Spiritual Heritage

Revival! A People Saturated with God

September 26, 2012 | 2 Comments

Edwin Orr, one of our greatest authorities on the subject of revival, reported having seen two churches in a town in America both advertising revival meetings. One displayed a board saying, “Revival here every Monday night,” while the other promised: “Revival here every night except Monday!” If nothing else, that reminds us how loosely the word has been used. In America it has often been used in place of the word mission or campaign. It is something a church arranges, men organize, and God may or may not bless it. Revival swallows up all other words as the shark swallows the shrimp. So, historically, what does the word revival refer to? The church historian James Buchanan defined revival as “the imparting of life to those who are dead, and the imparting of health to those who are dying.” But that does not take us far enough. Jonathan Edwards, who saw revival in his church in America 250 years ago, explained it as “God’s major means of extending his kingdom,” and more recently Edwin Orr defined these outpourings of the Spirit as a “movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ […] Read More

Discovering an Evangelical Heritage

December 21, 2010 | 0 Comments

Author: Donald Dayton Review Summary: Kerry L. Skinner Prologue: *This book is a product of the author’s struggle to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable heritage in his own experience: the Evangelical heritage in which he was reared and values bequeathed him by the student movements of the 1960’s. Though the author writes through his own struggles, the book gives great history of revival movements. Worth the read. *Dayton believed that the Evangelicals of the 1960’s completely missed the point of rightness from the aspect of reformation. *Cut loose from Evangelicalism, I threw myself into the secular education of Columbia University and went to Yale Divinity School, seeking a theological reconstruction that could bring my intellectual world back together. Chapter 1 Jonathan Blanchard: The Radical Founder of Wheaton College The author is seeking to find reformers among evangelicals who will help him gain confidence in his heritage. His beginning thoughts are very negative. *He believes that Wheaton College is a single symbol of modern Evangelicalism. This is positive for the author because his beliefs affirm Blanchard’s statement at Oberlin college that stated, “every true minister of Christ is a universal reformer, whose business it is, so far as possible, to reform all […] Read More

Reclaiming the Spiritual Heritage of Connecticut

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Following a Reclaiming Our Spiritual Heritage Tour, in October of 2007, one of the participants, Wesley Rowe, publisher of the Torrington (Connecticut) Register Citizen, requested this writer to submit a series of spiritual heritage articles for his newspaper. The articles would run for seven consecutive Sundays, beginning November 5, 2006. Each article would be featured prominently on the first page of the Sunday newspaper. The articles are presented as submitted, however, the titles or headlines were composed by the newspaper staff. Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part One of Seven, November 5, 2006 Northwestern Connecticut is rich in history and culture. The region’s religious or spiritual heritage, though seldom popularly studied, is a significant part of that history. The abolitionist movement, the temperance movement, and the foreign mission movement in America cannot be explained without understanding the religious currents that prevailed in northwestern Connecticut in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Such things are not typically the subject of documentaries on the History Channel. We are the poorer for not knowing about them. The story of America’s Second Great Awakening in New England is the story of explosive growth in the churches of northwestern Connecticut in the years […] Read More

The Pine Grove Camp Meetings

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part Seven of Seven, December 17, 2006 The towns and villages sharing the name “Canaan” include East Canaan, North Canaan (unofficially “Canaan”), and South Canaan (officially “Canaan” and otherwise known as “Falls Village”). However confusing their designations may be, these hamlets, like their biblical namesake, have historically been associated with great movements of God and great spiritual leaders. Lemuel Haynes, the great African-American Puritan pastor, revivalist and abolitionist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, refused a scholarship to Dartmouth College, choosing instead to be mentored for the ministry during the late 1770’s by South Canaan’s scholar-pastor Rev. Daniel Farrand. Henry Opukahaiah, the icon of the first American efforts to train and send missionaries to the Pacific, was mentored for over a year on the farm of Farrand’s successor in South Canaan, the Rev. Charles Prentice. Clearly, the currents of spiritual renewal that became the Second Great Awakening did not bypass Canaan. There was, however, another significant spiritual development occurring at much the same time in which Canaan played an important part – the emergence of Methodism in the New York-New England region. While not a direct result of the village revivals that […] Read More

