Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down! (Isaiah 64:1)

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Recommended Books and Reviews  

 

As a relatively new site this list is far from completion -

and probably never will be, this side of glory.

Section 1: THEOLOGY OF REVIVAL

 

 

TITLE

AUTHOR

PUBLISHER

 

 

 

A God-entranced Vision of all Things

John Piper & Justin Taylor

Crossway

Revival!

Richard Owen Roberts

Richard Owen Roberts Pubns

Revival! A people saturated with God

Brian H Edwards

Evangelical Press

Revival. Can we make it happen?

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Marshall Pickering

The Awesome work of God

Jonathan Edwards

Ambassador

Praying Together for True Revival (An Humble Attempt)

Jonathan Edwards

P & R

Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival

Michael Haykin

Emmaus - EP

Why Revival Tarries

Leonard Ravenhill

Kingsway

Jonathan Edwards on Revival

Jonathan Edwards

Banner of Truth

Lectures on Revival

W.B. Sprague

Banner of Truth

Give Him No Rest

Errol Hulse

Evangelical Press

Revival Praying

Leonard Ravenhill

Bethany Fellowship

Prayer and the Coming Revival

Andrew Murray

Ambassador

The Revival of Religion

Addresses by Scottish Evangelical Leaders in Glasgow in 1840

Banner of Trust

Revival Sermons

William C. Burns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 2: ACCOUNTS OF REVIVAL

 

 

 

 

 

Sounds From Heaven

Colin and Mary Peckham

Christian Focus

Glory in the Glen

Tom Lennie

Christian Focus

God's Polished Arrow: W.C. BURNS Revival Preacher

Dr Michael McMullen

Christian Focus

The Religious Revival in Wales: "Awstin" and "Western Mail" special Correspondents 1904-1905

 

Quinta Press

A Forgotten Revival

Stanley C. Griffen

Day One

The Cambuslang Revival (18th Century)

Arthur Fawcett

Banner of Truth

Restoration in the Church - Reports of Revivals

Foreward by J. Douglas Macmillan

Christian Focus / Ambassador

The Spirit of Revival (Congo in the 1950's)

Norman Grubb

Christian Focus

Revival in the Highlands and Islands (19th C)

Alexander Macrae

Tentmaker Publications

Christian Leaders of the 18th Century

J C Ryle

Banner of Truth

God Sent Revival (Asahel Nettleton & 2nd Great Awaken..

J F Thornbury

E. P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

"Fire from Heaven — times of extraordinary revival"

Paul E.G. Cook

Published By Evangelical Press

 

This book was published almost three years ago and will, no doubt, have been read by a good number of those associated with the Reformation and Revival Fellowship. But there are aspects of the book that it will be good for us to recall and consider carefully.

 

The book deals with the remarkable visitations of God in various parts of Britain during the period from 1791 to 1840. This time is sometimes referred to as the Second Evangelical Awakening in Britain and parallels the much more extensive outpourings that took place in America, and others that occurred in Europe. These revivals in Britain are often called the 'forgotten revivals'. Paul Cook does us a great service as he reminds us of what great things the Lord did in our own land.

 

The records of revivals and of notable men of God are brought to us by Mr Cook in stirring accounts. There are times in reading this book when the reader has to stop and bow in prayer before God that He would remember us and visit us in a similar way. The experiences of the Lord's people under the blessing of the Holy Spirit read as something strange —something we have not known: "a depth of spiritual experience, a joy in God, an ardent love for Christ, a thirst for holiness, a compassion for the lost and an uninhibited zeal for God."

 

There are provocative and challenging elements to what Mr Cook writes that we should particularly consider. Towards the end of the book we are given a definition of revival that challenges some of the mysticism that can surround the subject of revival. This definition underlies the whole premise of the book. That definition is given by George Smith in 1858:

A revival, therefore, is a work of grace effected by the Spirit of God on the souls of men; and, in its nature, differs only from the ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, in the enlightening and conversion of men, by its wider prevalence and greater intensity.

