article: the Lewis revival


During the years 1949 to 1952, a remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place on the island of Lewis in the north of Scotland. It was so powerful that it was described as a 'visitation of God'.

Also, because of the spiritual truth associated with the revival, it was called a 'Covenant Engagement'.

The Rev. Duncan Campbell who was in charge of the Faith Mission in Edinburgh, was used as the evangelist in this revival over a period of two years.

The outpouring of the Spirit continued, however, in different areas for a number of years later.

He was deeply affected spiritually by his experience of the revival, and continued to testify of its power in many areas of the mainland and abroad.

As a young Christian, I also was deeply affected by this revival as a result of attending some croft meetings on the island at that time and of hearing Duncan Campbell preaching and testifying on the mainland.

REVIVAL DEFINED - Different from successful evangelism.

As a result of his experience, Duncan Campbell described revival as 'a whole community saturated with the presence of God.'

He declared that there is a difference between revival and successful evangelism. In the latter you can have 10 or 20 people saved here, and a 100 brought to Christ there, but the community remains unchallenged.

Men move on to a Christless hell. But when God steps down - when hearts are made clean by Him - then He finds an avenue through which He can move.

The community then becomes saturated with God, so that many of those who find the Saviour come into a saving relationship with Him before they come near any church or place of meeting.


Duncan Campbell was often heard to quote the following scripture in connection with this revival: O that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down. That the mountains might flow down at Thy presence.'

As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make Thy Name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Thy presence.

When Thou didst terrible things which we looked not for - THOU CAMEST DOWN - the mountains flowed down at Thy presence.

For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, eye has not seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.

Thou meeteth him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy way - in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. Isaiah 64: 1-5

Special points of interest:
  • The Lewis Revival was described as a 'Covenant Engagement'.
  • Duncan Campbell said Revival was 'a whole community saturated with the presence of God'.
  • Intercessors laid hold of God's covenant for a visitation of God.
  • A desire for holiness was present.
  • God came down!
The above was descriptive of the scene at Lewis at the time of revival. The reality of the fire caused many to tremble in the presence of God. There was great conviction of sin and travail of soul.

The ordinary, mundane things of life became of little consequence in the light of eternity. It became of the utmost importance to know the destiny of one's soul. Time became the season to fly from hell and destruction, and seek for righteousness and heaven. Happy were those who found grace to repent of sin, and find forgiveness and eternal life in the Saviour.