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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Evan Roberts and War on the Saints

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Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 453

 Evan Roberts and War on the Saints

Here is a short bio of Evan Roberts that differs from any I've read before. The facts are the same; the candid interpretations are different. It addresses some issues we were discussing in the Andrew Strom/prophetic movement threads.

The story of Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 is the most thrilling, but also the most sad and sobering in all revival history. On the one hand we see one hundred thousand souls in Wales coming to Christ in just nine months, from November 1904 to August 1905. This was the beginning of a world-wide revival that ushered hundreds of thousands more into the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, we see Evan Roberts, the principle revivalist of this move of God, becoming deceived, deluded and finally suffering a nervous breakdown which took him out of the public limelight to live the life of a recluse. Furthermore, the fruits of the revival in Wales (but not world-wide) were soon lost through criticism, fears of deception and a Welsh theology which suppressed the assurance of salvation. Within a generation there were no signs that a revival had ever occurred. Surely there are some important lessons for 21st Century Christians to learn here?

Evan Roberts was born and raised in a Welsh Calvinist Methodist family in Loughor, on the Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire border. As a boy he was unusually serious and very diligent in his Christian life. He memorised verses of the Bible and was a daily attender of Moriah Chapel, a church about a mile from his home. Even at 13 years of age he began to develop a heart for a visitation from God. He later wrote “I said to myself: I will have the Spirit. And through all weathers and in spite of all difficulties I went to the meetings… for ten or eleven years I have prayed for revival. I could sit up all night to read or talk about revivals. It was the Spirit who moved me to think about revival.”

After working in the coal mines and then as a smithy, he entered a preparatory college at Newcastle Emlyn, as a candidate for the ministry. It was 1903 and he was 25 years old.

It was at this time that he sought the Lord for more of His Spirit. He believed that he would be baptised in the Holy Spirit and sometimes his bed shook as his prayers were answered. The Lord began to wake him at 1.00 am for divine fellowship, when he would pray for four hours, returning to bed at 5.00 am for another four hours sleep.

He visited a meeting where Seth Joshua was preaching and heard the evangelist pray “Lord, bend us”. The Holy Spirit said to Evan, “That’s what you need”. At the following meeting Evan experienced a powerful filling with the Holy Spirit. “I felt a living power pervading my bosom. It took my breath away and my legs trembled exceedingly. This living power became stronger and stronger as each one prayed, until I felt it would tear me apart. My whole bosom was a turmoil and if I had not prayed it would have burst…. I fell on my knees with my arms over the seat in front of me. My face was bathed in perspiration, and the tears flowed in streams. I cried out “Bend me, bend me!!” It was God’s commending love which bent me… what a wave of peace flooded my bosom…. I was filled with compassion for those who must bend at the judgement, and I wept. Following that, the salvation of the human soul was solemnly impressed on me. I felt ablaze with the desire to go through the length and breadth of Wales to tell of the saviour”.

Needless to say, his studies began to take second place! He began praying for a hundred thousand souls and had two visions which encouraged him to believe it would happen. He saw a lighted candle and behind it the rising sun. He felt the interpretation was that the present blessings were only as a lighted candle compared with the blazing glory of the sun. Later all Wales would be flooded with revival glory.

The other vision occurred when Evan saw his close friend Sydney Evans staring at the moon. Evan asked what he was looking at and, to his great surprise, he saw it too! It was an arm that seemed to be outstretched from the moon down to Wales. He was in no doubt that revival was on its way.

He then felt led to return to his home town and conduct meetings with the young people of Loughor. With permission from the minister, he began the meetings, encouraging prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit on Moriah. The meetings slowly increased in numbers and powerful waves of intercession swept over those gathered.

During those meetings the Holy Spirit gave Evan four requirements that were later to be used throughout the coming revival:

1. Confession of all known sin
2. Repentance and restitution
3. Obedience and surrender to the Holy Spirit
4. Public confession of Christ

The Spirit began to be outpoured. There was weeping, shouting, crying out, joy and brokeness. Some would shout out, “No more, Lord Jesus, or I’ll die”. This was the beginning of the Welsh Revival.

The meetings then moved to wherever Evan felt led to go. Those travelling with him were predominately female and the young girls would often begin meetings with intense intercession, urging surrender to God and by giving testimony. Evan would often be seen on his knees pleading for God’s mercy, with tears. The crowds would come and be moved upon by wave after wave of the Spirit’s presence. Spontaneous prayer, confession, testimony and song erupted in all the meetings. Evan, or his helpers , would approach those in spiritual distress and urge them to surrender to Christ. No musical instruments were played and, often, there would be no preaching. Yet the crowds continued to come and thousands professed conversion.

The meetings often went on until the early hours of the morning. Evan and his team would go home, sleep for 2–3 hours and be back at the pit-head by 5 am, urging the miners coming off night duty to come to chapel meetings.

