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This paper is going discuss about the Evangelical revival that has happened in England.
The Evangelical revival refers to the revival movement that took place in the eighteenth century
in Britain that spread to all Europe and beyond. It is the most significant religious movement in
the Western world that has had lasting effects on our modern church life. It was in response to
rationalism and industrial revolution. As people in the village left for towns and cities for work,
the churches were loosened and without strength. Efforts were thus made to revive the religious
life by forming a religious society in London. Therefore, in this paper we’ll see that, How did the
revival took place? Who were the leading figures? What was the socio-political and religious
context of the movement.

1. Background of the Evangelical Revival

1.1. The Social Condition

In the 17th century, we can see the distinct decline in public manners and morals. During
this period the social conditions were bleak. From 1714 to 1727, George I was reigning all over
the Britain and was primarily interested in food, horses and women. The population of London,
the capital is more than doubled. By the end of the century, it contained over a million people
and was the largest city in the western world due to the economic causes. Many men and women
came to these cities from rural poverty, hoping to find a decent living but they didn’t have the
sufficient funds to purchase shelter. While the rented houses were desperately overcrowded. For
example, in Manchester ten people are living in a room was common. Most of the people are
addicted to alcohol and because of that London comprises of 506 gin shops for every two
thousand houses. English became their central part of Life. It was also a time in which culture
had fallen to a very low point.1

1.2. The religious condition:

In the period of 18th century, the religious condition of England is unable to cope up with
its moral and social condition. One writer described this period as the period of ‘vanishing

M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 277-78.

gospel’ because the church was divided into two parts namely the Church of England and then
all the others are called as the non-conformists or the dissenters. Meanwhile, the established
church which is also known as the church of England had become largely latitudinarian which
means very broad in its views for it is more like the deists. French Philosopher Monresquien said
that “there is no religion in England. If anyone mention religion, people begin to laugh”. The
church have no motion and indifference for almost a century because of the loss of Zeal and loss
of Orthodoxy, until the appearance of the Evangelical Revival.

During that time, dominant religious group was the Church of England but it was largely
helpless when it comes to deal with social and moral problems. This is said to be the worldliness
of the eighteenth century. Bishops are promoted to the corruptness and also the church leadership
like clergies. Many of the ministers barely preached anything but moralistic sermons. The reason
for this was the spiritual ineffectiveness of the ministers of the church of England. In 1662, two
thousand ministers of the church of England had been expelled from the church of England
because of establishing spiritually minded group known as Puritans. This is against the rites and
practices of the Church of England and while this group is unsuccessful. Eventually they divided
into three groups an became Non-confirmists or Dissenters. Those three groups or denominations
are: the English Presbyterians, the Congregationalists and the Particular Baptists. 2

2. Origin of the Evangelical revival

The movement that became known as the Evangelical movement began within the
Church of England in the 18th century, although it had many points in common with earlier Low
Church attitudes and with 16th- and 17th-century Puritanism. The followers of John Wesley, the
founder of Methodism, eventually left the Church of England, but many with very similar beliefs
remained within the established church. They emphasized evangelism, social welfare, and
missions, and they established the Church Missionary Society (1799) and the Colonial and
Continental Church Society (1838). Included among the Evangelicals’ many leaders were the
influential Clapham Sect, a group of wealthy lay persons prominent in England from about 1790

M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 280-283.

to 1830. Many of them were members of Parliament, and they were responsible for ending the
slave trade.3

2.1. John Wesley and Charles Wesley

John Wesley was born to Samuel and Susanna. Wesley and other siblings grew up in a
Christian home. They are good and a devout family who taught the Bible and practiced a high
standard of morality. John and Charles Wesley went on to Oxford where they founded what was
called ‘the Holy club’. They gathered around them a few like minded young men, including
George Whitefield, who were determined to be holy. John and his brother Charles were ordained
to the Anglican ministry and India but came to London defeated. On their way back to England.
He had a conversion experience through moravian missionaries. Later, Wesley travelled 350,000
miles to share the gospel by continuosuly preaching about repentence, faith and holiness.4

2.2. George Whitefield and his Associates

John wesley is much more known than George Whitefield. Whitefield was converted
several years before the Wesley’s conversion because of the book given by Charled Wesley, “the
life of God is the soul of Man”. After his conversion, he preached the true gospel before the
Wesley’s got back from Georgia. Whitefield was the first to preach out of doors. John Wesley is
usually remembered as the preacher who went outside to preach, which shocked proper church
people who did not think that God could work out of doors and yet Whitefield had already done


3.1. Welsh revival

It occurred in 1904–5. This was a time of intense revivals all over Wales. It started with a
man by the name of Evan Roberts. He was born in 1878, and his family did not have significant
means. As a young child, he worked in the coal mines and later apprenticed as a blacksmith, but
all along he felt a calling to preaching. And he would preach. He started off in a group that was

Tim Dowley, Introduction to the History of Christianity (Jordan Hill Road: Lion Books, 2014), 397.
M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 285-286.

more of the Calvinist Methodist conference. The Presbyterian community urged him to go to
seminary. The community recognized that this young man had a calling on his life to be a
preacher. And so, in 1904, at the age of 26, Evan Roberts went to seminar and he started
preaching. He had four points to his message. He would stand up in front of people and say, “I
have a message for you. Number one: You must confess your known sins and you must make all
of your wrongs right. Second, you must put away any doubtful habits. Third, you must obey the
Spirit promptly. And fourth, you must confess your faith publically.” Those became the four
points of his message and they became the four points of the Welsh Revival. Evan Roberts
preached all over the land of Wales and over the course of two years, an estimated one hundred
thousand souls were converted.The impact of the Welsh Revival can be seen in that, according to
one historian, as much as ten years after the revivals, 82.5 percent of those who attended them
were still members of churches. 6

