On April 5, 1796, a young Norwegian had a life-altering encounter with God one day while walking behind a plow, singing a hymn. Hans Nielsen Hauge was so overwhelmed, he couldn't describe the joy. He began telling others about the resurrected Lord, preaching and teaching all over Norway, and a spiritual awakening ensued.
Hauge had the evangelistic fervor of Wesley, combined with the business acumen of a Moravian−on steroids. He knitted gloves and socks has he traveled on foot, giving them to the poor as he went. He started businesses all over Norway, creating jobs in fishing industries, brick yards, shipping operations, salt mines and paper mills.
The "Haugians" who followed him founded factories and industrial projects throughout Norway in the 19th Century. This may have something to do with the fact that out of 187 nations in the 2014 United Nations Human Development Index, Norway ranks #1. Frances Sejersted, former president of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, once remarked, "The Hauge movement was a major contributing factor for developing democracy in Norway."
Hauge did not remain silent when it came to sharing the Truths of God’s Word, even when it got him into trouble with the Norwegian State Church. He was imprisoned 14 times for violating the Konventikkel Ordinance, which forbade preaching outside the Church of Norway. He spent 9 years in confinement, including one stint without seeing sunlight for nearly 4 years. Yet in spite of the resistance he met from Church leaders, Hauge encouraged his "Society of Friends" to remain in the state Church, because he believed the Church was the foundation of the nation.
On February 27, 1809, civil authorities released Hauge for six months during a five-year sentence so he could establish salt mines for the same government that imprisoned him! During that six months, Hague established no less than five salt mines.
Hauge wrote 33 books over 18 years. It is estimated that 100,000 Norwegians read one or more of his books when only about 900,000 in the entire country were literate. To say Hauge had a profound influence upon the spiritual and economic life of Norway is an understatement. He had a wholistic understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and saw it as Good News for more than the soul.
Hauge had no "sacred-secular divide," and all of Norway received the benefit. Every school child should know about him, in both public and private settings.
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|Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), has been called the "Apostle of Norway."|