Seldom has an individual shaped the destiny of a nation as Hans Nielsen Hauge did in Norway during his short lifespan, 1771-1824. His life had significance, both spiritually and economically, and inspired generations as they sought to base our beloved nation on Christian values.
Hans Nielsen Hauge spearheaded a movement that profoundly influenced the development of a people that for centuries had been steeped in poverty, collective hopelessness, and suppression by its neighbors.
Hans Nielsen Hauge was a poor farmer just outside Oslo, and grew up in a poverty-stricken nation that for centuries had been bullied by our neighbors, Sweden and Denmark.
Religiously, Norway was dictated by Danish Law. The State Church ruled out true spiritual life, and lay preachers were forbidden.
On April 5th, 1796 Hans had a decisive encounter with the Holy Spirit that would change the course of Norwegian history. His Baptism of the Holy Spirit ignited such a fire within him that within weeks reached cities and counties, all over the nation.
A movement of common people started that was deeply spiritual. People turned to Christ, having life-changing conversion experiences.
The meetings were held in homes, and challenged the control of the Government run State Church.
The movement was unstoppable!
Norway's population at that time was approximately 900.000, and possibly half the population turned to Christ. (Now, Norway has almost 5 million people.)
Because of the massive turning to Christ, and the deep nature of the conversion experiences, our nation since became (statistically) one of the top three missionary sending nations in the world.
Moreover, what distinguished this movement, was also that it was deeply reformational.
Everywhere Hans Nielsen Hauge went, he helped the people to start factories, mills, schools and banks.
Historians agree that Norway's independence in 1814 would never have happened without the influence of Hans Nielsen Hauge. Several members of the Constitutional Assembly in 1814 were directly or indirectly influenced by the Hauge revival. Christian values became strongly rooted in the Constitution that our Founding Fathers wrote in 1814.
Since we gained our independence in 1814, we have gradually developed from being "the poor house" of Europe, to becoming the wealthiest nation on earth. We have demonstrated that nation-building takes time, but it is fully achievable as long as a nation is built on Godly principles.
The Haugean Movement was a loose network, hence making it uncontrollable for the Government.
But Hans Nielsen Hauge had to pay a high personal price for revival and reformation.
He spent much of 1804-1811 in prison, and much of the time he was prohibited from reading the Bible and his spiritual books.
However, the price he paid, paved the way for a nation's reformation!
The challenge before Norway today is to be re-established in the Christian principles that have guided us for the past 200 years.
There are anti-Christian forces that are moving us away from our Chistian roots.
Today, a new generation is being challenged to re-establish apostolic foundations in our nation, and to climb the Seven Mountains of Culture - inspired by the Apostle of Hope, Hans Nielsen Hauge.