Why did we choose to give this portion of our web site such a seemingly unusual name? The answer lies in what happened in this Scottish hamlet in the mid-18th century. Cambuslang is a small town on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland and was the setting for one of the most unexpected revivals of The Great Awakening. The surprise lay not in the revival itself, but in the means which God used to bring it about. For many years the pastor of the church in Cambuslang, William M’Culloch, and James Robe, the pastor in a neighboring town of Kilsyth, had faithfully and sincerely performed their duties with little visible fruit for their labor.
Neither man possessed outstanding gifts. Robe’s abilities as a preacher were at best ordinary, and M’Culloch’s were somewhat less. In fact, M’Culloch “was given the nickname of a ‘yill or Ale-minister’ for when he rose to speak, many of the audience left to quench their thirst at the public house” (Arthur Fawcett, The Cambuslang Revival, Banner of Truth, 1971 (39). Yet it was “from the faithful preaching and labours of a somewhat colourless parish minister” (Ibid, 113) that God produced amazing results.
In 1741 both began to preach the great doctrines of Scripture – the terrible holiness and splendor of God, the utter depravity, inability, and helplessness of man, the necessity and nature of a new birth – and applying these truths with a new intensity and directness. Soon people began being convicted and converted. Lives were transformed, and a new seriousness and reverence for God, His word, and holy living began to pervade the area. This new awareness of God – God as holy, God as Judge of all the earth, God as all-seeing and all-knowing – produced as it always must a new appreciation for the evil of sin and a sincere and thorough repentance. People saw their true condition in the light of a holy and offended God.
Some important lessons from this revival, and thus the reason we chose to name this resource after the town in which it occurred are these:
- The results were not the product of any human ability or manipulation but the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.
- It began with the ministry of William M’Culloch, a man with no special or superior gifts of communication or organization, but who was simply doing his work faithfully and in earnest.
- There was no attempt at contextualization, sensationalism, entertainment, showmanship, church-growth strategies, or pandering to felt-needs. This work was of an opposite nature. It would today defy all the conventional wisdom of church-growth guru’s, contemporary preaching, and blogging experts.
The revival at Cambuslang forces us to admit that the work of God is in no way explainable on the basis of human methods and causes, and this is precisely the philosophy behind the format of this resource. Away with market studies, the psychology of blog writing which insists that people will not read anything over 1,500 words, and the psychological tricks and gimmicks designed to grab and hold attention and to generate readership. We trust in the sovereign providence of God to direct these writings where and to whom He, in His sovereign wisdom, intends to use them for His glory. We proclaim His truth and leave the rest to Him.
Proceed to Cambuslang