The Sixth Worldwide Awakening of 1904 - The Welsh Revival

The Welsh RevivalThe early years of the 20th century witnessed a number of revivals around the world.

It is impossible to understand these revivals apart from their roots in the Holiness Movement which had developed in the late 19th century. Of course, the issue of 'holiness' was not new. John Wesley advocated 'entire sanctification' and 'Christian perfectionism' in his 'Plain Account of Christian Perfection.' The idea that 'sanctification' could be instantaneously experienced subsequent to conversion was a Wesleyan norm. Testimonies to 'experiences of sanctification,' abounded during the 19th century.

For example, James Caughey's book entitled 'Methodism in Earnest' is subtitled '...being the history of a great revival in Great Britain; in which 20,000 souls professed faith in Christ, and ten thousand professed sanctification, in about six years, in association with the labours of Rev. James Caughey....' Phoebe Palmer regularly held meetings for the promotion of holiness and was the first to use the phrase 'baptism of the Holy Spirit' to describe the experience of 'entire sanctification.'

Charles Finney also embraced the Wesleyan doctrine of sanctification and his Oberlin presidency successor, Asa Mahan, begin to teach the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a baptism of holiness. The Holiness Movement was nurtured and matured by a variety of ministries so that, by the turn of the century, America (especially) was awash with hundreds of holiness groups.

During 1893 and 1900, twenty-three new denominations arose out of this movement. A passion for more power, more holiness, more evangelistic success and a greater outpouring of the Spirit took a hold of the church. This was the background of the Evangelical and Pentecostal revival movements of the early 20th century.

In 1900 a revival broke out among South African Boer soldiers, who had been captured by the British and transported to various British colonies. At the conclusion of the war, in 1902, they returned to South Africa and the revival returned with them. Gypsy Smith reaped a great harvest there in 1904.

In Japan, during 1900, the church doubled in size as revival swept through many ailing churches. In 1902, Torrey and Alexander conducted meetings in Melbourne, Australia, resulting in over 8,000 converts. This news spread like wild fire, igniting a passion for prayer and a fresh expectation for God to work in similar ways everywhere. In 1904, Torrey and Alexandra were in Cardiff, Wales and, in the light of a minimal response to the Gospel, they called for a day of prayer and fasting. Suddenly things changed dramatically and thousands were converted during the next 12 months.

On the day of prayer and fasting (according to Torrey) Evan Roberts received an anointing of the Holy Spirit with great power, in a meeting conducted by Seth Joshua. Here the Welsh Revival began. It was Sept 22nd 1904. However, the roots of the revival went back further. Young Evan Roberts had been praying for revival and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit for 11 years. Through a vision he received, Roberts believed that God was going to win 100,000 souls. In response to a further vision, he returned home in Loughor from Newcastle Emlyn where he had been enrolled in a Bible College. During his first few meetings the heavens opened. God's presence seemed to fill the air. Many were prostrated with conviction, others cried for mercy and many were so filled with the Spirit they pleaded with the Lord to stay His hand. Soon the revival spread to other places in South Wales.

Teams of young people assisted preachers like Roberts, Sydney Evans, Seth Joshua, Joseph Jenkins and R. B. Jones. The revival then took hold in North Wales. Within six months 100,000 had come to Christ! The Welsh Revival was soon the main topic of conversation throughout the Christian world. Wherever the news went it seemed to cause passionate prayer and began to ignite revival fires everywhere. Christians across Great Britain turned to prayer and church membership increased throughout the land.

In Scandinavia a current revival was fanned into a mighty blaze, as a result of the Welsh Revival. Germany was similarly affected as the flame spread across Europe. Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, the Balkans and Russia experienced awakenings. The United States felt the after-shock of the Welsh Revival in almost every place. Prayer, conviction and conversion spontaneously occurred, resulting in unusual church growth.In 1906 the modern Pentecostal Movement was born in Azusa Street, in Los Angeles, after a succession of local revivals through 1905. News of the Welsh Revival encouraged more prayer and suddenly the Holy Spirit descended. Daily meetings were held for the next three years. Visitors flocked there to catch the power of the Spirit and they were not disappointed.

