The Great Awakening
This is the next installment (from Glory Through Time teachings) in our continuing saga of how the Holy Spirit kept working after the last apostle died and the Bible was completed. These interventions of a Sovereign God began to take the shape of spiritual awakenings beginning in the 16th century. The attached teaching describes what we in the U.S. call “The Great Awakening.”
In this teaching, I show what resulted from the Anglican persecutions in England during the 17th century. Remember: under the Stuart kings of England (James, Charles I and Charles II), anyone who experienced spiritual awakening—and therefore the power of Jesus and the authority of the Bible—was unwelcome to stay in England. These groups were considered as wild-eyed radicals, who were against the official religion approved by the King. (Not King Jesus! The King of England.)
Generation after generation of awakened Christians—Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers, Presbyterians, Baptists and (later) Methodists all found refuge across the Atlantic Ocean. Most of them settled in the North—in colonies like Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Conversely, those immigrants who sympathized with the Stuart kings tended to settle in the southern colonies. That is why the counties and cities of those states are named after those kings to this day. (I live in Charles City County, Virginia.)
As a result, the Great Awakening, which began in Northampton, Massachussetts in 1735, began in the North and spread only to Northern colonies. The Christians in those areas had already learned to pray for spiritual awakening in the Old Country, as Jonathan Edwards describes in his book, A Faithful Narrative of a Surprising Work of God.
Southerners, on the other hand, were horrified by the work of the Holy Spirit and clung tightly to their highly controlled and ritualized Anglicanism, which was approved by the Stuart kings. All Christians outside of this highly controlled environment were called “dissenters” and were highly disapproved of. They were not permitted to preach or even to live in civilized areas of the country, but were shoved off to the wild mountainous areas to the west. So you see how, from the beginning, there were two distinct ideas about Christianity. One was open to the working of the Holy Spirit; the other, not so much!
And with each season of spiritual awakening, God was adding some forgotten piece of the Kingdom of God, aiming toward the day when Christians would become fully equipped with every good gift, as at the beginning. The Holy Spirit has more for us than we could possibly imagine! If only we would let Him equip us!