I am an avid church history reader. However, I don’t much enjoy the politics and religion of the institutional church. Instead I love reading about the living faith of Christians in the past and about spiritural movements when multitudes came to living faith in Christ.
Here are my five favorite Christian movements in history.
1) The First Century Christians–These folks were on fire. You can read about them in the in the Book of Acts in the New Teatament. It was said of them that they “turned the world upside down.”
2) The first few generations of Anabaptists–These folks were awesome Christians. They believed that Christianity was a lifestyle and they lived it boldly with great love for others.
3) The first few generations of Quakers. Their official name was the Society of Friends. I love the early Quakers. They didn’t have professional preachers. They believed that every believer could hear God’s voice. They believed the Bible and stayed with Christian doctrine. Their worship was based on a verse in I Corinthians 14 that says when Christians come together every one can participate. The Quakers sat silently in their assembly until God moved on someone to speak or lead a song. I wish I could find a group like them today.
4) The first few generations of Salvationists known as The Salvation Army. These were probably the most aggressive Christians in history (after the New Testament) to try to evangelize others. They marched on the streets, preached in open air, beat drums, took bar tunes and put Christian words to them and sang them in store front buildings where they held meetings. They “invaded” countries as they quickly spread all over the world. And their target was not the affluent but the poor, the drunkards, and the prostitutes.
5) The first couple of generations of Pentecostals. These people experienced the power of God. They believed in miracles and healing. Many of them left their home country with a one-way ticket on a sea steamer for another country even though they had no financial support back home. They became known as “Missionaries of the One-Way Ticket.” In 1906 there were only a few thousand people in the world that had the “Pentecostal experience” of speaking in tongues. Today (only 100 years later) it is claimed that more than a 1/2 billion people have that experience including tens of thousands of Roman Catholics.