The great spiritual awakening of the 18th century in Europe and America came on the heels of an amazing century of prayer by the Moravian community in Herrnhut, Germany and spearheaded in England by John and Charles Wesley. The stirrings of revival began in America in Northampton, Mass. in 1733. The following year the “Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in …” Jonathon Edwards wrote in his journal. “Souls did come by floods to Jesus Christ…. This town was never so full of love nor so full of joy….” In 1735 George Whitefield, the great preacher of the American Awakening was converted in England. In 1740 he came to America from England and the Great Awakening in the Colonies reached its peak with Whitefield’s New England preaching tour where 20,000 heard his farewell sermon. Revival continued for 18 months in which 150 churches were affected from New England to Virginia, and the great Missionary movement to the Indians began. “Christianity acquired such a hold that it expanded with the American frontier and ensured that the independent nation would rest on a reliable foundation.”
The Journey, May 2003
Exerpt from July 2005 Newsletter:
[In the 1800's Great Britain produced some of the great spiritual figures of the 19th century]. This spiritual dynamic in England was the result of the Great Awakening of the previous century. The surge of that spiritual wave carried Great Britain through to the 20th century and produced such giants as Charles Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor. Across the Atlantic, America was pretty much focused on fulfilling its “manifest destiny” of a transcontinental nation. While our spiritual focus became fragmented, scattering with the settlers across the land, Great Britain continued to ride the crest of a great wave. Incredibly, by the late 1900’s English churches stood virtually empty with only 2% of the population attending church. Though there are multiple factors in the disassembling of this vibrant Christianity, the main influence was the intellectual movement that burgeoned in the late 1800’s and whose residue continues to this day. Bertrand Russell was a leading British atheist and architect of this movement in England. That a single movement could demolish such a powerful spiritual center is both dismaying and ominous, and it fires a warning shot across our bow.