The impact of the Latter Rain Revival in Nigeria
The Latter Rain revival, which took place from 1948 to 1958 marked yet another milestone in the Holy Spirit outpouring on the Church in Nigeria in the 20th century. The ripples of this revival, which started on the 12th and 13th of February 1948, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada, were felt as far as Nigeria in later years. It is reported to have started among 70 students who gathered for three months to fast, pray, and study the word of God. The revival started as a sudden outburst in one of the largest classrooms where the students had gathered for devotion following a prophecy detailing what God was about to do.
Each revival brings to light a new revelation of the Scriptures or practice of the Church that may have been ignored. A major feature of the Latter Rain revival was the revelation of the laying on of hands for the impartation of the gifts.
Impact On Pentecostalism In Nigeria
Of interest to us here is the influence of the Latter Rain revival on Pentecostalism in Nigeria. Though the Latter Rain revival originated from Canada, it flourished and gained many adherents in the United States. Its impact also extended to the UK, where a few members in the Apostolic Church, which Pastor S.G. Elton belonged to, embraced it. The influence of the movement got extended to Nigeria through S.G. Elton. Though there were Pentecostal Churches like the Apostolic Church, and the Christ Apostolic Church in existence in Nigeria at this time, none of them embraced the Latter Rain revival until Pastor S.G. Elton invited the team to Nigeria.
He had contact with the movement during his furlough in March/April of 1952. His contact with the leaders of the movement in the United Kingdom, like Cecil Cousen, was in his view a prophetic fulfillment of what he had longed for. The Lord had spoken to him earlier about the imminent outbreak of revival, and that was to prepare him for a greater role he was to play in the Nigerian Church scene. Before departing the UK to Nigeria, Elton invited a team of the Latter Rain revivalists to Nigeria. Thus, in 1953, Dr. Thomas and Evelyn Wyatt, Apostle Poole and Prophet Stanley M. Hammond and another lady arrived in Nigeria from the United States.
The first crusade the visiting team had was greeted with outstanding miracles that awakened the consciousness of men to the reality of the supernatural. One eyewitness was the late Dr. Samuel O. Odunnaike, one time general overseer of the Foursquare Gospel Church, who was then a teenager. He testified that the healing miracles aroused a sleeping Church out of her slumber.
The effect of the Latter Rain revival on Pentecostalism in Nigeria was diverse and generated a lot of mixed feelings. Some indigenous revivalists saw the influence of the revival as negative, while others saw it as coming at a right time to awaken the Church from her slumber and convince a doubting public that miracles are real. By 1953, the revival led by Garrick Sokari Braide, the Holy Spirit Movement, the Babalola Revival, and the revival at Old Umuahia that gave birth to the Assemblies of God Church in Nigeria, had long passed. Miracles, signs, and wonders had ceased to be a prominent feature of the Church. Therefore, the arrival of the Latter Rain revivalists awakened the Church from slumber. The miracles that attended their meetings sent shock waves across the Christian community.
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