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Conclusion: The Movement of Salvation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2022

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Summary

Revivalists testified that they had left the lives they had lived in spiritual darkness. Like John Bunyan's Pilgrim, Balokole got rid of their sinful burdens as they made their way to the Heavenly City. They testified to how the revival's message of salvation pulled them out of their families, out of their villages, and out of their societies. Balokole left homes in which they felt there was too much “sin,” and they resigned from jobs (or were fired) if they believed they would have to “sin” in order to perform the job according to expectations. Furthermore, in denouncing practices like polygamy and beerdrinking, revivalists in Uganda were setting themselves in an antagonistic disposition to many of the people, values, and practices which surrounded them. Their message was explicit: they were leaving for another world.

In this book, however, I have shown that revivalists were also busy trying to build a different world in East Africa. After they left their homes, they eventually built other homes. They raised families; they attended school; they worked other jobs. Revivalists tried to do these things in accordance with the ideals of “salvation.” I have sought to write a history of the East African Revival by describing how revivalists’ lives were reoriented after they converted. It is, as much as possible, an attempt at writing a history of the revival movement from the perspectives of those who converted in its first three decades.

I have argued that converting to salvation as East African revivalists defined it entailed the adoption of a disposition toward the world around them, and this disposition was reflected in their language. Balokole spoke of sin and darkness, and they sought, through the practice of public confession, to be rid of those things that inhibited the life of salvation; they strove to live in the light. In order to do this, revivalists had to live in fellowship with others who had also confessed their sins and moved into the light of salvation. It was in regular fellowship groups that revivalists could “walk in the light” with God and one another.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

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