Page 1

Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  


God’s Generals   Throughout  the  Ages     1330-­‐  1943                        


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

AA  Allen  


William Branham    


William &  Catherin  Booth    


John Calvin    


Jack Coe  


John Alexander  Dowie    


David Du  Plessis      


Kathryn Kuhlman    

1907-­‐ 1976  

John G.  Lake      

1870 –  1935  

Mr Pentecost

Aimee Semple  McPherson  1890-­‐1944      

A woman of Destiny

George Fox    

The liberator of Spirit


Charles F.  Parham    

1873-­‐ 1929    

The father of Pentecost

John Knox  

1514-­‐ 1572    

The sword Bearer

1483-­‐ 1546    

The battle AX of formation The father of Reform  

Martin Luther   John  Huss  

1372-­‐ 1415    

Even Roberts  

1878-­‐ 1951  

Billy Sunday    

1862-­‐ 1935  

William J.  Seymour    


Maria Woodworth  Etter    


Charles Spurgeon      

1834-­‐ 1892  

Smith Wigglesworth  


Jonathan Edwards    



The Catalyst of Pentecost

The Apostle of

Faith John Wycliffe  


The bible Translator

Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Francis Ashbury  

1745-­‐ 1816  

James McGready  


Peter Cartwright  


Charles Finney  


Dwight Moody  


Billy Graham    



                            AA  Allen    


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages   Born  March  27th  1911   Died  June  11th  1970   Married  September  19th  19364     Children  4    

Night after night, the waves of Divine Glory so sweep over the congregation that many testify of being healed while sitting in their seats.1 Asa Alonzo Allen was perhaps one of the most important revivalists to emerge during the Voice of Healing revival.2 He was certainly the most sensational of his time, and not surprisingly drew a great deal of criticism and controversy. But all told, he was faithful to pursue God’s call on his life and as a result ushered a mighty move of the Spirit that swept the nation with powerful miracles, signs and wonders. In a time when the impact of other healing evangelists was diminishing, Allen was gathering momentum. Throughout the 1950’s, and into the 1960’s, Allen built a farreaching worldwide ministry ultimately comprising an international radio program, magazine, Bible school and ministry training centre, as well as overseas missions programs. The backbone of his ministry, however, was the massive tent revivals and healing crusades.

The Dreadful  Past   What makes Allen’s ministry success all the more amazing is the childhood he had to overcome. Of all the hardship stories, his home life was among the most dreadful. Allen and his six siblings had two alcoholic parents who were wild drunks, brewed their own liquor, and grew their own smoking tobacco. For entertainment they gave their kids this moonshine and watched them get drunk. Allen’s mother put home brew in his baby bottle to keep him from crying, and he was smoking before he was old enough to go to school. Needless to say, the Allen home was not a happy one. There were constant tussles. Allen’s mother left his father when A. A. was only four years old to marry another abusive, alcoholic. By the time he was six, he was carrying tin buckets of beer home from the saloon to his stepfather. This man left his mother when A. A. was eleven, at which time Allen attempted to run away himself. If the weather had not turned bad, he might have succeeded. He left home for good when he was fourteen.   Meeting  Jesus  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

By the time Allen was twenty-one, his health had badly deteriorated. He had the shakes so bad he couldn’t light a cigarette or hold a cup of coffee without spilling it. His chest burned and he was racked with a deep, hacking cough. Even his memory was slipping. He was already dying the death of an old man. Hoping to restore his health there, he returned home to the farm where his mother still lived. The two of them soon slipped into their old ways and started stilling their own liquor and hosting wild parties. Their regular Saturday night shindig became known as the “Allen Dance Hall and Still.” A neighbour had a different type of celebration in mind. He was a Pentecostal preacher who wanted to start a Holy Ghost revival out of his home just down the road. He and his little flock started to pray that the Allen parties would stop—they prayed that the Lord would either run him out of the neighbourhood or kill him. God did better than that. Allen happened upon a country Methodist church one day where they were singing and dancing inside. Out of curiosity he went in and was mesmerized by the woman preacher and the celebratory atmosphere. He knew he wanted what they had. The next night he returned and answered the altar call to be saved. From that point on, the parties and bootlegging ended.

