Mid-twentieth Century Revivals:
Healing Evangelism Revivals
Following the devastation and deaths of World War II, 1939-1945, including the genocide of six million Jews, revival again exploded across the world. Jews returned to their homeland with the State of Israel proclaimed in 1948. Healing evangelism spread worldwide, in spite of resistance and opposition from many traditional churches. Revival spilled out from the churches into the community bringing to birth many revival movements and independent networks.
1946 – June: North America (Healing Evangelists)
1948 – February: Saskatchewan, Canada (Sharon Schools)
1949 – October: Hebrides Islands, Scotland (Duncan Campbell)
1951 – June: City Bell, Argentina (Edward Miller)
1954 – April: Nagaland, India (Rikum)
1960 – April: Van Nuys, North America (Dennis Bennett)
1960 – May: Darjeeling, India (David Mangratee)
1962 – August: Santo, Vanuatu (Paul Grant)
1965 – September: Soe, Timor (Nahor Leo)
1967 – February: Pittsburgh (Catholic Charismatic Renewal)
1968 – July: Brisbane, Australia (Clark Taylor)
1970 – February: Wilmore, Kentucky (Asbury College)
1970 – July: Solomon Islands (Muri Thompson)
1971 – October: Saskatoon, Canada (Bill McLeod)
1973 – September: Enga District, Papua New Guinea
1973 – September: Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Todd Burke)
1946 – June: North America (Healing Evangelism)
Following World War II, especially in 1947-48 significant ministries in healing and evangelism emerged in America, led by people who later had worldwide impact. These included William Branham, Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and T. L. and Daisy Osborn.
William Branham (1909-1965) began his full time healing evangelism ministry in St Louis, Missouri in June, 1946. “Branham’s sensational healing services, which began in 1946, are well documented and he was the pacesetter for those who followed.” Historians mark his full time ministry as inaugurating the healing evangelism revival of the mid-twentieth century. Branham reported that on Tuesday, May 7, 1946, an angel spoke to him saying, “Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the people of the world. If you will be sincere, and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer.” He became renowned for accurate words of knowledge and amazing healings.
On Sunday, April 27, 1947, when Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976) began a teaching series on the Holy Spirit in Franklin, Pennsylvania a woman in the audience was healed of a tumour, and testified about it the following night. That marked the beginning of Kathryn Kuhlman’s thirty years of incredible healing evangelism. Based at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1948 she held regular services in Carnegie Hall and the First Presbyterian Church, developed a daily radio ministry, and produced over 500 telecasts for the CBS network. For ten years she regularly filled the 7,000 seating Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles at her monthly miracle services there.
On Wednesday, May 14, 1947, following seven months of intensive prayer including fasting, Oral Roberts (1918-2009) received direction from God about beginning his now famous healing evangelistic ministry. He had himself been healed through prayer at 17 after being bed ridden with tuberculosis for five months. From 1948 he used a tent seating 2,000 people and from 1953 he had a tent seating 12,500. By 1956 his monthly magazine Abundant Life had a circulation of over a million. In 1965 he opened a college which later became Oral Roberts University now with 4,500 students. By the eighties 15 million copies of his books had been sold, and thousands of people continue the healing and evangelistic ministry he began.
On Tuesday, June 24, 1947, Henrietta Mears, Christian Education Director at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, spoke at a teachers and leaders conference at Forest Home in the nearby mountains. A group of young leaders including the newly converted Bill Bright (later founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) met late that night for prayer with Henrietta Mears, confessing sin with much weeping and crying out to God. “Then, the fire fell. However it can be explained, God answered their prayer with a vision. They saw before them the college campuses of the world teeming with unsaved students, who held in their hands the power to change the world. The college campuses – they were the key to world leadership, to world revival” . Annual College Briefing Conferences were then held at Forest Home. Billy Graham (1918-) and Edwin Orr (1912-1987) spoke at the 1949 conference there, where Billy Graham also experienced a deep infilling of the Holy Spirit as the presence of God engulfed him while he prayed alone on a mountain. His Los Angeles crusade later that year attracted wide press coverage and launched him into an international ministry.
In July, 1947, Tommy (1923-2013) and Daisy Osborn (1924-1995), Pentecostal pastors in Oregon, were deeply moved at a camp meeting by a message on seeing Jesus. They had returned to America after an unsuccessful time as missionaries in India in 1945-46 where sickness plagued them. Following the Oregon meeting T. L. Osborn wrote:
“The next morning at six o’clock, I was awakened by a vision of Jesus Christ as he came into our room. I looked upon him. I saw Him like I see anyone. No tongue can tell of His splendour and beauty. No language can express the magnificence and power of His person.
“I lay there as one that was dead, unable to move a finger or toe, awe-stricken by His presence. Water poured from my eyes, though I was not conscious of weeping, so mighty was His presence.
“Of all I had heard and read about Him, the half had never been told me. His hands were beautiful; they seemed to vibrate with creative ability. His eyes were as streams of love, pouring forth into my innermost being. His feet, standing amidst clouds of transparent glory, seemed to be as pillars of justice and integrity. His robes were white as the light. His presence, enhanced with love and power, drew me to Him.
“After perhaps thirty minutes of utter helplessness, I was able to get out of bed to the floor, where I crawled into my little study and lay on my face on the floor in full surrender of my entire life to Him whom I had come to know as LORD.
“I lay there on my face until the afternoon. When I came out of that room, I was a new man. Jesus had become the Master of my life. I knew the truth; He is alive; He is more than a dead religion.
“My life was changed. I would never be the same. Old traditional values began to fade away, and I felt impressed daily by a new and increasing sense of reverence and serenity. Everything was different. I wanted to please Him. That is all that mattered since that unforgettable morning.”
In September, 1947, the Osborns attended a meeting where William Branham healed the sick and cast out demons, including deliverance of a deaf-mute girl who then heard and spoke perfectly. T. L. Osborn reported:
“When I witnessed that and many other miracles, there seemed to be a thousand voices whirling over my head, saying over and over, ‘You can do that! That’s the Bible way! Peter and Paul did it that way! That’s the way Jesus did it. That proves that the Bible way works today! You can do that! That’s what God wants you to do!’
“We went home in total awe and reverent exuberance. We had witnessed the Bible in action. It was the thing I had always longed for. At last, I had seen God do what He promised to do through a human person. Our entire lives were changed that very night.”
After that the Osborns ministered to millions, preached to crowds of 20,000 to 250,000 in crusades in 76 countries, and led hundreds of thousands of people to Jesus Christ. Vast numbers were healed, including the deaf, blind, and crippled. Body organs have been recreated and restored, cancers died and vanished, lepers were healed and the dead raised.
Most of their powerful evangelism and healing ministry was huge crowds in developing nations. They regularly established 400 churches a year in these nations.
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1948 – February: Saskatchewan, Canada (Sharon Schools)
A revival movement which came to be called the Latter Rain revival (from Joel 2:28) began suddenly in the Sharon Orphanage and Schools including the Bible School in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada. Previously, teachers from the Bible School had been deeply impressed by the words of knowledge and healings at meetings conducted by William Branham in 1947 in Vancouver. They and the students began praying and fasting and studying the Scriptures with new intensity from November that year.
The staff and most of the 70 students had gathered in the largest classroom for devotions on Thursday, February 12, 1948, when the Holy Spirit fell on their gathering. Ern Hawtin, a teacher there described it in their magazine the Sharon Star:
Some students were under the power of God on the floor, others were kneeling in adoration and worship before the Lord. The anointing deepened until the awe was upon everyone. The Lord spoke to one of the brethren, ‘Go and lay hands upon a certain student and pray for him.’ While he was in doubt and contemplation one of the sisters who had been under the power of God went to the brother saying the same words, and naming the identical student he was to pray for. He went in obedience and a revelation was given concerning the student’s life and future ministry. After this a long prophecy was given with minute details concerning the great thing God was about to do. The pattern for the revival and many details concerning it were given.
