J. Edwin Orr
James Edwin Orr was born in Britain on 15 January 1912 in Belfast in northern Ireland, of American-British parentage. He was one of the five children of William Stewart Orr and Rose Orr (nee Wright). He studied at the College of Technology, Belfast.
In 1930 or 1931, after spending some years as a baker, Orr began evangelising, not only in Britain but also elsewhere in Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa. During these years he also wrote several accounts of his tours of preaching.
On 15 January 1937 he married Ivy Muriel Carol Carson. They would have four children. After their marriage the Orrs evangelised in Australia (1979), China, Canada and the United States of America.
In 1939 Orr enrolled at Northwest University. On 15 January 1940 he was ordained into the Baptist Christian ministry, at Newark, New Jersey, USA. He received his MA from Northwest University in 1941, and his ThD from Northern Baptist Seminary in 1943.
During World War II he served as a chaplain in the US Air Force in the Pacific.
After the war he continued his studies and took his PhD at Oxford University in 1948, with a thesis on the second evangelical awakening in Britain.
In 1949 he and his wife made the USA their permanent base, while continuing to travel the world promoting church revival and renewal. They eventually travelled to 150 countries.
In 1966 or 1967 Orr became a Professor at the School of World Missions, in Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He remained a professor there until 1981, and a professor emeritus thereafter. Of him Billy Graham wrote, "Dr. J. Edwin Orr, in my opinion, is one of the greatest authorities on the history of religious revivals in the Protestant world.
He wrote numerous books—many of them histories of evangelical revivals—and authored a number of hymns. One of them—"Cleanse Me"—was selected for inclusion in Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions and The One Year Great Songs of Faith. The words of "Cleanse Me" are based on Psalm 139:23-24 and Psalm 51:2; it is set to the Maori folk tune PO ATA RAU (translated as "Now Is the Hour"). It was written in 1936 when Orr was at an Easter revival meeting in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand, where he heard and was enchanted by the Maori Song of Farewell. "Cleanse Me" has been recorded numerous times, with performances by Bill and Gloria Gaither, Irene Bridger, Kenon D. Renfrow, Lloyd Williams, the El Paso Wind Symphony, and Nick Reynolds and Tom Parsons available from one online music store. Nowadays "Cleanse Me" is commonly rendered to "Search Me, O God" and the PO ATA RAU tune named MAORI in hymnals.
He died on 22 April 1987, at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, USA.
- Can God? 10,000 Miles of Miracle in Britain 1934.
- Prove Me Now: 10,000 Miles of Miracle to Moscow. 1935.
- The Promise Is To You: 10,000 Miles of Miracle to Palestine. 1935.
- Times of Refreshing: 10,000 Miles of Miracle Through Canada. 1936.
- This is the Victory: 10,000 Miles of Miracle in America 1936.
- All Your Need: 10,000 Miles of Miracle Through Australia 1936.
- If Ye Abide: 10,000 Miles of Miracle in South Africa 1936.
- Such Things Happen: 100,000 Miles Around the Globe 1937. (Combined volume.)
- The Church Must First Repent 1937.
- Telling Australia. 1939. (with other Authors.)
- Through Blood and Fire in China 1939.
- Always Abounding: An Intimate Sketch of Oswald J. Smith of Toronto (biography of Oswald J. Smith.)
- Can God? 1946. Revised edition of the 1934 publication, published in 1946 and 1951. Combines excerpts from his first three books Can God?, Prove Me Now!, and The Promise is to You. Includes a new preface from the publisher describing the author.
- I Saw No Tears 1948.
- The Second Evangelical Awakening in Britain. 1949.
- Full Surrender. 1951.
- The Second Evangelical Awakening in America. 1952.
- Good News in Bad Times. 1953.
- The Inside Story of the Hollywood Christian Group. 1955.
- The Second Evangelical Awakening 1955. Abridgment of his two previous works on the subject.
- Faith That Makes Sense. 1960.
- The Light of the Nations: Progress and Achievement in the Nineteenth Century 1965. The Paternoster Church History, Volume 8.
- 100 Questions About God 1966.
- Evangelical Awakenings in India. 1970.
- Campus Aflame: Dynamic of Student Religious Revolution, 1971.
- The Flaming Tongue. The Impact of 20th Century Revivals. 1973.
- The Fervent Prayer. The Worldwide Impact of the Great Awakening of 1858 1974.
- The Eager Feet. Evangelical Awakenings. 1790 - 1830. 1975.
- Evangelical Awakenings 1900- Worldwide 1975. Update 2nd edition of The Fervent Prayer
- Evangelical Awakenings in Africa. 1975.
- Evangelical Awakenings in Southern Asia. 1975.
- Evangelical Awakenings in Eastern Asia. 1975.
- Evangelical Awakenings in the South Seas. 1976.
- The Faith that Persuades. 1977. Harper & Rowe
- Evangelical Awakenings in Latin America. 1978.
- Candid Questions about Morality 1979.
- The Re-study of Revival and Revivalism. 1981.
- Revival is Like Judgment Day published sermon from 1987
- My All, His All 1989.
- The Event of the Century 1989.
- An Apprenticeship of Faith 1993.
- My All - His All. (an upgrading of "Full Surrender.") 1989.
- The Event of the Century. (The 1857 - 1864 Revival in the U.S.A.) 1989.
- Campus Aflame. (revised edition.) 1994.
- Newsletter of the American Scientific Affiliation-Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation, Volume 30 Number 1, February/March 1988-retrieved 2009-08-15
- Orr, J. Edwin (1951). Full Surrender. Edinburgh: Marshall, Morgan, and Scott.; introduction by "William Frankland[sic] Graham," p. 3, subscribed "Billy Graham" at end, p. 4 Online pdf
- "The Original Five". (The other board members were Henrietta Mears, Billy Graham, Dawson Trotman, and Dan Fuller)[self-published source?]
- Kenneth W. Osbeck (2002). Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Kregel Publications. ISBN 0825434483.
- Robert Kevin Brown; Mark R. Norton; William J. Petersen; Randy Petersen (2005). The One Year Great Songs of Faith. Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 0842350721. p. 271
- Kenneth W. Osbeck (1985). 101 More Hymn Stories. Kregel Publications. ISBN 0825434203., p. 59
- The Apple iTunes Store.
- “Search Me, O God” at the Cyber Hymnal. The “Search Me” wording ties the hymn more closely to the biblical reference, Psalm 139:23 (“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”).
- Masihi Sahitya Sanstha, 70 Janpath, New Delhi, India
- Presenting the Ministry of J. Edwin Orr, website with much material about Orr, including audio and video clips.
- Hymn Studies - Cleanse Me