Monsen, Marie (1878-1962)

Norwegian missionary in China

MonsenMarieMonsen was a catalyst for the Shantung revival of the early 1930s. She had had an apparently disastrous first trip to China soon after 1900; then in 1911, she came to Nanyangfu, Honan (Henan) Province, with the Norwegian Lutheran Mission. When missionaries fled the interior of China in late 1926 and early 1927, she visited missions in Manchuria, then went to Chefoo (Yantai), Shantung (Shandong) Province. There she met U.S. Southern Baptist missionaries and participated in some dramatic prayer and healing sessions. She returned to Shantung in late 1929 or 1930, and this visit helped to spark a province-wide revival that soon included the U.S. Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, and others. It also influenced a more openly Pentecostal native Chinese “spiritual gifts” revival movement.

Monsen seems to have been a quasi-Pentecostal, stressing the baptism or fullness of the Holy Spirit in addition to an initial conversion experience, and her meetings were emotional if not disorderly. She was by all accounts soft-spoken, and it is not altogether clear why she prompted such strong response. An interesting feature of the Shantung revival was its clearly Pentecostal features occurring in anti-Pentecostal mission bodies.

Well known after the Shantung events, Monsen visited many other missions in the early 1930s. She dropped out of sight after 1933 and presumably returned to Norway. Her book, The Awakening: Revival in China, A Work of the Holy Spirit, was published (in Norwegian) in 1959 (English translation by Joy Guinness, 1961).

Daniel H. Bays, “Monsen, Marie,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 468-69.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Bibliography

Primary


Monsen, Marie. The Awakening: Revival in China, A Work of the Holy Spirit. Translated by Joy Guinness. 1961. Orig. 1959.

_____. A Present Help. Translated by Joy Guinness. 1960. Published in 1967 under the title Wall of Fire.

Secondary


Carlberg, Gustav. China in Revival. 1936. Pages 67-83.

Crawford, Mary K. The Shantung Revival. 1933.

Culpepper, C.L. The Shantung Revival. 1968.

Portrait


The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity holds this image, as well as a biographical entry on Marie Monsen.