Revival on the Hebrides

The Earthquake the Isle of Lewis Will Never Forget

Map of the Hebrides showing the island of LewisA map of the Hebrides I was prostrate, praying at 5 o'clock in the morning; confused and frustrated by my work and testimony as a Christian. I had spent the past 17 years in a barren desert, but that morning I learned about the restoring power of the Blood of Jesus Christ. While I was praying, I realised that God had made provisions for pure hands and a pure heart.

To a certain extent there was a connection between the revival on Skye, and later in Lewis, with that morning's experience. But how did it start? What caused me to fully realise the wonderful liberation of the Holy Spirit? I answered with one word - a "baptism" from God. Previous to my baptism, I had felt a spiritual hunger, a longing for God to do something.

It was this same thing which also started the revival on Lewis. It did not start by me going there. God worked, and he worked mightily, before I had ever thought about visiting Lewis. A number of men and two elderly ladies became aware of the desperate need of their community. When all human efforts had failed, they realised that their only source of help was to turn back to God. So they entered into a solemn covenant, they would not rest or give up praying, until God established "Jerusalem" to His glory on the island.

According to a report which a pastor in the community had given me, men had been found waiting the whole night, trusting that God was about to reveal His power. The two elderly sisters had been found prostrate in front of their peat fire, three nights in one week. They were claiming God's promise. I stress one single promise - "I will pour out water on him who is thirsty, and floods onto dry land." They stated that this was the promise of a God who kept His covenant, and who always remained faithful to His covenant duties.

They continued to wait for God to move - the months passed, and nothing happened. Then one morning, in the year 1949, a young man read out the well-known paragraph from PSALM 24, at a meeting, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart... He shall receive the blessing from the Lord." Looking upon his prayer companions, he said in Gaelic, "Brethren, it seems to me just so much humbug to be waiting and praying as we are, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God." Then lifting his hands toward heaven he cried: "Oh God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure?"

He did not get any further. That very moment a revelation from God came unto the praying men, and an awareness of His presence lifted them into another dimension. Three of them fell to the floor with broken hearts. They were suddenly aware that they were no longer in a normal dimension, but in a supernatural one. Revival had come, and the power which had been released in that barn shook the whole community of Lewis.

These few men and the elderly women discovered the deep truth, that a revival sent by God is always related to holiness and the true New Testamental separation. Yes, revival was underway, and God would be honoured. They would see people so supernaturally changed, that holiness would form part of their character, body, soul and spirit. This was the truth which took hold of them and moved the people of Lewis and Harris. There was a hunger, a cry for grace.

Duncan Campbell

Oh that there would be an honest and genuine baptism take place; complete sincerity that will lead us to exclaim with the men of Barvas, "Is my heart pure, are my hands clean?" This tremendous blessing is a human necessity. Holiness is Christ on the throne. If the secret of holiness consists of the soul's complete fulfilment with the life of Christ; if baptism in the Holy Spirit is a revelation of Jesus; if the beauty of the Christian character is a result of Him dwelling within me, then surely, the one great need of the Christian church today, is a pure heart.

Revival is a fellowship filled with God. This is the difference between revival and successful evangelisation. God is sovereign in His dealings with people. We don't need new methods of preaching, we don't need new access to the truth, nor do we need better organisation. What we need is a purifying baptism which will make us into vessels, fit for God's use. We cannot achieve this wonderful, complete liberation through our own efforts, but through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. God's promise is very clear on this matter.

I could take you, this very moment, to the village in Lewis, where a young man discovered all this. He was outside, on the hills, struggling with his own sinful nature. He had been converted for six months, and had suddenly found himself asking the question, "Can Christ not do better than this?"

Have you ever asked this yourself?

At that very moment, a scripture stood out clearly to him: "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all our iniquity." At this very moment the young man was lifted out of his position of depression and frustration, to stand in God's Glory. When Judgment Day comes, people will see, I think, that more people came to Christ through the prayers and life of this young man, than through the efforts of all the pastors in Lewis, including myself.

We were in a village, where circumstances were really difficult. A certain part of the Christian community was in opposition, giving the reason that I was not preaching the truth. Resistance was so successful that only seven people from this community came near the meetings in the local church. At the end of the service the leader of the meeting said to me: "Mr. Campbell, tonight we are going to meet in the farmhouse; we will spend the night in prayer."

So we met. There were about thirty of us, and we began praying. While the hours were passing by, I found myself fighting and not getting anywhere. After midnight I turned to a young man and said, "I feel led by God to ask you to pray." This dear man got up and said, "O God, You made a promise to pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground, and, Lord, it's not happening." He paused, and then continued, "Lord, I don't know how the others here stand in Your presence; I don't know how the ministers stand, but, Lord, if I know anything about my own heart I stand before Thee as an empty vessel, thirsting for Thee and for a manifestation of Thy power." He halted again, and then after a moment of tense silence cried, "O God, Your honour is at stake, and I now challenge You to fulfil Your covenant engagement and do what You have promised to do."

Believe it or not - and you can check it if you want to - the house was shaking like a leaf, the dishes were clappering on the sideboard, and an elder who was standing next to me remarked, "Mr. Campbell, an earthquake." I said, "Yes" and gave the blessing right away. We went outside and found the community awake with an awareness of the presence of God. Men and women were carrying chairs and stools and asked: "Is there any room for us in the church?"

The blessing of revival had come. On the crest of its wave, men and women flooded into the kingdom of God. Oh, that God would do it again!

by Duncan Campbell

Translated from the German: "Erweckung auf den Hebriden"

Source: 'Der Auftrag' (Nov. 1984)