 

Throughout the book Mr Cook draws attention to the deep conviction of these believers that their great need was for divine interventions. In 1821 these Wesleyan Methodists drew up the following resolution:

We again resolve, after the example of our venerable fathers in the gospel, with all plainness and zeal, to preach a free, present, and full salvation from sin; a salvation flowing from the mere grace of God, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, apprehended by the simple exercise of faith, and indispensably preparatory to a course of practical holiness. And in this great work, our only reliance for success is upon the grace of the Holy Spirit; by whose inspiration alone it is, that the Gospel, in any instance, is rendered the 'power of God unto salvation'.

 

With these men Zechariah 4:6 was not merely something they believed in their heads but the basis of all that they sought to do. There is an unavoidable challenge in this to those of us who claim to believe in the Sovereignty of God. Sadly, as Mr Cook points out, our theological prejudices can hinder our apprehending of the power of God.

 

A second issue that arises out of the one above is the level of desperation and longing for God that these believers showed. "They believed that unless God worked they were powerless to achieve anything in His name. This explains why they prayed so much and with such earnestness." They did not rely on any methodology. They simply preached the Gospel and witnessed to those around them, but they did this in total reliance upon God to bless. "When they considered the lack of conversions, their minds turned not to the subject of evangelism but to the need of God's intervention." Of course, they were zealous in their evangelism but they knew that without God's blessing "their preaching and witnessing would bear little fruit". Could it be that we have got things round the wrong way and have become contented and pleased with our evangelistic outreaches and activities and trust them more than we rely on God?

 

Much could also be made about the clarity of their thinking about conversion. They made a clear distinction between the awakening of a soul to its need of the Saviour and a real experience of conversion by the work of the Holy Spirit. They were not content until a deep work of God was evidenced in the lives of those who knew a concern about their spiritual state.

 

But the final thing that we need to consider from what Mr Cook so helpfully brings to us is the fact that they were not praying for revival. "They were thirsting after God and desiring holiness of life. There is something much more important than seeking revival. It is seeking the God of revivals. We need to know God more fully! Let us thirst after Him! Let us seek a manifest presence of Jesus Christ! Let us seek holiness of life! Let us hunger and thirst after righteousness! Such holy pursuits are not to the exclusion of a desire and prayer for revival, but they are of even greater importance."

 

Roger Hitchings

 

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THE ULSTER AWAKENING


An account of the 1859 revival in Ireland
by John Weir.

Banner of Truth 2009. First published 1860
ISBN: 9781848710375

 

There is plenty to warm the heart in this account of the Ulster Awakening of 1859.The author was an Irish Presbyterian minister who spent time in Northern Ireland during the revival and compiled the book from his own careful observations and those of numerous other witnesses.

There were remarkable features about the awakening in Ulster, some of which distinguish it from other revivals that I, at least, have read about.

1. The prominence of prayer, not only inspired by God prior to the revival but among new converts as prayer meetings sprang up all over the country. ‘It has been pre-eminently, as in America, a work of the people themselves, and has manifested its power chiefly through the instrumentality and by the desire of prayer’. Again, ‘…prayer is the grand characteristic, the life and essence of the Irish Awakening’.
2. Although preaching was at the heart of the revival there is not the prominence of ‘preaching stars’ that one reads about in other revivals. It is quite different in emphasis in this regard from the history of the Calvinistic Methodist Fathers in Wales, where revivals tend to be tied to a succession of greatly gifted preachers. Ulster saw the great use of many men of otherwise ordinary gifts.
3. The widespread use of testimony and fellowship meetings and use of the ‘lay’ people. There are many accounts of people being converted not through preaching as such but through testimonies.
4. The physical effects and manifestations which were not central but three points stand out: (a) they provided opponents with an easy target to criticise; (b) they needed to be explained and occasional abuses disowned; (c) by far the majority of leaders of the revival were sober in their assessment of these manifestations, realising they were inevitable adjuncts to genuine spiritual distress or joy but were not to be encouraged. Although they were open to abuse they did not call into question the genuineness of the movement. One interesting section of the book discusses the positive role these physical effects had in sobering some crowds and contributing to the conviction of careless hearers.
5. The unity between evangelicals in the major denominations – Presbyterians (among whom the greatest work was seen), Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists worked together.
6. Reconciliation between foes and an end to sectarianism – the end of provocative Orange celebrations in many places.
7. Widespread conversion of Roman Catholics.
8. Profound social effects – the reduction of drinking, prostitution and crime on a wide scale.
9. A widespread and lasting work among youth and children.

