– Malachi 3:16 (NIV)
"Church membership in Wales was declining in the last decade of the nineteenth century."
So begins church historian J. Edwin Orr's classic book The Flaming Tongue.
"All of the denominations (Nonconformist and Anglican) suffering the effects of a loss of power in the pulpits and of a worldly spirit in the pews. Writers in various denominational papers complained of low attendance at Sunday services, fellowship and prayer meetings, and of a decline in Bible reading and in family worship; a Divine visitation was the only remedy, they said.
"Evan Phillips, a Moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly (the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church), declared in June of 1900 that Revival was the great need, and until met, all efforts to supply every other need would be in vain."
Sound familiar? CNN's recent story, A Rough Decade for American Congregations certainly sounds like a rerun. And yet, Orr's opener was a segue to