William Marion Branham

6/4/1909 - 18/12/65

06/04/09 Born in a Log Cabin to loggers
?/10/1909 Nearly Froze to death in winter
?/?/1923 Wounded while hunting
?/9/1927 Ran away to the West to work on a ranch
?/?/? Brother died and returns home
?/?/1933 Ordained independant Baptist. Begins tent meetings. Preaches to up to 4000 with miracles
Fall 1933 Followers build a Tabernacle in Jeffersonville
?/?/? Marries Hope Brumback
?/?/? Meets the "Oneness" Pentecostals and refuses subsequent invitations to speak - loses annointing
?/?/1937 Ohio Floods
?/5/1946 Hears a mighty rushing wind and meets Angel
07/05/46 Tells of meeting the Angel and being commisioned
?/?/? Travels to St Louis to heal Betty Daugherty
14/6/1946 Goes to St Louis to conduct revival
?/3/1947 Teams with Gordon Lindsay
?/11/1947 Meetings Portland Ohio
?/?/1947 Meetings in Canada
?/1/1948 Meetings in Miami
?/?/1948 Voice of Healing started to promote Branham
?/4 or 5/1948 Retires from the field for 5 months
?/10/1948 Begins work again - working alone
?/11/1949 Asks Lindsay and Moore to organise his schedule again
06/04/50 Scandinavian/Norwegian Trip
?/?/1952 Revivals in Africa
?/?/1955 Angel revisits
?/?/1955 Ministry begins to falter
?/2/1963 Seven Angels visit - "Spirit of Elijah" position
18/12/1965 Killed in a traffic accident
11/04/66 Buried


A. Introduction

In his book Number 20, Arnold Hunt has this to say about the Chapman-Alexander Bible Institute:

In looking back over the history of the C.A.B.I. it is impossible not to feel respect and wonder at the extraordinary generosity of those who launched it. Has there been since 1912 any comparable act of benefaction in the Church in South Australia? In retrospect it can be seen that the founders' hopes were too ambitious, even allowing for the setback caused by the outbreak of the Great War...The number of students was bound to be small and the likelihood of the Institute serving Australasia [his italics] was always remote.1.

I have to say that from my research, the prospects and the possibilities of C.A.B.I. at its institution were greater than Dr Hunt suggests. Any institution of this nature would struggle under the burdens that C.A.B.I. bore. There was the outbreak of the Great War which removed teachers, students and finance. There was the hostility of the church papers. This meant that C.A.B.I. was always struggling to make its name and its aims known, even to the point of fighting the belief that it had closed.2. There was continued misunderstanding of the aims of the Institute. As a training center for lay ministry, it was before its time. After the war it struggled for relevancy. The world had changed, but the council hadn't the resources to change the curriculum to meet the needs of the new world. One of the first things the council did after deciding to hand over the buildings and funds to the Methodist conference was to appoint a curriculum committee to update the curriculum.3.

When compared to other theological institutions of the time, the quality of the work done by the institute during the period up to 1919 is staggering. The Australian Christian Commonwealth records that in the five years up to november 1913, the Brighton Training Home had had a total of 88 students and 55 evening students.4. For the same period, during the war, C.A.B.I. had some 253 students of which 31 were day students and the rest were evening and possibly correspondence students.5. How accurate these figures are is open to speculation. One aspect of doubt is how much involvement does the title student signify in the above numbers. It must be noted that W. Reed in reporting to the Executive of C.A.B.I. on one occasion doubts whether two students who were irregular should be considered students.6.

As for Dr Hunt's contention about the likelihood of the Institute serving Australasia it must be noted that C.A.B.I. received enquiries from Queensland, N.S.W., Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. In May of 1915 the resident students were from N.S.W., Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand as well as South Australia.7. Even allowing for the enthusiasm that is evident in Bible Institute News, it seems that C.A.B.I. was on the way to being Australasian. It is very hard to make cut and dried statements about what would have happened if the Great War had not intervened.

B. The 1909 and 1912 Missions and the Beginning

In 1909 a mission was held in Adelaide by Dr Wilbur Chapman who was supported by the singer, Charles Alexander. In May 1912 these two returned to Adelaide. At this time there were still over 400 converts of the first mission continuing to live 'lives of faithfulness to Christ'.8. The 1912 mission produced over 1000 converts.8. To hear the mission described, it was a time of great emotion. It was during this second mission that C.A.B.I. was born. Mrs E. White describes it thus:

there was a feeling that something should be done to perpetrate the work. The inspiration came to me that an organization on the lines of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago should be established in Australia. I wrote the suggestion on a slip of paper and handed it to my husband. The result was the offer of our home for the work.9.

Its purpose according to Alexander and Maclean, 'was to provide spiritual training for the young people who had taken a stand for Christ, and had definitely surrendered their lives to Him for service'10. Although this may have been the initial aim, by the time of its founding, C.A.B.I. was aimed to fulfill a number of other purposes. The organization involved in founding C.A.B.I. was the Kings Business League of Personal Workers. This body aimed to 'unite evangelical personal workers',11. but suffered due to lack of a headquarters. At the beginning it was to be an evangelistic center where more missions like the 1912 mission could be planned. There was to be a hall built that would seat 3000 people and the young men who were going to America to prepare for positions with bodies like the Y.M.C.A. could be trained at this center. "Wekewauban" was given by the Whites to house the Governor, the Secretary and a limited number of students. The McBrides gave 3000 pounds to build the hall,12. this was later increased to 4000 pounds. The aims of the League were discussed with Chapman and Alexander in a hurried meeting in November 1912, while their ship, bound for Freemantle, was docked at Adelaide.13. Chapman and Alexander expressed their whole hearted support and later Dr Chapman was instrumental in finding C.A.B.I.'s first principal.

The building was transferred to the trustees of C.A.B.I. on the 31st of January 1913 and a council was formed including the Whites, Sir Charles Goode, Mr J. McBride and Mr A. Langford.14 J. Delehanty, the secretary of the mission,15. was appointed general secretary.16.

The reaction of the churches to the founding of the college was not good.* The editor of the Australian Christian Commonwealth expected the Institute to be 'more of the nature of a parasite than of a healthy support to the churches'.17. When taken to task for his attitude by Delehanty who stated:

It is thought by very many earnest, devoted and intelligent christian men that the results achieved by some of our existing theological institutions are not as helpful to the kingdom of God as they might be...,18.

he promptly closed the debate. The reaction of the churches was based partly on the competition that the Institute would give to their own colleges. On December 6th the secretary of Brighton Training Home commented in Australian Christian Commonwealth on how Brighton had the potential to meet the aims of C.A.B.I..19. He commented further in April 1913 that Brighton housed 12 students and had room for up to 20.20. It must be stressed that as demonstrated in the above quotation, the battle was also drawn on theological lines. The depth of feeling of the editor of Australian Christian Commonwealth is demonstrated in that the next reference to C.A.B.I. that I have been able to find is concerned with handing over of C.A.B.I. to the Methodist conference in 1927 (apart from modest advertisements for students).21. Despite this the list of people involved with C.A.B.I. reads like a who's who of the church at the time including Moderators, noted ministers as well as people important to the church overseas.22.

