Pastor Blumhardt (1805-1880): His Life And Ministry (Part 2)
A deep stirring of God’s Spirit occurred in the parish of Pastor Blumhardt in the village of Mottlingen in Germany, following the remarkable deliverance of a young woman in the parish who had been afflicted by apparent demon possession. Within two months’ time, there was "scarcely a score of persons in the parish" who had not come to sincere repentance, Pastor Blumhardt reported. Continuing his account, he said:
"The great zeal manifested in the spring of 1844 was somewhat diminished during the many outward affairs and cares of the summer. Toward autumn I began to be much disquieted, since slothfulness and indifference seemed to increase. I became again more earnest in my sermons, especially when I was alone with my parishioners. Many defects of the natural heart not so much thought of, were brought up by God before me, and grace was given me to see them always first in my own heart and life. Whatsoever I thus brought before my congregation from my own heart, went to their hearts immediately, and brought forth good fruit. Our regular day of humiliation and supplication was specially blessed to that effect, and a new movement began to be felt throughout the parish. On those days many would fast.
"I remember especially one such day, when it was shown me from Ezekiel 34 that I had myself been, during my former ministry, like one of those shepherds that fed themselves rather than others, and allowed many of the sheep to become a prey to the wild beasts. I spoke with great sincerity, and this made such an impression on the whole congregation that they once more searched themselves through and through, and many came to me and confessed their lukewarmness.
"Notwithstanding all this," Blumhardt continued, "the feeling that this work of God would, according to the usual course of things, in the long run lose its vigor and freshness, made me more and more familiar with the thought that the church of Christ at large needs a new outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost, and that without this, nothing would be durable. This led me to pray for a new outpouring of the Spirit, and that without ceasing, the more so as the signs seemed to indicate that we are not far from the last times. The clearer I begin to see the corruption and manifold defects of present Christendom, the more unavoidable to me becomes supplication for its renewal, which can only be accomplished through a special movement of the Spirit of God from above. I can and must believe that the anti-Christian times, as prophesied in God’s Word, will be preceded by universal revivals (Joel 2:28-32). My heart shrinks when I look at the world, but expands when I look upward and into the world of prophecy. Oh, that the abominations and miseries of earth might soon come to an end!"
As the meetings continued, the most amazing cases of the cure of bodily disease began to appear and became quite numerous. The deliverance of the young woman from demon power convinced Blumhardt that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ – "…they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:18) – are not yet out of power if applied with ahumble, penitent, and believing heart.
More Accommodations Acquired
The house at Mottlingen soon became too small to accommodate those who came to him seeking some spiritual or physical blessing. This made him lay the whole matter before the Lord, and as the crowds kept increasing and were coming from other countries, he sought for a larger place where he could minister to them.
At the nearby Baths of Boll (well-known sulfur baths) there had been erected a large resort which would have been used entirely for pleasure and even gambling. For some reason this project had not succeeded financially and was held by the government, which had it for sale. God providentially worked so that Pastor Blumhardt was able to secure this large place with beautiful grounds.
Here for many years visitors came from all parts of Germany, in fact, from all parts of the world. His visitors represented all classes of people, rich and poor, rustics, generals, and many of the nobility. Some came seeking spiritual blessing and rest and many came seeking healing. At least one hundred and fifty would be seated at one meal. The rooms that were intended for the sulfur baths were turned into sleeping rooms for use of those seeking the Lord’s blessing. The king and authorities sent gifts toward his work because of the beneficent results and the simple Christian faith that was promulgated.
Pastor Blumhardt was gifted as a preacher, and as a musician. His genial countenance, words of hope and spirit of prayer touched every one who came within the circle of his influence. Mighty works were wrought. A professor of one of the large universities paid a special visit and asked what proof there was that God was so wonderfully healing the sick. Pastor Blumhardt led him to a desk which was filled with correspondence. He told him he would leave him there and he would have the liberty to examine the letters. This professor was astounded and more than convinced as he read letter after letter telling of the marvelous workings of God in answer to the simple prayer of faith.
Blumhardt was intensely interested in missionary activity, and through him, many gifts flowed into different missions of the world, and toward the support of the Missionary Training Institute at Basle.
He was regarded as a holy, unselfish man, whose prayers prevailed with God. He was a minister of God, unusually rich in the power and love of his Master, and able in a most remarkable manner to apply the Scriptures to the mental and spiritual anxiety of troubled souls, and to every detail in practical life. The latter gift was more spoken of than his intercession for the sick.
He made no profession of being able, even through prayer, to bring healing to all the physical maladies that came before him. But he had a childlike confidence in the pity and love of the great Father to His tempted and suffering children. He taught that there was a divine idea under and beyond this sorrowing life. As the pastor laid his hand gently on the head of a sufferer, and poured forth his prayer, the afflicted felt sure that his heart was drawn out to him. If he charged them to search their hearts, to lay bare and confess secret sins, he never did this as a priest who urged confession to himself. Faults to their fellowmen he urged them to acknowledge, and to make reparation as far as lay in their power, but even in this he seemed to carry their cross, and their cross lay on his own heart. Pastor Blumhardt’s prayers were often battles against the powers of darkness – but to him and for him, Jesus was Victor!
He stood for full inspiration of God’s Word, and had a simple, childlike faith. He lived to a ripe age, and in the year 1880 he passed into the presence of his Lord. Great has been the inspiration of his life. Two of his sons who stood with him as ministers, were left to carry on this blessed work.
The age in which we live needs a similar testimony. Worldliness has weakened the lives of Christians and blighted the testimony of many churches. God’s arm must be revealed! The supernatural working of God is needed in an age when the truthfulness of the inspiration of God’s Word is doubted.
There must be those who have learned to pray, who know how to grip the promises of God for the salvation of souls and for the healing of the sick and for supernatural workings of our God, who know that Satan is already a conquered foe through the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, who trust in the cleansing of the precious blood of Jesus. Might God’s saints learn not only "…with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26), but also that "…all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
– From the booklet Pastor Blumhardt.