Faculty Matthew Winslow & the Manchurian Revival

Matthew Winslow & Family (wife Sijie, children – Hudson, Amber, Alethea & dog Caspian)


Mr Matthew Winslow joined EAST as an adjunct faculty in 2010 and served as a resident faculty two years later. From 2014-2016, he was our Dean of Students and mentored the Student Council. He and his family (wife Sijie, and three children Hudson, Amber and Alethea) then left for the US to pursue his PhD in Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is almost at the tail-end of his research and completion of his dissertation. Lord willing, Matthew should be returning with his family to EAST by next July in 2022. Below is an interview to find out more about his dissertation, church ministry and family.

  1. I understand your dissertation is on Church History. Could you describe in a little bit more detail which part of Church History you are focusing on?

I am writing my dissertation on a revival that took place in 1908 in Manchuria. Here is a little more about that:

The dawn of the twentieth century saw revivals sweeping through churches around the world. From Wales to California to India to Korea, people in a plethora of different places experienced what they saw as a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Amidst these religious awakenings, and partly arising out of the remarkable events in Korea, a revival erupted in Manchuria and then spread to other parts of China as well. The Manchurian Revival of 1908 was the first such movement in that country. While the revival involved many different figures, the movement centered in large part around the work of a Canadian Presbyterian missionary named Jonathan Goforth.

Goforth had been in China since 1888, yet his revivalist ministry did not commence until 1907, when he was sent by his mission to investigate the revival that was happening in Korea. He was astounded by what he saw as the clear work of the Spirit in that country. On his way home, he travelled through Manchuria reporting on the events in Korea to a few different mission stations. Having piqued their interest, the churches in Manchuria asked Goforth to return and tell them more about the work of the Holy Spirit. He came back the following year, and as one account describes it, revival “spread like a flame of fire to all the places whither Mr. Goforth went, and to many places whither he could not go.” The events were indeed unprecedented within China.

Another contemporary account described it as “the greatest spiritual movement in the history of missions in China.” And yet, Goforth seemingly did nothing that spectacular. His message was “a simple, plain old fashioned one,” and his preaching style was staid and conventional. Still, the revival swept across Manchuria and, to a lesser degree, through parts of the rest of the country. It was characterized by mass repentance and fervent individual and group prayer alongside of an expectation that the Holy Spirit would bring personal sanctification to believers and salvation to non-believers .

  1. I hear that there are primary sources in Belfast, Ireland, and Toronto, Canada that you would like access to. What kind of sources are they? What are the names of the libraries that hold these sources?

I am hoping to visit the Archives of the United Church of Canada in Toronto. They have reports from missionaries in China and many letters that were written to and from the home office that I would like to look at.

I also want to visit Belfast, Northern Ireland to look at a few things. The main missionaries in Manchuria during the revival were Scottish and Irish Presbyterians. I hope to look at some first hand accounts of the revivals from missionary letters that are housed in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland Archives and at Union Theological College.

  1. What is the name of the church your family is attending now? What kind of adult Sunday School classes are you teaching there?

We attend the Orchard Evangelical Free Church. I teach an adult Sunday school class in which we are currently studying church history. Each week, we read a chapter or two from Bruce Shelley’s book, Church History in Plain Language and then we talk about the different events and the Bible passages that were important during that time. We have around 25-30 people in the class with ages ranging from early 20s to late 80s.

  1. Can you briefly introduce each family member. Name, age (children), hobbies/quirks.

Sijie, Matthew, Hudson, Amber, Alethea, and our dog Caspian

Hudson (he is in sec 1) loves playing sports, especially baseball. In his free time, he is often out in the back yard swinging his bat and hitting balls for Caspian who chases them! He is also involved in youth group at church and serves on Tuesday nights as a youth leader for the primary school kids

Amber (she is P5) loves art and is always doing various art projects – her desk is constantly filled with paints, and pencils and pieces of paper and drawings and crafts. She also enjoys spending time with her friends at church and this year she just started serving as a junior leader for some of the younger kids at church. She has a group of kindergarteners that she spends time with and helps to memorize Bible verses and play games.

Alethea(she is P3)  is very chatty and outgoing. She loves playing sports and playing with her friends but also spends time doing crafts with Amber. Her current favorite sports are basketball and soccer.

  1. Please share three prayer requests
  • Pray that I would do a good job of writing my dissertation – that it would be beneficial to others who read it and would bring glory to God.
  • Sijie and the kids are starting a new year of school. Pray that Sijie would have wisdom and patience in teaching the kids and that they would all do a great job of learning together.
  • Pray for us as we begin to prepare to move. Pray that God would provide for all that we need.

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