Welsh Revival of 1904-1905
From 1904 to 1905 Wales experienced a religious revival with a strong tone of what became Pentecostalism. It was most famously associated with Evan Roberts (1878-1951), but the movement was broad based with many leaders.
Begun as an effort to kindle nondenominational, nonsectarian spirituality, the Welsh revival of 1904-05 coincided with the rise of the labor movement, socialism, and a general disaffection with religion among the working class and youths. While Roberts heavily emphasized the need for individual prayer in his revival, he also engaged in considerable preaching and, like other evangelists, acted spontaneously.
Not merely a Welsh phenomenon, the movement also spread to other countries. The revival produced some lasting effects including the establishment of Pentecostalism in Wales. Revivalists at first condemned all activities not related to religion, prayer, and the service of God, it temporarily crippled the growing sport of rugby, itself an increasingly powerful element of Welsh identity. Within months, however, extremist views waned and innocuous pastimes and sport returned to Welsh daily life. International success for Wales in rugby matches in 1905 restored the sport's earlier standing and reinforced its place in the self-image of modern Wales.
The revival lasted less than a year, but in that period 100,000 converts were made. The revival spread from south Wales to north Wales, then to Britain, and eventually to Los Angeles, California, where Pentecostalism flourished.
Effects of the Welsh Revival on criminality, drunkeness and other ill-behavior
See also: Religion and crime reduction and Irreligious prison population
Larry Brown in his paper entitled The Welsh Revival And Other Revivals Worldwide, 1900-1905 declared concerning the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905:
|“|| The impact of the Welsh Revival touched essentially everyaspect of Welsh society, with 100,000 throughout Walesprofessing faith. Demonstrating the permeating effects of this Revival, historian J. Edwin Orr, as recounted by Towns and Porter, noted:
“Drunkenness was immediately cut in half, and many taverns went bankrupt. Crime was so diminished that judges were presented with white gloves signifying that there were no cases of murder, assault, rape or robbery or the like to consider. The police became unemployed in many districts. Stoppages occurred in coal mines, not due to unpleasantness between management and workers, but because so many foul-mouthed miners became converted and stopped using foul language that the horses which handled the coal trucks in the mines could no longer understand what was being said to them” (Towns and Porter, 33).
Jeff Fenske wrote of the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905:
|“|| As revival fire spread across Wales in late 1904 and early 1905, although no official records were kept of the actual number converted, 150,000 is considered a very conservative estimate, during the first six months! People’s lives were transformed by the thousands. This was indeed, a sovereign move of God’s Holy Spirit!
Whole communities were turned upside down, and were radically changed from depravity to glorious goodness. The crime rate dropped, often to nothing. The police force reported that they had little more to do than supervise the coming and going of the people to the chapel prayer meetings, while magistrates turned up at courts to discover no cases to try. The alcohol trade was decimated, as people were caught up more by what happened in the local chapels than the local public houses and bars. Families experienced amazing renewal, where the money earning husband and father, the bread winner, had wasted away the income and sowed discord, but now under the moving power of the Holy Spirit, following the conversion to be a follower of Jesus Christ, he not only provided correctly for family needs, but was now with the family, rather than wasting his time, and wages, in the public houses of the village or town...
Public houses were now almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were saving it, giving it to help their churches, buying clothes and food for their families. And not only drunkenness, but stealing and other offences grew less and less, so that often a magistrate came to court, and found there were no cases for him.
Men whose language had been filthy before, learnt to talk purely. It is related that not only did the colliers put in a better day’s work, but also that the pit ponies were so used to being cursed and sworn at, that they just couldn’t understand orders being given in kind, clean words! Yet, still the work output increased. The dark tunnels underground in the mines echoed with the sounds of prayer and hymns, instead of oaths and nasty jokes and gossip.
People who had been careless about paying their bills, or paying back money they had borrowed, paid up all they owed. People who had fallen out became friends again.
- The Welsh Revival Library
- The 1904 Welsh Revival, The Bible College of Wales
- ↑ Robert Pope, "Demythologising the Evan Roberts Revival, 1904-1905," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 2006 57(3): 515-534
- ↑ Edward J. Gitre, "The 1904-05 Welsh Revival: Modernization, Technologies, and Techniques of the Self," Church History 2004 73(4): 792-827
- ↑ The Welsh Revival And Other Revivals Worldwide, 1900-1905
- ↑ Effects of the WELSH REVIVAL 1904-05 by Jeff Finske