20th Century Heroes

Twentieth Century: The Century of the Spirit

This century has been correctly called the Century of the Holy Spirit by Vinson Synan and other historians, because it witnessed more outpourings of the Holy Spirit, more authentic revivals and an unprecedented number of new converts and new churches across the entire world, than any other century before it! By the beginning of the 21st century there were more Christians living on earth than had lived during the preceding twenty centuries! Such was the exponential growth of the church during this amazing century.

The century began with a widespread hunger for more of God throughout the Christianised world. There was passion and prayer for revival. Tens of thousands were seeking a level of holiness that few had previously attained. The Holy Spirit was put back on the church’s agenda and was seen as the author of personal victory and evangelistic effectiveness.

The first wave of 20th century revivals began with the early Pentecostals in America and pockets of evangelical revival in South Africa, amongst Boer prisoners of war and others places as far apart as Bermuda, Ceylon, India, the Far East, Africa, and Latin America.

The well-known 1904 Welsh revival ignited what was the last and greatest world-wide revival. It’s effects reached global proportions.

The Welsh Revival also fuelled the Pentecostal movement, beginning with Azusa Street in 1906, then spreading across the world. Pentecostalism eventually became one of the most powerful and numerically significant Christian movements of the twentieth century.

By the mid-twentieth century the Pentecostal wave had all but stagnated but was re-vitalised by a fresh wave of Evangelical, Healing and ‘Latter Rain’ revivals from 1947 on.

The late 1960’s and early 70’s the Charismatic Movement was sent from heaven resulting in denominational renewal and untold numbers of neo-Pentecostal churches which absorbed many of the lessons and practices of the Healing and Latter Rain movements.

Another wave of the Spirit crashed upon the shores of the world as a result of the charismatic and evangelical revivals of the 60’s and 70’s, delivering Third Wave and Apostolic Movements.

The entire century saw a multifacetted kaleidascope of Holy Spirit activity which advanced God’s Kingdom to every corner of the globe!

The Pew Research Centre reports, ‘A century ago, the Global North (commonly defined as North America, Europe, Australia, Japan and New Zealand) contained more than four times as many Christians as the Global South (the rest of the world). Today, the Pew Forum study finds, more than 1.3 billion Christians live in the Global South (61%), compared with about 860 million in the Global North (39%).’

‘And five of the top 10 countries with the largest Christian populations are either in Africa (Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia) or Asia (Philippines and China). Moreover, the fastest growth in the number of Christians over the past century has been in sub-Saharan Africa (a roughly 60-fold increase, from fewer than 9 million in 1910 to more than 516 million in 2010) and in the Asia-Pacific region (a roughly 10-fold increase, from about 28 million in 1910 to more than 285 million in 2010).’

We have divided this section of short biographies, into 6 different sections, in the menu bar on the left, for ease of navigation and will be adding to them regularly. They begin with sections divided by centuries until the 20th century, when they are divided by their different movements.