South Africa’s Forgotten Revival: The story of the Cape’s Great Awakening in 1860 by Olea Nel

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This novel tells of the frigid church conditions prior to revival, when there was a dire shortage of pastors and teachers, and semi-literate Afrikaners clung to their home-spun religion based on the Old Covenant. It describes how God prepared the ground by setting the precursors in place and raising up key leaders to help promote and direct the revival. They were Andrew Murray (Worcester & Wellington), Nicolaas Hofmeyr (Calvinia & Stellenbosch) and Gottlieb van der Lingen (Paarl).

While the tide of the Holy Spirit swelled gently in some towns, in others – like Worcester – it broke without warning. It swept through vast areas of farmland throughout the Cape and beyond, convicting Afrikaners, Coloureds and Africans. Overnight, awakened Christians became prayer warriors and mission enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, overzealousness led to disagreements regarding the boycott of Sunday trains, while a backlash from liberal pastors led to Andrew Murray having to defend the Dutch Reformed Church in legal battles in the Cape Supreme Court and Privy Council in London.

Our story, concludes in 1875 with the victory of the Church over liberal influences, the establishment of educational centres in Stellenbosch and Wellington, and the vision for a Bible translation in Afrikaans emanating from Paarl.

As part and parcel of the telling you will learn:

How God in his sovereignty prepared the ground for revival.
How He drenched Montagu, Worcester, Calvinia Wellington, Stellenbosch Tulbagh, Ceres and Robertson with the first wave of the Spirit in spite of little or no communal prayer.
How other congregations throughout the Cape were inspired to pray communally with added zeal.
How God sent a special blessing to Paarl on Pentecost Sunday through an awe-inspiring vision experienced by Ds.Van der Lingen.
How Andrew Murray and Hofmeyr were victorious against the onslaught of liberal theology by wielding the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
How Van der Lingen’s followers sought to overcome the language barrier to worship by seeking to have the Bible translated into Afrikaans.
How Andrew Murray pioneered women’s education, and Hofmeyr evangelized the youth of Stellenbosch.


Olea Nel was born in Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her training as a teacher in Andrew Murray’s heartland of Wellington, she relocated to Australia to further her studies. Besides attaining a Ph.D. in Linguistics, she also has qualifications in Information Studies and Theology. She has taught at several tertiary institutions in Australia. Having retired from her secular position as a senior librarian at the National Library of Australia, she is able to pursue her passion for research, especially within the fields of church history and biography. Her aim is to serve God by sharing her findings with other Christians. She is presently writing the third novel in her four-book series on the life of Andrew Murray.


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