Duncan Campbell (1898-1972) was a Scottish preacher and a leader in the Lewis Awakening best known as the Hebrides Revival. He was a man of prayer but he insisted that “The revival did not break out because Duncan Campbell was there. No, a thousand times no, but because God found a man whom He could trust, a man who dared to believe the promise of God. I hear men say at meetings, “Lord, I am claiming revival; I’m claiming revival.” We ought to be careful what we say. If we claim it, we have it; yes, this is a glorious possibility. Indeed I would go as far as to say if I did not believe this I would go back to business, and I believe that when God finds the clean hands and the pure heart we shall see springs in the desert and rivers in the dry places.”
Revival in the Hebrides Islands
This is how Duncan Campbell describes the revival in the Hebrides Islands. There are two things that I would like to say in speaking about the revival in the Hebrides. First, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I did not bring revival to the Hebrides. It has grieved me beyond words to hear people talk and write about “the man who brought revival to the Hebrides.” My dear people, I didn’t do that. Revival was there before I ever set foot on the island. It began in a gracious awareness of God sweeping through the parish of Barvas. Someone asked Duncan Campbell to define revival and he touched on this in his reply:
When I speak of revival, I am not thinking of high-pressure evangelism. I am not thinking of crusades, or of special efforts convened and organized by man. That is not in my mind at all. Revival is something altogether different from evangelism on its highest level. Revival is a moving of God in the community, and suddenly the community becomes God-conscious, before a word is said by any man representing any special effort. The Spirit of God grips men and women in such way that even work is given up as people give themselves to waiting upon God. In the midst of Lewis Awakening one parish minister wrote that “The Spirit of the Lord was resting wonderfully on the different townships of the region. His presence was in the homes of the people, on the meadow, and the moorland, and the public roads.”
Of the hundreds of who found Jesus Christ during this time, fully 75 percent were saved before they came near a meeting, or heard by myself or any other minister in the parish. The power of God was moving in an operation that the fear of God gripped the souls of men before they ever reached the meetings.”While describing the first days of the movement in the Hebrides Islands, Duncan Campbell remembered closing out a service in a crowded church and noticing that the congregation seemed reluctant to disperse. Many of the people just stood outside of the church building in a silence that even a pin drop could be heard.
“Suddenly a cry is heard within; a young man burdened for the souls of his fellow men is pouring out his soul in intercession.” Campbell said the man prayed until he collapsed and lay prostrate on the floor of the church building. He said, “The congregation, moved by a power they could not resist, came back into the church, and a wave of conviction swept over the gathering, moving strong men to cry to God for mercy.
God, You Promised!
It is been told by someone who heard Duncan Campbell speak about this holy incident. He said, “Most of the people had already left the church according to Mr. Campbell, but he said, “The postman stood up and prayed, and then this young man stood up and said: I will never forget the words he said: Oh God, You Promised!” All of a sudden it sounded like chariot wheels were rumbling on the roof of the church building. The next thing we knew, the church was filling back up again!”
They learned later that many of the people had already started home when they suddenly felt the call to retrace their steps and return to the church building to pray. During some points of the Hebrides revival, Campbell said, “Most of the converts to Christ only came to church to tell us that they had been converted because they would be weaving at a loom, or they would be plowing in the field when God would convict them. They just showed up to say, “Where do I join, and what do I do?
- Tommy Tenney, God’s Favourite House If you Build it, He will come (Published by Destiny Image Publishers, 2000)
- Duncan Campbell, The Price and Power of Revival (Publishers Faith Press 1975)