Book Review
Revival & Revivalism

Revival & Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1850

by Iain Murray
Published 1994
Banner of Truth
455 pages

This book starts with stories of revivals in the late colonial period, stories of God's extraordinary working among people, workings done when and where He decides. Sadly though, it ends with a whole different idea of revivals, that they can be done when and where some man decides, that, it would seem, God could be called to work whenever the man wants, like a cosmic magician.  You may only want to read the early part, but you will wonder how the attitude changed.

This book is the story of people and events. The Great Awakening times associated with Jonathan Edwards have recently passed. We are now introduced to Samuel Davies (1723-1761) of Virginia, and events of his life. He "and his brethren ... regarded revivals (as events which brought) salvation to a larger number of the lost, and gave Christians a greater conception of the glory of their Redeemer. p. 23.

Here are "threads which tie many things together and by the means of which the main lines of spiritual influence can be traced." p. 35. Following those threads provides story after story. It includes the establishment of the College of New Jersey at Princeton. It follows "the course of some of the foremost of the 500 (graduates who became preachers of the gospel) to see a pattern in the unfolding events in this momentous era of history." p. 38.

Let this book draw you back into a blessed past.