Thursday, 16 January 2014

Towards Another Great Awakening: J Edwin Orr on the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 and Some Anglican Connections


Listening again to J Edwin Orr, revival historian, in a talk entitled, “Welsh Revival: Facts and Fallacies.” I continue to be intrigued (encouraged, hopeful?) by how the Anglican Church was affected by such great movements of the Holy Spirit. For example:
Handley Moule was the Bishop of Durham. He wrote a prayer that was pasted into every prayer book of the Church of England: 
Revive, O Lord, we humbly beseech thee, the work of Thy saving grace in the Church universal, in our Church of England, in our diocese, in this parish wherein we dwell and in our own hearts; to the conviction and conversion of forgetful souls, to the quickening of thy true disciples in life and witness, and to the glory of Thy Holy Name, through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 
I'm going to start praying that for "our Anglican Church of Canada," my diocese, parish and our hearts, too. It's what we need.

Orr goes on to describe how some Anglican bishops of the time responded to what was going on:
Thirty bishops of the Church of England met together to discuss what should be the attitude of the Church of England to the revival. The first speaker, a bishop, said, “Fathers and brethren, I’ve just come from Shropshire, where in a single parish church, I confirmed 950 new converts. The bishops voted for the revival.
I'm glad to hear it.  I wonder if the results would be the same today.

I love stories like this:
The Bishop of London was a high churchman but according the record it said he laid aside his mitre, cope and staff, and started holding evangelistic missions in London starting in Lancaster Gate with 2,000 people.
In response to a question, Orr also spoke of the earlier state of the society in the United States after the American Revolution and before the French Revolution:
The Lutherans were so badly off they discussed amalgamating with the Episcopalians to try and prop each other up. The Episcopal Church in the States was so moribund, that Samuel Provost, the Bishop of New York, quit functioning because he had confirmed no one for years. He decided to look for other work. 
I am uncomfortably reminded of how the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are trying to work together these days. The language is "missional" and there's always some good in Christians working towards unity, but mutual propping-up of their "progressive" agendas is the reality, I fear. A real concern for people coming to old-fashioned saving faith in Jesus is either missing or buried so deeply that it would be little more than the unintended consequence of an afterthought.

Listen to Orr's whole talk here. It is one of a wonderful collection of his talks and writings here.