They spent Friday studying the Scriptures for insight into these events, and then Ern Hawtin reported that on Saturday, February 14, “It seemed that all Heaven broke loose upon our souls, and heaven came down to greet us.” Visible manifestation of gifts was evident when candidates were prayed over, and many were healed. Hawtin continued, “Day after day the Glory and power of God came among us. Great repentance, humbling, fasting and prayer prevailed in everyone.”
Through their publications, camp meetings, conventions and visits of pastors and teachers from Sharon to churches and meetings across Canada and America thousands were touched by God in this fresh outpouring of his Spirit. Stanley Frodsham, then editor of the Assemblies of God magazine Pentecostal Evangel, visited churches touched by this revival and gave it strong support.
Many Pentecostal denominations rejected this move which emphasized laying on of hands for the impartation of spiritual gifts, the recognition of apostles and prophets in the church, and the gift of prophecy for directing and commissioning ministerial candidates and for church government. However, the Latter Rain revival and the healing revivals through the fifties had a strong influence on the charismatic renewal of the sixties and seventies.
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1949 – October: Hebrides Islands, Scotland (Duncan Campbell)
Following the trauma of World War II, spiritual life reached a low ebb in the Scottish Hebrides. By 1949 Peggy and Christine Smith (84 and 82) had prayed constantly for revival in their cottage near Barvas village on the Isle of Lewis, the largest of the Hebrides Islands in the bleak north west of Scotland. God showed Peggy in a dream that revival was coming. Months later, early one winter’s morning as the sisters were praying, God give them an unshakeable conviction that revival was near.
Peggy asked her minister James Murray Mackay to call the church leaders to prayer. Three nights a week the leaders prayed together for months. One night, having begun to pray at 10 pm, a young deacon from the Free Church read Psalm 24 and challenged everyone to be clean before God. As they waited on God his awesome presence swept over them in the barn at 4 am Mackay invited Duncan Campbell (1898-1972) to come and lead meetings. Within two weeks he came. God had intervened and changed Duncan’s plans and commitments. At the close of his first meeting in the Presbyterian Church in Barvas the travel weary preacher was invited to join an all night prayer meeting. Thirty people gathered for prayer in a nearby cottage. Duncan Campbell described it:
“God was beginning to move, the heavens were opening, we were there on our faces before God. Three o’clock in the morning came, and God swept in. About a dozen men and women lay prostrate on the floor, speechless. Something had happened; we knew that the forces of darkness were going to be driven back, and men were going to be delivered. We left the cottage at 3 am to discover men and women seeking God. I walked along a country road, and found three men on their faces, crying to God for mercy. There was a light in every home, no one seemed to think of sleep.”
When Duncan and his friends arrived at the church that morning it was already crowded. People had gathered from all over the island, some coming in buses and vans. No one discovered who told them to come. God led them. Large numbers were converted as God’s Spirit convicted multitudes of sin, many lying prostrate, many weeping. After that amazing day in the church, Duncan pronounced the benediction, but then a young man began to pray aloud. He prayed for 45 minutes. Once more the church filled with people repenting and the service continued till 4 am the next morning before Duncan could pronounce the benediction again.
Even then he was unable to go home to bed. As he was leaving the church a messenger told him, “Mr. Campbell, people are gathered at the police station, from the other end of the parish; they are in great spiritual distress. Can anyone here come along and pray with them?”
Campbell went and what a sight met him. Under the still starlit sky he found men and women on the road, others by the side of a cottage, and some behind a peat stack all crying to God for mercy. The revival had come.
His mission continued for five weeks. Services were held from early morning until late at night and into the early hours of the morning. The revival spread to the neighbouring parishes from Barvas with similar scenes of repentance, prayer and preaching. People sensed the awesome presence of God everywhere.
That move of God in answer to prevailing prayer continued in the area into the fifties and peaked again on the previously resistant island of North Uist in 1957. Meetings were again crowded and night after night people cried out to God for salvation.
The Hebrides revival, experienced in a Presbyterian context, illustrates how the impact of the Sprit floods and transcends any context. Campbell emphasised the importance of a baptism in the Spirit, as had been a common theme in the Welsh revival.
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1951 – June: City Bell, Argentina (Edward Miller)
Edward Miller, a Pentecostal missionary, tells of revival breaking out in Argentina after God told him to call his small church to pray every night from 8 pm to midnight beginning on a Monday. Their little group prayed for three nights, mostly silently except for their missionary Ed Miller. No one seemed to have any leading, except one lady felt she was told to hit the table, but she wouldn’t do anything so strange. On the fourth night, Ed Miller led the group in singing around the table, and hit it as they sang. Eventually others did the same. Then the lady did. Immediately the Spirit of God fell. They were baptised powerfully in the Spirit. They heard the sound of strong wind. Their little church filled. People were convicted, weeping, and praying.
By Saturday teams were going out in powerful evangelism. Two teenage girls were weeping in the street. Two doctors mocked them, but listened to their testimonies and were convicted. They knelt there in the street and asked for prayer.
Two church members visited a lady whose mother was paralyzed, in bed for 5 years. They prayed for her, and she got up and drank tea with them. Two elderly people visited man in coma, a cripple with a liver damaged from drink. When they prayed for him he was healed.
A young man, Alexander and his band of rebels sat in the front row of a revival meeting aiming to disrupt it. God convicted him and he repented. His gang began to leave but fell under the Spirit on the way out. All were converted. Two of them went to the Bible School.
Ed Miller taught at the Bible Training Institute in 1951 in the little town of City Bell, near Buenos Aires. In June he was led to cancel lectures so the whole Bible School could pray every day. He announced this on the first Sunday in June. That night Alexander, the former rebel leader, a teenager of Polish descent, was praying long after midnight out in the fields when he sensed something pressing down on him, an intense light surrounding him and a heavenly being enfolding him. Terrified he ran back to the Institute.
The heavenly visitor entered the Institute with him, and in a few moments all the students were awake with the fear of God upon them. They began to cry out in repentance as God by his Spirit dealt with them. The next day the Spirit of God came again upon Alexander as he was given prophecies of God’s moving in far off countries. The following day Alexander again saw the Lord in the Spirit, but this time he began to speak slowly and distinctly the words he heard from the angel of God. No one could understand what he was saying, however, until another lad named Celsio (with even less education than Alexander), overcome with the Spirit of God markedly upon him, began to interpret… These communications (written because he choked up when he tried to talk) were a challenge from God to pray and indeed the Institute became a centre of prayer till the vacation time, when teams went out to preach the kingdom. It was the beginning of new stirrings of the Spirit across the land.
The Bible Institute continued in prayer for four months from that initial outpouring of the glory of God on Monday 4 June. They prayed 8 10 hours a day, with constant weeping. Bricks became saturated with their tears. One student prayed against a plaster wall daily, weeping. After six hours his tear stains reached floor. After eight hours his tears began to form a puddle on floor.
Two students went to a town, wept and prayed for three to four weeks. Then the Holy Spirit led them to hold tent meetings which filled the tent. The Lord moved on the crowds powerfully.
Prophecies given to the Bible School told of God filling the largest auditoriums and stadiums in Argentina and in other countries.
Edwin Orr visited each of the 25 states and territories in neighbouring Brazil in 1952 seeing powerful moves of the spirit in his meetings which were supported by all denominations. The evangelical church council declared that the year of 1952 saw the first of such a general spiritual awakening in the country’s history. Many meetings had to be moved into soccer stadiums, some churches increased in numbers by 50% in one week, and the revival movement continued in local churches in Brazil.
Also in 1952 Tommy Hicks was conducting a series of meetings in California when God showed him a vision. While he was praying he saw a map of South America covered with a vast field of golden wheat ripe for harvesting. The wheat turned into human beings calling him to come and help them.