C. The First Year

The first teaching semester began on the 14th of July 1914.23. As Dr Hunt points out 3 weeks later war broke out.24. The first principle Dr John Elliott had arrived on the 9th of May. They had a modest student body numbering 4 residents in addition to the evening students. The course was a mixture of practical and theory. On Mondays Dr Elliott taught 'Bible Truths and Personal Difficulties', Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays the students were taught 'Fundamental Bible Doctrines' and 'Practical Methods of Christian Work'. In the evening on Friday, Rev D. McNicol taught 'History', 'Work Methods' and 'Sunday School' this was in addition to Rev W. Reed teaching 'English Composition and Literature' and Mr Delehanty teaching 'Commercial Arithmetic' on wednesdays and thursdays, as well as music. On Saturday afternoon and Evening there was a special program that included a run through of the following weeks sunday school lesson, a 'christian growth hour', (actually 45minutes), as well as a series of bible studies going under the name of 'Popular Bible Hour'.25.

During these first few months the demand for teaching grew. In February 1915 we find that the lecture room of the Institute couldn't accommodate the number of Students that they had. These students were no doubt largely evening students. To house the growing classes until such time as the hall was built an 'Iron Tabernacle' was erected. This was provided by the McBrides and from pictures, was substantial.26. All tuition was free, the only costs were for board 15/- for residents and registration 5/- which was later dropped to 2/6. Residents were however expected to work on the premises 1 hour a day.27.

In May the Bible Institute News records five students, two women and 3 men. That there were only five residents was blamed on the War and the drought.28. In Bible Institute News, August 1915, there are a further 3 residents and 2 day students. Some of the Students had been involved in mission work, one at the Mitcham Army Camps, another at the East Brunswick mission. The Principal and Rev McNicol had also been very active. Dr Elliott filled the pulpit at Port Adelaide Congregational Church and McNicol held a 10 day mission at Ballarat.29. This kind of activity is continued to the end of the year.

The numbers of students and the activity described above can't be taken to indicate that C.A.B.I. was well known, well understood or accepted. It does indicate however that the works that cover this period are either misleading or inaccurate. Hunt seems to suggest that C.A.B.I. closed immediately after the outbreak of war.30. Stribley on the other hand has the building turned into flats during the war, an event that happened somewhere in 1921.31. The Institute continued, however, to be misunderstood and relatively unknown. In the period between 1915 and 1919, Bible Institute News concerns itself with explaining the Institute's name, its aim or its current status, ie that it is open, no less than 7 times. That is seven out of ten issues has one of these explanations.32. This was no doubt partly due to the fact that the Institute was only the second (they claimed that they were the first and only one),33. in Australia.34 The attitude of the church papers must have also made it difficult to advertise the role of the Institute.

D. The War Begins to Bite

November 1915, marks the beginning of the end of the Institute. Bible Institute News for this month contains an explanation why C.A.B.I. students were not enlisting. The statement stresses that the students have a higher calling, that of ministry. If one should 'hear the call for national service'35. then they would be encouraged to enlist. It seems likely that this was in response to criticism of C.A.B.I.'s acceptance of male students fit for enlistment. If this is the case then the critics were successful. The next issue of Bible Institute News restricts entry to women and reports the decision of the committee that:

there is even greater need that all the present and prospective men students show their fidelity to God, by joining the colours and taking their stand with the Allied forces in helping to overthrow the German Legions and restore once again the world's peace.36.

This was at a time when Dr Elliott, the principal, was stressing the need for further expansion of teaching force and advertising. This decision meant the end of day lectures. Under this regime Dr Elliott would not have enough to do, and so he resigned. The suddenness of the change in attitude of the committee is stressed in the date of Elliott's letter of resignation, that is 24th of November 1915,37. the same month as the support for the students not enlisting was published. It could be construed that the first statement was published by Elliott and the second by the committee.

By July 1916, the Institute was again accepting men, but only those who were unfit to enlist.38. Although the February issue of Bible Institute News states that there are to be no more day lectures, in September 1917 it was stated that in 1916 there were 9 day students.39. It could well be that the Institute found itself in a position to continue lectures, having both women and the above men to draw on as students.

An important factor for the continuing activity from this time on was the completion of a correspondence course by Elliott before he returned to America. By February 1918 there were 30 students enrolled in the correspondence course even one from India.40.

Mr Delehanty moved into the house to superintend the women students.41. Later he is released to become a missionary evangelist for C.A.B.I. and Rev W. Gray, one of the Tutors was moved into the position of acting principal.42.

The number of diplomas awarded demonstrates the difficulty experienced during the war. There were 7 diplomas awarded up to January 1919. Four of those were to men and three to women.43. 3 of the diplomas awarded to men were awarded at the end of 191544. and one at the end of 1916.45. The Institute enrolled 8 or 9 men in 1915 but only one continued to finish his diploma. 9 out of the 11 diploma students enrolled from 1916 to 1918 were women and the sex of the other two is unknown.46. Only four of the diplomas were awarded in the period between 1916 and 1919 compared to 3 in 1915. All except one who won diplomas entered before 1916.47.

The struggle of the war years is further demonstrated in the relief that is evident in Bible Institute News in January 1919. In the preceding years the activity of Delehanty as missionary evangelist is stressed as well as the achievements of the college. However when examined apart from the correspondence course and night classes which were well attended, the majority of the achievements relate to before 1916 or arise out of that period.

When the war was over, money was sought to provide bursary scholarships for students. Money was also sought to endow the salary of a principal. Two new correspondence courses were being created, one for home missionaries and one for lay preachers.48. It is easy to believe that the lack of male students continued after the war. Bible Institute News includes a picture of a memorial service for Dr Chapman. On the balcony that was used as a rostrum, there is a row of young women who were probably the resident students.49. The January 1919 issue of Bible Institute News was presumably the last published, the collection was entered into the State library in 1923.

E. 1919 to 1924

Although there were great hopes that now the Institute could realize its potential, this period marks the death throes of C.A.B.I. as a separate entity. According to Stribley, Rev W. Gray continued as acting principal until 1921 when he retired.50. To replace him a Mr J.F. Arthur, Vice-principal of Glasgow Bible Institute for 25 years, was engaged. However the prospects for the college and the number of students caused him to resign within the year.51. According to S.C. Myers the college was converted into flats in 1921 and a small lecture hall erected.52. It is perhaps significant that the C.A.B.I. visitors book only extends to 1921, and in 1924 is put to use as a minute book.

