Revival: It Leads to Social Reforms
by Marilynn Chadwick True revival awakens a heart for the least and the lost. Historically, revivals have occurred during times of cultural darkness. England, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, had plunged into moral decadence. Drunkenness was rampant and gambling so pervasive that historians described the nation as "one vast casino." Tickets were sold to public executions as entertainment. Many children died in workhouses. Conditions were dismal all around. Amid this degradation, increasing numbers of British grew rich on the African slave trade, causing one Anglican bishop to remark that morality and religion in Britain had collapsed "to a degree that was never known in any Christian country.” It was into this dark culture that John Wesley’s life and ministry helped spark the Methodist movement in Great Britain, which gave rise to the Eighteenth-Century Evangelical Revival. This same movement helped ignite the Great Awakening in the thirteen colonies in the 1730s. Methodists and Baptists took the lead in using revivals to expand the spread of Christianity into the frontiers of America. Wesley’s revival methods gave birth to a small group discipleship movement. These small groups of five to ten people never exceeded one percent of the total population of Great Britain. Yet their influence swelled among the masses, eventually spilling over to the upper-crust English society. It’s no surprise that this Revival had a powerful effect on social conditions in England, including child labor, prison reform, and later the abolition of slavery. Some even say the Wesley Revival movement helped England avoid the type of violent revolution which swept through France. One thing is clear. Throughout history, true revival brought societal reform wherever it spread. If God could use a small group of revived people to transform culture in one of the darkest times in history, just think of what he can do in and through you in these days.