Friday, June 22, 2007

First Week

We just finished our first week. It has been a very good week with lots of interaction and exchange of ideas. The main focus of this week of class has been the history of Christianity since the Reformation. We have looked at Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, Zinzendorf, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and the revivals and awakenings that happened as a result of their ministry. Fascinating stuff.

A number of things really jump out at me. The first thing was how closely connected the church was to the state and how difficult it was to actually express new ideas without getting censured, exiled or killed. These were brave men to express and stand on their convictions.

The second insight is the amazing similarity of some of the moves of God in the 1700's. During Zinzendorf's time they experienced a pentecost at Herrnhut (the Moravian community he established) complete with shakings, a tangible presence of the Spirit, healings and a deep experience of the love of God. During the Wesleyan revivals and during the Great Awakening there were swoonings, tears and loud screeching during the services as people were brought under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. There were many more supernatural manifestations than we are normally led to believe.

The third thing is what impact the revivals had on our history as the Western Civilization. These awakenings and revival have really shaped who and what we are as a country and as a people. It established morals and ethics and governmental systems that have strong biblical foundations.

Finally, I was impressed at how they expressed their Christianity in the social realm. The result of these revivals was orphanages, hospitals, schools, universities and the relief of poverty. The changes were not only political but deeply social and made a difference in the day to day life of one's neighbour. It has inspired me to see that the significance of the move of the Spirit is always felt in loving your neighbour.

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