The Hauge Revival Movement
ORGANIZED INTO INNER MISSION SOCIETIES
AND A HAUGE FEDERATION, 1884-1941
There are a few things we ought to have learned from our history during these 100 years or more. May the Holy Spirit help us to keep them in mind.
1. We have had 13 church bodies these 100 years, but not a single one of them has ever been able to keep all the living Christians, nor even the Hauge Movement within its folds, though some of them have tried mighty hard. Neither will we be able as inner mission societies or as a Hauge Federation. It is wonderful if we can have just a part of them. We must praise God for the living Christians, whether they are with us or not.
2. We have had 13 church bodies, and nearly as many splits and divisions, often among living Christians, these 100 years. Then we have had in addition three pronounced tendencies (retninger) among us: the Low, the High, and the Broad—church elements. We have had innumerable church fights and misunderstandings, often among living Christians. How can we then all of a sudden, for instance in 1941, step out of this wretched inheritance and live in wonderful peace and harmony all the time? We must expect different views, tendencies and some disharmony in this last falling-away age. It is simply wonderful it has gone as well as it has in our Inner Mission Movement since 1884.
3. It is very encouraging to know that almost every one of our inner mission societies has been launched during, or right after, a spiritual revival. When the hearts were the warmest, when the Holy Spirit was the nearest, then God’s people felt anxious to preserve this holy flame among themselves and scatter it to others. So it was in Norway when the first society was organized at Skien in 1853. So it has been here since 1884. Revivals preceded and very often followed. This must be the strongest proof that we have a God-given call to labor as inner mission societies.
4. While we should be thankful for every living Christian and for all that the Holy Spirit does in the organized churches and church bodies, we should not forget that the heaven-sent revival God sent upon our people, beginning in 1796, did not start out with a university graduate or in any organized church. It took almost 100 years in Norway before it could even enter an organized church. It pleased God to choose as His instrument a poor young unschooled farmer, Hans Nielsen Hauge. The heaven-sent revival also worked on and continued as an absolutely independent movement, and so it does in 1941, though it now has open doors in a great number of churches, and a great number of spiritual ministers have joined it.
5. We must never forget that just as we started out with revivals and in brotherly love, so we must continue. Conversions and brotherly love are the very breath of our nostrils. If we for a long time have no conversions, brotherly love also sickens and decays. The inner mission society will also sicken and decay. When we have revivals, or only a few conversions, the brotherly love is kindled anew again, and the inner mission society will flourish.
6. The history of many, if not of most of the inner mission societies that now will be given, points to the fact that it is very difficult to reach the young people. Some have succeeded wonderfully well. How have they succeeded? When God crowned their efforts with revivals and conversions. Then the converted young people often became the strongest advocates of inner mission work and inner mission societies. The language question has been a great hindrance, but is not so serious any more.
7. So by the grace of God let us toil on and carry on in the power of the Spirit, and in the old foot-steps that God set through Hans Nielsen Hauge in 1796 and our friends in the Red River Valley in 1884. Let us pray, intercede, do personal work and make use of evangelists. If we cannot so often have the customary three-day meetings now, let us have fellowship meetings and small meetings in churches and private homes. At the same time let us not under-rate what the organized church is doing, but as far as we can, be faithful church members. May God grant us conversions and more brotherly love!
8. Let us never forget that it was the Hauge movement alone that did all the soul-saving work among our people from 1825 to 1843—for 18 years. We did not have a single organized church before 1843. But we had wonderful revivals and a great number of conversions just the same. We have a right to live and to carry on with our work, just as much as any organized church body, We are older than any of them.