3.2. Anglican revival

The Anglican Church began as the Church in England. Christians appeared in England
perhaps as early as 67 AD. the modern Church of England officially got its start in the midst of
the Reformation (the sixteenth century). Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and others also came
into being during this critical time in Christian history. The Anglican Church displayed one key
difference from all these other new denominations; rather than being a church born of theology,
it was born of geography. the Anglican Church was not named after a leader or an idea, it was
named after a place. Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne at the age of 25 in 1558. Elizabeth
established the essential elements of the Anglican Way. During her reign, Anglican worship and
theology became standardized. She ordered a simple Catholic style of governance and worship
along with essentially Lutheran preaching and theology. She brought compromise and
moderation to the English Church. No one got everything they wanted, which was part of the
genius of her Reformed Catholicism, her Anglican Way. Therefore, George whitefield preached
in England and first went scotland. It was during the split days in the church of Scotland. A man
named Ralph Erkshire led the group of church of Scotland and formed the associate presbytery.
That is the ancestry of the associate reformed Presbyterian church. Whitefield. These seperate

https://www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com/the-welsh-revivals/16th August 2019.

Presbyterians wanted George Whitefield to renounce his Anglican ordination. Therefore revival
came to the church of Scotland, the state church and also among the evangelical pastors and
parishes. It began in 1739 and at the same time revival is breaking out with Jonathan Edwards.7


4.1. The founding of the Methodist Church

The work of John Wesley and Charles Wesley’s preaching led to a group of people from
Oxford University called Holy club which later turned into Methodists. The word Methodist is
used for all the supporters of the revival and not for the people. This was led by John Wesley
aimed to encourage a disciplined method of spiritual improvement. The first Methodist society
was established in 1736 at Georgia.8

4.2. The Rise the Evangelicals

In the 19th century the Evangelicals came up as the followers of Evangelical revival.
They opposed the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Catholic heritage of Anglicanism.
In the 20th century they were influenced by liberalism and the new, scientific methods of
studying the Bible. Some continued to stress the verbal inspiration and accuracy of the Bible and
became known as conservative Evangelicals. Others, a much larger group, accepted the new
learning and became known as liberal Evangelicals. In general, they continued as the Low
Church party within the Anglican Communion.9 ‘

Thomas Mckenzie, The Anglican Way: A Guidebook (Nashville: Colony Catherine, 2014), 13-16.
M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 289-230.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Anglican-Evangelical#ref84601/ 16th August 2019.

4.3. It produced some good hymn writers and promoted classic Hymns

John and Charles Wesley both wrote hymns but Charles Wesley was the great hymn
writer. In the book of Trinity Hymnals, there are five hymns from John and 19 from Charles.
Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns.10

4.4. It produced social reform

Social reforms paved a way for progress, development of the world-wide expansion.
Professional social workers such as William Wilberforce and Salisbury, found support from
Christians who wanted social change along Christian lines. Along with others, they organized a
friends society to help strangers and people in need. Primarily, Wesley brought out the social
change by founding a free medical dispensary for poor people in Bristol. These people are
against the practices of bribery, smuggling and slave trade. They also supported the prison
reform and the rise of education, particularly the Sunday school movement. Wesley used all the
profits from his literary works for charitable purposes and he encouraged Christians to become
active in social reform. They arose the anti-slavery societies and missionary societies while
hospitals and schools are multiplied.11

4.5. The rise of Modern missionary movement

Bevans and Schroeder states that, in the Methodist revival, Wesley and his followers
integrated evangelical preaching with social action. This designated the success of Global
mission. The immediate background of the modern protestant missionary movement was the
evangelical awakening in the Protestant churches in the 18th and 19th centuries. During this

M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 293-294.
M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 294.

period, the evangelizing spirit took themselves into prisons, brothels, factories and slums to share
the gospel.12

4.6. Revival of the women

This revival movement included Count Von Zinzendorf and Lady Huntingdon. This lady
is very remarkable in this revival. Lady Huntingdon supported whitefield and others. There are
93 letters that we have that George Whitefield wrote Lady Huntingdon far more than he wrote to
any other person. Lady Huntingdon embraced the colleges, seminaries, societies and churches
functioning within the Church of England. She used her money and her influence in the revival
of England. Another woman Hannah, also inspired by John Newton. She established the schools
and projects to help the poor and wrote many religious books and tracts in which she tries to
communicate the gospel to the ordinary, simple people of her time.13


Through this paper, reader can have a detailed understanding about the Evangelical
revival in England under the leadership of John Wesley and Charles Wesley. The revival has
brought many changes in both the perspective of religion as well as social. John Wesley and his
co-workers not only focussed on the spiritual favor of Christianity but also the charitable works
which made a huge impact among the people of England.


Haokip, M Thongkhosei. A Guide book to the History of Christianity. Secunderabad: Bishop.

Rev. Paothang Haokip, 2012.
Dowley, Tim. Introduction to the History of Christianity. Jordan Hill Road: Lion Books, 2014.
Mckenzie, Thomas. The Anglican Way: A Guidebook Nashville: Colony Catherine, 2014.
Tim Dowley, Introduction to the History of Christianity (Jordan Hill Road: Lion Books, 2014),

M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 294-295.
M ThongKhosei Haokip, A Guide book to the History of Christianity (Secunderabad: Bishop. Rev. Paothang
Haokip, 2012), 295-296.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Anglican-Evangelical#ref84601/ 16th August 2019.
https://www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com/the-welsh-revivals/16th August 2019.