Seminary Hill press releases first volume of ‘When the Fires of Heaven Fell’

When the fires of heaven fell

In the first of a two-volume set, Seminary Hill Press, the publishing arm of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, announced today the release of When the Fires of Heaven Fell: How God Shapes History Through Revivals, authored by Malcolm R. McDow, retired professor of evangelism.

The first volume covers the history of revivals from Moses’s encounter with God on Mount Sinai to the Reformation. The second volume, a festschrift in honor of McDow with contributions by his former Southwestern students, will cover the history of revivals following the Reformation to the present day. The second volume is anticipated to be released later this year.

“Spiritual awakening is God’s answer to spiritual needs,” McDow said. “In this book, a study of the great revivals in human history are considered. This book is worth reading because it covers the basic elements of spiritual awakening, which we need in our current culture.”

The book was originally published as Firefall in 1997 and then re-released as Firefall 2.0 in 2014. In the summer of 2022, McDow gave the copyright of the material to Southwestern Seminary to publish an updated version of the book.

Divided into seven chapters, McDow uses the first chapter of When the Fires of Heaven Fell to provide the reader with an understanding of what constitutes revival, the six types of revivals, and the characteristics of revival leaders. The remaining chapters trace the history and results of revivals, beginning with Moses’s encounter with God on Mount Sinai and culminating with the Reformation.

McDow began teaching at Southwestern Seminary in 1982 after having served as the director of evangelism for the Tennessee Baptist Convention from 1977 to 1982. In 1958, McDow earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Baylor University in native Waco, Texas, four years after the Lord called him to preach.

Following his undergraduate studies, McDow moved to Fort Worth to study at Southwestern, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity in 1962. That same year, he began serving as the youth director at Houston’s First Baptist Church and met his wife, Melba. The couple was married in December 1962.

McDow earned a Doctor of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1968 and began pastoring Cherry Road Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, before assuming his role with Tennessee Baptists in 1977.

Before retiring as professor of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary in 2005, McDow once occupied the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (“Chair of Fire”) as he directed the institution’s department of evangelism in the early 1990s. The chair was the first academic chair in evangelism in the history of theological education and is named after the second president of Southwestern. Alongside the late Roy J. Fish and James Eaves, he helped shape the seminary’s evangelism program and was a key figure in establishing Southwestern’s School of Evangelism and Missions, which was approved by the seminary’s trustees in 2005.

McDow received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Southwestern in 2019.

McDow encouraged people to “not only read this book but to study it and apply the information that is contained within it as you seek to glorify God.”

To order a copy of When the Fires of Heaven Fell, visit the Seminary Hill Press website here.