He wrote a prophecy in his Bible about going by air to that land before two summers would pass. Three months later, after an evangelistic crusade, a pastor’s wife in California gave that same prophecy to him that he had written down. He was invited to Argentina in 1954 and had enough money to buy a one way air ticket to Buenos Aires.
On his way there after meetings in Chile, the word Peron came to his mind. He asked the air stewardess if she knew what it meant. She told him Peron was the President of Argentina. When he went to make an appointment with Juan Peron, the dictator President, he prayed for a guard who was healed and so the gaurd arranged an appointment with Peron. Through prayer the President was healed of an ugly eczema and gave Hicks the use of a stadium and free access to the state radio and press.
The revival campaign shifted into the Argentina’s largest arena, the Hurricane Football Stadium, seating 110,000 which overflowed. During nightly meetings over two months 300,000 registered decisions for Christ and many were healed at every meeting.
1954 – April: Nagaland, India (Rikum)
Nagas are a Mongalite tribal people hailing from Manchuria via China and Thailand to Burma, finally settling down in the Patkai Hill regions. They were animists by religion. Each village was independent. They had a self government system of government. Each tribe had its own language and costume peculiar to the tribe. Each tribe had its own typical social customs.
The Nagas do not have their own script and their history has been transferred to the succeeding generations orally. The British people conquered village after village and appointed Gaum Buras to rule over the village. They had absolute power to inflict even the death penalty. It was the Britishers who introduced the Roman script system.
Each village fought against another village. Whoever defeated the other village became its ruler. This was the manner in which the Naga people lived for centuries till the British overcame them and brought them under the Indian Union. But right from the beginning the Nagas demanded an Independent Sovereign State. After a long struggle they got separate fully fledged Statehood in 1964.
The Nagas converted into Christianity. By 1976 almost 95 % of the Nagas became Christian. It started with the coming of the first missionary, William Clarke. He was an American Baptist. He first came to Molung Yimtsen in 1872. The villagers opposed him by throwing stones and spears at him. But a miracle took place which led to the unopposed preaching of the gospel. At one time he was preaching the gospel outside. The people threw spears at him but the spears, instead of hurting him, landed all around him and became a barrier. This amazed the villagers, and they began to listen to what he said. This miracle led to the conversion of many Nagas. Tribe after tribe became Christian.
In 1952, one Naga named Rikum was converted at Allahabad Bible Seminary. In 1954, the Lotha Baptist Association invited him for revival meetings. The meetings were held from April 11 to 18, 1954. The churches joined together and a great revival broke out as a result.
In this revival people forgot about food. They were praying day and night. Many miracles took place. Some of the miracles were as follows.
They went into procession singing revival and salvation songs with great joy and happiness. Angels used to lead them; two angels – one on the left side and the other on the right aide. Wherever the angel stopped they would stop and sing joyful hymns. The singing was a non-stop phenomenon. During the evenings Satan used to visit in the homes of people who did not go to the church. So they were afraid and sat outside around a fire.
Once they were sitting around a fire. A cow came near and said, “Jesus is coming. What are you doing?” They were so frightened that they all went to the church. And they felt at the church that the church was literally lifted up. The people knew that it was God visiting them. They became converted to Christianity because they not only saw the miracle but also heard the messages and experienced God’s touch in their bodies. The gospel spread without much opposition.
Some Nepalese used to live in the forest. They cut timber. They heard a beautiful sound of singing coming from the trees. As they were following the singing they reached the church where the people were singing under the mighty anointing of the Spirit of God. Some of them could understand the messages of God. This was the means by which the gospel spread among the Nepalese also. Now thousands of Nepalese are becoming Christians.
In the year 1976 a revival meeting was convened at Mokohung and Rev. Rikum was invited as the speaker. It was here that the great revival explosion took place. Many were filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues. This resulted in mass conversions throughout Nagaland. Some of the astounding miracles were raising of the dead and many people were reported missing. No one has any clue to what happened to those missing, but all assume that they were taken to heaven alive.
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1960 -April: Van Nuys, North America (Dennis Bennett)
The outbreak of charismatic renewal in denominational churches in America is usually identified with the ministry of Dennis Bennett (1917-1991) at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California, because of the national press coverage generated there, Bennett’s subsequent national and international ministry in renewal, and the huge sales of Bennett’s 1970 autobiographical book Nine O’clock in the Morning, and his subsequent teaching books, especially The Holy Spirit and You.
During Bennett’s ministry as senior priest at St Mark’s from 1953 to 1960 the church had grown with the population in the area and maintained a staff of four priests and office assistants. Respected lay people had been baptized in the Spirit and began holding home meetings for those interested, Bennett and his wife Elberta among them. Soon many were experiencing this renewal, including many of the youth. Renewal meetings introduced increasing numbers to this experience, and people learned to pray naturally for one another for all needs, including healing.
Bennett was cautious, sensing possible problems in the parish, but initially received wide support from parishioners, even those not directly involved. Bennett reports how a neurosurgeon, the husband of the Altar Guild directoress who was involved in the renewal, commented favourably:
“Oh, by the way, I see what’s happening to my wife, and I like it!”
I did a “double-take”: “You do?”
“Yes,” he replied. “You’re going to have a hard time explaining this ‘speaking in tongues’ to some people, though.” He paused a moment and then added casually:
“Of course, I understand it.”
I was so surprised that I simply said again: “You do?”
“Sure! You see, the speech centers dominate the brain. If they were yielded to God, then every other area would be affected, too. Besides,” he continued, “I think about God sometimes, and I run out of words. I don’t see why He shouldn’t give me some additional words to use.”
Others disagreed, and found it threatening or inappropriate. Bennett’s second assistant publicly threw his vestments on the altar at the end of the second of the three morning services on Passion Sunday, 3 April, 1960, saying “I can no longer work with this man!” That Sunday Bennett had told his testimony of being baptized in the Spirit five months previously and urged openness and acceptance of this transforming experience now common in the parish. A small but volatile group erupted in open opposition, including a vestryman who urged Bennett to resign, which he did that day, to avoid a parish split.
Bishop William Fisher Lewis in Seattle invited Bennett to ‘bring the fire’ north and offered him the run down church of St. Luke’s, Seattle, which rapidly became a nationally known charismatic Episcopalian church, and model for hundreds of other denominational churches.
Typically, charismatic renewal disrupts established congregations, and is usually expressed in renewal home groups in the church or in a renewal service during the week or on Sunday night. However, it is often an uneasy partnership. Many people shift toward independent congregations or Pentecostal assemblies for a fuller expression of this dynamic renewal, as is examined in chapter nine: charisma and institutions.
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1960 – May: Darjeeling, India (David Mangratee)
A revival broke out in Darjeeling in 1960. God used David Mangratee. Born into a Hindu family, he had a wonderful birth. His father died in the year 1933, and was to be taken for burial. People had made everything ready. He was kept inside the coffin ready for taking him the burial place. But before they could take him he woke up and lived again. David reported:
During this time two death angels were taking him somewhere. There was a big dark hell which had a wide door. Inside were animals and skeletons of human beings and animals. But as the angels were about to take him in, the door suddenly become small and they could not take him in. Instead a voice was heard: “Go back to earth. Your time has not come.” After this my father lived for another 20 years and died again in 1953 never to rise again.
During a vision I asked the Lord whether this was true. The Lord answered, “Yes, because I wanted a man with a miracle birth.” It was God’s great grace that He raised me for this great work which one can see at present among the Nepalese. It is now, according to some, the fastest growing church in the world. I accepted the Lord as my personal saviour on 3rd June 1953, after the death of my father.
