J. Edwin Orr

A brief biography

J.Edwin and Ivy Orr“Dr. J. Edwin Orr, in my opinion, is one of the greatest authorities on the history of religious revivals in the Protestant world. I think that God has given him one of the greatest and most unique ministries anywhere in the nation . . . I know of no man who has a greater passion for worldwide revival or a greater love for the souls of men.”
Billy Graham

“Some men read history, some write it, and others make it. So far as the history of religious revivals is concerned, J. Edwin Orr belongs to all three categories.”
F.F. Bruce

J. Edwin Orr was a Baptist minister, hymnwriter, professor, author and promoter of church revival and renewal. He was born on January 15, 1912 in Belfast, Ireland, and became a Christian at the age of nine. He felt called to be an itinerant evangelist in 1933 and travelled extensively in Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia, preaching the gospel and leading many to Christ. During this time he witnessed, first-hand a number of outpourings of the Spirit and the miraculour provision of God.

He married Ivy Muriel Carol Carlson in 1937 and they had four children together. In 1943 he earned his Th.D. from Northern Baptist Seminary and his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1948, with a thesis on the evangelical awakening of 1859 in Britain. This began his research and authorship of his many books on historical revival.

He served as a chaplain in the US Army Air Forces during World War II and witnessed revival among the troops in the Pacific. He was influential in Campus Crusade for Christ from its founding in 1951 and became a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1966. He wrote numerous books on the history and theology of revival, many listed below. He also wrote several hymns, including “Cleanse Me”, which was based on Psalm 139 and Psalm 51 and set to a Maori folk tune. He died on April 22, 1987, leaving behind a legacy of scholarship and passion for worldwide revival.

A chronological list of most of J. Edwin Orr’s books:

The Travel Books – J. Edwin Orr’s travels around the world preaching the message of revival
Can God-? (1934)
Prove Me Now (1936)
The Promise Is to You (1935)
Times of Refreshing (1936)
This is the Victory (1936)
All Your Need (1936)
If Ye Abide (1936)
Such Things Happen (1937)
The Church Must First Repent (1937)
Through Blood and Fire in China (1939)
Telling Australia (1939)

Historical Revival Books
The Second Evangelical Awakening (1952)
Good News in Bad Times (1953)
The Inside Story of the Hollywood Christian Group (1955)
Campus Aflame: A History of Evangelical Awakenings in Collegiate Communities (1972)
The Flaming Tongue: The Impact of Early Twentieth Century Revivals (1973)
The Fervent Prayer: The Worldwide Impact of the Great Awakening of 1858 (1974)
The Eager Feet: Evangelical Awakenings, 1790-1830 (1975)
The Light of the Nations: Evangelical Renewal and Advance in the Nineteenth Century (2006)
An apprenticeship of faith (1993)
Evangelical Awakenings in Eastern Asia (1975)
Evangelical Awakenings in Southern Asia (1975)
Evangelical Awakenings in Africa (1975)
Evangelical Awakenings in the South Seas (1976)
Evangelical Awakenings in Latin America (1978)

Principles of Revival
Full Surrender (1951)

100 Questions About God (1976)

Posthumous publications
My All, His All (an upgrading of Full Surrender) (1989)
The Event of the Century: The 1857–1864 Revival in the U.S.A (1989)
An Apprenticeship of Faith (1993)

Unfortunately, most of his books are out of print today but many can be obtained by searching the internet.

Much more information can be found on his website at

In the left-side bar of this page, you will find a list of his famous lectures, transcribed from YouTube videos.