F. 1924 to 1926

The new minute book was started in 1924 and shows the hard times that the Institute has fallen on. We find the committee involved in an argument with SA Gas Co about who should pay for the gas that has leaked between the master meter and the 4 meters for the flats. The iron Tabernacle erected to solve overcrowding is now being rented out to various groups including the Girl Guides. The small lecture hall is now adequate to house the students. The marquee that was purchased for the missions held by the missionary evangelist is up for sale.53. However there is still teaching being carried out. Rev W. Reed and Rev S.C. Myers are being paid 11/4/3 and 4/4/6 per month respectively as tutors.54. If we are to use the 10/-per lecture hour offered to visiting lecturers in 1926 as a guide,55. then they were working between them some 30 hours. As for students, in first term there were 5, two of which were so irregular that Reed wonders if they should be called students.56. It is significant that the Bursary fund started in 1919 to fund students without the means to support themselves is now closed. The lack of interest in the Institute is such that even free board and tuition is not drawing in students.57.

Early in 1924, S.C. Myers had to withdraw from tutoring due to illness. This left W. Reed, a tutor from February 1916 or before,58. the only regular tutor.59.

G. The Last Straw

The executive meeting of February 1926 received the final death blow for C.A.B.I. as a separate entity. Rev W. Reed resigned due to age and ill health.60. Although grateful for the long service by Reed, the committee was left in an untenable position. They had no tutors, few students, and while the original endowments were largely intact, no money for day to day expenses including much needed renovations. As to how decisions were made for the future at this time, the minute book is silent. A letter to the General Committee mentions that the Executive was involved in a number of informal meetings.61. In February of that year the South Australian Methodist Conference met and one of the things that was discussed was the need for new premises to replace Brighton training Home. These new premises were to be used not only for ordinands but also unspecified others.62. A member of the Committee empowered to find these premises was S.C. Myers who was also a member of the C.A.B.I. executive.63. The executive of C.A.B.I. were well aware that the methodist conference was looking to set up a college and the aims of that college were very close to those of C.A.B.I.. The main instigator of the offer of C.A.B.I. was R.H.White, which was appropriate since he was both an originator and the chairman of C.A.B.I. committees. On the 1st of March 1926, he writes to a Mr Uren that he wished the ideals and the work of C.A.B.I. to be carried out by the conference.64. On the 10th of the month a special meeting of the General committee was called to consider the motion that the Institute be given over to the Methodist conference. This motion was unanimously accepted.65. A special meeting of the General Committee called on the 17th showed a marked increase in enthusiasm by appointing committees to plan a new curriculum and to appoint a new dean.66.

H. Conclusion.

In trying to gauge the significance of C.A.B.I. one has to consider several factors. As has been mentioned above there were a great many important figures of the time involved including Frank Lade, Dr Torr, J.R.Fiddian and Dr Seymour. The numbers of students also demonstrates its importance at the time. Even though the majority of the 253 students were evening students the number is still large. It seems to have been the mistake of the historians who have mentioned C.A.B.I. to project the events of the post war period into the war period and thus dismiss the significance of the Institute.

'Up to the time of ceasing to be a separate entity in 1926, ex-students of the Institute were found engaged in Christian work in India, China, United States of America, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, and South Australia. Also engaged in this state were three Sisters of the People who received their training, or were being trained at this Institute...67.

The reasons for the difficulty that the Institute found itself in are easy to see. The hostility of the church press to C.A.B.I. and the continued misunderstanding of the aims and purpose of C.A.B.I. demonstrates one of two major reasons. The ideas embodied in the project were before their time. This is also demonstrated by the extent of the generosity of Dr Torr in setting up the Brighton Training home out of his own resources.68. Theological training was not seen as a high priority by the church. The second major reason was the war. There is steady increase of interest and students up to the beginning of 1916, the stagnation caused by the refusal to enroll fit men was never really recovered from no doubt partly due to the general problems that all the churches experienced in the post war period.

Much has been made of the generosity of both the Whites and the McBrides, however their gifts, while magnificent, must be seen in the context of an age of generous giving. Dr Torr has already been mentioned, there was also Mr Gartrell who gave Rose Park church to the Methodist conference.69.

The C.A.B.I. council continued to meet until around 1969 when it was disbanded because it was seen as unnecessary with the existence of the white trust committee.70. Today the aims and the aspirations of the original founders are met by the Lay Education center, and the teaching of White Scholars by Parkin-Wesley.

I. Bibliography

Alexander H.C. & Maclean J.K. Charles M. Alexander: A Romance of Song and Soul-Winning (London 1920).

The Advertiser

Australian Christian Commonwealth (South Australian Methodist Paper Copies held at the Mortlock Library S.A. and the R.H.White Library, 20 King William Rd Wayville SA)

Bible Institute News (Newsletter/magazine published by C.A.B.I. held at the Mortlock Library S.A.)

Correspondence R.H.White to A.R.Uren 1st March 1926, (Held with the White Trust Papers UCA SA Synod)

Hunt A.D.(ed.) Number 20: A Pictorial History of Theological Education at No. 20, King William Rd (Adelaide 1980).

Hunt A.D. This Side of Heaven (Adelaide 1985).

The News

Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. 1924-1969 (Held with the White Trust Papers UCA SA Synod)

Myers S.C. Statement 1: The Australasian Chapman-Alexander Bible Institute (held with the White Trust Papers UCA SA Synod)

Parker D. Fundamentalism and Conservative Protestantism in Australia, 1920-1980 (Queensland 1982).

Stribley G.B. The Jubilee of the Chapman-Alexander Bible Institute (Adelaide 1964).

J. Appendix: Students of C.A.B.I. up to 1919.#


Diploma Students Entered Sex Result
A.P.Mann 1914 M Peak Hill Mission
P.L.Hunt 1914 M Home Missionary
W. Taylor 1914 M Asst Pastor, Baptists
F. Hartwich 1915 M Ministry
M.C.Cumming 1915 F Ministry*
E.B.Ham 1915 F Missionary
E.C.Finger 1917 F ?


Non Graduates Entered Sex Result
B.E.Gale 1914 F ?
P.W.Kitto 1915 M ?
W.G.Rae 1915 M ?
S.G.Brainwood 1915 M ?
I.M.H.Button 1915 F ?
E.N.Jensen 1915 M ?
J.L.Christian 1915 M Baptist Minister
P.G.Wilkins 1915 M Killed in Action
H.H.Bryant 1915 M Bush Missionary
E.Hartwich 1916 F ?
A.B.Lohmeyer 1916 F ?
I.M.Walters 1916 F ?
M.A.Garland 1916 ? ?
S.C.Rowley 1916 ? ?
J.V.Sharpe 1917 F ?
A.F.Bearcroft 1917 F ?
M.F.Franklin 1917 F ?
A.R.Clark 1917 F ?
D.H.Clements 1917 F ?
S.A.M Wilson 1918 F ?
C.Davies ? ? Missionary

* M.C. Cumming married F. Hartwich and shared in his ministry.

#This table is based largely on Bible Institute News September 1918 p4. Note this table is not complete.

K. Footnotes.

1.Hunt A.D. Number 20 p14.