I underwent a Bible Training Programme at Southern Asia Bible Institute (now College) and returned to Darjeeling. Rev. David Dutt of Calcutta, Rev. Virus Shipley of Baraily, U.P., and I went Gospel Trekking to East Sikkim beginning from Rhenock, and covered Rorathang and Rongpo. Then we went to Kalimpong. We did not receive a warm welcome in Kalimpong and so we went to Darjeeling. We came to Mt. Hermon and held three days of special meetings. 35 people expressed their desire to know more about the Lord and this led to my staying back in Darjeeling looking after the 35 newly converted.
Regular church services were started and week day meetings were also started. New songs in Nepali folk tunes were composed. Songs that were already used were translated from English hymns. The new songs were in popular tunes and folk tunes which attracted many people but mainly the young people. Gospel preaching was carried on vigorously. Many souls began to take an interest in the Lord.
On Pentecost Sunday in the month of May 1960, one of our church members got filled with the Spirit of God. She spoke in tongues and prophesied. Then in the month of June that same year the Holy Spirit came upon the believers mightily. They were filled with the Spirit of God and God blessed them with gifts of the Spirit, especially the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. By this, lost money was found, lost souls traced, sick healed and sin uncovered.
The revival took place in a small fellowship of newly converged souls in Sikkim. The Spirit fell on all the believers, and that village become the centre of evangelism. Today much of Sikkim is evangelised. There are more than 300 churches in the small state of Sikkim with a population of less than 5,000. If the growth rate remains undiminished Sikkim will be a Christian state should Jesus tarry.
Many miracles took place in the ministry, even raising of the dead. The work faced a lot of opposition in the beginning but the changed lives of first Christians made their mouths shut. Many missionaries are working now in Nepal or Bhutan and different parts of India like Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. Not only the Nepalese among whom our major work was concentrated but also tribes like Bodos, Santhals, Nagas, Rajbansis, and many other tribal people got saved.
This revival continues. This resulted in the worlds fastest growing church. The Lord said many things about our people, the Nepalese: “I love the Nepalese very much; I will send you throughout the world to preach”; and so on. Once the Lord told me: “All my children will see Me. That is, they would see the Lord with their physical eyes.” This was fulfilled to the last letter. The Lord said: I will send even greater revival than before. We are praying to Him who is a covenant keeping God.
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1962 – August: Santo, Vanuatu (Paul Grant)
Australian Apostolic missionary pastor-teacher, Paul Grant, saw early stirrings of revival in Vanuatu. He commented in an unpublished report:
It is important to note the following components in the lead-up to later visitation and reviving:
1. A shared concern of missionaries for revival.
2. A significantly developed interest in the quickening power of the Spirit among west Ambai church members and leaders through teaching of the Scriptures and news of revival and the power-works of the Spirit in other parts of the world, e.g. a Series of talks on the East Africa revival, the Welsh revival, signs and wonders and healings as reported from the Apostolic Church in Papua New Guinea, and inspiring records in other magazines.
3. An emphasis on prayer meetings, both between missionaries and in local churches.
4. Regular and frequent prayers for a visitation of God’s Spirit by Apostolic Churches around the world. The first Monday night of each month was observed as a prayer night for worldwide missions.
5. Concentrated, sustained Scripture teaching in the classrooms of the primary school where students later would experience the power of God.
By 1961 I had spent nine years among the people learning many valuable lessons in cross-cultural service and feeling myself being incorporated into their ‘family’ stage by stage. Church services were free and open for much congregational participation. During 1961 in the construction and opening of a new school building a spirit of prayer was noticeably intense.
A week of prayer prior to the special ceremonies for the dedication of the school building was a markedly powerful time. On Santo Island in the town of Luganville a non-professional missionary of the Apostolic Church, a builder, was experiencing a surge of power in the local church fellowship consisting principally of people from Ambae working in this urban situation. Then came a series of significant episodes.
Beginning in the Santo church on August 15th 1962 and continuing there and in churches on Ambae (commencing in Tafala village in October) over a period of about 12 weeks the power of God moved upon young people. There were many instances of glossolalia, healings, prophetic utterances, excitation, loud acclamations to God in public services, incidents of deep conviction of sin, conversions, restitutions, and other manifestations of holiness of life.
From diary and report records I have the following observations:
1. Shouts and liberty and outstreached arms, fervent praying by all … for one hour (24 August).
2. I’ve never seen such passionate fervency (7 September).
3. Abraham (young man) through the day had sought the Lord … at night he was filled with the Spirit (8 October).
4. … these baptisms (in the Spirit) have produced a reverence and spiritual quickening of depth and sincerity (14 October 14).
5. … reverence is prominent.
6. … Stanley (young man) in the classroom broke forth in other tongues during a Bible lesson on 2 Corinthians 4 … prayer … four students committed themselves to Christ (2 December).
7. Thomas (an older man) told me he was drawn by the Spirit to the school building to listen (3 December).
8. Williamson … has thrown away his cigarettes … agitated over temptation … asked for prayer (3 December).
9. … infusion of new life and power in the weekly meetings (2 January 1963).
This visitation resulted in a liveliness not known before. Initially it was mainly among young people. In later months and years it spread among all age groups and to my present knowledge was the first such visitation in the history of the Christian Church in Vanuatu. To me the gratification I gained centred upon the following particulars:
1. The Holy Spirit had animated and empowered a people who were well taught in the Scriptures. Records show a lift in spiritual vitality in all the village churches.
2. It brought the church as a whole into a more expressive, dynamic dimension and also a charismatic gift function. They were much more able to gain victory over spirit forces so familiar to them.
3. It began to hasten the maturation processes in developing leadership.
4. The reality matched the doctrinal stand of the church. There was now no longer a disparity.
5. It confirmed to me the very great importance of being “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 AV).
6. It led to significant outreach in evangelism, both personal and group. …
In the following years some of the young men and women served God in evangelistic teams, school teaching, urban witness, government appointments, and as pastors and elders to their own people. One of them has with his wife been an effective missionary… in Papua New Guinea.
Similar Spirit movements such as this characterize revival in the islands with their animistic involvement in spirit activity. Christians affirm the power of the Holy Spirit over traditional occult spirits. Many local revival movements have flared up in Vanuatu and the South Pacific. This typical report is from Ruth Rongo of Tongoa Island dated August 28, 1991:
“I’ve just come back from an Evangelism ministry. It lasted for three months. God has done many miracles. Many people were shocked by the power of the Holy Spirit. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the sick were healed. All these were done during this evangelism ministry. We see how God’s promise came into action. The prophet Joel had said it. We people of Vanuatu say “The spirit of the Lord God is upon us because he has anointed us to preach the Gospel to the poor people of Vanuatu.” Praise God for what he has done.
“In where I live, in my poor home, I also started a home cell prayer group. Our goal is that the revival must come in the church. Please pray for me and also for the group. Our prayer group usually meets on Sunday night, after the night meeting. We started at 10.30 pm to 1 or 3.30 am. If we come closer to God he will also come close to us. We spent more time in listening and responding to God.”
These revival movements continue to increase in the Pacific, especially as indigenous teams minister in other areas with the Spirit’s fire. The church grows stronger, even through opposition. Indigenous Christians live and minister in New Testament patterns from house to house, from village to village.
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1965 – September: Soé, Timor (Nahor Leo)
Spirit movements of revival influenced many thousands of people in Indonesia during the troubled and politically uncertain times there in the sixties. Much of it happened outside the established church, with a later acceptance of it in some churches. Thousands of animistic Muslims were converted, the biggest Christian impact on Islam in history.
The Indonesian government and army’s victory over the attempted Communist coup opened the way for the savage killing of 400,000 suspected Communists or sympathizers, so the numbers of nominal Muslims and Christians multiplied. This external motivation explains only part of the rapid multiplication of the church during this period, however. Many nominal animistic Muslims turned to the church not out of fear but out of revulsion toward their fellow Muslim’s slaughter of suspected Communists.
The Indonesian Bible Institute, established by Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade missionaries in 1959 at Batu in East Java experienced revival in the sixties with deep repentance, confession, renunciation of occult practices, burning fetishes and amulets, and a new humility and unity among staff and students. Individual students and teams engaged in effective evangelism in many islands.