Hook, Line,  and  Sinker   Allen went home and found an old Bible up in the attic. He read it voraciously, from cover to cover. He showed up at the Pentecostal home meeting down the road and after he left the people there prayed he would be filled with the Holy Spirit and used to win souls for Christ. The next day he visited a Methodist pastor who told him to stay away from the Pentecostals because they spoke in tongues. This just piqued Allen’s curiosity even more and now he wanted that too. Not long afterward, he and his sister attended a Pentecostal camp meeting where he received the baptism and shouted out in tongues. When drought hit Missouri in 1934, Allen moved to Colorado where he was offered a job on a ranch. There he came across a Foursquare Church and met a young neighbour named Lexie Scriven. She felt she was called to preach and soon the two became close friends. When she left for Missouri to attend Central Bible Institute, Allen also returned to Missouri to help his mother. Allen wrote Lexie daily and finally proposed marriage. On September 19, 1936, the two returned to Colorado to marry. The couple knew they were called to preach, so they both enrolled at Central Bible Institute. On the way there they stopped to see Allen’s ailing mother and ended up staying to nurse her back to health, spending all the money they had saved for school in the process. After her health improved, they continued on their way searching for jobs and a place to live. During this time Allen had the opportunity to preach at a church meeting in a local home.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The Journey Begins The Allen’s wasted no time holding meetings wherever they could. They struggled with money, having to chop and sell wood to survive, sleeping in a dilapidated shack on a bed made from their car seats, and eating nothing but beans for weeks at a time. In the late 1930’s, Allen was offered the pastorate of an Assembly of God church in Holly, Colorado, when they also licensed him. It was while pastoring that Allen began to truly seek God. He was determined to discover the secret of God’s power and how to flow with it. He prayed and fasted until he heard from the Lord how to increase his effectiveness as a preacher. And as promised in the Bible, those who seek will surely find. God revealed Himself to Allen in a powerful, life-changing way. The Price Tag Allen received clear direction from the Lord about exactly what he should do in order to operate in the miracle-working power of God. Allen recalled that “God revealed to me that the things that were hindrances to my ministry . . . were the very same things which were hindering so many thousands of others. At last, here was the price I must pay for the power of God in my life and ministry. The price tag for the miracle-working power of God!”3 Here are eleven of the thirteen things Allen said the Lord told him he must understand and do to see His Miracle-Working Power: 1. He must realize he couldn’t do greater quality miracles than Jesus. 2. He could walk as Jesus walked. 3. He must be blameless like God Himself. 4. He must measure himself to Jesus alone. 5. He must deny his fleshly desires with fasting. 6. After self-denial, he must follow Jesus seven days a week. 7. Without God, he could do nothing. 8. He must do away with sin in his body. 9. He must not continue in shallow, pointless discussions. 10. He must give his body wholly to God forever. 11. He must believe all of God’s promises. The remaining two guidelines were “pet sins” that God had pointed out by name, which Allen felt he could not share.4 Miracle-Working Power Shortly after this visitation, Allen resigned from his position as pastor. The Allen’s had an invitation to minister in Missouri and here is where their first miracle service took place. A blind man came forward for healing in response to the altar call. Allen asked for all those with faith for the healing of this blind man to come up and pray


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

with him. Then he said, “There is unbelief in this room, I can feel it!”. With that a man got up and stomped out the door. When the believers finished praying, the blind man could name the colour of Allen’s tie!5 Throughout the first half of the 1940’s, Allen travelled around the country leading miracle-working healing revivals. Lexie was left alone for months at a time to care for their young babies. It was a difficult time for the family as they continued to struggle financially and Lexie was left with the burden of raising the children singlehandedly. Then, in 1947, Allen was offered the pastorate of one of the largest Assemblies of God churches in Texas. He accepted and the family moved to Corpus Christi in search of a more normal family life and financial stability. Going to the Next Level For the next couple of years, Allen threw himself into building the church and the congregation grew until they needed a new building. He oversaw the exciting and successful church building project, but then searched for the next great adventure to throw himself into. He felt called to pursue a radio outreach, but the church board rejected the idea and Allen fell into a severe depression. Lexie recognized it as a spiritual attack and commanded the tormenting spirit to leave him. Miraculously it did, and Allen was back to his ambitious self. By the fall of 1949, Allen began to hear stories of miraculous healing meetings from church members and the widely circulated Voice of Healing publication. He attended an Oral Roberts tent revival in Dallas, Texas, with some ministry friends and felt God tugging on his heart about the vision he originally gave him. He rededicated himself to fulfilling that calling and upon returning home resigned the pastorate once again. In May of 1950, Allen sent his first report to the Voice of Healing after the aweinspiring results of a miracle campaign he held in Oakland, California. People were healed sitting in their seats as “waves of divine glory swept over the congregation.”6 In 1951, Allen purchased a tent and on July 4, 1951, the A. A. Allen Revival Tent went up for the first campaign in Yakima, Washington. In November of 1953, Allen finally broke into radio with the Allen Revival Hour on eleven stations. By 1955 he was being broadcast on seventeen Latin American stations and eighteen American ones.7 Allen conducted yearly revivals in Cuba and Mexico from 1955 until 1959 when Castro took power. Persecution and Progress As Allen’s fame grew, so did opposition. At the height of his ministry success, his enemies slandered Allen publicly with accusations of being a drunkard. The newspapers published accounts of public drunkenness and he was even arrested for drunk driving. The charges were trumped up and widely disputed across factions of friend and foe. R.W. Schambach, who was travelling with him at the time, testified that he was in the car the night he was arrested and that Allen was by no means


