Revival and Revivalism

The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750–1858

Look Inside Price $26.40

500 in stock

Weight 1.48 lbs
Dimensions 8.8 × 5.75 × 1.25 in

18th Century, 19th Century, Revival





Original Pub Date


Banner Pub Date

Jul 1, 1994



Page Count



‘In Revival & Revivalism Iain H. Murray has produced yet another historical study of outstanding quality. This is not merely a record of the church’s past. Rather, those who read it will soon realize that it provides a key to understanding contemporary evangelicalism and its deep needs. It may not be too much to claim that this volume is essential reading for Christians who desire true revival in the churches of our own day.’ — DR. SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON

Book Description

Marrying careful historical research to popular and relevant presentation, Revival & 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 that a common understanding of the New Testament idea of revival was prevalent in most denominations throughout the period 1750-1858. Revivalism, on the other hand, is different both in its origin and in its tendencies. Its ethos is mancentred and its methods too close to the manipulative to require a supernatural explanation.

Iain Murray argues that an inability to recognize this distinction has led many to ignore the new and different teaching on evangelism and revival which began to be popularized in the 1820s. While the case against that teaching was argued almost universally by the leaders of the Second Great Awakening their testimony was submerged beneath propaganda which promised a ‘new era’ if only the churches would abandon the older ways.

Today, when that propaganda is largely discredited, there is a great need to rediscover the earlier understanding of revival possessed by those who most intimately experienced it. Revival & Revivalism will do much to aid this rediscovery. Powerfully presented, it contains a message of major importance for contemporary Christians.

Revival and Revivalism in the Mission Field


Table of Contents Expand ↓

Illustrations ix
Preface xi
Introduction xiii
1 Samuel Davies and the Meaning of 'Revival' 1
2 Princeton and the First Fruits of 'A Glorious Plan’ 33
3 Glory in Virginia 61
4 When Theology Took Fire 89
5 The Age of the Second Great Awakening 111
6 Kentucky: 1800 143
7 The Emergence of Revivalism 161
8 Five Leaders in the Northeast 191
9 'New Measures' and Old Revivals? 223
10 Origins of a Great Division 253
11 ’The Illusion of a New Era' 275
12 The Baptists in Transition 299
13 James Waddel Alexander and the New York Awakening of 1857-58 329
14 Old and New, Past and Future 355
1: Revivalism in Britain 391
2: Revivals in the South 415
Title Index 425
General Index 435

7 testimonials for Revival and Revivalism

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  1. David J. Harris

    I have always been bothered by the thought that men in the 20th and 21st centuries have worn the hat of “revivalist,” as if they could start a revival anywhere they go. I saw revival as something so obscure in its meaning, and so artificial in its methods, that I doubted its very existence, regarding the Awakenings as simply man-made circuses with a religious flavor, when revivalists had more success than they do today. I arrived at the conclusion that true revival must not exist.

    I had no idea that this idea of man-made revival (revivalism) was a fairly new concept, and that in days gone by, men that rejected it as false embraced something else as true revival. This is what I discovered as I read the first chapters of Iain Murray’s “Revival and Revivalism.” I realized what I had known as revival was actually revivalism.

    In a nutshell, revivalism holds that through methods and personality, a person can bring ‘revival’ anywhere he goes, anytime he chooses. This idea came to be during and after the Awakenings, when men wanted to start movements like these in their own power. Revival, on the contrary, holds that the sovereign God chooses to expand the Spirit’s influence at certain times, resulting in mass conversions and spiritual growth of believers. Though He always uses the preaching of the Word, it is still not a predictable event, since personality, high-pressure methods, and emotional hysteria do not change the fact that revival only comes when God, of His own volition, chooses to bestow it.

    Is revival a work of man, or a work of God? Before you answer, you should read Murray’s work on the subject. You will not be disappointed.

  2. Bill Karbach

    One of the most important books I have ever read.

  3. Adam

    This is a skillfully researched, pastorally-minded book. Not only is the very detailed history of revival and revivalism interesting, but Murray continually draws conclusions for pastors and lay people to think through about our church’s worship and evangelism. If anything, this book made me think through *how* I share the open invitation for unbelievers to embrace Christ by faith in the gospel. There is a lot of cultural baggage that comes with modern-day evangelism that is traced through and explained in this book, and Murray does a great job at helping his reader think through conversion biblically.

  4. J. Michael Considine, Jr.

    I am inspired by this book to fulfill the great commission. Of course we desire revival but we desire to learn from history, seek to bring about fruit that lasts and avoid man-centered revivalism. Only God can bring about revival. But we are called to be faithful.

  5. Titus

    I read this shortly after reading Calhoun’s two volumes on Princeton Seminary and the two-volume set Princeton and the Work of the Christian Ministry, ed. James M. Garretson. This deepened my appreciate for Old Princeton (and for Banner of Truth!), my sorrow for the damage done by Finney and his methods, and my love for Christ’s Bride. Highly recommended.

  6. bessdr

    The full title of this book couldn’t be more accurate in describing its contents: “Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858. ” The author begins describing revivals as they were understood in 1750. God’s Spirit moved and worked in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. In other words, God in His sovereignty determined when and where revivals would occur. When Charles Finney and his “new measures” came on the scene, they gained immediate popularity, despite protests from older, wiser ministers, and revival took on a new meaning. According to Finney, revivals could be made to happen. They were redefined as a matter of human will, not of Divine sovereignty. The focus for evangelism shifted from men and women being regenerated into disciples to them making a “decision for Christ.” Finney and his followers moved away from Divine revival to human “revivalism.” The influence of Finney and his new measures are still very evident in the evangelical church today. They have “marred” it Biblically. Both revivals and evangelism have departed from a solid theological foundation to produce quick results and large numbers. This book is a must-read for any pastor or Christian leader. I recommend it highly.

  7. David Nalley

    This is one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read.

    First of all, I love church history. Dr. Iain Murray is one of the best Church Historians, who has carefully researched and interpreted the history of Revivals and the subject of Revivalism. Dr. Murray shows how history of this developed, and how the church began to shift her methods because of a shifting in theology.

    This book will help you think through the importance of your theology of sin and conversion. It will also help you think through the use of methods of calling men and women to repentance in your preaching.

    I am a young pastor, who is glad to have read this book at the beginning of my ministry. This will be a book that will have a lasting impact on me and my ministry.

    Get this book, read it, enjoy it, and apply it.

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