A team of Indonesian students accompanied by a German Lutheran missionary teacher visited Timor during 1965 and saw evidences of revival beginning which burst into unprecedented power in September 1965. Christians and new converts burned amulets, pastors and leaders broke with animistic practices, prayer meetings multiplied, giving increased, heavy drinking of palm wine and chewing the narcotic betel nut was curtailed, and youth, traditionally the hardest to reach became the most responsive. They formed evangelistic teams of their own to take this new- found gospel of deliverance to outlying villages.
This revival spread in the uncertain days following the attempted communist coup on the night of 30 September and 1 October, 1965 in Indonesia when six of the eight Indonesian army generals were killed and mutilated, with only Suharto and Nasution narrowly escaping execution. General Suharto became acting president, keeping the popular President Sukarno without power till his death in 1971.
At the time of the coup a powerful revival movement had begun in Timor at Soé, a mile high mountain town of about 5,000 people where Rev. Daniel pastored the Reformed Church. A young man, Nahor Leo, was convicted by a vision of Jesus, destroyed a hidden amulet, and confessed publicly in the Reformed Church on the evening of Sunday, 26 September. The church experienced a Pentecost style Spirit movement.
The editors of Tyndale House Publishers, hearing of unusual revival reports from Timor, sent Don Crawford, a trained reporter, to investigate the revival in Indonesia, especially in Timor. He reported this way:
Calls to enter an evangelistic ministry came to young people in unusual fashion. Nahor Leo, a high school athlete with a reputation as a rebel, was stirred by a dynamic challenge to Christian service given by the headmistress of a Soé school. Later, studying in his room in Pastor Daniel’s home with two fellow students, he suddenly called out, “Who turned out the light?” Assured it was still burning, Leo stumbled to his bed. “I’m going to rest.”
He slept a few minutes. Then, as if wrenched from the bed, he fell to the floor and appeared to be struggling with an invisible force. Leo groped his way to his clothes box and thrust his hand to its bottom, then pulled up the root of a plant which was wound with red string. “Yes,” Leo muttered, as if answering the unseen visitor, “this is my djimat.”
Leo’s companions recognized the strange object as an instrument of witchcraft. “It’s true,” Leo spoke again. “I have used it to ask the spirits to help me win races and to attract girls.” The unusual conversation continued for a moment. Then Leo collapsed on the floor.
“What’s the matter? Who were you talking to?” one of the boys shouted. Leo slowly turned his sightless eyes toward his companions. At length the white-faced youth replied, “I saw the Lord. He made me reveal the djimat I had never given up. He told me he wanted me to serve him alone. And . . .” his voice trembled . . . “he told me I must have Pastor Daniel pray for me – or I will die. Would you get him, please?”
Pastor Daniel came swiftly at the desperate summons. After a prayer of confession, the fetish was burned. Then, reminiscent of the Apostle Paul when he was ministered to by the man of God, Leo’s sight was restored. And, like Paul, Leo became a persuasive evangelist, inspiring others to follow the Christian way.
It was the zeal of young leaders like Nahor Leo who formed wide-roving evangelistic teams that fanned the religious fire in Timor, Mr. Daniel told me, and continuing “signs and wonders” have fueled the flame. For in every case of a supernatural occurrence, there has followed a significant turning to the Christian faith.
On Sunday night, September 26, 1965, people heard the sound of a tornado wind and saw flames on the church building which prompted police to set off the fire alarm to summon the volunteer fire fighters. Many people were converted that night, many filled with the Spirit including speaking in tongues, some in English who did not know English. By midnight teams of lay people had been organised to begin spreading the gospel the next day. Eventually, about 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts.
Nahor Leo, the young man who testified that night in the Reformed Church, chose 23 young people who formed an evangelistic group, Team 1. They gave themselves full time to visiting churches and villages and saw thousands converted with multitudes healed and delivered. In one town alone they saw 9,000 people converted in two weeks.
Another young man, Mel Tari witnessed this visitation of God and later became part of Team 42. He reported on this revival in two widely read books. Healings and evangelism increased dramatically. Specific directions from the Lord led the teams into powerful ministry with thousands becoming Christians. They saw many healings, miracles such as water being turned to wine for communion, some instantaneous healings, deliverance from witchcraft and demonic powers, and some people raised from death through prayer.
The teams were often guided supernaturally including provision of light at night on jungle trails, angelic guides and protection, meagre supplies of food multiplied in pastors’ homes when a team ate together there during famines, and witchdoctors being converted after they saw power encounters when the teams’ prayers banished demons rendering the witchdoctors powerless. Crawford, who gives the most cautions report, gives examples:
“I had already heard about some of the early Soé miracles from my missionary friend in Kupang, Marion Allen of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. In visits to Soé during dry seasons he was able to investigate the happenings there. He had told me that almost every type of New Testament miracle had been repeated in the Soé area. One evangelistic team, for example, had gotten to their destination by walking across a flooded mountain stream. At first they had dismissed the feeling that they should walk on the water even though it had come to the team leader after prayer about the problem. After three successive prayer sessions, with the same apparent answer, the leader took a tentative barefoot step into the water. When he did not sink, the others followed – to the amazement of stranded travelers who witnessed the strange event from both sides of the stream.
“Another team, desiring to celebrate the Lord’s Supper but having no wine, were in a similar fashion instructed to use water from a nearby spring. As at the wedding Christ attended in Cana, the water, when drunk for the communion celebration, had become wine. On a hike around the Soé area, Sardjito [the Bible School principal] showed me the spring from which the water-turned-to-wine had come.
“Mr. Allen had talked to both of the major participants in another drama. An elderly woman among the mourners at the funeral of a young boy felt a strong impression to pray for the lad’s life. At first she resisted the impulse. The boy had been dead several hours and in that climate it was imperative that an unembalmed body be buried soon after death. But her feeling persisted. When it came time to put the lid of the wooden coffin in place, she felt compelled to act. She asked if she could offer a prayer. The ceremony was stopped to humor the old woman. While she was praying, the boy stirred, then rose up.
“To many observers the fact that the “dead” boy is alive today represents a miracle. But to the believers in Soé the miracle lies rather in how the event was useful in bringing a large number of animist worshipers to faith in Christ. Sardjito and the Soé church’s two pastors, Rev. Daniel and Rev. Binjamin Manuain, all asserted that such occurrences – as well as the testimony of those who had been delivered from the grip of witchcraft – spurred a remarkable growth of Christianity on the island. From Indonesian statistical sources I learned that in the first three years of the movement the Christian population of Timor grew by 200,000.”
The teams learned to listen to the Spirit of the Lord and obey him. His leadings came in many biblical ways:
1. God spoke audibly as with Samuel or Saul of Tarsus,
2. many had visions as did Mary or Cornelius,
3. there were inspired dreams such as Jacob, Joseph or Paul saw,
4. prophecies as in Israel and the early church occurred,
5. the still small voice of the Spirit led many as with Elijah or Pauls missionary team,
6. the Lord often spoke through specific Bible verses,
7. circumstances proved to be God incidences not just co incidences,
8. often when leadings were checked with the group or the church the Lord gave confirmations and unity as with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch.
The American wife of Mel Tari, Nori Tari noted that revival phenomena in Timor were neither obvious nor advertised, even though continually occurring, because the people live in greater awareness of spirit powers, do not talk about miracles except to a spiritual adviser or mentor, and do not expect everyone to be healed. They acknowledge God’s sovereignty, especially in what may happen, when and how it happens and to whom it may happen.
The Reformed Church Presbytery on Timor recorded 80,000 conversions from the first year of the revival there, half of those being former communists. They noted that some 15,000 people had been permanently healed in that year. After three years the number of converts had grown to over 200,000. In those three years over 200 evangelistic teams were formed. On another island with very few Christians 20,000 became believers in the first three years of the revival.
