CAN CHRISTIANS RUIN a REVIVAL? -by TPW. A POPULAR criticism of the Welsh Revival was that four Churches gained 80,000 in the Revival and lost 20,000 afterwards. Why did converts leave these "mainline" Churches? They were frozen out. Said Dr. Eifion Evans: "The ecstasy of the new wine was all too soon curbed by the frigidity of the old bottles." Some ministers even objected to the converts' assurance of salvation! Like the Methodists over a hundred years before, against their leaders' wishes Revival converts reluctantly formed new churches. The Pentecostal-Apostolic Churches began. In the Revival itself, great criticism was made against its apparent leader, Evan Roberts. He was called "the young lunatic." A respected minister published a letter against "the Evan Roberts Revival" calling it "a sham Revival, a mockery, a blasphemous travesty of the real thing," an "exhibition," "froth," "false fire" and "utterly sacrilegious." The effect on the young lay-preacher Roberts was dramatic. Though he seemed not to notice the criticisms, within days his doctor diagnosed a nervous disorder. Five months later, he went into seclusion, almost never to minister in public again for the rest of his long life. The effect on the Revival was terrible. Before the published criticism, conversions were 35,000 a month. In the month of the criticism and the two months following, conversions dropped to 5000 a month, recovering a little once the controversy had died down. But the mud stuck. "For many years the 1904 Revival was looked upon as 'much a do about nothing' because of its emotionalism." Many more years were to pass before an historical perspective could restore its name as a wonderful and lasting work of God. How slow we are to learn our lessons! Because less than fifty years before, exactly the same thing had happened in Wales! Of the 1859 Welsh Revival a leading Christian wrote: "It is a man-made Revival; the chief instruments in it are not persons of any weight or character ... it is mere excitement and enthusiasm, and although many persons of disreputable conduct seem to be for the present changed, yet, when the excitement ceases, they will return to their former habits, and their end will be worse than their beginning ... the noise - the confusion - the loud and long prayers - and singing, with various excesses of feeling, and extravagance of language - these are most offensive ... The 'converts' will ere long be 'perverts.' They will go back, betray religion and bring disgrace upon the whole movement." And what was the true situation? "About 110,000 were converted and added to the churches ... one estimate, cited in 1897, is that 19 out of every 20 (95 per cent) maintained their profession and were fruitful in godly duties." 104,500 still going strong for God 38 years later! Oh, for more "man-made Revivals!" [so-called!!] We have seen that Christians can ruin or stop a Revival. Can Christians also cause a Revival to happen?