The Last Widespread Revival in America Over 100 Years Ago*
By Dr. Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
Just over one hundred years ago, a college student in Wales named Evan Roberts, aged twenty-six, obtained permission to leave college to return to his home village of Lougher to preach his first sermon. Seventeen people showed up to listen to his four points (Evan Roberts – pictured on left at the age of 26):
(1) Confess any known sin to God and put away any wrong done to others;
(2) Put away any doubtful habit;
(3) Obey the Holy Spirit promptly; and
(4) Confess Christ openly.
No one could have predicted the nationwide impact that event would have. J. Edwin Orr related that “within three months a hundred thousand converts had been added to the churches of Wales. Five years later a book debunking the revival was published and the main point made by the scholarly author was that of the 100,000 added to the churches, only 80,000 remained after five years (DPC – I’ll take that kind of conversion growth any day! – see J. Edwin Orr, Campus Aflame, Glendale, Calif.: Regal, 1971, 101).
That same revival jumped the ocean and spread to America’s shores and was the last major revival we have seen since 1905.
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” – Psalm 85:6
*Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is the distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kaiser has written over 40 books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; A History of Israel; The Messiah in the Old Testament; Recovering the Unity of the Bible; The Promise-Plan of God; Preaching and Teaching The Last Things; and coauthored (with Moises Silva) An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside at Kerith Farm in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Kaiser’s website is www.walterckaiserjr.com. This article is adapted from the Preface in his outstanding book Revive Us Again, Nashville, B&H, 1999.