2.Bible Institute News Sept 1914, p3.

3.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee, 17th March 1926.

4.Australian Christian Commonwealth 21st November 1913, p3.

5.Bible Institute News September 1918, p4.

& Alexander H.C. & Maclean J.K. Charles M. Alexander p191.

6.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee 19th July 1924.

7.Bible Institute News May 1915.

8.Alexander H.C. & Maclean J.K. p190.

9.The News 15th March 1926, p4.

10.Alexander H.C. & Maclean J.K. p191.

11.The Advertiser 19th November 1912 p1.

12.The Advertiser 19th November 1912 p1.

13.Alexander H.C. & Maclean J.K. p192.

14.S. C. Myers Statement 1 p1. 15.Stribley G.B. The Jubilee of C.A.B.I. p4.

16.S. C. Myers Statement 1 p1.

*.For a survey of reactions of others see Stribley G.B. pp7,8.

17.Australian Christian Commonwealth 22nd November 1912, p11.

18.Australian Christian Commonwealth 29th November 1912, p18.

19.Australian Christian Commonwealth 6th December 1912 p15.

20.Australian Christian Commonwealth 2nd April 1913, p11.

21.Australian Christian Commonwealth cf p7, May 1st & 5th June 1914.

22.Bible Institute News May 1915, p12 & August p5.

23.Stribley G.B. p13.

24.Hunt A.D. Number 20 p13.

25.Bible Institute News February 1915, pp7-9.

26.Bible Institute News February 1915, pp7-8.

27.Bible Institute News February 1915, p11.

28.Bible Institute News May 1915, p7.

29.Bible Institute News August 1915, pp8,12.

30.Hunt A.D. Number 20 p13.

31.Myers S.C. Statement 1 p15.

32.Bible Institute News 1915: November p7, August p14, May p8, 1917: September p3, 1918: September p7, 1919: January p5.

33.Bible Institute News January 1919, p6.

34.Parker D. Fundamentalism p542.

35.Bible Institute News November 1915, p7-8

36.Bible Institute News February 1916, p9.

37.Bible Institute News February 1916, p10.

38.Bible Institute News July 1916, p2.

39.Bible Institute News September 1917, p7.

40.Bible Institute News February 1918, p14.

41.Bible Institute News January 1916, p14.

42.Bible Institute News September 1917, pp7,8.

43.Bible Institute News January 1918, p17; January 1919 p4.

44.Bible Institute News February 1916, p3.

45.Bible Institute News December 1916, p10.

46.Bible Institute News January 1918, p17.

47.Bible Institute News January 1918, p17; January 1919 p16.

48.Bible Institute News January 1919, pp4,10,11.

49.Bible Institute News January 1919, p9.

50.Stribley G.B. p15.

51.Stribley G.B. p15.

52.S. C. Myers Statement 1 p1

53.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee February 12th 1924.

54.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee February 12th 1924.

55.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. Executive February 1926.

56.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee July 19th 1924.

57.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee February 12th 1924.

58.Bible Institute News February 1916 p2.

59.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. Executive May 30th 1924.

60.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. Executive February 1926.

61.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee March 17th 1926.

62.Minutes of S.A. Methodist Conference 1926 p117.

63.Minutes of S.A. Methodist Conference 1926 pp11,13,17.

64.Letter R.H.White to A.R.Uren 1st March 1926.

65.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee March 10th 1926.

66.Minutes of A.C.A.B.I. General Committee March 17th 1926.

68.Australian Christian Commonwealth 21st November 1913, p3.

69.Australian Christian Commonwealth 20th February 1914, p11.

70.This is according to Dr C.R.Biggs the present Principal (1990)

Asuza St: America, Pentecostalism

{Based on As at the Beginning by Michael Harper, They Speak with other Tongues by John Sherrill, Asuza.txt from Rohn Price WWW blessings page}

1) Parham and Stone's Folly

The year: 1900 - a young methodist minister compared his life and ministry to acts and decided his needed to change. To seek the deeper life he opened a bible college in a building called Stone's folly with the aim of seeking with the students the secret to the life displayed in Acts.

They concentrated on the second experience of the spirit. An idea that the church had been increasingly interested in for 50 years. A lot of this interest was exhibited by the people involved in the Holiness movement.

Parham and his students soon discovered that in most cases in Acts of this second experience those who recieved the experience spoke in tongues. Those cases where they were not explicit, they could argue that they occured. They began praying for this experience. On New years eve at 7.00pm Miss Ozman was filled with the spirit and began to speak in tongues.

2) The second college and Seymour

The college soon closed down because the building was sold. Parham drifted for a few years and then began another college. At this college, among others, he taught a young negro minister named W.J. Seymour.

3) Asuza Street - three years of outpouring

Seymour, with the experience of the spirit and tongues left to take up a pulpit in Los Angeles. His first sermon, - first of a series he planned on the holy spirit - caused the elders to lock him out of the church.

In 1906, rejected for his strange beliefs, began ministry in 214 North Bonnie Brae Street and later due to pressure from neighbors moved to 312 Asuza Street. Here a derelict partially burnt livery stable next to a tomb stone factory was the birth place of the modern pentecostal movement. Continuous meetings were held there every day for a period of three years beginning in mid-April, 1906. It is the most important address in the history of the pentecostal movement. This was the address of a three year revival that firmly established the pentecostal theology and the pentecostal movement.

What was it like in the Asuza st mission? The following are some quotes from the paper published by the Apostolic Faith Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles,THE APOSTOLIC FAITH, one ofthe primary means by which news of the revival was spread:

These are copied from the Rohn Price Blessings page.

The news has spread far and wide that Los Angeles is being visited with a "rushing mighty wind from heaven." . . . One brother stated that even before his train entered the city, he felt the power of the revival. . . . There is such power in the preaching of the Word in the Spirit that people are shaken on the benches. Coming to the altar, many fall prostrate under the powerof God, and often come out speaking in tongues. Sometimes the power falls on people and they are wrought upon by the Spirit during testimony or preaching and receive Bible experiences. . .

The demonstrations are not the shouting, clapping or jumping so often seen in camp meetings. There is a shaking such as the early Quakers had and which the old Methodists called the "jerks."

On the second page of the same issue, Glen A. Cook provided his testimony,which he wrote:

I could feel the power going through me like electric needles.The Spirit taught me that I must not resist the power but give way and become limp as a piece of cloth. When I did this, I fell under the power, and God began to mold me and teach me what it meant to be really surrendered to Him. I was laid out under the power five times before Pentecost really came. Each time I would come out from under the power, I would feel so sweet and clean, though I had been run through a washing machine. . . . My arms began to tremble, and soon I was shaken violently by a great power, and it seemed as though a large pipe was fitted over my neck, my head apparently being off. . . . About thirty hours afterwards, while sitting in the meeting on Azusa Street, I felt my throat and tongue begin to move, without any effort on my part. Soon I began to stutter and then out came a distinct language which I could hardly restrain. I talked and laughed with joy far into the night.


