revival, religious

revival, religious,

renewal of attention to religious faith and service in a church or community, usually following a period of comparative inactivity and frequently marked by intense fervor. As applied to the Christian religion, the phrase belongs to modern times, dating from the 18th cent.; but such experience is described in scriptural accounts. The development of the Protestant movements in the 14th, 15th, and 16th cent. was in the nature of a series of revivals under the leadership of John WyclifWyclif, Wycliffe, Wickliffe, or Wiclif, John
, c.1328–1384, English religious reformer. A Yorkshireman by birth, Wyclif studied and taught theology and philosophy at Oxford.
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, Jan HussHuss, John
, Czech Jan Hus , 1369?–1415, Czech religious reformer. Early Life

Of peasant origin, he was born in Husinec, Bohemia (from which his name is derived). He studied theology at the Univ. of Prague, was ordained a priest c.
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, Martin LutherLuther, Martin,
1483–1546, German leader of the Protestant Reformation, b. Eisleben, Saxony, of a family of small, but free, landholders. Early Life and Spiritual Crisis

Luther was educated at the cathedral school at Eisenach and at the Univ.
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, John CalvinCalvin, John,
1509–64, French Protestant theologian of the Reformation, b. Noyon, Picardy. Early Life

Calvin early prepared for an ecclesiastical career; from 1523 to 1528 he studied in Paris.
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, Huldreich ZwingliZwingli, Huldreich or Ulrich
, 1484–1531, Swiss Protestant reformer. Education of a Reformer
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, and others. But revivals, so called, began (c.1737) in Europe with the evangelical awakening in England under John and Charles WesleyWesley, Charles,
1707–88, English Methodist preacher and hymn writer. As a student at Oxford he devoted himself to systematic study and to the regular practice of religious duties; he and companions whom he persuaded to adopt the same orderly course were taunted as
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 and George WhitefieldWhitefield, George,
1714–70, English evangelistic preacher, leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. At Oxford, which he entered in 1732, he joined the Methodist group led by John Wesley and Charles Wesley.
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. Under their direction an army of itinerant and local workers and of missionaries spread the spirit of Methodist evangelism with amazing rapidity over Great Britain, into Ireland, and across the seas. Almost simultaneously with the Methodist movement, the Great AwakeningGreat Awakening,
series of religious revivals that swept over the American colonies about the middle of the 18th cent. It resulted in doctrinal changes and influenced social and political thought. In New England it was started (1734) by the rousing preaching of Jonathan Edwards.
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 began in America; given stimulus by Whitefield, revivals were started in 1720 by Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey and in 1734 by Jonathan EdwardsEdwards, Jonathan,
1703–58, American theologian and metaphysician, b. East Windsor (then in Windsor), Conn. He was a precocious child, early interested in things scientific, intellectual, and spiritual.
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 of Massachusetts. The newer settlements in the South and West experienced a wave of religious animation characterized by emotional excitement and physical manifestations. The movement was developed c.1797 in Kentucky under the preaching of James McGreadyMcGready, James
, c.1758–1817, American Presbyterian minister and evangelist, b. Pennsylvania. His preaching (1797–99) in Logan co., Ky., began the great religious revival which in 1800 swept over the South and the West.
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. From these meetings held in the open developed the camp meetingcamp meeting,
outdoor religious meeting, usually held in the summer and lasting for several days. The camp meeting was a prominent institution of the American frontier. It originated under the preaching of James McGready in Kentucky early in the course of a religious revival (c.
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. Professional revivalists were Timothy DwightDwight, Timothy,
1752–1817, American clergyman, author, educator, b. Northampton, Mass., grad. Yale, 1769. He renounced legal for theological studies and after 1783 was pastor for 12 years of a Congregational church at Greenfield Hill, Conn.
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, grandson of Jonathan Edwards, Lyman BeecherBeecher, Lyman,
1775–1863, American Presbyterian clergyman, b. New Haven, Conn., grad. Yale, 1797. In 1799 he became pastor at East Hampton, N.Y. While serving (1810–26) in the Congregational Church at Litchfield, Conn.
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, Asahel Nettleton, and Charles Grandison FinneyFinney, Charles Grandison,
1792–1875, American evangelist, theologian, and educator, b. Warren, Conn. Licensed to the Presbyterian ministry in 1824, he had phenomenal success as a revivalist in the Eastern states, converting many who became noted abolitionists.
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. The preeminent figure in 19th cent. revivalistic history in the United States and Great Britain was Dwight L. MoodyMoody, Dwight Lyman,
1837–99, American evangelist, b. Northfield, Mass. He became successful in business in Chicago, where he settled in 1856. His activities there as a Sunday-school teacher and superintendent were so successful that in 1861 he withdrew from business to
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, who, with the singing evangelist Ira D. Sankey, moved vast audiences for more than 25 years. Revival campaigns in the postwar period, which should be distinguished from those of practitioners of faith healingfaith healing,
relief or cure of bodily ills through some religious attitude on the part of the sufferer. In the Jewish and Christian traditions prayers for cures and miracles are usual; thus the apostles developed a ritual of healing (James 5.14–16; see also miracle).
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, have been conducted by B. Fay Mills, Sam Jones, J. Wilbur Chapman, R. A. Torrey, Billy SundaySunday, Billy
(William Ashley Sunday), 1863–1935, American evangelist, b. Ames, Iowa, in the era around World War I. A professional baseball player (1883–90), he later worked for the Young Men's Christian Association in Chicago (1891–95) and, during that time,
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, Gipsy SmithSmith, Gipsy,
1860–1947, English evangelist, originally named Rodney Smith, b. Wanstead. His father, a Romani (Gypsy), was also an evangelist. When Rodney was still a youth he became a member of General Booth's Christian Mission of London, which later became the Salvation
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, Aimee Semple McPhersonMcPherson, Aimee Semple
, 1890–1944, U.S. evangelist, founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and, in the 1920s and 30s, one of the most famous women in America, b. near Ingersoll, Ont.
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, and Billy GrahamGraham, Billy
(William Franklin Graham) , 1918–2018, American evangelist, b. Charlotte, N.C., grad. Wheaton College (B.A., 1943). Graham was ordained a minister in the Southern Baptist Church (1939), was the pastor of a Chicago church (his first and last pastorate), and in
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. PentecostalismPentecostalism,
worldwide 20th–21st-century Christian movement that emphasizes the experience of Spirit baptism, generally evidenced by speaking in tongues (glossolalia).
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 in its older and newer forms is sometimes interpreteted as a continuous revival in the Church. Modern revivalism has made use of television to greatly expand its audience. Missionary efforts have sparked revivals in countries such as Korea, Indonesia, and more recently, throughout South America.


See B. A. Weisberger, They Gathered at the River (1958, repr. 1966); W. G. McLoughlin, Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform (1978); S. S. Sizer, Gospel Hymns and Social Religion (1978); E. E. Cairns, An Endless Line of Splendor (1986).

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