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The Apostle of Norway: Hans Nielsen Hauge, by A. M. Arntzen


Kevin H
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At the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo, Norway, they have a jail that at one time held Hans Nielsen Hauge (3 April 1771 – 29 March 1824). I was impressed by what I read about him in the Museum. Coming home I read the Wikipedia article on him. Time went by and I don't remember where and why but on TV there was a show that included the organization in Norway to carry on his work. I was not moved one way or another by that but it did make me think of what I read in the jail. 

Not too long ago I googled the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway, and found an article that said that the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway actually needs to look back to the ministry of Hans Nielsen Hauge and that the Norwegian Seventh-day Adventist church took root among the families who were affected by his ministry. (I also read a similar statement by the Pentecostals and a couple of others) Do to this I bought this book about him. I'm only on page 130 of 298. 

Hauge was from a Godly farm family at a time where church attendance in Norway was low. He was spiritual and brought a revival to Norway, both of religion but also encouraging people to become entrepreneurs. In his day if a laymember wanted to preach they needed either a pastor or government leader. He invited them and some had no problem with his message, others did not like it so he was sent to jail a number of times. I just read about his first time. It was Christmas eve and he had shared with a group some Christmas songs, reading the Bible, Bible stories and some meditations on the Christmas message when a church official came with two soldiers and brought him to jail. 

Among the other prisoners, someone was able to sneak in a bottle of whiskey, so they were drunk and he felt he could not reach him that night. The next morning a soldier in to sober up began singing lude songs. Hans came over to him and said "That is a fine song you're singing!" The soldier said "It's a fine song for a place like this!" to which Hans replied "Did your mother teach you that song?" which of course embarrassed the soldier. While initially upset, and the other prisoners expecting the entertainment of a fight turned their eyes on the two men, someone asked Hans if he was in for stealing. Hans said "No, but for singing Christmas songs, reading the Bible and teaching people how to live lives that won't make their mother's cry." They went to lunch and Hans sat by the soldier and continued to talk to him. The solder broke down and told how his mother died that last spring. The last time he saw her he was mean to her and ran away. Hans lead him to the Lord. 

Another thing I noticed was that part of the trouble Hans found himself in was that in the area where he lived there was another religious revival that started before his. It was started by a former pastor of his childhood church. This pastor got very stuck on grace and his revival did not change hearts, was based on "only believe" the "worship" was very loud and disorderly. Hans' was very focused on the Bible, the love of God and how it changes hearts. 

Seeing these two revivals in the area could not help but make me think of Mrs. White's chapter on Modern Revivals in "Great Controversy". Did she learn this story? As she talks about the true and false revivals, she sounded like she was telling this story. 

Please pray for another revival in Norway/Scandinavia and the whole world.  

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