Mid-Twentieth Century Revivals

1948 February 12—Saskatchewan, Canada – Sharon Bible School

A revival movement that came to be called the Latter Rain revival (from Joel 2:28) began suddenly in the Sharon Orphanage and Schools, including the Bible School, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada. Teachers from the Bible School had been deeply impressed by the words of knowledge and healings at meetings conducted by William Branham in 1947 in Vancouver. They and the students began praying and fasting and studying the Scriptures with new intensity from November 1947.

On Thursday, February 12, 1948, the staff and most of the 70 students had gathered in the largest classroom for devotion when the Holy Spirit fell on their gathering. Ern Hawtin, a teacher there, described it in their magazine, the Sharon Star:

Some students were under the power of God on the floor, others were kneeling in adoration and worship before the Lord. The anointing deepened until the awe was upon everyone. The Lord spoke to one of the brethren, “Go and lay hands upon a certain student and pray for him.” While he was in doubt and contemplation one of the sisters who had been under the power of God went to the brother saying the same words, and naming the identical student he was to pray for. He went in obedience and a revelation was given concerning the student’s life and future ministry. After this a long prophecy was given with minute details concerning the great thing God was about to do. The pattern for the revival and many details concerning it were given (Hyatt 1997, 187–8).

They spent Friday studying the Scriptures for insight into these events. Ern Hawtin reported that the next day, Saturday, February 14:

It seemed that all heaven broke loose upon our souls, and heaven came down to greet us. Soon a visible manifestation of gifts was received when candidates were prayed over, and many as a result were healed, as gifts of healing were received (Hyatt 1997, 188).

He continued, “Day after day the Glory and power of God came among us. Great repentance, humbling, fasting and prayer prevailed in everyone” (Riss 1988, 112–113).

Through the publications, camp meetings, conventions, and visits of pastors and teachers from Sharon to churches and meetings across Canada and America, thousands were touched by God in this fresh outpouring of His Spirit. Stanley Frodsham, then editor of the Assemblies of God magazine, Pentecostal Evangel, visited churches touched by this revival and gave it strong support.

Yet, many Pentecostal denominations rejected this move that emphasized laying on of hands for the impartation of spiritual gifts, the recognition of apostles and prophets in the church, and the gift of prophecy for directing and commissioning ministerial candidates and for church government. However, the Latter Rain revival, along with the healing revivals during the 1950’s, had a strong influence on the charismatic renewal of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

© Geoff Waugh. Used by permission.