The revival spread like wildfire all over Wales. Other leaders also experienced the presence of God. Hundreds of overseas visitors flocked to Wales to witness the revival and many took revival fire back to their own land. But the intense presence began to take its toll on Evan. He became nervous and would sometimes be abrupt or rude to people in public meetings. He openly rebuked leaders and congregations alike.

Though he was clearly exercising spiritual gifts and was sensitive to the Holy Spirit , he became unsure of the “voices” he was hearing. The he broke down and withdrew from public meetings. Accusation and criticism followed and further physical and emotional breakdown ensued.

Understandably, converts were confused. Was this God? Was Evan Roberts God’s man or was he satanically motivated? He fell into a deep depression and in the spring of 1906 he was invited to convalesce at Jessie Penn-Lewis’ home at Woodlands in Leicester.

It is claimed that Mrs Penn Lewis used Evan’s name to propagate her own ministry and message. She supposedly convinced him he was deceived by evil spirits and, over the next few years co-authorised with Evan “War on the Saints”, which was published in 1913. This book clearly delineates the confusion she had drawn Evan into. It left its readers totally wary of any spiritual phenomena of any kind or degree. Rather than giving clear guidelines regarding discerning satanic powers, it brought into question anything that may be considered, or that might be described, as Holy Spirit activity. Within a year of its publication, Evan Roberts denounced it, telling friends that it had been a failed weapon which had confused and divided the Lord’s people.

Evan stayed at the Penn-Lewis’ home for eight years, giving himself to intercession and private group counselling. Around 1920 Evan moved to Brighton and lived alone until he returned to his beloved Wales, when his father fell ill in 1926. He began to visit Wales again and eventually moved there in 1928 when his father died.

Nothing much is known of the years that followed. Evan finally died at the age of 72 and was buried behind Moriah Chapel on Jan 29th 1951.

May his life be both an example and a warning to all those who participate in revival to maintain humility; keep submissive to the Spirit; be accountable to godly men and women; remain true to their calling; use the gifts God has given, but be wise in the stewardship of their body.

Bibliography An Instrument of Revival, Brynmor Pierce-Jones 1995, published by Bridge Publishing (ISBN 0-88270-667-5).

Tony Cauchi
November 2007

Wayne Kraus

 2010/1/27 13:26Profile

 Re: Evan Roberts and War on the Saints

God bless you Wayne!!

a profitable thread, amen.

that book by Mr. Pierce-Jones is a wonderful book, arguably the best contemporary work on evan's ministry. (i'm fascinated by his POST revival ministry of private intercessory prayer, ....)

but here's the sad thing about this fine Godly book about a servant of Messiah, it was published in 1995, by Bridge-Logos, and it is now so rare....imagine that, a book published in 1995, so rare that the cheapest copy is $59.95, and the most expensive, a "new" copy, $312.56!!! Praise God, i bought my copy for the list price of $11.99....and NO, i wouldnt think of sellin it for such a mark-up....its blessed me. Evan's ministry in the Leading of the Holy Spirit has really helped me build the "architecture" of a life well led in Christ.(later edit---what i mean to say is, "as i contend to build a life well led in Christ...not that i have completed as such)

Brethern, i know business is business, supply demand, etc, but c'mon. ....but instead of complaining, please allow me to share with you all something i found on Google Books, a 1905 copyright of the Welsh Revival, go to page 48, where the authors speak of Evan and actually conduct a rare "interview" with Evan, and you can see that his heart was RIGHT with God, meaning Evan didnt get into this whole self aggrandizing thing so many men of God get wrapped up in, in these modern revivals....truly humble, and truly dependent and giving ALL the Glory to's the book:

[url=]The Welsh Revival-1905 copyright[/url]

Lord bless you all, neil

 2010/1/27 14:00

 Re: Evan Roberts and War on the Saints

Again he says: " Is n't it all wonderful how the Spirit responds ? It is not me—it is the Spirit, the Spirit."

To describe the address that follows as a sermon would be a misnomer. He is buoyant, joyous, almost bubbling over with merriment. It is "the joy of Christ," he explains, "and you can laugh—yes, laugh out of sheer joy at the throne of grace."

Yet he always shrinks modestly from claiming any of the results that follow his mission ; sometimes he declines to let his movements be announced. " People must not rely upon me." This is his constant cry. " I have nothing for them. They must rely upon Him who alone can minister to their needs."

When I talked with him, he said:

"The movement is not of me, it is of God. I would not dare to try to direct it. Obey the Spirit, that is our word in everything. It is the Spirit alone which is leading us in our meetings and in all that is done."

" You do not preach, or teach, or control the meetings? "

"Why should I teach when the Spirit is teaching? What need have these people to be told that they are sinners? What they need is salvation. Do they not know it ? It is not knowledge that they lack, but decision—action. And why should I control the meetings? The meetings control themselves, or rather the Spirit that is in them controls them."

