Forside Articles Why that Man Impressed Me
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Skrevet af Jørn Nielsen   
Fredag, 09. oktober 2009 07:21

-    “The common people heard him gladly.”

At one of our meetings in Ålesund, Norway, last week I dwelt on the Norwegian lay preacher, Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), who on the Hauge farm in the Tune parish of Østfold (south of Oslo)  had a radical life-changing and saving experience with the Lord, as he was plowing the field.  It was on April 5, 1796.

Why did I devote a whole evening on him?  Well, he has a lot to say to us today.  God anointed that peasant boy with power and authority and thus set the pace for lay preachers in many years to come.  He boldly spoke up against the rationalistic, i.e. dead orthodoxy of the Church establishment, and despite many persecutions from the establishment and a total of 10 imprisonments, his itinerant preaching and informal gatherings achieved more for the eternity than all the ordained ministers put together, even though he only got 8 years of active ministry, after which the 10th imprisonment began and lasted till 1811.  At that time his health was broken down.  I may refer you to the Google service where you´ll read a lot of interesting historical facts about Hans Nielsen Hauge.

What really impressed me?  He never ascended the pulpit!  You know, the pulpit was reserved for the ordained ministers employed and protected by the State.  In fact, it was against the law (the so called Conventicle Law of 1741) to have meetings without the approval of the local vicar whose permission he often got, however, but the fire of revival had caught so powerfully, that the Lutheran State Church felt he was a threat to their false religious peace and was raging against him. The ordained ministers occupied the reverend pulpits all right, but it was his testimony on the roads, at cottage meetings, in the best rooms of good Norwegian farms, through man-to-man talks, or by even showing compassion with fellow prisoners, that Norway was turned upside down in those days.

Doesn´t that speak its own language even today?  I sometimes meet young people who are romantically exercised about preaching from a pulpit.  My advice to such hopeful aspirants would often be:  Start right there where the people are.  The pulpits usually don´t reach the common people anyway!  Let Hans Nielsen Hauge be your worthy role model.  By the way, what kind of pulpit did the Lord Jesus have?  God bless the thousands of American churches, but don’ t be too impressed!  Their set-ups are oftentimes more like religious, stagey games.  Like a living fish swim against the tide!  I’ m tickled pink every time a young man writes me about his experiences with the Lord in his immediate surroundings.  I’ve met them in Norway, in Denmark, in Germany and also in our beloved US.

So onward Christians soldiers!  Let the dead bury their dead, be acquainted with the Lord’s agenda for this age and press on in the name of Christ!


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