The Lewis Revival 1

Lewis-Harris

I recently read a short booklet entitled “The Lewis Awakening”, written by Duncan Campbell in 1954. The book traces the remarkable story of revival coming to the small island of Lewis, between 1949 – 1953. Lewis is part of the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland.

Campbell dedicates Chapter 2 to describing how the revival began. Below is an excerpt.
(emphasis & formatting are mine)

Defining Revival

“I would like first to state what I mean by revival as witnessed in the Hebrides:

  • I do not mean a time of religious entertainment, with crowds gathering to enjoy an evening of bright gospel singing;
  • I do not mean sensational or spectacular advertising – in a God-sent revival you do not need to spend money on advertising.
  • I do not mean high-pressure methods to get men to an inquiry room – in revival every service is an inquiry room; the road and hill side become sacred spots to many when the winds of God blow.

Revival is a going of God among His people, and an awareness of God laying hold of the community.

Here we see the difference between a successful campaign and revival; in the former we may see many brough to a saving knowledge of the truth, and the church or mission experience a time of quickening, but so far as the town or district is concerned no real change is visible; the world goes on its way and the dance and picture-shows are still crowded: but in revival the fear of God lays hold upon the community, moving men and women, who until then had no concern for spiritual things, to see after God. ” (pp.14-15)

A Word of Caution

  1. While it could seem harsh for Campbell to draw the comparison between “a successful campaign” and “revival”, let’s be careful to not over-emphasize that distinction. Both have value and both serve a purpose; Campbell is, first and foremost, describing the way things happened in Lewis, where there were none of the elements of the “successful campaign”… no flyers printed, posters hung, or high-pressure.
  2. He states that “in a God-sent revival you do not need to spend money on advertising.”  Once again, let’s remember:
      1. the context – which is rural Scotland in the 1950’s and
      2. that the author is speaking descriptively, not prescriptively.

Inspired for Real Change

  • Lord, let it be so in our communities today!
  • Let us, in our lifetime, experience such revival as was seen in Lewis.
  • Let us see it in France.

Next…

Come back on Saturday when I’ll share the role that prayer played in the Lewis Awakening, according to Duncan Campbell.

One response

  1. Pingback: April in Review « AIM Long

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