What To Read on Revival
Revival is the need of the hour. All true Christians long for and pray for revival. Without sweeping revival we are in very dire straits. And it is certainly true that we NEED revival far more than what we need to read about revival. But offering helpful works on revival can help us to get more of a hunger and a thirst for genuine revival.
So there is a place for offering some key titles on this subject. Indeed, there are many thousands of books which could be offered here. I will be much less ambitious, and only present a few select titles. There are of course all sorts of general books about the various great revivals and awakenings which are not included here, nor the biographies of the main players, such as Whitefield or Wesley or Edwards, etc.
What is revival?
Before proceeding, let me offer just a few definitions of revival. Stephen Olford says that revival is “the sovereign act of God, in which He restores His own backsliding people to repentance, faith and obedience.” J. I. Packer says it is “God’s quickening visitation of his people, touching their hearts and deepening his work of grace in their lives.”
“Revival,” says Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “above anything else, is a glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the restoration of him to the centre of the life of the Church.” And Richard Robert Owens describes revival “an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results.”
Speaking of Richard Owen Roberts, since I include one of his books in my list, let me say a bit more about him here. One biographical blurb says this about him:
He worked with the Billy Graham Association and Wheaton College in the formation of the Billy Graham Center Library. His own private collection of some 9,000 volumes relating to movements of religious revival provides the nucleus of the Graham Center Library. From his youth, Mr. Roberts has been a student of spiritual awakenings. He has authored, edited and/or published numerous volumes relating to revival and revivalism.
Given that his own library has 9000 volumes on revival, he is the one to turn to if you want a much larger listing. But if you want a much briefer selection, these books should be of use. I have divided them into two main sections: nearly 30 general works on revival, and then ten volumes on the incredible Welsh revivals.
Backhouse, Robert, Spurgeon on Revival. Kingsway, 1996.
Davies, R.E., I Will Pour Out My Spirit. Monarch, 1992.
Dixon, Patrick, Signs of Revival. Kingsway, 1994.
Drummond, Lewis, Eight Keys to Biblical Revival. Bethany House, 1994.
Duewel, Wesley, Revival Fire. Zondervan, 1995.
Edwards, Brian, Revival: A People Saturated With God. Evangelical Press, 1990.
Finney, Charles, Lectures on Revival. 1835.
Hansen, Collin and John Woodbridge, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir. Zondervan, 2010.
Hill, Stephen, Time to Weep. Creation House, 1997.
Kaiser, Walter, Revive Us Again. Christian Focus, 2001.
Lloyd-Jones, Martyn, Revival. Crossway, 1987.
Murray, Iain, Pentecost Today? The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival. Banner of Truth, 1998.
Murray, Iain, Revival and Revivalism. Banner of Truth, 1994.
Orr, J. Edwin, The Eager Feet. Moody, 1975.
Orr, J. Edwin, The Flaming Tongue. Moody, 1973.
Orr, J. Edwin, Full Surrender. Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1951.
Orr, J. Edwin, The Second Evangelical Awakening. Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1949.
Pratney, Winkie, Revival: Its Principles and Personalities. Huntington House, 1994.
Ravenhill, Leonard, Revival God’s Way. Bethany House, 1983.
Ravenhill, Leonard, Revival Praying. Bethany House, 1962, 2005.
Ravenhill, Leonard, Why Revival Tarries. Bethany House, 1959.
Roberts, Richard Owen, Revival. Tyndale, 1982.
Smith, Timothy, Revivalism and Social Reform. Abingdon, 1957.
Stibbe, Mark, Revival. Monarch, 1998.
Turnbull, Richard, Reviving the Heart: The Story of the 18th Century Revival. Lion, 2012.
Warner, Rob, Prepare for Revival. Hodder & Stoughton, 1995.
Whittaker, Colin, Great Revivals. Marshalls, 1984.
Wright, Fred and Sharon, The World’s Greatest Revivals. Destiny Image, 2007.
The Welsh Revivals (of 1859 and 1904-05)
Evans, Eifion, Revival Comes to Wales . Evangelical Press of Wales, 1959.
Evans, Eifion, The Welsh Revival of 1904. Evangelical Press of Wales, 1969.
Gibbard, Noel, Fire on the Altar: A History and Evaluation of the 1904-1905 Revival. Bryntirion Press, 2005.
Jones, Brynmor, Voices from the Welsh Revival 1904-1905. Evangelical Press of Wales, 1995.
Matthews, David, I Saw the Welsh Revival. Moody Press, 1951.
Paisley, Ian, The 59 Revival. Martyr’s Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, 1958.
Phillips, Thomas, The Welsh Revival . Banner of Truth Trust, 1860, 1989.
Railton, Nicholas, Revival on the Causeway Coast. Christian Focus, 2009.
Randall, Ian, Rhythms of Revival: The Spiritual Awakening of 1857-1863. Authentic Media, 2010.
Roberts, Richard Owen, Glory Filled the land: A Trilogy on the Welsh Revival (1904-1905) [H. Elvet Lewis, C. Campbell Morgan, I.V. Neprash]. International Awakening Press, 1989.
