The revivalist tradition is rooted in pietist hymnody. It is characterized by an emphasis on the relationship of Christ (the bridegroom) to the church and to the individual believer (the bride). It is commonly held that Isaac Watts combined most successfully the expression of worship with that of human devotional experience. The Wesleys developed what we know today as “invitation” songs. When transported to America, this tradition gave rise to the modern revival movement.
The Holiness Movement did not readily record its liturgy. Worship followed a common pattern familiar to its members. A reporter describing a camp meeting in Quinebaug, Connecticut, wrote: “Meetings were held from day to day, after the usual order.” The scarcity of printed orders of worship makes exploration of this topic difficult. There are, however, some prose descriptions of portions of worship that provide sufficient information to reconstruct a typical revivalistic, camp meeting service.
No orders of service from either of Charles G. Finney’s pastorates are extant. However, orders of service from the First Church in Oberlin, Ohio, are available from the pastorate of Finney’s successor, James Brand, dating from the 1890s—a full twenty-five years after Finney’s retirement. In addition, sermon notes (c.1850) from Finney’s son-in-law, James Monroe, containing order-of-service outlines, are also available. The orders of service described in Monroe’s notes correspond to the orders of service observed at First Church of Oberlin nearly a half-century later. We can, therefore, have a certain amount of confidence that the order of service given below (a hybrid developed from Monroe’s notes and the First Church orders) is similar to the liturgy employed during Finney’s tenure.
The Azusa Street revival led to one of the most powerful Christian movements in the twentieth century.
In addition to the many programs and institutions Moody established and the countless people he led to Christ, he and Sankey created a model for teamwork that influenced future evangelists like Billy Sunday and Billy Graham.
Without the tireless efforts of Christian missionaries, the young nation would have had no moral compass and many of the important social programs that helped protect immigrants, women, children, Native Americans, and newly freed slaves would have never existed.
The opportunity for social gatherings had a powerful appeal to people who were starving for companionship. They were stirred by the evangelistic drive of the preachers, who encouraged emotional expression. The same exhibitions of tearful remorse and exuberant joy that appeared in England under Wesley’s preaching and in the Great Awakening in America appeared on the frontier. Out of the conversions of the camp meetings, the churches gathered recruits and the morals of the region showed dramatic improvement.
Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) was one of the great 19th century American evangelists. He was born in East Northfield, Massachusetts to a family of modest means. His father died when Moody was four and financial circumstances and his own unruly nature kept him from receiving more than a superficial education.
Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875), the great 19th-century revivalist, abolitionist, and educator was born in Warren, Connecticut but moved as a youth to New York and later New Jersey, where he went to school.
The formation of an independent evangelical congregation often springs out of a home Bible study group that has prospered.