The story of the Cape’s Great Awakening in 1860

 The Introduction explains what revival is and isn’t and introduces you to two possible definitions.  The first defines it as a powerful manifestation of the normal work of the Holy Spirit, while the second follows Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s definition that describes it as being a baptism of God’s Spirit upon the Church. The introduction closes with a description of the structure of the book.

 Part 1:  The setting (chapters 1-5)commences with an historical lead-in followed by an introduction to the three key players who became the public face of the 1860s revival.  They were Andrew Murray (1928 – 1917),Nicolaas Hofmeyr (1827 – 1902) and Gottlieb van der Lingen (1804 – 1869).  Through the main events that fashioned each of their lives, you will be able to glimpse the socio-religious background and worldview of the people they were serving during the years leading up to the revival.

            Both the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and the Afrikaner community were in crisis. There was a critical shortage of pastors as well as Dutch-speaking teachers.  There was no real understanding of sermons due to the barrier of cultured Dutch – a language no longer spoken by ordinary Afrikaners. In addition, the rank and file within congregations still followed the precepts of the Old Covenant and were therefore opposed to missionaries and mission work.  As the story unfolds, you will become conscious of how a merciful and sovereign God worked behind the scenes to set the necessary precursors in place and maneuver His key players into position.

  Part 2: Revival (chapters 6-14) describes the most salient features of the Cape revival followed by the stories and descriptions of initial outbreaks in several towns of the Western Cape.  They include Montagu, Worcester, Calvinia, Stellenbosch, Wellington, Tulbagh, Ceres and Robertson.  While the first outpouring of the Spirit on these towns was preceded by little prayer, the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit soon stimulated a floodgate of communal prayer in the farming districts and towns mentioned above.  When the rest of the Cape realized that revival was virtually on their doorstep, they too began to pray in earnest, resulting in a second outpouring of the Holy Spirit that spread throughout the Cape and beyond.  Of particular note is the Paarl congregation who went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they would not fore go God’s blessing.

This section concludes with a description of the spiritual fruits and practical outcomes that resulted.  Awakened Christians were now eager to evangelize their servants, promote missions, and answer the call to become pastors.

 Part 3: The Aftermath (chapters 15-18) deals with spiritual clashes and battles that were fought just after the revival peaked.  As in most awakenings, this is usually the time when Satan and his cohorts regroup to try and regain lost ground.  One such clash led to the falling out between Van der Lingen and Hofmeyr over Van der Lingen’s handling of the Sunday Trains issue.  The other, which was far more serious, recounts how the battle between the liberal and orthodox factions in the Dutch Reformed Synod ended in outright war in the law courts, including the Privy Council in London.

With these battles behind them, Andrew Murray and Hofmeyr were free at last to establish notable educational and mission projects, while Van der Lingen’s followers felt called to overcome the last barrier to worship, namely, to work towards having the Bible translated into Afrikaans.

                                                                                                                   223 Pages