In the fourth issue (p. 4), G. W. Batman wrote,


"I received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire and now I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost,not only in my heart but in my lungs, my hands, my arms and all through mybody and at times I am shaken like a locomotive steamed up and prepared fora long journey."


William H. Durham recorded his testimony in the sixth issue of THE APOSTOLIC FAITH (February-March, 1907), p. 4, where he wrote:


On Friday evening, March 1, His mighty power came over me, untilI I jerked and quaked under it for about three hours. It was strange and wonderful and yet glorious. He worked my whole body, one section at a time, first my arms, then my limbs, then my body, then my head, them my face, then my chin, and finally at 1a.m. Saturday, Mar. 2, after being under the power for three hours, He finished the work on my vocal organs, and spoke through me in unknown tongues.


R. J. Scott, the superintendent of Home and Foreign Missions in Winnipeg, wrote as follows in THE APOSTOLIC FAITH (February-March, 1907),. 7:


After a trip of nearly 3500 miles, we arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday morning, Nov. 29. I left my family at a hotel and proceeded with my son on a search for Azusa Mission. After I was there a short time, a lady got up and testified, and the power of God fell on her and she began to tremble. . . . Well, glory to God, after this sister trembled for a few minutes, she started to speak in an unknown tongue to me, and to my surprise, after she had uttered a few sentences, she spoke in English, giving the interpretation of what she said.


In the same issue (p. 8), Clara E. Lum of the Azusa Street Mission wrote:


When I came to Azusa Mission, I went in for the baptism with the Holy Ghost immediately. Had some digging to do, but the Lord met me. I was filled with the Holy Ghost many times and was shaken many times by the power of God.


In a report from San Francisco that appeared in issue no. 7 (April, 1907),. 4, we read:


The power of God shook her so mightily that an elderly lady friend, who had accompanied her to the meetings, was greatly agitated and excited about it; she declared that the sister was having a fit, and said something ought to be done to relieve her.When told that it was the power of God, and that the sister would come out all right, she looked incredulous, and flew around in great excitement. Evidently she had not seen it on this wise before. The sister did not return to the meetings until Saturday night. . . . The sister was again shaken by the mighty power of God. Her husband was sitting by her side, and was evidently amazed; yet he recognized it as the power of God, though not saved himself, he did not resist the power of God, nor try to hinder his wife. When his wife went to the altar, still shaking under the mighty power of God, he sat quietly in his seat, deeply moved by what was going on.


In vol. 1, no. 5 (January 1907), p. 1, we read:


"One who received the Holy Ghost baptism in Clearwater, testified, 'It was in morning worship. We read a chapter and I wanted to pray but the Lord tied my mouth. The power began to come in waves. The Lord took full possession. I fell over like a deadman. I was dead to the world. I tried to pray while lying on the floor, but when my tongue was loosened, it was in a different language."


In issue no. 7 (April, 1907), p. 4, the following was reported from San Francisco:


On another night a Hawaiian brother was gloriously converted. . .. The Hawaiian could not speak for some minutes after he arose to his feet, the power of God was upon him to such an extent.


In theDecember, 1906 issue of THE APOSTOLIC FAITH (vol. 1, no. 4), p. 3, thefollowing announcement appeared:


Sister M. E. Judy writes from Columbus, Ohio, that they have a tarrying meeting there and others in different towns are tarrying with them in Spirit. She says, "Last Sunday a burden of prayer came upon the people in our humble little church in such power that our minister had no opportunity to preach, just said a few words on "This is that" and closed.


Writing from Norway, A. A. Body wrote concerning T. B. Barratt's meetings


that "the meetings are liable at any moment to be swept by a wave of spiritual power sweeping through all human arrangements. At times the noise is strangely awesome, almost appalling to an 'outsider'" (THE APOSTOLICFAITH, vol. 1, No. 6 [February-March, 1907], p. 1).


Levi R. Lupton wrote as follows from Alliance, Ohio, in the sixth issue of THE APOSTOLIC FAITH (February-March, 1907), p. 5:
I then became perfectly helpless and for a season my entire body became cold, and I was unable to move even to the extent that I could not wink an eye for a short time. Yet, I was perfectly conscious and restful in my soul and mind. After some three hours the power of God left my body except in my shoulders and arms, which remained stiff during the entire time I was upon the floor.


Myrtle K. Shideler wrote as follows in the January, 1907 issue of THEAPOSTOLIC FAITH (p. 3):


By the time the chorus ended, the power of God was so heavy upon me. I could scarcely open my mouth, and every fibre of my being was trembling. Yet my feet felt glued to the floor and my knees stiff, so I could not sit down. I only got out a few broken sentences that I remember. (I never fainted in my life and was never unconscious, but God certainly took me out of myself.) He showed me things which there are not words enough in the English language to express. . . . I was under the power the remainder of the meeting, and for three days was as one drunken. . . . Since then, such waves of power roll over me from time to time. I can scarcely keep my feet, and I am sure if my old friends in California could see me, they would think I was indeed insane.

People came to Asuza street from all around the world, received the baptism and took it home with them. Thomas Ball Barratt came to Asmerica looking for support to build a hall for the Oslo city mission, he left with something better - the baptism (Harper p29ff for Barratt)

In 1888 he wrote in his diary "Lord baptise me fully in the Holy Ghost and with fire". In 1902 he wrote to Robert Evans a leader in the welsh revival of that time that "I want a fuller baptism of fire" and asked the welsh to pray for Norway. He never visited Asuza street but corresponded with people involved.

After being especially convicted during a sunday service he retired to his room, locked the door and prayed and fasted. Just before 5pm the fire fell, he didn't speak in tongues though - this happened a few days later. He became the apostle of the revival to Norway after resigning because of opposition from the mission, He is credited with founding the pentecostal church in Norway.

Alexander Boddy, a church of England minister became interested in the revival. He had been heavily involved in the Keswick movement - part of the Holiness movement around the Keswick conferences that still run today. He visited Barratt and then invited him to come to his church in England. The revival broke out in his church also

Again the incidents provoked opposition - Leaders of the Holiness movement attacked and condemned it

One of the Cambridge seven - Cecil Polhill received the baptism after his return from China and soon became a co leader in the movement with Boddy. By 1918 though both had lost the leadership to others. Smith Wigglesworth and Stanley Frodsham to name two. The movement was now a separate denomination shunned by all the main churches

Discussion Questions:

1) How important are signs and wonders to indicate Revival or any move of the Spirit?

2) As a church and as church leaders how should we deal with people who have a different way of expressing and demonstrating faith?

3) How should we balance the need to be open to the flow of God's Spirit in challenging our beliefs and practise with the need to be true to the orthodox faith?

4) How valid is the "remnant" theology which suggests that for any move by the Spirit, God will call the "true believers" out?

