Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Contemporary Observer's Scriptural Iniquiry into the 1859 "Revival"

In my continuing analysis of the bizarre, unbiblical, and antichristian phenomena of neo-pentecostalism, fake charismaticism, unscriptural revivalism, carnal enthusiasm, and false spirituality, I've been reading a book by the Rev. William Hamilton, written around 1859 about that much-lauded "Irish Revival" which started in Kells.

While I am sure that I could find a few disagreements about certain particulars mentioned by the author (as in fact, Rev. Stewart of the CPRC also says in his foreward to the book), his work in this book is of great value in correctly diagnosing the current fanatical insanity we can observe not only in explicitly Pentecostal and Charismatic circles - but increasingly and almost ubiquitously in traditionally faithful denominations. Many who claim to be scriptural and even Reformed devote an inordinate amount of time and effort into promoting and encouraging revivalism, and in particular for this island, the Revival of 1859 in Kells.

Rev. Hamilton's book, "An Iniquiry into the Scriptural Character of the Revival of 1859" makes it very plain that such an attitude is wholly misplaced, as he lays bare the genuine characteristics of the 1859 Revival - and by extension, all revivalism - and reveals their sinister nature in the light of the very foundational truths of Scripture regarding salvation, the church, preaching, pastors and teachers, and much more.

I leave you with this quote, and counsel you fervently to read the book, and to afford all such phenomena a similar attitude of always first bringing it to the test of Scripture in which the Holy Spirit reveals His will:

"... it is the supernatural that is relied upon in their favour. We must, therefore, pause a little to shew the unscriptural nature of their position and conduct as manifested in this Revival. Look at it.

"Men and women, boys and girls of every description, many of them, according to their own statements, of the worst character, and as ignorant as they were immoral, and yet they become, in a few days or weeks - in some instances in a few hours - the teachers and leaders in the largest religious assemblies, and little, if any good, can be attained without them; and woe to the minister who will not approve of them, encourage them, nor employ them. It is no imaginary evil, no shadowy phantom, that he is called upon to encounter.

"The first thought that arises in the mind is, will the next generation believe that such a state of things existed in the year 1859? Very likely it will be recorded as a gracious Revival; but we leave the future to the future; we are in the midst of these sad realities, and it is our duty to deal with them." (pp. 142-143)
I hope that you will take the opportunity to purchase the book and study it closely. Again find the book here:

- Sam W.

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