The Evangelical Awakening

David Hempton, one of Ireland’s (and America’s) finest historians of all things evangelical, most notably its Wesleyan/Methodist axis, observes two features of the great evangelical awakening:

First, that it was “largely a generational movement of young people.”

Second, “… most surveys have shown that the majority of the rank-and-file was female. … One does not have to burrow very deeply into the archives of Evangelical awakenings to detect the ubiquitous influence of ‘pious women’ over siblings, husbands, children, parents and friends. Female piety was the lubricant of revival.”

From The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century, 149.

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  • This is certainly true for the Methodist revival and the Holiness movement in the 19th Century.

  • Jerry

    Yes, Phoebe Palmer was one of the leading figures in 19 C American Christianity.

  • Percival

    Jerry! You beat me to it. I was going to mention Phoebe Palmer. She exemplifies Junia’s apostleship in the 19th century. Not only for the US but for the UK as well.

  • What calumny! David Hempton one of America’s finest historians? He comes from my home town in Northern Ireland.

  • scotmcknight

    Ach, Patrick, I’m mistaken. Having never heard the bloke speak I assumed his teaching posts here made him one of us, but — alas — he’s Irish (too). Duly corrected.

  • glad to be of service 😉

  • DerekMc

    His book “Empire of the Spirit” is excellent.

  • Krister S

    These women of the 18th century must have contributed to the “masculine feel” of the Church.

  • P.

    It should have been more “masculine.” (Insert eye roll)

  • I am currently wrassling my way thru Arminian Theology by Roger Olson. Olson has to be one of the top ten most irenic and fair-minded people on the planet. This is my first venture into Arminianism other than the Armchair tour of John Wesley. I’m not doing as well with it as I expected.

    I should wait until I finish the book but by that time this topic will be archival. So far I am finding that Olson seems, most surprisingly, to be talking out of both sides of his mouth, which puts him into good company with Luther, Calvin, and their mentor, Augustine. In my opinion.

    According to Olson, so far, this may change, Arminianism is not all that different from Calvinism, or more properly, Reformationism. The principal point of disagreement seems to concern the degree of participation involved on the human side in the cosmic healing process.

    I learned two new words so far, synergism and monergism. To cut to the chase, that means either you cooperate with God in your salvation or it is all done for you, served up on a plate. For those who aren’t following this, we are talking about free will.

    In my opinion, free will is not quite at the center of the search for Truth, but it isn’t far off. There are other opinions. Free will seems to be at the center of much debate both within and without the church. It seems to divide people into two basic categories.

    Free will is intimately associated with Christian revival and the “decision” or “choice” to accept Jesus as Messiah, Lord, and Savior. It chooses sides on infant baptism vs adult, or at least age of responsibility. My limited foray into Papa Barth leads me to believe that he spent his whole life in service to Papa Calvin and discovered he had free will and stopped writing out of discombobulation.

    In my opinion, most five year olds fully understand that they have free will and the only people who dispute this are certain philosophers and theologians.

  • Ana Mullan

    That is very interesting. I have a little bit of contact with the 30 somethings of Dublin within evangelical circles, and there is what I would say a “Holy Discontentment” among them, so I pray that it will be channelized into revival!
    As a woman it gives me hope to know that other women in the past brought changes into their midst. It is wonderful.