Aimee Semple McPherson Hutton

9/10/1890 - 27/9/1944


Salvation Army Begins to move into Canada
??/10/1886 Mildred (Minnie) Ona Pearce marries James Kennedy
09/10/1890 Aimee Kennedy Born
??/12/1907 Pentecostal Mission comes to town. Aimee Baptised in the Spirit
??/02/1908 Minnie won over to the Pentecostals
12/08/08 Aimee Marries Robert Semple
end 1909 Call to China
06/01/10 Begins journey to China via England
01/06/10 Arrive in Hong Kong
19/08/1910 Robert dies
17/09/1910 Birth of Roberta Semple
??/11/1910 Sails for San Francisco
mid 1911 Meets Harold Stewart McPherson
05/12/12 Married to Harold McPherson
23/03/1913 Rolf McPherson born
mid 1913 Sickness and reconsecration
??/06/1915 Left Harold to take up ministry. Harold joins her and is Baptised in the Spirit. Itinerating
early 1918 Harold strikes out on his own with no success. Harold returns to full time employment. Minnie joins Aimee
??/10/1918 Begin journey to California
??/04/1919 Becomes Assembly of God Evangelist
??/??/1921 Divorce from Harold
17/07/1921 Four Square Legend
??/06/1921 Announces Angelus Temple in Bridal Call
26/09/1921 Articles for Echo Park
01/01/22 AOGs rumble about property - Aimee breaks association.
??/08/1922 Australian Visit
01/01/23 Opens Angelus Temple
06/02/24 Started Radio Broadcasting
18/05/1926 Kidnapping???
23/06/1926 Returned
??/02/1927 New York Crusade Roberta Semple mad Vice President of Echo Park
??/05/1931 Selects David Hutton to sing in "Iron Furnace"
13/09/1931 Secret/quiet marriage to David Hutton
15/09/1931 Hazel (Myrtle) St Pierre sues David Hutton for breach of promise.
??/01/1933 Europe tour
fall 1933 Attempts Vaudeville to raise money for Angelus Fails and itinerates again
01/03/34 Divorce from Hutton
??/??/1934 Rheba Crawford signed on to fill pulpit while Aimee itinerates.
??/09/1936 Rheba Crawford fired by Knight.
??/??/1936 Giles Knight appointed as Assistant Business manager of Angelus
31/12/1938 Angelus out of debt largely due to Knights aggressive fundraising
27/09/1944 Aimee dies due to accidental Barbiturate overdose
09/10/44 Aimee lays in state in Angelus Temple

The rise of Lay Leadership: America, 1857 Prayer Meeting Revival

The second great awakening finished in around 1825 or as late as 1832 according to other sources. That revival saw a general shift in the emphasis and definition of revival. Up to the time of the second great awakening, American proponents of revival were strict calvinists. This had specific effect on their view of revival and the method or measures of revival.

Revival for them was the outpouring of God's grace, an increased measure of the Holy Spirit at work in their ministries. Just as salvation was something that they could in no way cause, so too revival was an unmerited act of God that they could in no way produce.They could preach, pray, exhort but it was the moving of the Spirit as the instrument of God's grace that penetrated the indifference of the sinner. The sinner could then approach God but God was the one that brought salvation. The very decision of the sinner to approach God and seek salvation was the grace of God in Choosing the sinner. Thus the famous doctrine of the calvinists - double predestination. Some were predestined to damnation and some to salvation. God by his grace offered the ability to choose to some and not to others.

What did this mean then -

1) the role of the preacher was to facilitate this moving of God

2) the preacher could in no way cause revival to happen.

The heart of the new measures controversy was that the new methods were designed around the belief that if the correct things were done, then revival would follow. Secondly the key to salvation was not so much what God does but getting the sinner to go through a process - coming out to the anxious seat/room etc. Pretty much in the similar shallow way in which we sometimes lead people through the sinners prayer.

Generally reading this stuff it is important to realise that there was a lot of polemic on both sides and sad to say the new measures group largely won the polemic war. Reading revival history, we tend to get the new measures viewpoint.

Pratney quotes the figure of 1000 000 converts in the second great awakening. The total number of converts has been variously quoted as anything from 300 000 to 1000 000. The total population of the US in 1861 was just under 30,000,000. This is another demonstration of the difficulty of the new measures controversy. On the one hand the extreme new measures preachers used whatever methods needed to get people to the front and then recorded them as converts. On the other hand the old school tended to completely avoid quoting any figures not only because of their theological uncertainty about any person's individual salvation but because they wished to distance themselves from those making the wild claims about numbers saved.

Another problem about this period is that because of the distortion of the new method's theology by some viewpoints revival never ceased from the beginning of the second great awakening in 1798 or 1800 to the beginning of the revival of 1857. How do you distinguish the work of God from the emotionalist, distorted, figure bound ministries of some of the new measures men

It seems clear though that there were real problems and certainly no revival after around 1830.The whole revival issue was pretty battered at this stage. The established clergy divided between the two factions but generally acceptance of the new measures was so great that rumours of the failure of the old guard in their own endeavers were spread.

It was said of Nettleton that he ceased to have any success in his ministry after he opposed Finney. This was generally believed by one faction and laughed at by the other. For the historian another big obstacle is the fact that there was no good history of the revival for a long time afterwards. J. Edwin Orr comments that "in 125 years no definitive history of the 1857-58 awakening has been written' (Murray p 332)

We look back on the events across a great distance of time, to distorted view points, distorted events and distorted figures. A full generation after the second great awakening we find the prayer meeting revival. Finney himself a leader of the new measures in the second great awakening, had barely begun his ministry when the revival was already fading. Asahel Nettleton had died in 1844 - he along with most of the most experienced of the ministers in revival were gone.

Even in the pews, most people equated revival with the antics of the new measures. Almost no memory of the more wholesome version was left. Those still preaching revival of the kind that Nettleton had were very quiet and avoided being contentious in anyway. The field belonged to the new faction

The twenty years before 1857 saw general boom times for the US. People became millionaires through speculation and other doubtful practises. There was a lot of money available to high flyers. It was a time of rapid expansion in the railroad industry - the time of the robber railroad barons.

Gold was discovered in 1848 in California starting the gold rushes that hit Australia in the 1850's which incidentally allowed the Victorian government to continue to offer startup help to the church until the 1870s - the longest of any state.

J. Edwin Orr lists five general social conditions in the ten years before the revival:

(cf pratney p141)

1) Gain, Gambling and greed: It was a time of speculation on the stock exchange. Fortunes could be made simply by manipulating the stock market. Those with money could grow the money easily. There were also great opportunities in the expanding industry of the time. Of course the cost was to the poor that in a very real sense generated the wealth of the few off their efforts. There was also a corresponding increase in violent crime. The big solution to the social problems experienced by the poor was moving to the gold fields and making it rich, however the ones who did make it rich were the store owners.


2) Occult domination. The spiritual hunger and rationalism produced a fast acceptance of spiritism.


3) Immorality. A sixties style attitude of free love was accepted by many.


