Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 25:1 (Nov 1962)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

A. Skevington Wood: The Inextinguishable Blaze (The Advance of Christianity through the Centuries, Vol. 6; ed. F. F. Bruce). Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1960. 256. $3.75.

In his earlier work on Thomas Haweis, A. Skevington Wood has produced a highly concentrated study of one aspect of the eighteenth century Awakening; here he shows something of the scope of the movement as a whole, extensive both in geography and theology.

While the treatment of the more familiar leaders (the Wesleys, Whitefield, Edwards) is extensive and relevant, it is probably in the handling of the lesser known sides of the Awakening that the book makes its special contribution. Well described are the early “stirrings” in Wales under Griffith Jones (as early as 1710!), Daniel Rowland, Howell Davies and Howell Harris (whose correspondence with the Countess of Huntington possibly was the influence which won her to Calvinism, p. 193), as well as the beginnings in Scotland under John Balfour and William McCulloch around 1730. Whitefield’s experiences with the Associate Presbytery are thought-provoking: although it was Ralph Erskine who had invited him to Scotland, Whitefield refused to confine his ministry to the Secession, for even “‘supposing all others were the devil’s people, they certainly had more need to be preached to’“ (p. 118).

The Countess of Huntington enjoyed a manifold influence, as much without as within her “Connexion”. After Whitefield’s death, she even brought about the final break between the Arminian and the Calvinistic wings of the Awakening (p, 199). How many of her chaplains were to become leaders in the “Evangelical” movement (“the term Evangelical…refers specifically to those within the Church of England who embraced such views [those of the Awakening] but who refused to countenance or emulate the irregularities of an itinerant ministry”, p, 130)! Of course the place of Haweis in this movement is stressed, but little more than is the work of George Thomson, James Hervey and Samuel Walker in Cornwall, William Romaine in London, and William Grimshaw in Yorkshire; Evangelicalism’s strength in Oxford and Cambridge universities is ably demonstrated.

Probably of special importance is the reminder of the significance of the Moravian (Unitas Fratrum) wing of the Awakening, not only in its early influence upon the Wesleys, but also thereafter in its independent work in Yorkshire under Benjamin Ingham and in Ireland under John Cennick (who had been Wesley’s first lay preacher). Mention of Moravianism, however, leads almost inevitably to a very basic question, one touched on throughout the book: What was the theological origin of th...

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