John Weir makes the interesting and important observation, lest we think that God works differently with souls in times of revival, that ‘It is of great practical importance to observe, that the work of the Spirit on the soul of every individual convert is substantially the same with that which takes place but only on a more extended scale – in a general Revival of religion. When many are suddenly arrested and convinced, when conversions take place in large numbers, and are attended with remarkable circumstances, the work of the Spirit attracts more of public attention…but, substantially, it is the self-same work, which has often been carried on, in silence, in the secret chamber, in the retired recesses of the heart, when one poor sinner in a congregation has been singled out… and made the subject of a saving change’.

Of the Revival’s genuineness, one commentator said: ‘ On what …do I found my conviction that this work is divine? I answer, on the fact that I have found every one of the blessed effects which are represented in Scripture as being peculiarly the fruits of the Spirit. Everyone who has taken but a cursory glance at the work, has noticed the conviction of sin – sharp, and penetrating, and deep; and everyone who has at all looked beneath the surface has seen how the persons thus impressed will hear of only one object. Talk to them of anything else, very possibly they will not understand you – certainly they will feel no interest in what you say; but speak of Christ, and their attention is gained and their heart is won. This has always been to me an evidence that the work is a genuine one, as it so powerfully draws men’s regard to our blessed Saviour’.

Read this book and be stimulated to further prayer for God’s great work in our own day.

Mostyn Roberts

 

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GLORY IN THE GLEN


A history of evangelical revivals in Scotland 1880-1940
By Tom Lennie
Christian Focus, 512 pages.

ISBN 978-1-84550-377-2

 

The title alone of this book with its evocative cover scene is enough to engage the interest of any reader. But to discover that it is an account of evangelical revivals in Scotland between 1880 and 1940 adds an element of surprise to any initial interest.

 

Many will know of the great periods of spiritual ingathering into the Scottish churches: of Cambuslang in 1742, of the work of the Haldane brothers 50 years later, of revival under W.C. Burns and R.M. McCheyne in 1839 and the widespread quickening of 1859, but to discover a substantial 500-page volume describing relatively recent Scottish revivals is a rare delight.
 

The Christian church is much indebted to Tom Lennie for the years of patient research that must have gone into compiling such a record. Packed with first-hand accounts from eye witnesses, testimonies from those deeply affected, and newspaper reports, Lennie’s material is well-documented and authentic. He describes hundreds of localised works of God, many in out-of-the-way places from Galloway in the south to the Orkneys in the north, from Lewis in the west to the east coast. Helpful maps are provided throughout to pinpoint the main locations.

The work is divided into four main sections, each starting in the 1880's and working through to the 1930's Section one deals with numerous periods of blessing throughout the land; in his second, Lennie details ‘the fishermen’s revival’ — that movement which spread among the fishing communities ranged along the north-east coast; thirdly, he turns to the Hebridean revivals, and, lastly, to unusual works of the Spirit of God among children and students and also the Pentecostal movements of the early 20th century. A final section of the book is given over to a careful appraisal of revival in general.

 

In many of the incidents described we discover a close connection between organised evangelistic missions and revival. Often a mission develops into a powerful work of God’s Spirit with all the features so characteristic of revival: an increased spirit of prayer, a heightened sense of God’s majesty, brokenness for sin, a crying out for mercy and the overwhelming joy of forgiveness. The writer admits (p.25) that this repeated pattern, while undoubtedly occurring, can blur the distinctions between genuine revival and short-term evangelistic endeavour.

The sea-change that took place in evangelical thought following the publication of Charles Finney’s Lectures on Revivals of Religion in 1835, with its serious doctrinal aberrations regarding the nature of revival, together with his ‘new measures’ like the ‘anxious seat’, is probably insufficiently explored, while Jonathan Edwards’s mammoth work of revival is confined to a few footnotes.

 

However, the major thrust of this thrilling account can only leave us all with longing hearts and a desire to see such works of God again in our day.

 

Faith Cook,
Breaston, Derbyshire
© Evangelicals Now - July 2009

 

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