In 1859 and then again in 1904 a deep and penetrating work of the Holy Spirit engulfed the country of Wales. Wales had already seen many other periods when God had moved in revival-perhaps more than any geographical location in the history of Christianity. But these two spiritual awakenings were two of the most significant. In both cases, the Holy Spirit produced a profound increase of love for God among professing Christians and moved in the hearts of tens of thousands of people who did not know Christ, bringing them to repentance and a relationship with God. But there was a striking difference between the two revivals.
Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge compared the two awakenings and commented about Evan Roberts, the best-known preacher of the second: “Roberts, a gifted exhorter who led meetings filled with prayers, singing, and testimonies, did not prioritize Bible teaching. Compared to the 1859 revival, fewer Welsh preachers taught biblical doctrine. Instead, many new converts sought mystical experiences.”
The positive effects of the first revival both for the church and for society persisted for many years. The second revival., lacking an emphasis on the Bible, was “gone as quickly as it came.” Hansen and Woodbridge remarked about the second awakening: “After several years, Wales returned to its previous state of religious indifference.” The second revival was like a sparkler that spouted brilliant colors for a moment, sputtered, then grew suddenly dark. The difference between the two revivals was the Bible. Kenneth Berding, Bible Revival, preface.