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Revival and Revivalism

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Marrying careful historical research to popular and relevant presentation, Revival and Revivalism traces the spiritually epoch-making events of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the eyes of those who lived at their centre. Fundamental to the book's thesis is a rejection of the frequent identification of 'revival' with 'revivalism'. The author demonstrates tha ...more
Hardcover, 455 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by Banner of Truth (first published June 1994)
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Ben Zornes
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, history
Iain Murray's book The Puritan Hope  was one of the most influential books I have ever read. It knocked over all sorts of theological dominoes, which set me on the current course of ministry I am on. This book, Revival and Revivalism is a rich historical analysis of the Christian culture in early America. He quotes extensively from early American pastors and theologians during the time of the Second Great Awakening to reveal their view of revival.

He then shows how the emergence of "altar call
David Chung
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
4.5 stars. Clarion warning against the deception of measuring gospel "success," which often leads to manufacturing it.
Tori Samar
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tori by: Luke
I have memories from my teen years of different variations of the "altar call." Heads bowed, eyes closed, and an invitation that seemed to go on forever. Sometimes the call was for a raise of hands from those who wanted the preacher to pray for them. Sometimes it was an encouragement to walk the aisle to pray up front or leave the room to go to a special prayer room. Speaking candidly, I almost always felt uncomfortable in these situations. Although I never walked an aisle for anything, I did ra ...more
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The subtitle says it all: "The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858. It is the history of various outpourings of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of faithful men, especially focusing on the 19th century. More than that, it documents the departure from faithful gospel preaching with a focus and dependence on God to a methods based, man-focused preaching and theology. This book explains how we have arrived where we are today and why the Evangelical church continues its slide int ...more
Jon Pentecost
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly helpful book.
Murray helps show the difference between true revival and manufactured revivalism. Once again, his historical work is done with an eye towards pastoral usefulness, and helps strengthen the steel in the girders of conviction that God uses his ordinary means to effect extraordinary changes.

The preaching of the Word, prayer, and personal faithfulness are the things God has promised to use. Murray shows from the Second Great Awakening in US history the grave danger of believi
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This, by far, is one of the best historical works I have ever read. Murray highlights the blight that occurred in American evangelicalism in which revival from God's Spirit became eclipsed by the phenomenon of revivalism. "Revival" was originally experienced and understood as a sovereign work of God's Spirit that occurred through the Church's ordinary means of grace. The idea of revival, however, became heavily encumbered with (and in some cases replaced with) "revivalism"--in which popular prea ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helpful survey of the Second Great Awakening, with special attention given to the changing definition of "revival" during the period. Murray connects the dots between an abandonment of 'calvinism' and an increasing focus on getting visible results.

Recommended for anyone wanting to understand revival (and its history in America).
Drew Miller
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church-history
A most helpful volume in seeing the difference in The Great Awakenings versus the revivals that were to follow. This book will also give you an idea of why the American Church is in its current state.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Altar calls and emotionalism are NOT signs of revival! Revival is a sovereign work of God done through faithful preaching of the Word and the response of the people is generally solemnity.
Philip Brown
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. It's when reading books like this that I realize I stand on the shoulders of giants, both in terms of the people Murray is writing about, as well as the scope of work that he has done in putting this together. This is so thorough, and must be the product of years of study. I'm working on a Master's degree on 19th century evangelicalism, and this has made my work a lot easier. Murray basically examines that first great awakening of the 1740s, the second great awakening of the late 1700s, ...more
Jim Lehman
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t have a list of favorite books, but if I did this would probably be in the top 5. I read this 6 years ago and it opened my eyes to the dramatic shift in Christian religion that took place after the 2nd Great Awakening. Much of what passes for “traditional” church practice is really a modern innovation that deviates from the ancient paths that the true church observed throughout its history. So rich, so rewarding, so reviving. I highly recommend this book.
Joe Earle
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Convicted me of my past, strengthened me for today’s ministry, and encouraged me for the future. I wish I’d read this book 10 years ago.
James Ruley
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This helpful book by Iain Murray chronicles the development of the public understanding of revival from the end of the Great Awakening through the end of the Second Great Awakening. Murray helpfully chronicles how theological shifts, and pragmatism, caused revivalists to adopt new measures such as protracted meetings, altar calls, and the anxious seat to morph revival from a work only God could bring to a work that man could incite. Murray carefully chronicles the rise of the revivalists, the de ...more
Jan 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked this book overall. It was very inspiring. It was helpful to learn more about the revivals throughout American history. I found the "new measures" controversy to be particularly interesting.

Murray argues that there is a huge difference between Revival and Revivalism. Revival is a true outpouring of God's Spirit upon His church that leads to increased fervor among saints and large numbers of converts to Christ. Revivalism is a foolish attempt to bring about revival using man's efforts. Re
Hank Pharis
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
(NOTE: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book or a B. 3 stars means a very good book or a B+. 4 stars means an outstanding book or an A {only about 5% of the books I read merit 4 stars}. 5 stars means an all time favorite or an A+ {Only one of 400 or 500 books rates this!).

This is a very important book. Murray makes a crucial distinction between genuine revival and a revivalism. The failure to recognize this distinction has wrecked havoc on American Christianity.