No one could have imagined that this was the beginning of the greatest and most effective missionary movement that the world had ever seen. It marked the birth of Pentecostalism, once called 'the third force in Christendom.' Some would argue that, 100 years later, it has grown into the largest and most powerful force of all Christendom.

Almost no country in the world was excluded from the effects of this incredible revival. Almost every nation, on each continent, received new power from heaven, a new passion for prayer and for the lost. Hundreds of thousands came to the Lord.

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  • Awstin, Western Mail Open or Close
    The Religious Revival in Wales

    The "Western Mail," a popular newspaper during the Welsh Revival, assigned various reporters to chronicle its progress each day. The principle reporter was Mr. T. Davies, commonly known by his pen name ‘Awstin.’

    These reporters were eyewitnesses and were generally very sympathetic to the movement. Their articles were collected into six 32-page pamphlets of which this is the first.

  • Dyer, Helen Open or Close

    Pandita Ramabai & the Great Revival at Mukti, India

    This is a brief but thrilling account of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which occurred in India in 1905.

    It was sparked by news of the Revival in Wales and another outbreak of Divine power in the Khassia Hills in Assam.

    Hundreds met for daily prayer until the fires of Revival swept throughout the Mukti mission

  • Ellis, Robert Open or Close

    Living Echoes of the Welsh Revival

    This book contains some vivid pen sketches of seven of the principal leaders that were used during the Welsh Revival including Evan Roberts, Joseph Jenkins, R. B. Jones, W. W. Lewis, Seth Joshua, W. S. Jones and Keri Evans 

    A helpful, if small, contribution to the revival literature of the period.

  • Garrard, Mary N. Open or Close
    Mrs Penn-Lewis and the Welsh Revival

    Jessie Penn-Lewis was a major chronicler of the Welsh revival. She wrote an article each week in the "The Life of Faith," tracing the course of the spiritual movement first throughout Wales, and then through many lands and many individuals.

  • Goodrich, Arthur Open or Close

    The Story of the Welsh Revival

    In this book we are taken to the heart of the Welsh Revival through a variety of eyewitness reports penned by some well-known ministers and writers of the day.

    It includes a sketch of Evan Roberts and his ‘Message to the World.’

    Published in 1905 these pages helped fan the flame of authentic revival to many other locations around the globe.

  • Hughes, G. Open or Close
    Evan Roberts, Revivalist

    It was Wednesday 29th March, 1905 that Evan Roberts began his only mission outside of Wales, in the city of Liverpool, where scores of thousands of Welsh people lived. He laboured there almost three weeks and it is estimated that 750 converts joined the churches as a result of his ministry.  Each evening of the campaign Gwylim Hughes hurriedly wrote a short sketch of his observations of the meetings and telegraphed them to the South Wales Daily News, 170 miles away. This book is comprised of these eighteen vibrant and first-hand sketches.

  • Jones, R. B. Open or Close

    Rent Heavens

    This book is a very popular and stirring account of the Welsh Revival that occurred in Wales in 1904-5.  It's subtitle reveals its contents: 'Some of its Hidden Springs and Prominent Results'. It was written by R.B. Jones, Principal of South Wales Bible Training Institute, Porth, Wales, where the book was first published in 1931.

  • Lewis, Howell Elvet Open or Close
    With Christ Among the Miners

    Written in 1906 this volume provides a series of impressions and incidences that occurred during the Welsh Revival. Though it is historically accurate it is more devotional in its aim, seeking to inspire as well as to educate. An enjoyable and helpful book.

  • Matthews, David Open or Close
    I Saw the Welsh Revival

    This was a very popular introduction to the Welsh Revival for many years, though currently out of print.

    It is the based on a lecture given by the author on three continents and claims to be a simple, unvarnished report form someone ‘fully conversant with all its facts.’

    An excellent and insightful look at the most productive revival of Christian history.

  • Morgan, J. Vyrnwy Open or Close
    The Welsh Religious Revival, 1904-5

    Written in 1909 this book claims to be a more critical and scholarly work than any others published before it, a claim which is well substantiated by its contents. Indiscriminate enthusiasts will baulk at some of the authors comments and conclusions, but any authentic work of God can stand the scrutiny of analysis and observation which is conducted in a spiritual and constructive manner. In fact, any real work of the Holy Spirit is quite unaffected, even by an antagonistic and sometimes aggressive critic.

