"These men are not drunk," says Peter addressing a crowd of thousands on the day of Pentecost. "It is only nine in the morning," And quoting from the Prophet Joel he continues, "In those days I will pour out my spirit".
Dr. Ann Nyland, writes about this outpouring of the Holy Spirit as seen through the eyes of people with firsthand knowledge of the subject, people who have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in very physical ways as a healing of the body or as "the glorious presence of the Lord that wrapped me round like a mantle...all glowing ... filled with the light of his presence."
The theologian Jonathan Edwards influenced The Great Awakening of the 1740s with his views that God is an angry God and it was necessary to preach the horrors of hell because people were in danger of going there.
Dr Nyland draws a contrast with that revival of the 1740s driven by fear of hell with a modern spiritual revival based on the Gospel of Christ and spearheaded by a woman evangelist. No one who lived in Los Angeles during the 1920s and 30s, could possibly be oblivious to a voice that drew hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to hear Aimee Semple McPherson preach in her Four Square Church, the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles.
Kathyrn Kuhlman was another woman evangelist who came upon the scene a decade later and was cut from the same cloth as McPherson.
Although Dr. Nyland is an Australian, she has captured my interest with this short history lesson of revival in America. Her portraits of American frontier preachers, circuit riders, evangelists and faith healers, who no doubt shaped the values of my American forbearers, stem from two premises championed by Aimee Semple McPherson who insisted "that God called whomever God chose" and a preacher should "preach the old fashion gospel, a practical religion".
Revival and Miracle Workers is a good beginning for anyone interested in the history of Christian revival in America.