These people movements can be studied from a range of perspectives beyond the scope of this thesis, such as the political, social, economic and historical dynamics involved. However, a crucial element of the Timor revival was the perceived authority and power of the Christians’ God over animistic gods and the confrontation with the authority and the magical powers of the local shaman. Significant church growth, people movements and evangelism continually demonstrate such a power encounter between God’s Spirit and local gods or spirits.
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1967 – February, Pittsburgh (Catholic Charismatic Renewal)
Fifty years ago, Catholic Charismatics as a group didn’t exist. Today, there are around 120 million of them. Their emergence began when the Holy Spirit came to a dozen Catholic students in a Pennsylvania forest in February 1967.
They were from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, out to enjoy a spiritual weekend retreat at a place called The Ark & The Dove. The theme of the retreat was the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. Retreat leaders had assigned each of the students coming to first read David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade – a miracle-filled story of a young Pentecostal pastor leading violent New York City gang members to the Lord.
As she read it, Patti Mansfield (then Gallagher) found herself asking, “Why isn’t the Holy Spirit doing these dramatic things in my life?” That led her to pray, “Lord, as a Catholic, I believe I’ve already received Your Spirit in baptism and confirmation. But if it’s possible for Your Spirit to do more in my life than He’s done till now, I want it.”
‘My spiritual life felt powerless and pedestrian. It was like I was pushing a car uphill.’
It first hit David Mangan, though, after he listened to a teaching that weekend that the Holy Spirit could still bring tongues and power like dynamite. Mangan wanted both – the tongues and the dynamite – and asked the Lord for it because his Christianity felt powerless and pedestrian. “My spiritual life could not be described as dynamite,” he said. “It was limping along. The way I describe it, it was like I was pushing a car uphill.” As for what he was hearing about the gift of tongues, he was so intrigued, “I wrote in my notebook, ‘I want to hear someone speak in tongues – me.’ I realized I did that because I don’t know how much I would’ve believed it if it was someone else.”
Mangan received a powerful answer as he sought the Lord alone that weekend in a chapel located on the upper floor of The Ark & The Dove, a location that’s become known now as the Upper Room. That’s the same name used for the place where the Holy Spirit fell in the Book of Acts on the disciples after Jesus had ascended to heaven.
‘I lost all sense of time. I was lost in Christ and happy to be so.’
“The presence of God was so thick, so powerful, you could cut it with a knife,” Mangan said of the atmosphere in that room. “It’s the most intense experience I’ve ever had in my life. Time meant nothing to me. I had no idea if it was two minutes or two hours; it made no difference. I was lost in Christ, and happy to be so.”
And he got his dynamite. “There were all these electrical explosions going on in my body,” Mangan described. Then he began to speak in tongues. The overwhelming feeling caused him to run and ask the retreat leaders if it was really possible. They said it is a valid experience which happened throughout history to a lot of saints. The experience infused him with a new dynamism and power in his spiritual life – or as he puts it, “It was like somebody told me that the car I’d been pushing uphill had a motor and now I had the key.”
See more details on Students ignite Charismatic Movement
1968 – July: Brisbane, Australia (Clark Taylor)
Clark Taylor (1937-) founded Christian Outreach Centre (COC), and the Worship Centre, based in Brisbane, Australia. Now COC is a global movement with over 16,000 churches, many schools, and its Christian Heritage College which awards government accredited degrees in ministry, education, social sciences and business.
His wife Ann tells his story:
Clark Taylor became a Christian in Brisbane in 1959 at a Billy Graham Crusade and began to train for the Methodist ministry in 1961. In 1963, he suffered from Cerebral Malaria. I was married to him in 1964, and we had three children.
He was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1967. Another miracle happened in 1967. At times, Clark would become unconscious as a result of the Cerebral Malaria. By 1967, he was having these unconscious turns frequently. One morning, when he was in Oxley Methodist Church, he felt that God said to him, “It’s time for you to be healed.” He told this to the minister, who replied, “Come down on Tuesday night when the prayer meeting is on and I will pray for you.” This was quite remarkable, because in 1967, such things as healings and the baptism in the Holy Spirit were rare in the Methodist Church. At the prayer meeting, Clark started to lapse in unconsciousness, but the people laid hands on him and prayed for him and he was totally healed in that instant.
We were appointed to the Holland Park Methodist circuit in 1968 to assist the senior minister. Soon after his arrival, Clark commenced Thursday night Bible studies in the manse. Although it was holiday time, fifteen attended the first night. By April, there were 100 hundred attending Bible studies.
Prayer meetings were commenced three times a week. These were a good indication as to who had been baptized in the Spirit, because those who had previously found 7am to be an early rising time suddenly found great joy in getting up at 4am in the dark to go to the 5am prayer meeting.
Now something quite miraculous happened while we were at St. Paul’s and this is the beginning of the story. The Lord moved mightily on July 17, 1968. One of the ladies who have been prayed for several times had not received the gifts of tongues. The Lord spoke to her that there was going to be a special meeting on Sunday and that He would bring people from the highways and the byways and not to prepare for that meeting. Now we are used to doing things quite spontaneously in meetings, but in those days for a preacher to step out into a meeting unprepared was absolutely terrifying. God named specific people who would be attending. Those people were unknown to her at the time, but she was to pray for them. Those people did attend the meeting on July 21, and were saved and healed.
The children and I were away at this time, as Clark was supposed to be studying for exams. Clark spent much time in prayer, seeking the Lord about the special Sunday night meeting. There was much joy and excitement among the newly baptised-in-the-Spirit Christians who met each night to pray and seek the Lord. The presence of the Lord was very evident, and the fear of the Lord also. There was much conviction and cleansing from sin. Those few days before the Sunday nights were really dynamic.
On the night of Sunday, July 21, the church was packed. The building was a modern, low-set structure which could hold a few hundred people, although there was normally only a handful on Sunday nights. What occurred on that night is probably the most amazing thing I have seen. I believe it is a foretaste of what God will do in revival. The building was absolutely packed. The foyer was packed and there were people outside looking in through the windows. There had been no advertising. The Spirit of God drew the crowds.
Many healing miracles occurred, one after another. Later on in the night, Clark preached a very short gospel message and many people streamed forward to be saved. Over the next few days, people came to our home one by one and they were baptised in the Holy Spirit, some of them seeing visions.
The Methodist Church leaders decided to put Clark into Kings College, their theological college at the University, so he became a student there in 1969. In between his studies, he began what became known as the Corinda meetings. George Nichols, the man who had introduced Clark to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, had a large home in the Brisbane suburb of Corinda. These meetings commenced on May 10, 1969. These numbers grew to about 200 hundred during the following two years.
Following time with Trevor Chandler at Windsor Full Gospel Church and then Christian Life Centre, we began travelling. Later, we began Christian Outreach Centre.
The first step was a meeting, attended by twenty-five people, in our home at Keperra on June 16, 1974. One week later, 126 people participated in Communion. Christian Outreach Centre was under way.
Faith in God was one of our foundational beliefs. Christian Outreach Centre Bibles automatically fall open at the 11th chapter of Mark. We had to have a faith in God because we had nothing else – no financial backing, no parent body to launch us, no experience in starting churches. Some people described us as ‘ecclesiastical nobodies’ and they were right.
We then spread out to other parts of Queensland and Australia, and then overseas. We started planting churches in towns close to Brisbane, one reason being that we really needed each other. Training took place on the run, as the first Christian Outreach Centre Pastors were some farmers, carpenters and milkman.
Christian Outreach Centre men and women were committed to “Australia for Christ.” They put their money where their mouth was. People gave sacrificially and the staff worked for very low wages. One of the secrets of success in the early days had to be that people had a will to work.
