Jerry Tidwell: Missions and Evangelism – Awakenings and Their Influence on Southern Baptists and Evangelicals

Jerry Tidwell draws on the example of the Dead Sea which receives, but never gives.  The Dead Sea receives the good waters from Mount Hermon through the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, but stagnates and becomes a place of death.

Myths Surrounding the Great Awakenings

#1.  There is Agreement on the Number and Dates of the Awakenings.

The dates of the first two Awakenings are debated.

#2.  Removing Barriers of Offense to Unbelievers Will Lead to a Larger Church Membership.

#3.  The Awakenings were a Pushback Against Calvinism.

I have to confess that I have made the assumption that because of the number of conversions in the Great Awakening meant that it was a turn away from Calvinism.  This is not true.  The Calvinists were the most effective in resisting the

#4.  Prayer Meetings were the Catalyst for the Awakenings.

The greatest catalyst for the Awakenings was a realization of God’s sovereignty and holiness as opposed to man’s depravity.

Results of the Awakening:

#1.  The Awakenings led to an increased passion for missions and evangelism.

#2.  The Awakenings led Baptists to cooperate with other Evangelicals of the day.

#3.  The Awakening led to a greater recognition of the need of education for ministers.

#4.  The Awakenings led to anti-slavery rules and the preaching of the gospel to the Native Americans.

#5.  The Awakenings waned not because of persecution from secular society, but from the religious establishment of the day.

Whatever else we may say about our desire and need for an Awakening, it seems to be clear that God visited his people in this unusual way as a result of the Isaiah 6 principle.  Isaiah beheld the holiness of God and says not “Woe is them,” but “Woe is me.”   May we again become a body of believers where the life of Christ not only flows to us, but through us.


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