Evan Roberts in the "Welsh Revival"

 2010/1/27 14:10

Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 453

 Re: Evan Roberts and War on the Saints

In this interview, he seems a little dazed at his sudden world-wide fame. But he keeps diverting our attention away from himself and toward Jesus. He was mightily used of God, and paid a heavy price for it, exemlifying what it means "to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." Phil. 3:10 The most impressive thing is that he devoted the rest of his life to intercession. He could have capitalized on his celebrity and travelled the world giving speeches, writing books and making money. Evan Roberts was the real thing.

Wayne Kraus

 2010/1/27 19:27Profile


"Evan Roberts was the real thing."

Yes, and one can only guess as to the spiritual warfare he suffered. The enemy would be none to pleased to see 100,000 souls converted and God being Frank

 2010/1/27 20:42

 my brother Wayne

you wrote:

In this interview, he seems a little dazed at his sudden world-wide fame. But he keeps diverting our attention away from himself and toward Jesus.

yes! that interview just made my heart SOAR;, because if we are marked for ministry, called for ministry, whether that ministry be a public one, teaching, preaching, exhorting, or a private ministry, a ministry of helps, or a ministry of private intercessory prayer, the list is endless........point being, we absolutely have to be of the heart, that its Him, Lovely Jesus, and not us.

The most impressive thing is that he devoted the rest of his life to intercession.

oh Wayne, i feel the same way, when i reflect back on my walk with Messiah, and fondly hold to memories of being caught up in Christ, the most lovely pure holy moments were in the ministry of private intercessory prayer.

He could have capitalized on his celebrity and travelled the world giving speeches, writing books and making money

but he DIDNT! That is Huge in the pentrating Gaze of God, Evan would have been literally "robbing the Temple", so to speak, he was dead to mammon, dead to the praise of the world, even if that world be the 'church world'....dead to it! another 'worm of revival', i so greatly admire thru what i've heard him speak of course is Duncan Campbell, 26 some odd sermons on this beloved website.

may i confess Wayne? (i'm doing so publicly, because all i desire is my brethern in Christ, maybe, pray for me, if they be so led)

all my life, i been working on the stage, TV and film, not out of any desire to 'be a star', but i made money at it, and being a poor boy, one needs to attend to the business of working. fully 90% of the things i've been in, i've never watched. the last thing i've done is write a play about a very powerful politician, iconic pol, and portrayed him for 400 shows exactly and it broke my body, and my spirit......but God is so Good, i'm in a cave (metaphorical) and He's pressing me, like an olive, and sometimes i break, and sometimes i hear His Voice and Leading, but always, Thank God, i cling to the Hem of Jesus, and what i've determined is that for all those years, i've taken the skill of being able to speak in front of crowds with ease, with no fear, and real love in my heart, and i've done it for secular entities.....

and God asked, 'why not for Me?'...and He gives me the Word, He gives me a Hunger to Sup off the Living Word, Scripture, He gives me examples of those older brothers who's ministries i so admire, EVAN, Duncan, a few others, and all i want to speak of is the Ressurected Messiah, Jesus, how Lovely He is, and how could anyone not want Him?

But first, i must be totally RIGHT with God, i must recieve a re-commissioning from God the Holy Ghost, because the only ministry i'm fit for is the toilet ministry, ie, helping do weekly cleaning at the church, or i have a vision to make a large weedlot at the church into a wonderful garden to FEED people, make the desert bloom, i know how........forgive me for blithering on, i'm just very lonely and crave Godly fellowship. i'm very far away from my home church to where i was called.....if anything, pray that i find favor with men, who are to decide certain disability issues....please pray for that, and please pray that i get back to my dear son, he needs me.

if i did anything good today it was to hopefully bless you with that arcane book on Google, and thank God if that was the case, in Jesus' love, neil, and i thank our God for any prayers, the saints feel led to praye for me.

Wayne, God willing, we can be the "real thing" too, FOR HIS GLORY, as trophies of Grace, amen.

 2010/1/27 21:52

  brother Frank

Yes, and one can only guess as to the spiritual warfare he suffered.

can you imagine ?

Frank, whats come to my heart is this, our country has grown so rich, at "ease in Zion", so self sufficient, so soaked with self pride and power, etc...with that heightened fleshly wealth and pride, maybe God will have to afflict us all with Divine Chatisement, so that all dear ones realize the Truth how totally and utterly dependent on God we are........maybe that is the Seed of Revival?

maybe we have to go thru some really really bad things, before the people get turned back and repent, and ask for Mercy, plead the Blood of Christ, and confess to the Ressurrected Messiah.

maybe that has to happen, terrible as it may be.

much love in Christ, neil

 2010/1/27 21:59

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