By 1976, Clark was beginning to talk television. “A New Way of Living” went to air on Channel Nine in Brisbane on July 17, 1977. The program was given that name because it was a popular song at the time and people were experiencing what the words described.
“A New Way of Living”, was shown on sixteen stations in Queensland, as well as going to air in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. At that time, we had a congregation of 800 and TV was costing about $5000 per week. Large numbers of people throughout Australia will be eternally grateful that God used the medium of television so mightily.
Clark Taylor led Christian Outreach Centre during its first fifteen years. Then Neil Miers became its International President and Clark later travelled in healing evangelism and then founded the Worship Centre in Brisbane in 2000.
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1970 – February: Wilmore, Kentucky, North America (Asbury College)
A revival broke out in Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday, February 3, 1970. The regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o’clock saw God move on the students in such a way that many came weeping to the front to kneel in repentance, others gave testimonies including confession of sin, and all this was mixed with spontaneous singing. Lectures were cancelled for the day as the auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day. By 6 am next morning 75 students were still praying in the hall, and through the Wednesday it filled again as all lectures were again cancelled for the day. The time was filled with praying, singing, confessions and testimonies.
As they continued in prayer that week many students felt called to share what was happening with other colleges and churches. Invitations were coming from around the country as news of the revival spread. So teams went out from the next weekend to tell the story and give their testimonies. Almost half the student body of 1000 was involved in the teams witnessing about the revival. In the first week after the revival began teams of students visited 16 states by invitation and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing.
After six weeks over 1,000 teams had gone from the college to witness, some of these into Latin America with finance provided by the home churches of the students. In addition, the neighbouring Theological Seminary sent out several hundred teams of their students who had also been caught up in this revival.
Those remaining at the college prayed for the teams and gladly heard their reports on their return. The Holy Spirit did similar things wherever they went. So that revival spread. The college remained a centre of the revival with meetings continuing at night and weekends there along with spontaneous prayer groups meeting every day. Hundreds of people kept coming to the college to see this revival and participate in it. They took reports and their own testimonies of changed lives back to their churches or colleges so sharing in the spread of the revival.
Revival also spread among the hippie drop outs in the early seventies. Thousands were converted in mass rallies on the beaches and in halls. They developed their own Jesus People magazines, music and evangelism.
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1970 – July: Solomon Islands (Muri Thompson)
Muri Thompson, a Maori evangelist from New Zealand, visited the Solomon Islands in July and August 1970 where the church had already experienced significant renewal and was praying for revival. Many of these Christians were former warriors and cannibals gradually won to Christ in spite of initial hostility and the martyrdom of early missionaries and indigenous evangelists.
Beginning at Honiara, the capital, Muri spent two months visiting churches and centres on the islands. Initially the national leaders and missionaries experienced deep conviction and repentance, publicly acknowledging their wrong attitudes. It was very humbling. A new unity and harmony transformed their relationships, and little things which destroyed that unity were openly confessed with forgiveness sought and given.
Then in the last two weeks of these meetings the Holy Spirit moved even more powerfully in the meetings with more deep repentance and weeping, sometimes even before the visiting team arrived. That happened on Sunday morning 23 August on the island of Malaita where the whole congregation was deeply moved with many crying even before the team arrived from their berth in the ship the Evangel which carried the mission team of 40 people.
Muri preached powerfully. Then he said, “If anyone wants to come forward …” and immediately the whole congregation of 600 surged forward across the dirt floor under the thatched leaf roof. Most people including pastors cried with loud sobs of repentance, which soon gave way to outbursts of joy. Many saw visions of God, of Jesus on the cross or on his throne, of angels, or of bright light. Some spoke in tongues. Some were healed. Most came into a new experience of God with a deep awareness of the need for humility and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The following Thursday, 27 August, at another village on Malaita the team found a people well prepared through many weeks of repentance, unity, and a growing longing to be filled with the Spirit. After preaching Muri asked for a time of silent prayer and the 2,000 people bowed in prayer. Then he heard a growing sound.
“At first,” he said, “I thought it was audible prayer among the congregation, but realized it was above, in the distance, like a wind, and getting louder.
“I looked up through an opening in the leaf roof to the heavens from where the sound seemed to be coming. It grew to be roar – then it came to me: surely this is the Holy Spirit coming like a mighty rushing wind. I called the people to realize that God the Holy Spirit was about to descend upon them.”
Three praying leaders in a nearby prayer house heard the silence, and then the roaring sound. They came outside and heard it coming from immediately above the church. In the church people broke into wailing, praying and strong crying. Conviction of sin increased, followed by deliverance and great joy. Weeping turned to joyful singing. Everywhere people were talking about what the Lord had done to them. Many received healings and deliverance from bondage to evil spirits. Marriages were restored and young rebels transformed.
Everywhere people were praying together every day. They had a new hunger for God’s Word. People were sensitive to the Spirit and wanted to be transparently honest and open with God and one another.
Normal lectures in the South Seas Evangelical Church Bible School were constantly abandoned as the Spirit took over the whole school with times of confession, prayer and praise.
Teams from these areas visited other islands, and the revival caught fire there also. Eventually pastors from the Solomons were visiting other Pacific countries and seeing similar moves of God there also.
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1971 – October: Saskatoon, Canada (Bill McLeod)
Wilbert (Bill) McLeod, a Baptist minister in his mid fifties, had seen many people healed in answer to prayer, often praying with a group of deacons. He once anointed a woman with oil and prayed with her when she was dying of cancer. While Bill prayed the woman had a vision of Jesus coming to her and touching her. She was healed. Bill saw nothing.
Bill invited the twin evangelists Ralph and Lou Sutera to speak at his church in Saskatoon. Revival broke out with their visit which began on Wednesday 13 October 1971. By the weekend an amazing spirit gripped the people. Many confessed their sins publicly. The first to do so were the twelve counsellors chosen to pray with inquirers. Numbers grew rapidly till the meetings had to be moved to a larger church building and then to the Civic Auditorium seating 2000.
The meetings lasted many hours. People did not want to leave. Some stayed on for a later meeting called the Afterglow. Here people received prayer and counsel from the group as they continued to worship God and pray together. Humble confession of sin and reconciliations were common. Many were converted.
Taxi drivers became amazed that people were getting cabs home from church late into the night or early into the morning. Others were calling for taxis to take them to church late into the night as they were convicted by the Lord. Young people featured prominently. Almost half those converted were young. They gave testimonies of lives that had been cleaned up by God and how relationships with their families were restored. The atmosphere in schools and colleges changed from rebellion and cheating to co operation with many Bible study and prayer groups forming in the schools and universities.
Criminals confessed their sins and gave themselves up to the police. Restitution was common. People paid overdue bills. Some businesses opened new accounts to account for the conscience money being paid to them. Those who cheated at restaurants or hotels returned to pay their full bill. People returned stolen goods.
Christians found a new radical honesty in their lives. Pride and jealousies were confessed and transformed into humility and love. As people prayed for one another with new tenderness and compassion many experienced healings and deliverance.
Not all welcomed the revival. Some churches remained untouched by it or hostile to it. This seems common to all revivals.
Sherwood Wirt, editor of the Billy Graham Association’s magazine Decision reported:
“One day late in 1971 I read a strange report from Canada. Curious things were taking place in some congregations in the western provinces. Brothers and sisters, it was said, had been reconciled to each other; shop lifted articles had been returned; crimes were being reported by the culprits; church feuds were being resolved; pastors were confessing their pride.
“But then I heard this word: “We’re walking knee deep in love up here.”
“In November a team went to Winnepeg and told of the revival at a meeting for ministers. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully and many broke down confessing their sins. Rivalries and jealousies were confessed and forgiven. Many went home to put things right with their families. The ministers took this fire back into their churches and the revival spread there also with meetings going late into the night as numbers grew and hundreds were converted or restored.”