4) Commercial and political corruption. Business was carried out in a corrupt manner. The dollar was everything. Anything was used to turn a profit - bribes, graft, illegal work practises, broken laws. A basis of the economy was still slavery


5) A growing rationalism including atheism and agnosticism. Man would find and provide his own answers. Man was self sufficient.

It must also be noted that immigration to the land of opportunity was going on apace. As many as 1800 immigrants arrived in New York in one day. The city was rapidly growing reaching around 800, 000 by 1858. The immigrants were in no way conducive to a continued spiritual heritage. James Waddel Alexander wrote in one sermon:

The living cargos which are poured in on us day by day. from Ireland and the European continent... are increasingly making their influence felt on our manners, our morals and our religion... We are in the midst of a gradual and silent but tremendous revolutionary movement.' (Murray p 339)

The only solution offered was that of revival:

Who can tell how far the revolutionary atheism of France might have become the established religion of America, if it had not pleased God to make our country the theatre of mighty and extensive revivals? Perhaps I address some who love to recall these awakenings as the scenes in which they were made to know Christ. Such will join in testifying that the progress of convincing and converting grace did not wait for tedious preparative of philosophic reply and formal argument, but went forth to consume at once and forever the difficulties of the sceptic and the cavils of the deist, as the flame of a conflagration reduces combustible obstacles in its rapid and blazing career. All other means together will not do so much to rid our land of antichristian scoffing, as would one general communication of power from on high. (Murray p340)

In the years prior to 1858, Alexander records a steady increase in the interest in God of his congregation. He felt his way cautiously because of the mixed picture of revival in the minds of most of his congregation. In 1856 he opened his home to those "willing to be guided about seeking salvation "and shared with over 40" (Murray p 341)

The mid week lectures that he was running were proving more and more popular. Later in the year he wrote to Hall:

"had he been prepared to 'press measures' he had no doubt they would work: 'you or I could get up a stir in one week which would fill a column of tabulated statistics'" (Murray p 341)

Of course this was not the aim. The problem was to avoid the attitudes of the new measures men and see a real work of God:

I am dreading, beyond expression, the rise of a fanatical breeze among my church members, and shall humbly endeaver to suppress rather than arouse human passions... The way I am taking would be deemed a quenching of the Spirit by sundry of my brethren. But I distrust everything in revivalism which is not common to it with the stated, continued, persistent presentation of the gospel... New measure people undertake to use instruments, and often kill the child. In spiritual as in natural travail, I suppose there must be waiting. (Murray p 341)

It is important to realise the heritage or context of this revival. Because of the new measures controversy of the thirties, much of the orthodox church was very hesitant to step out. This has no doubt much to do with the flavour of revival that God brought in 1858. The revival was based around two things that were very different from all concept of revival on both sides of the fence.

Firstly the revival was based largely around lay leadership. The ordained ministry was in many cases supportive. A key source of support for example were the many tracts written by Alexander which became the life blood of the teaching in the revival. However the center of the revival was not the churches under the control of the ordained ministry, rather the prayer meetings under the control of the laity.

Secondly, if revival is to be equated with people being saved, the place where people were being saved was in the prayer meetings and not any other meetings. Prayer meetings had been used in revival before this however, previously they were a supportive structure and not the center.

October 1857 marked the judgement of God on New York. Rising inflation and in Murrays words 'money mania' of recent years had been followed by a general financial collapse. Ten thousand workers in the city stood idle. October 14 marked 'a crisis of panic that prostrated the whole monetary system of the country, virtually in one hour. 'Like a yawning earthquake' according to Heman Humphrey 'it shook down the palaces of the rich, no less than the humble dwelling of the poor, and swallowed up their substance. Men went to bed dreaming all night of their vast hoarded treasures, and woke up in the morning hopeless bankrupts' (Murray p342)

While the collapse occured in October, Jeremiah Lanphier began his prayer meeting on the 23rd of September. It should be noted that while the collapse was yet to happen, God had slowly been moving by his spirit preparing for revival. The prayer meetings were a response to this a general increase in awareness of God. The judgement itself, the collapse of the money system, added impetus to that process as people became aware of more than their immediate goals of making money

So Jeremiah Lanphier began the prayer meeting in the Consistory building of the North Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. In the first week after waiting well after the given hour, six men attended. The next week twenty attended, and the following forty. During October the meeting moved from weekly to daily. By the new year the meeting was forced to use two rooms simultaneously to hold the number of people coming. By February a third room was needed and other meetings were springing up all over the city.

The rapid progress of events were so marked that the Daily Tribune of 10/2/1858 commented: 'soon the striking of the five bells at 12 O'clock will generally be known as the Hour of Prayer. By mid March Burton's theatre, seating 3000 was pressed into service for a prayer meeting. By April scores of buildings - printer's shops, fire stations, and police stations were in use for prayer meetings.The movement had got so large that a weekly bulletin was used to give information on locations of the meetings.

Meanwhile in Hamilton, Ontario in November they also began to experience the first fruits of revival. (Evans p29) On the 1st of December a three day convention was called by the Presbyterians to consider 'the necessity for a general revival of religion in all the churches represented and others as well'. The general call was to repentance, sanctification and consecration.(Evans p30)

As I have said the prayer meetings themselves were the place in which people were finding God. Alexander wrote:

"From the mingled motives in which religious concern has its beginnings', numbers of worldly visitors entered the doors. Conversion after conversion was reported. Men who had felt the emptiness of earthly things, and smarted under losses, came hither for consolation' (Murray 343)

On march 1st he wrote:

The tidings of revival on every side certainly tend to set people a thinking about their souls; which is a point gained. I feel it overshadowing my own mind, and opening ways of address to the careless

and on April 2

Though I have aimed to keep down and regulate the excitement among us, and have no additional service but an exhortation on Monday to such as seek instruction on points connected with conversion, I percieve such a degree of inquiry as has never met me in my ministry. The number of declared inquirers is not more than twenty five, and most of these have dates a good way back; but the feelings of communicants and the indescribable tone of assemblies, are new to me. From the start I have held myself ready to adapt measures to emerging demands; I however feel glad I have pursued the repressive method; which by the way has lost me sundry good opinions even among my own flock. Study I cannot, being run down by persons many of whom I have never met, in search of counsel. The uptown prayer meetings are very sober and edifying. I am told the general tendency in all is to increased decorum. The openness of thousands to doctrine, reproof etc, is undeniable. Our lecture is crowded undendurably - many going away. The publisher of Spurgeon's sermons says he has sold a hundred thousand. All booksellers agree, that while general trade is down, they never sold so many religious books. You may rest assured there is a great awakening among us, of which not one word gets into the papers; and there are meetings of great size, as free from irreverence as any you ever saw. I have never seen sacramental occasions more tender and still than some meetings held daily in our part of the town. The best token I have seen of revival was our meeting of Presbytery. I never was at such a one. Brethren seemed flowing together in love and reported a great increase of attention in all their churches - and this within a few days. The inquirying condition among ourselves is strange, and all but universal; God grant it may be continued or exchanged for true grace in them all. (Murray 344)

Several things about the revival are highlighted in that quote:

1) Alexander comments on his response as an ordained minister - he used the repressive method. He in no way encouraged the revival as such in his ministry. He avoided measures ie the anxious seat/room and altar calls etc. This kind of response fairly left the field open for the lay people. Although the lay people themselves acted with great restraint and in no way encouraged, or emotionalised the working of God.

