many Christians today and years ago, revivals have been the starting point. A
hundred years ago people met in tents or out under the stars to hear about their
God and be newly revived, torn out of their dead Christianity and confronted
with new commitment. Many a great church leader started his ministry on a hard
altar bench in a small revival tent somewhere out in the fields. Today, revivals
usually take place in church buildings or centers, air-conditioned, with
comfortable seats and high-tech performances. But still today, revivals are
starting points. Starting points for people that renew or begin their
relationship with their God. Places to be newly revived, were dead Christianity
comes alive once more. Maybe they have become less frequent now than in the time
of the Holiness Movement. But they still take place, often only little sparks
that start a new fire which will burn bright for many years.
remarkable revival that was held on the Bethany SNU campus was the revival of
1951. There were other revivals, like the one of 1934, but those two weeks in
1951 definitely stayed in the minds of anyone who attended.
The revival had been supposed to be a week long, but on the last
evening they weren't able to close and went on for another week. Most classes
were suspended, and students and faculty came to listen to Dr. Russell V.
DeLong. The services took place in Herrick, which at that time was still Bethany
First Church of the Nazarene.
began on April 1, 1951, with a Sunday morning service. Already the first service
was filled with God's spirit and many people were stirred (instead of having
several days of warm up). There were services every morning and every night. The
altar could almost not accommodate all the people that came to the front in
every single service. On the first night, the evangelist had a chest in which
everybody put his or her prayer requests. At the end of the revival there was a
great burning of prayer requests, of which many had been answered.
The Tuesday morning service went for three hours and found about
125 people at the altar. On Wednesday morning the service went yet another hour
longer. People ventured out into Bethany and began inviting seriously to the
meetings. Attendance numbers kept rising, so much that children had to sit on
the floor and the auditorium could not hold all the people. More and more people
came to the front, the services went longer and longer. On that Sunday, Sunday
school attendance reached a record 1624. During the service, 150 people and more
made it to the altar.
night everyone was sad to see the revival come to a close. So an echo meeting
for Monday night was planned. Monday night brought such an overwhelming meeting
that Dr. DeLong agreed to stay the rest of the week.
Thursday evening the chapel was crowded as never before. "Another
service crowned with victory!" Music played an important part in the whole
revival, with praise being lifted up to God without ending.
Minnie Blanchie Dimond, senior at Bethany-Peniel College,
describes the last service on Sunday evening with her own eyes:
"Heaven on earth. That is the best I can explain the closing
service of this revival campaign. The church was packed and jammed and that
literally; some had to attend the service by remote control (in a room in the
basement with a sound system). Hearts were heavy and prayers, hundreds of them,
ascended for those still outside the fold. Prayers did not go unanswered!
'Excuse My Alibi' drove truths home and they hit deep. Conviction settled over
the crowd like a pall. Hearts began to step out for God and soon the altar was
full, improvised altars filled, and victory began to break."
n this last
night, the petitions in the chest were burned, and the revival ended with the
promise that it was only the beginning.