praying for revival. It was a lay-led movement that harvested a million souls in two years. In 1858, from February to June, around 50,000 people a week were added to the church – in a nation whose population was only 30,000,000.

Across the Atlantic, another million were won to Christ by 1865. This was in Britain’s population of 27,000,000. Ulster saw 100,000 converted, Scotland 30,000, Wales 100,000 and England 500,000.

Evangelistic, missionary and philanthropic enterprises blossomed on every hand. Moody and Sankey enjoyed their greatest success. William and Catherine Booth, converted under the ministry of James Caughey, launched the Salvation Army and attracted great crowds to Christ. Walter and Phoebe Palmer, the American evangelists, saw a remarkable work of the Spirit attend their ministry. Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached to capacity crowds each week, filling the largest halls in London. Hudson Taylor began the China Inland Mission. Gawin Kirkham started the Open Air Mission. Lord Shaftsbury championed the cause of the young, the poor and the oppressed. Barnardo founded his famous orphanages. David Livingstone and Mary Slessor propagated missionary work in Africa. Such was the impact of this fourth great awakening.

The revival also swept around the world. Rapid growth was reported in continental Europe, western Russia, Australia, The South Seas, South Africa and India.-

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