2) The happenings of the revival were in a way completely unexpected and surprising. This man had preached and prayed for revival for years, however there was a sense of awe and unreality about it all in the massive way that God was working.

3) There was a general increase in the spiritual atmosphere. All of a sudden there was this increase in attention in all the churches. All of a sudden Alexander was being baled up by strangers wanting answers.This is also demonstrated in the high volumes of religious books being sold. The people didn't have any money because the collapse of the economy yet they could still purchase religious books. There is also a change not only in the results of Alexander's general ministry but the church itself was living together in greater love

The lack of attention by the media was short lived. By Spring of 1858 both the religious and the secular press were covering the revival. Figures of 50,000 conversions in New York and 200,000 across the north east of America were being reported. In 1858, New York had a population of 800,000. At time of writing Canberra has a population of just over 300,000. Equivalent figures would add 19,000 converts to the churches.

There was also much discussion on how the revival had started. Lanphier is considered the beginner of the revival. His prayer meeting was now famous, however Alexander preferred a different approach to describing God's work. He spoke of remarkable increase and 'the statistics of conversion are sometimes unsafe; where there is so much room for mistake and exageration , it may be wisest to venture no figures' (Murray p344)

In the same way instead of seeing the consistory room as the birthplace of the revival, he comments that when Lanphier 'and a few like-minded servants of God' first met:

Revival had already begun. God had already poured out the Spirit of grace and of supplications. We doubt not there was a simultaneous effusion, on other groups and in other places. Prayers long treasured up were beginning to receive copious answer; prayers, of which we have thought, may have been offered by those venerable ministers of Holland, whose portraitures still adorn the walls of the Consistory-room. It has been questioned who first conceived the project of these meetings. The problem is unprofitable; human plans looked forward to no such results; let God have the glory! (Murray p345)

Another leading minister of the time commented in the same manner. Gardiner Spring said:

This is the thought which has an effect upon this meeting and has an effect upon the church of God... We want nothing but to behold the glory of God and to see him exalted by all, and everywhere, to be happy...Look back during the past year. Who has wrought what has been done? One of my brethren inquired, 'Where has been the motive power?' His object was wise and good in making the inquiry. But I must not inquire of laymen, nor of ministers. There was a motive power above; and we shall be lifeless as mere corpses, inanimate dead remains lying dead in the grave, until the spirit of God moves. I look back over the past year, around these congregations, and there is no question so appropriately presents itself to my thoughts. Oh look at it! We love to look at the works of man, and they are interesting when they exhibit human ingenuity, invention and perseverence. But this is the work of God - oh, this wondrous work of God, for which all other works were made. (Murray p345)

This from a sermon at an aniversary meeting of the beginning of the revival. However just one short year after beginning, the revival was already fading.

Short though it was, this revival had major consequences for both society and the church, not least was the flow on to the revivals in Great Britain. The happenings in America were closely watched. The American events in turn increased the eagerness to have a revival in Britain. God in his grace poured out his spirit in Great Britain the following year.

Pratney comments that the results flowered in an increased social conscience, care for the poor and flowing on to ministries that retain today an emphasis in this area - Salvation Army, Bristol homes, Barnardos etc.

This was the time of Lord Shaftesbury the famous social reformer. It should be noted however that the very work of these and others demonstrates the failure of the revival to completely change society. If society had been truly changed then who was Shaftesbury ranting at in parliament week by week?

However at the same time, the fruits of the revival performed their own levening effect in their society. One of the big changes was the change in emphasis from ordained ministry to that of lay ministry. Just as in the sixties where the person saved yesterday from witch craft was asked to speak rather than the person who had been a christian since a toddler, now the lay minister was given precedence over the ordained.

Moody when discussing whether to become ordained with an ordained friend got the answer: 'Don't. If you are ordained you will become one of us. Now you are preaching as a layman and that gives you an advantage' (Murray p360)

This concept of lay ministry apart from an office in the church had appeared in the previous century, however this was well balanced by a strong understanding of the role of the ordained ministry. One of the reasons for ordination was to ensure adequate preparation for ministry and the correct gifting.

With the rapid expansion of revival under largely lay leadership, the role of the laity was elevated out of all proportion. Anyone and their dog could undertake the role of preacher evangelist whether prepared or not - acountability was lost.

Over against this, ordination had failed to protect the church against the ravages of the new measures men. Jeremiah Lanphier was acting as the official missioner of the North Reformed Protestant Dutch Church even as he was organising the first prayer meeting. His role or position in the church was official even while he was a layman. It must also be understood that the very real role of lay ministry was largely misunderstood by the churches of the time.

Chambers still has a point though:

Fervent exhortation and conversational appeals are of inestimable value in supplementing and carrying out the instruction of the pulpit but they cannot take its place... The usefulness of the union prayer meeting presupposes previous indoctrination of men by the ministry. Take away that groundwork for its excercises, and although feeling may be excited even to a violent pitch, it will be the rapid blaze of stubble leaving the field 'burnt over' and hopeless, whereas the excitement which is based upon truth, will last as long as the material upon which it rests. (Murray p361)

-Murray notes that both Spurgeon and Alexander shared a similar view. The expressed viewpoint demonstrates the state of siege that the old school ministers felt themselves under. Over the next fifteen years the drift continued away from doctrine, away from the traditional calvinist positions to a new school position based on experience and free will.

When the old school and new school churches reunited in 1871, John Hall commented that 'Old Calvinism was the form of doctrine most effective in producing revivals and saving men'. (Murray p362) The accepted view, though, included a calvinism that was almost armenian in matters of election and free will and leaned well toward the new measures. The prayer meeting revival can be interpreted, as indeed Murray does, as the last gasp of true Calvinism in the face of rising Revivalism. Carried on not by the ordained ministry but by the laypeople that they trained.

Discussion Questions:

1) What is the true role of ordained and lay ministry?

2) Do these distinctions have any reality in your church?

3) What is the most surprising thing about the prayer meeting revival?

4) The revival came from an unexpected place, what are our blind spots?

5) What were the challenges to both the ordained ministers and the lay leaders of the revival?



This essay was developed as a lecture and so the references are not as good as they should be. As far as I am aware the material was based on the following books:

"Revival: Principles to change the world" by Winkie Pratney (Whitaker House1983)

"Revival and Revivalism" by Iain H. Murray (The Banner of Truth Trust 1994)

"Revival comes to Wales" by Eifion Evans (Evangelical Press of Wales))

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