“Revivals are
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really good exploration of some aspects of "evangelicals" over the years 1750-1858, though it also explains a lot of where "evangelicals" are today. Here's a great quote: "This brings us to the most serious and to the ultimate difference between revival and revivalism. The ethos of one is that of concern and praise for the glory of God. The spirit of revival is the spirit of profound humility. ...To the extent that the promoters of revivalism were true Christians they also knew something of the ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
An extremely thorough historical review of the revivals from 1750 to 1858, as well as the shift in methods and employment of preachers and churches after the height of the Second Great Awakening. Murray's exhaustive research demonstrates what is rarely reported - the actual revivals, brought about by supernatural means, preceded the culture of revivalism popularized by Charles Finney and replicated throughout the United States in an attempt to "bring revival". The human obsession with "results" ...more
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: RUF Internship
Shelves: nonfic
An extremely thorough examination of the history of religious revivals in the United States during the key period of the Second Great Awakening. What I liked best about this book was how much primary source material Murray incorporated into the text, in such a way that their original authors could speak for themselves and the events they witnessed came to life.

Murray contends that there is a difference between "revival" and "revivalism." "True" revival is primarily an extraordinary movement of t
Rock Rockwell
The first and second great awakening is historically reviewed and evaluated. True revival by the Holy Spirit is contrasted to the revivalism techniques that are subsequently implemented (methodology=Methodist; revival meetings; sinner's prayers; alter calls, etc.). So many of these 'revivalist' techiniques have been adopted in the Western Christian churches and have resulted in many people having a false sense of assurance of salvation due to an unbiblical mandate of Christian socialization rath ...more
Kenny  Sparks
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At the time of Finney, revivalism with its new means and new measures seemed to be the way to go if one wanted to see souls saved. Having left the 'old school' ways behind, these new revivalists seemed to be able to work up a revival just about anywhere. But where these new revivals were successful at coaxing decisions out of multitudes of people, they lacked, for the most part, any real work of the Holy Spirit that accompanied earlier revivals. Those earlier revivals originated not by emotional ...more
Micah Lugg
I love theology and history, and this book brings both together wonderfully. Murray's analysis is spot on and showed how the church in the states strayed from its Calvinist roots and thus lost the power of the gospel.

This book reaffirmed for me the truth that revival does not come because the preachers have done all the right things to bring it about, but because God chooses to give it. How does one bring a revival? Be faithful to the biblical tasks of preaching and pastoring, and pray that God
Linda Rice
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-history
Very interesting to learn about the two "great awakenings" between 1750 and 1850, the factors involved, how they were different, and how they influenced culture. The second especially moved a large portion of the population from a Puritan view to an Arminian view. After reading it, I could connect it with beliefs of some family ancestors. I wonder how much these winds of thought influenced their doctrinal choices?
As usual, Iain Murray is an excellent author.
Michael Abraham
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favorites
This book is perhaps one of the best historical accounts I've read. Murray addresses Calvinism, Arminianism, revival, revivalism, altar-calls, anxious seats, and the content of true gospel-preaching.

I have a much better understanding of evangelicalism after reading this and I was surprised by how many applications there are to what is going on in missions today. We have much to learn from the past, and I will definitely turn back to this book again and again.
Walt Murray
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Murray does a great job of looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the 1st and 2nd Great Awakenings, and their results (aftermath). Murray shows that religion done wrong has horrific results, but a mix of rich and accurate theology, and a heart aflame for God are the results of God's work of true revival.
Thomas Hunt
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book on early American church history and how revivals truly come about. It also helps to explain when man centered Christianity began to grow out of control to what we have so prevalently in America today. Not sure what the difference is between man centered Christianity and Christ centered Christianity? I suggest you read this book! God Bless.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
So good. A very helpful volume to help get my mind around what exactly happened in the early 19th century to transform the evangelicalism of Edwards to the evangelicalism of Finney. The chapter "The Baptists in Transition" was spectacular, especially in light of contemporary debates about the vision and theological conviction of early American Baptists.

Timmy Marsee
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great treatment of Charles Finney's emergence as a force in the United States. Murray brings clarity and understanding to the subject of revivalism that someone who grew up in a culture of Revivalism may not have understood up to a point, myself included. I particularly liked the appendices, for understanding how Revivalism affected churches in Britain.
Allen Tsai
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: church-history
Not my favorite work of Murray. I think I'm accustomed to his biographical works on one individual. When he covered a time period, like in this book, it was harder to follow and be engaged with so many different people. I did appreciate how he inspected, dissected, and distinguished revival versus revivalism.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A thorough overview of awakenings in the American church that clearly distinguishes between genuine revival and its Finney-generated counterfeit, revivalism. Particularly appreciated his emphasis on revival as actually being solemn and quiet as opposed to loud and dramatic. Finney's aim sticks with me -- to make revival so easy so that men might be able to accomplish it.
Jacob Aitken
A classic that I still recommend. It's value lies, besides its chapter on Samuel Davies, in refuting the dangerous ideology that has become ubiquitous with Evangelicalism today: the revival and altar call. Both are spiritual poison and Murray correctly rebukes that.
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Iain Hamish Murray is a British pastor and author. He was educated in the Isle of Man and at the University of Durham before entering ministry in 1955. He served as assistant to Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel (1956–59) and subsequently at Grove Chapel, London (1961–69) and St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney, Australia, (1981–84). In 1957 he and Jack Cullum founded the Reformed publish ...more

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