Book Review - Glory in the Glen
Revival. The word is one that ought to make every true Christian in this country fall down and plead with God that he would revive us again. The history of revival is one that we ought to study, not as a mere intellectual expercise, but to quicken our desires for God to work again in our day and age.
Glory in the Glen by Tom Lennie (Christian Focus Publications, paperback, 512 pages), is a patiently researched, well-written book. It is cautious in all its claims, and well-documented. The subject is Evangelical revivals in Scotland between 1880 and 1940. In this book Mr. Lennie shows that this period, which has been generally neglected, was in fact a period of great blessing in various parts of Scotland. He shows that the Welsh Revival fires spread to various parts of Scotland, and that the period prior to the First World War was a period of ingathering. Like the Welsh Revival, many converts of these awakenings died in the Trenches, and yet in the Highlands and Islands, and among the fisherfolk, the Revivals continued between the wars.
The book is in five parts. Part one, 'Glory filled the Land', deals with revivals in various parts of Scotland, from Ayrshire to Skye. Part two, 'Fire Among the Fisherfolk', focuses on the revivals among the fishing communities. Part three, ''Oer the Minch' - Hebridean Harvest', deals with revivals in the Outer Hebrides. The fourth part of the book, 'Bairns, Scholars and Holy Rollers', as the title suggests, is a little more mixed, the first chapter dealing with work among children and scholars, the second with the development of Pentecosalism in Scotland. Part five is more analytical, asking questions about revival in the light of the historical sections of the book.
Lennie's well-researched book does not hesitate to criticise such practices as that of giving out figures of converts. As he points out, the number of those 'coming forward' at a meeting is often highly misleading, since many who do so are not actually converted. The reader will no doubt find some of what he reads here difficult. After all, there are events recorded that we Reformed Christians don't find happening in our churches. But after all, we do think that the facts ought to be recorded as they really are, not as we would have liked them to be.
All in all, this is a good read, deeply challenging, and well-written. Readers will also appreciate the maps and illustrations that help to put the revival accounts in historical and gographical context.
Glory in the Glen is available from your local Christian bookshop, or from Christian Focus Publications. It costs £11.99.