Revival—true revival—was breaking out in the small country of Wales back in 1904. And even in those pre-internet, pre-cell phone days, the news roared like wildfire around the globe.
Some missionaries in India heard about this supernatural move of God, Dr. R.T. Kendall tells Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of the Greenelines podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. What happened next resembles a familiar but modern issue: When believers encounter something God is doing, they label it as “not of God.”
“Do you know what?” Kendall asks as he continues the missionaries’ story. “They got on a ship, came into South Hampton Harbor, then came up to London and ran into friends in London.
“And their friends in London said to the missionaries, ‘We thought you were in India; what are you doing here?’
“‘Oh,’ they said. ‘We’ve come to see the revival,'” Kendall continues. “‘We’re going to Wales.'”
Their English friends put an immediate stop to that plan, Kendall explains. “Don’t bother,” they said. “Don’t bother. What is going on in Wales is not revival. It’s Welsh emotionalism.”
The missionaries got back on the ship and never visited Wales, never experienced the power of the Spirit that radically changed the lives of so many. “Fifty thousand people were converted between 1904 and 1905,” Kendall says. “The pubs closed down; jails were emptied; it was amazing.”
And why did the missionaries miss this supernatural outpouring? Kendall has the answer: “Because they took the word of their friends, who were prejudiced, and would not recognize the Welsh Revival as being of God.”
“This can happen in our day; God can be at work,” Kendall says. “And because we’re not in the middle of it, we want to say it’s not of God.”
“People don’t want to admit if God is at work, especially if it goes against our comfortable tradition; it takes us outside our comfort zone,” Kendall says. “And we want to say, ‘Well, that’s not of God.’ It’s often said, the greatest opponent to what God is doing today comes from those who are right in the middle of what God was doing yesterday. And that’s a Pharisaical view.”
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