From these books – and others – there are plenty of great quotes that can be gleaned. Here are some good ones:
“A revival does two things. First, it returns the Church from her backsliding and second, it causes the conversion of men and women; and it always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the Church. What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today!” Billy Sunday
A critic told Billy Sunday that revivals do not last. He replied: “Neither does a bath, but it’s good to have one once in a while.”
“If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God. If we want conversions, we must put more of God’s Word into our sermons.” Charles Spurgeon
“There never has been a spiritual revival which did not begin with an acute sense of sin. We are never prepared for a spiritual advance until we see the necessity of getting rid of that which has been hindering it, and that, in the sight of God, is sin.” W. Graham Scroggie
“If you want revival, let me remind you that God only plants the seed of His life in soil which has been broken up by repentance.” Alan Redpath
“If revival is being withheld from us it is because some idol remains still enthroned; because we still insist in placing our reliance in human schemes; because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that ‘It is not by might, but by My Spirit.” Jonathan Goforth
“In the Irish Revival of 1859, people became so weak that they could not get back to their homes. Men and women would fall by the wayside and would be found hours later pleading with God to save their souls. They felt that they were slipping into hell and that nothing else in life mattered but to get right with God… To them eternity meant everything. Nothing else was of any consequence. They felt that if God did not have mercy on them and save them, they were doomed for all time to come.” Oswald Smith
“One morning, a number of young women in a spinning mill were seriously overcome. Anxiety spread among the workers and, within an hour, twenty to thirty persons were prostrated. The business was so interfered with that the mill had to be closed.” Mark Stibbe, describing the 1859 Ulster revival
“Study the history of revival. God has always sent revival in the darkest days. Oh, for a mighty, sweeping revival today!” Adrian Rogers
“Nothing is more profitable than the reading of the history of revivals. You will find that sometimes revival has come after a group of people, perhaps a mere handful, who were almost breaking their hearts because of the state of religion in their church, and because of the deadness and lifelessness of their church, met together to pray God to intervene.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Revival will come to us and within us when we really want it, when we pay the price.” A. W. Tozer
“The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it!” Leonard Ravenhill
7 Replies to “What To Read on Revival”
I have been endlessly impressed with the depth of insight of Andrew Murray’s ‘The Spirit of Christ’, looking at the realities of the indwelling Holy Spirit in believers. I found his observations quite profound in evaluating what it would really take for the church to drive back the spirit of the world, and see deep conviction brought into many hearts – both inside the church and outside it.
For residents in this part of the world accounts of revival in foreign parts often seem remote so it is desirable to ground oneself in our culture and experience. One who has done us a great service in our area is Uniting Church minister Rev’d Robert Evans OAM MA who has published numerous volumes such as:
Evangelical Revivals in New Zealand, with Roy McKenzie, 1999
Early Evangelical Revivals in Australia, (up to 1880) 2000.
Evangelism and Revivals in Australia 1880-1914, 2005.
He did other work as well such as ‘Fire from Heaven’ Revivals in Upstate New York 1800-1840. 2005.
For more recent revival in Australia one should seek the works on the well known Galiwinku (Elco Island) Arnhem Land revival commencing in March 1979. Commencing at the Uniting Church at Galiwinku it spread to Anglicans at Roper River and even to the Western Desert in Western Australia. Wales, of long ago, may be of great interest but understanding local revival while the participants are still with us seems vital. How it came, how long did it last, and what were the lasting effects.
I have always been impressed with the great prayer revival in the USA from about 1857 to 1859. Men and women would go to church to pray even during work and from my limited knowledge it spread throughout the USA and to other parts of the world. A true move of the Holy Spirit in the heats of men and women.
The thing about the timing was that in a very short time in the USA that the Civil War broke out.
Travis McHarg rightly points to the Australian Revival among the Aboriginal people on Elcho Island. Max Hart’s book is an important one. It can be downloaded and freely shared here:
Also the story of what happened at Wudinna in SA is worth a read:
One should also read ‘A Quiet Revival’ by Martin Bleby (free download).
And Geoffrey Bingham’s Teaching (again a free download):
Thanks Bill for reminding us of this essential matter in the life of the church, and of nations.
I had the privilege of attending a Melbourne meeting in, I think, 1979 – led by Dr. J. Edwin Orr. He had also spoken earlier that day at the Bible College of Victoria (now known as Melbourne School of Theology) where I was studying at the time. This was at the same time that we at BCV were having a ‘mini revival’ on our own. I remember how one day, students and staff together, we were all on our knees in the presence of God, repenting of our sin and lukewarmness. I bought Dr. Orr’s book ‘The Flaming Tongue’ at that time. It is an amazing account of revivals that have occurred throughout the world, which you mention above, Bill. Dr. Orr died unexpectedly only a few years later (22 April, 1987) at the age of 73.
Wow, great stuff Ann. I moved to Australia in 1989 and for some years taught at BCV. I never met Orr, but his ministry and historical research were amazing.