Sherwood Wirt reported on Bill McLeod preaching at Winnepeg on 15 December 1971:
“I confess that what I saw amazed me. This man preached for only fifteen minutes, and he didn’t even give an invitation! He announced the closing hymn, whereupon a hundred people came out of their seats and knelt at the front of the church. All he said was, ‘That’s right, keep coming!’
“Many were young. Many were in tears. All were from the Canadian Midwest, which is not known for its euphoria. It could be said that what I was witnessing was revival. I believe it was.”
Bill McLeod and a team of six brought the revival to the eastern Canada when they were invited to speak at the Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto. The meeting there began at 10 am and went through till 1.15 am next morning. Dinner was cancelled as no one wanted to leave. They did stop for supper, then went on again.
When the Sutera brothers commenced meetings in Vancouver on the West Coast on Sunday, May 5, 1972, revival broke out there also in the Ebenezer Baptist Church with 2,000 attending that first Sunday. The next Sunday 3,000 people attended in two churches. After a few weeks five churches were filled.
The revival spread in many churches across Canada and into northern U. S. A. especially in Oregon. Everywhere the marks of the revival included honesty before God and others with confession of sin and an outpouring of the love of God in those who repented.
The German speaking churches were also touched by the revival and by May 1972 they chartered a flight to Germany for teams to minister there.
The Afterglow meetings were common everywhere in the revival. After a meeting had finished those who wanted to stay on for prayer did so. Usually each person desiring prayer knelt at a chair and others laid hands on them and prayed for them. Many repented and were filled with the Spirit in the Afterglow meetings which often went to midnight or later.
Sherwood Wirt reports on his experience of an Afterglow. As he sat in a chair people came to pray for him. They told him to,
Ask God to crucify you.
Crucify me? I wasn’t even sure the idea was theologically sound.
“To do what?” I stammered.
“Nail you to the cross” was the reply …
“Now ask God to fill you with his Spirit and thank him for it.” …
“You probably don’t have much of a sensation of blessing now… Don’t worry. The feeling will come later and how!”
She was right. It came. And it has never left …
The Holy Spirit used a divine solvent… to dissolve the bitterness in my heart… In his own time and at his own pleasure he sent a divine solvent into this troubled heart. It was like the warmth of the sun burning off the layers of fog.
I don’t know just how the love came in, but I know that all the bitterness I held against others including those near to me disappeared.
Resentment hostility hurt feelings you name it.
They all dissolved. Evaporated.
He commented on this laying hands on people for prayer, which was normal in Afterglows: “Call it revival, renewal, a fresh touch, an anointing, times of refreshing, or what you will. I needed it.”
That deep work of the Spirit continues now across the world. Its expressions vary with different cultures and denominational traditions. However, the divine Spirit deeply impacts those who continue to seek the Lord.
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1973 – September: Enga District, Papua New Guinea
During September 1973 pastors from the Solomon Islands Enga Baptist churches in the highlands of New Guinea. They conducted meetings throughout the area including sessions with village pastors.
Revival broke out in many villages on Sunday 16 September when the pastors had returned to their churches. Hundreds of people, deeply convicted of sin, repented and were reconciled to God and others with great joy. Pastors in one area held a retreat from Monday to Wednesday in a forest which previously had been sacred for animistic spirit worship. Others joined the pastors there. Healings included a lame man able to walk, a deaf mute who spoke and heard, and a mentally deranged girl was restored.
Work stopped as people in their thousands hurried to special meetings. Prayer groups met daily, morning and evening. Most villages established special places for prayer such as groves near the village where people could go and pray at any time. In the following months thousands of Christians were restored and thousands were converted. The church grew in size and maturity.
This was followed in the eighties by tough times. Tribal conflict, destruction and bloodshed erupted. Revival often precedes hard times and equips God’s people to endure, or even to suffer for him.
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1973 – September: Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Todd Burke)
In September, 1973, Todd Burke arrived in Cambodia on a one week visitor’s visa. Just 23 years old, he felt a strong call from God to minister there, the only charismatic missionary in the country. Beginning with two English classes a day, conducted through an interpreter, he taught from the Good News Bible. Those interested in knowing more about Jesus stayed after class and he saw regular conversions and people filled with the Spirit and healed. Revival broke out in the war torn capital of Phnom Penh and rapidly spread to surrounding areas.
During that September Todd’s wife DeAnn joined him and their visas were extended. A capable interpreter, Thay, joined their team and they received government permission to hold a crusade from 28 September on the afternoons of Friday to Sunday in the athletic stadium. A singing team from the States arrived the day before the crusade began and led each meeting for half an hour with songs and testimonies.
Todd Burke described that first meeting:
About five thousand people were in the audience, most of them middle and lower class people. Among them was a large number of refugees. Seated to my left was a whole section of soldiers dressed in battle fatigues. Many of them had been wounded or had suffered the loss of a limb and I was touched by the look of hope written on their attentive faces. Before the meeting I overheard a reporter interviewing one soldier who was leaning on crutches near the platform. He had lost his right leg in combat. “I don’t understand what this is going to be about,” he said, “but maybe this Jesus can help to relieve our pain and sorrows.” That was my prayer too. …
As the time drew near for me to speak, I began praying for God to anoint me with the Holy Spirit. I needed his power to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus to these people who had never heard his message. …
Thay was interpreting phrase by phrase and we seemed to have the people’s attention. “I can’t prove to you that Jesus offers more than you have in Buddha on in any other religion. Only Jesus can prove that to you as he did in the days when he walked the earth.”
Then I began to relate the story of the paralytic man who had been healed by Jesus. During Thay’s interpretation I prayed silently that the Holy Spirit would breathe life into those words and cause them to pierce each individual heart. …
With a silent prayer (at the end of the message), I continued, “All of you who would like to know whether Jesus is Lord and has this power to save you and to heal you, please raise your hands.” They went up all over the stadium; an air of restlessness crept over the crowd.
“Now,” I shouted into the microphone, “put your other hand on the area of your body where you need a healing. Or place your hand upon your heart if you want to have your sins forgiven and to find a new life in Christ.” …
Slowly I prayed a simple prayer so Thay could interpret every word clearly. … I felt a surging confidence that the Holy Spirit was doing a mighty work at that moment.
Todd invited those who had been healed to come forward and testify. After a brief pause hundreds streamed forward. A lady who had been blind for many years testified that right after the prayer she could see. A lame man who had been carried into the meeting found he could walk again. There were too many healings for everyone to testify.
Each afternoon the crowds increased, and so did the impact of God’s presence. American TV
crews, pulled in off reporting the war, filmed the final crusade. It was shown across America. Todd described the final meeting:
Nearing the end of the message, I noticed people were already moving toward the front. Why are they coming already? I wondered. Have they been healed while I was speaking? … Some were coming for prayer, but most of them had been healed already.
I quickly ended my message and prayed with the entire audience, as I had done the two preceding days. When Thay invited people to come to the front and testify of what God had done for them, the response was incredible. For several hours, hundreds of people streamed across the platform as we watched in amazement.
When the procession was finished, Thay asked the remaining audience whether they believed Jesus had proved himself to be the Lord. They roared their agreement and then applauded spontaneously. “How many of you want to receive Jesus as your Saviour and Master?” he asked. A sea of hands raised before us. Our students and workers moved into the crowd to pray and counsel with as many as they could reach, handing out tracts and gospel portions and instructing people where they could go to learn more about Jesus.
Many of those saved and healed began home churches. A powerful church spread through a network of small house churches. Todd met with the leaders of these groups at early morning prayer meetings every day at 6 a.m. Most pastors were voluntary workers holding normal jobs. Some cycled in from the country and returned for work each morning. Healings, miracles and deliverance from demonic powers were regular events, attracting new converts who in turn were filled with the power of the Spirit and soon began witnessing and praying for others.
When the country fell to the communists in 1975 the Burkes had to leave. They left behind an amazing church anointed by the power of God before it was buried by going underground to survive.
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