Citation Bebbington DW (2008) Introduction. In: Cooper K & Gregory J (eds.) Revival and Resurgence in Christian History. Studies in Church History, 44. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, pp. xv - xviii. http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=11587
Abstract First paragraph: Revival and resurgence have punctuated Christian history at frequent intervals. There have been moves to renew failing institutions; there have been efforts to rekindle an earlier flame of devotion; and there have been attempts to restore the pattern of the church discerned in the pages of the New Testament. All these developments, and others like them, have been provoked by a sense that not everything was well, perhaps that existing methods were proving ineffectual or that the church had lost its first love. A new vitality was sought after a perceived period of neglect or decay. In the period since the early seventeenth century revivals have sometimes taken a distinctive form in the more evangelistically inclined sections of Protestantism. Revivals in the classic Evangelical sense were defined by an American Methodist in the mid-nineteenth century as 'those outpourings of the Spirit, which result in the quickening of the church and the conversion of sinners'. They were conceived to be divine in origin, rousing those who were already Christians and bringing others to faith for the first time. Many of the papers in this volume relate to such happenings, but they are by no means its only subject. The book also takes in revitalisation movements from earlier periods and a variety of quests for recovery from the later period. The common thread running through the papers is the church being stirred into fresh life.