  • Penn-Lewis, Jessie Open or Close
    The Awakening in Wales

    Jessie Penn-Lewis was a major chronicler of the Welsh revival. She wrote an article each week in the "The Life of Faith," tracing the course of the spiritual movement first throughout Wales, and then through many lands and many individuals. The entire 'Life of Faith' for 1905 is available in the shop

    This particular book remains a favourite introduction to the Welsh Revival.

  • Evan, Roberts Open or Close
    Evan Roberts

    This was the most extensive biography written about Evan Roberts until Brynmor Pierce-Jones produced ‘An Instrument of Revival’ in 1995. Nevertheless, there is nothing quite like this comprehensive 542-page appraisal of Evan Roberts life and ministry, written by a keen supporter and admirer of the Revivalist. Daniel M. Phillips, a minister himself and often a companion of Evan Roberts on many of his journeys, produced this elaborate and often grandiose view of the young missioner, with such zeal that many will consider it an embellished overstatement. However, it has always been the standard work on Evan Roberts and it is essential reading for serious students today.

  • Pugh, E. Cynolwyn Open or Close
    The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905

    This booklet was reprinted from THEOLOGY TODAY, Vol. XII, No. 2, July 1955.

    It was written to coincide with the Jubilee of the mighty Revival of 1904-5.

  • Rees, J. Tudor Open or Close
    Evan Roberts - His Life and Work

    We know little of the author of this work, except that he authored this work, which is the first of a six-part series. The copy we have was taken from a photocopied article in the Sunday Companion. The date is unknown.

    This lively account was penned in 1905 when the revival was still powerfully affecting the Principality, making it a very lively account.

  • Rees, T. Mardy Open or Close
    Seth and Frank Joshua

    These two mighty evangelists played a great part in the spiritual formation of Evan Roberts, as well as in the preparation of the Principality of Wales before the outbreak of Revival in November, 1904. 

    They were itinerant evangelists who held effective missions throughout Wales and beyond her borders, before and after the great Revival. 

    Seth Joshua is best know for his direct influence on Evan Roberts at  Newcastle-Emlyn in September, 1904.

  • Roberts, Mrs John Open or Close
    The Revival in the Khasia Hills

    Church leaders in Khasia, India, had long been concerned about nominalism in the churches and missions and many had given themselves to prayer for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit in the years that preceded the revival of 1905.

    On the first day of 1904 the words ‘This will be a year of the right hand of the Most High’ came into the mind of Ellen Hughes. Many others witnessed such sentiments throughout the year and in December 1904, when news of the Welsh Revival began to break prayer meetings reached a ‘red-hot stage.’

    Then the revival wave crashed on the shores of India.

  • S. B. Shaw Open or Close
    The Great Revival in Wales

    The author gathered together various authentic reports that were written in the early months of the Welsh Revival with the express purpose of stirring up Christians to increased faith and prayer.

    Along with all the other popular accounts, S. B. Shaw succeeded in his task and set the world aflame with a holy desire to seek more of God.

  • W.T. Stead Open or Close
    The Coming Revival

    W. T. Stead (1849-1912) was a well-known journalist and editor who supported several major social causes, including education for all, women’s right’s, the curse of child prostitution, the repeal of oppressive government legislation together with organisations like the Salvation Army.

    This particular pamphlet introduces his thoughts on the Welsh Revival which he personally observed, and includes thoughts on the Torrey and Alexander mission to Liverpool in November 1904. He also includes a chapter on Gypsy Smith, the evangelist.

  • W. T. Stead Open or Close
    The Revival in the West

    W. T. Stead (1849-1912) "I am a child of the Revival of 1859-60.  I have witnessed the Revival in South Wales, and it is borne in upon me that I must testify as to what I have seen and know. . . . .  I cannot keep silent. 

    Woe is me if I bear not my testimony, and bear it now!  For never is it so true as in times of Revival that Now is the accepted time.  Now is the day of salvation."

    W. T. Stead was obviously moved by his personal knowledge of the Revival and he used his name and his position as editor of the Pall Mall Gazette to propagate the movement. This is his most definitive work on the revival, which includes a chapter on Evan Roberts.

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