As the work of Evan Roberts filled congregations with false doctrine, filled church membership rolls with unregenerate people, and hardened
to a true work of the Holy Spirit, serious spiritual declension manifested
itself as soon as the strange fire died down.
Already by 1909 a very serious “decline of evangelical Christianity
[was] most manifest” throughout Wales . “All over the Principality there [was] not only
a serious and general falling off in the number of adherents, but there [was]
hardly any interest taken in fundamental theology.” Wesleyan Methodism was confronted with a
serious decrease of membership, and the “spiritual state of the Wales ” became the matter of the
“greatest apprehension.” Losses also began to multiply among the other
Nonconforming bodies, for these had “unquestionably lost their old grip upon
the people.” A “grave
note of religious pessimism” came to “pervad[e] Welsh Nonconformity,” as there
was a “lamentable falling-off in Welsh Sunday schools, in the attendance, in
the interest taken and in the registered results.” Roberts’s revivalism had failed to produce
lasting positive results, but it produced terrible and long-lasting negative
ones that contributed to the transformation of Wesleyan Church from a notably God-fearing
nation into a spiritual wasteland. A
contemporary source stated: “[T]he Welsh
Revival of 1904-5 . . . has not been followed by any marked progress of either
a political or religious character. . . . There has not sprung up in its track
anything of a general and permanent character. . . . Vital religion has not
been made more effective[.]” This lack of lasting godly transformation
resulted in “a great change . . . in public opinion . . . and events justify
the change. Ministers in general are
distressed at the number of [alleged] converts who have cut themselves off from
the way of His life. Their judgment is
not a hasty one. People seem harder than
ever—due to the effects of the Revival.” In sharp contrast to the revivals in the
Bible, and real revivals in church history, only four years after the ministry
of Evan Roberts burned out, nothing positive was evident: Wales
[I]n the sense of curbing the passions of the great masses of the people, in the purifying of their common speech and in eradicating their criminal tendencies. If a plebiscite of the magistrates, solicitors, colliery owners, and prison officials, were taken [in 1909], their unanswerable reply would be in the negative. A disenchanted nation remains neither stimulated in thought nor enriched in character.
Indeed, by 1909 historians could record:
[I]n looking back at the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 we find that its success is by no means commensurate with its proportion, with its excitement at the time, with its professed statistics of individual or collective results, or even with the money expended upon it. . . . [There was a] complete failure of the Revival to permanently regenerate churches and districts to any considerable degree. . . . [T]he Revival . . . . did not produce subsequent discipline of morals, but it was subversive of, and antagonistic to, the spirit that produces results in practical life. The religious disappointment of thousands of individuals in
today is such as to have made their “last state worse than the first.” . . .
The moral condition of the Welsh people . . . [i]n many ways . . . was better .
. . before the Revival than it is
today. . . . The whole attitude of the people has undergone a deplorable
change, and the change is both rapid and widespread. No one conversant with the inner life of Wales can fail
to observe the alarming spread of the personal and domestic disuse of the
Bible. . . . There is an alarming ignorance of the contents of the Bible among
the rising generation . . . [t]he Bible is becoming less and less the Book of
the rank and file. The . . . preacher
[engages in] less close study of the Bible.
Preaching is more topical than expository. . . . [The] methods [of] . .
. Evan Roberts . . . did undoubtedly repel not a few, and hardened rather than
softened the hearts of some who longed for a higher life. . . . It is a fact
within the knowledge of any and every man that football, the music-hall, and
the public house, are the dominant interests of . . . the very thousands that
thronged the various chapels during the Revival season. Sunday shows of various sorts, that were
compelled to close their doors at that time, are now in the zenith of their
popularity, and there is not power enough in the churches or among the
ministers and clergy to check their progress.
Since the Revival various socialistic organizations have invaded the
valleys, and . . . thousands . . . hear the “socialistic gospel” . . . the
social application of the “New Theology” [theological modernism]. If materialistic socialism, without a tinge
of reverence for sacred things and sacred institutions, is either the direct or
indirect result of the Revival of 1904-5, then it cannot but be a source of
sorrow to God-fearing people that the Revival ever came. The reaction is on a large scale . . . and
the reaction is still in progress. . . . Many—very many—of [the] . . . Free
Churches . . . have been obliged to revise their roll of membership [downward],
and are now lamenting over the deadly indifference that has overtaken the
flock. The apathy, the levity, the decay
of religious faith, the lapse in the habit of prayer, the disinclination to
take part in religious work, the non-attendance of adherents, and the decline
of the Sunday School, together with the prevalence of vice in its various
aspects . . . have followed the Revival.
The general condition of the churches is worse than it was in the days
preceding the outbreak in 1904. There is
a loss of appeal in the Gospel message, and an alarming disregard of sacred
institutions. . . . The fall of the spiritual thermometer is very marked. . . .
[I]n very many instances contributions towards foreign missions and the
maintenance of the ministry have decreased . . . [so that they are] much less
than they were two and four years previous to the Revival. . . . [T]he general
condition of things among the churches in the Principality is worse since the
Revival than before. . . . [T]here is a retrogression and a reversion to a more
unsatisfactory type of religious life. . . . [The] mission . . . [of] Evan
Roberts . . . did not produce a reversion to a higher type of reverence or
moral life. The converse is true. Wales
The evils associated with Evan Roberts’s work, feared by many Baptists and other old-line evangelicals who believed in the older and more Scriptural theology of revival, had come to pass.
For more on Evan Roberts, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and the Welsh Holiness Revival of 1904-1905, see the study on the topic on this webpage.
 Pg. 15, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
 Pg. 15, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
 Pg. 205, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
 Pg. 206, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan. Many drifted into Anglican sacramentalism (pg. 206, 208, Ibid.) or simply into rationalism and infidelity.
 Pg. 219, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
 Pgs. 242, 254, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
 Pgs. 241-242, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
 Pgs. 254-255, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan. Italics in original.
 Pgs. 74, 78-79, 88-89, 127, 251, 254-257, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan. Italics in original.