In the history of revivals, the First and Second Great Awakening stand out. The sincere preaching of the first Great Awakening was due in part as a response to a spiritual coldness that had settled in the New World (America) after the original settlers began to die out. Their children were less pious. Many were positively lost! They wanted the benefit of church membership without being “born again.” Feel-good pastors developed the Half-Way Covenant where they accepted into their churches members with no profession of salvation through Jesus Christ. They hoped that these “members” would eventually want to trust Christ. Against this evil practice, God used Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield to begin a true revival of the Gospel which was called The Great Awakening. One of the benefits of this revival was the preaching of freedom and liberty in Christ. The Great Awakening paved the way for the liberation of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution.
Re-viv-al is the beginning of spiritual life anew. You would think that a momentous political event like the American Revolution would keep religious fervor at work for generations, but alas, all too soon, the preaching of Edwards was forgotten. Note therefore, revivals of faith are needed often.
The late J. Edwin Orr tells of the sorry spiritual condition of the nation in the late 1700’s. “In the wake of the American Revolution there was a moral slump. Drunkenness became epidemic. Profanity was of the most shocking kind. Women were afraid to go out at night. Bank robberies were a daily occurrence. Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to a bishop that the church ‘was too far gone ever to be redeemed.’”
The atheist Voltaire said, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.” Religious colleges such as Princeton and Harvard had only a few that would even claim to be Christians! Students from Dartmouth stole a Bible out of a church and burned it in public.
Historian Kenneth Latourette wrote, “It seemed as if Christianity were about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.” What changed this sad state of affairs? A heaven-sent revival–The Second Great Awakening–came about when the people of God began to pray for it. Do it again, Lord! America needs it! Are you earnestly praying?
Faith Baptist Church