Nettleton Saves Salisbury Church

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part Six of Seven, December 10, 2006 As one drives through the town of Salisbury, located in the extreme northwest corner of Connecticut, it is impossible to miss the classic New England white frame church on Main Street, with the whale weathervane on the steeple – a seafaring symbol designed to remind observers of the early efforts of missionaries, inspired in part by Henry Opukahaiah, discussed in last week’s article in this series, to take Christianity to the Pacific. The meetinghouse itself recalls a special movement of God in Salisbury, one associated with the strong spiritual currents that swept through the region in the early nineteenth century. Those currents are known to historians as the Second Great Awakening in America (1798 – 1830), a movement that began in northwestern Connecticut, bringing thousands of new converts into the churches of New England before spreading throughout the rest of the nation. It is hard to imagine that the Salisbury Congregational Church’s stately meetinghouse was once home to a dying congregation at the onset of the War of 1812. The church had prospered for many years under two outstanding ministers, Rev. Jonathan Lee and Rev. Joseph Warren […] Read More

Inspiring Believers in New Hartford

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part Two of Seven, November 12, 2006 In a letter dated January 20, 1832, Edward Dorr Griffin, then President of Williams College, reflected back on his first pastorate in New Hartford, Connecticut. It had been a pastorate of only six years, but he remembered the tidal wave of spiritual renewal that had swept northwestern Connecticut in 1798-1799, adding many new converts to his church in New Hartford and altering the course of his own life. He wrote, “I saw a continued succession of heavenly sprinklings at New Salem, Farmington, Middlebury, and New Hartford . . . until, in 1799, I could stand at my door in New Hartford, Litchfield County, and number fifty or sixty contiguous congregations laid down in one field of divine wonders, and as many more in different parts of New England.” Then Griffin added, “By 1802 revivals had spread themselves through most of the western and southern States; and since that time they have been familiar to the whole American people.” Edward Dorr Griffin was the second minister of the Town Hill Church in New Hartford, serving from 1795 until 1801. His was a short but significant pastorate, impacting revival […] Read More

In the Ice Box of Connecticut

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part Four of Seven, November 26, 2006 While climatologists are sounding increasingly urgent warnings about global warming, recent religious demographic studies suggest that the spiritual climate, at least in our part of the country, is becoming distinctly cooler. With some exceptions, membership in main line and evangelical denominations is either stagnant or falling, even though the overall population of the region continues to grow. This is, however, nothing new. Two hundred years ago, churches in Litchfield County were similarly concerned about lack of growth and diminishing influence in their communities. Their fortunes changed dramatically, however, in the years 1798-1799, as God brought deep spiritual warming to many pastors and churches. No town experienced greater warming than Norfolk, the so-called “ice box of Connecticut.” Then, in part because a new monthly journal, The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, began reporting what was occurring in communities like Norfolk, revival spread rapidly throughout much of New England and eventually the nation, in a movement that came to be known as the Second Great Awakening in America. The story of what happened in Norfolk deserves to be better known. The Congregational church that stands in the center of Norfolk today […] Read More

God’s Spark for the Haystack Prayer Meeting

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part Three of Seven, November 19, 2006 In a few weeks, more than 20,000 college students from all across America will converge on St. Louis, Missouri to attend Urbana ’06, a triennial missionary convention sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Many of them will go on to devote their entire lives to serving Christ in large cities and remote villages around the world. That enormous gathering, and the careers in foreign missions that will flow from it, can be traced back 200 years to five students at Williams College, who met to pray in a meadow during a late summer storm in 1806, finding shelter under a haystack. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship rightly claims that it is a part of the legacy of what has come to be known as the Haystack Prayer Meeting. Church historian David W. Kling notes, “This incident . . . became the pivotal event in the launching of American Protestantism’s foreign missionary movement.” Of the five students who met to pray on that summer day, one man, a resident of Torringford, Connecticut, stands out. He might be described as the spark God used to ignite the Haystack and spread missionary fervor […] Read More

Cornwall School Trained Men for Outreach Service

December 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ed Eastman Spiritual Heritage Series: Part Five of Seven, December 3, 2006 One of the oldest unspoiled towns in New England is located just 25 minutes west of Torrington. Visitors to Cornwall Village find it takes just a few moments and a little imagination to travel back two hundred years in time. The village is significant, because it was a key staging area for one of the most important results of the 2nd Great Awakening, America’s modern missionary movement that took Christianity to the world. Immediately across from the Village Meeting House on Bolton Hill Road, once stood the Foreign Mission School of Cornwall, the same site on which St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church stands today. This school was the first institution in America, founded to train young people from other countries, as well as Native-Americans, to take the Christian faith to their homelands. Rev. Timothy Stone, who served the Cornwall church from 1804 to 1827, and promoted the founding of the mission school, also organized one of the first Sunday schools in America, and saw many added to the numbers of his Cornwall congregation through several revivals. A young man from Hawaii, Henry Opukahaia (anglicized “Obookiah”), was being […] Read More

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