Revival’s Sacred Strife

In my study of the Great Revival of 1800, in the area in which I live (Sumner County, TN), I have found some significant things to be evident…

-While there were excesses, it is generally agreed that a genuine move of God occurred.  The Great Revival of 1800 laid a poweful foundation for the states of Tennessee and Kentucky by which to stand. Its effects are still felt today (good and bad).

-There were three major denominations involved… Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist.

-Just a decade before, ministers had been lamenting the sad state of affairs in KY and TN — even all the South.

-There were three phases of the Awakening…

1740-1760 Presbyterian Revival
1760-1770 Baptist Revival
1770-1776 Methodist Revival

… there were hints of “revival” here and there in the 1780′s and 90′s.  Somewhere between 1796 – 1805 the Spirit of Revival had reached a “fever pitch” — and in 1800 all three major denominations were as one in the spirit of revival. One major key to corporate revival … unity in spirit. A oneness. “One accord” as the Bible says.

Excesses marked the revival, for sure.  However, among the excesses were miracualous heart-changes — emotional and not so emotional…

1. Passion was renewed as unto God.
2. Souls were saved — and the church of the South was built.
3. The people truly were “doing life together”.
4. A renewed fervor in prayer was exacted in the revivals.
5. People came to the church with great expectation… that they might actually hear a Word from God.
6. The churches worked together, and when that ceased… the revival ceased.

However we define “revival”, we must agree something happened to those people… and among other things that something, was God!  I close with some defining words from Kierkegaard (as applied to revival)… for “revival” begins with “the war within a person’s soul”. It is a “sacred strife”... “Oh whoever you are, pay heed to this sacred strife. This alone is the strife of eternity.”


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