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

under the influence of alcohol. Nevertheless, the bad press did great harm to his ministry and reputation. Ultimately he was forced to withdraw from the Assemblies of God denomination and Voice of Healing network. However, what the enemy means for harm can often work for good. In the midst of persecution, Allen launched the Miracle Revival Fellowship, which licensed ministers and supported missions. Five hundred ministers were licensed in its first ordination. During this time he also began publishing the Miracle Magazine, which boasted two hundred thousand paid subscribers by the end of 1956. In January of 1958, he established the International Miracle Revival Training Camp for ministers near Tombstone, Arizona. He was given 1,250 acres of land and called it “Miracle Valley.” In 1960, he built a four thousand seat church hoping to one day to develop a city there with flourishing neighbourhoods, recreational facilities, and media centres. A Sudden End Throughout the late 1950’s, great public controversy continued to surround Allen, as well as hostile persecution, yet he pressed on. The miraculous followed his preaching in unprecedented forms. Unheard of signs and wonders were manifested during his campaigns, such as a flame appearing above his revival tent, oil flowing from the heads and hands of people in the audience, crosses appearing on foreheads, and a radio listener having organs reappear that had previously been removed. Allen worked as hard as ever well into the next decade. He continued to fervently teach on healing, and then more and more on financial prosperity. By 1967, the ministry suffered a debilitating blow when it was sued for $300,000 in back taxes. By 1969, Allen’s health began to deteriorate and he battled severe arthritis in his knees. He suffered with so much pain that a protégé had to fill in during the crusades. Allen had already undergone surgery on one of his knees and in June of 1970, was considering surgery on the other knee. Allen arrived in his hotel room the night before his scheduled doctor’s visit and made a disturbing call to a close friend. This friend became alarmed and immediately headed over to the hotel. After banging on Allen’s door and receiving no response, he had the assistant manager open the door, and there they found Allen dead in a chair in front of his television. A. A. Allen was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m. on June 11, 1970. The Coroner’s Report recorded the cause of death being “fatty infiltration of the liver” as a result of the few times he used alcohol in his last days to alleviate the excruciating pain of his arthritis.

Works Consulted


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

1. Lexie E. Allen, God’s Man of Faith and Power, (Hereford, AZ: A.A. Allen Publications, 1954), 165. 2. David Harrell Jr., All Things Are Possible (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1975), 66. 3. L. Allen, God’s Man of Faith and Power, 98-104 4. A. A. Allen, Price of God’s Miracle-Working Power (Miracle Valley, AZ: A. A. Allen Revivals Inc., 1950). 5. L. Allen, 106-108 6. Ibid, 165. 7. Harrell, All Things Are Possible, 68.                    

            William  Branham  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages   April    6th  1909   Died  December  24th  1965   Married  2  Times    Children  five   A Man of Notable Signs and Wonders”

God didn’t put His endorsement upon one particular church, but He revealed that the pure in heart would see God . . . Let the fellow believe whatever he wants to about it. These things don’t amount to very much anyhow. Be brothers, have fellowship with one another.1

William Branham was beyond doubt a man of notable signs and wonders. From birth, supernatural manifestations marked his life. He truly walked with God for a time, but in the latter years of his life, began to err in doctrine and veer from his true calling. He did indeed have a divine impartation to minister healing and deliverance. A modern day prophet of biblical proportion, he healed the multitudes and delivered the afflicted from all kinds of demonic bondages and strongholds. He walked in the Spirit, guided by visions and angels: For a period of time the supernatural seemed to permeate his life and all he set his hand to. During the height of Branham’s ministry, from 1946-1954, great men came alongside him to promote and partner with him; men such as Gordon Lindsey, F.F. Bosworth, and Jack Moore. Branham’s healing team launched what became known as the Voice of Healing magazine, which gave rise to the great healing revival of the early 1950s. This movement directly impacted T.L. Osborn, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, and others so that today the wider church has a firmer grasp on the truths regarding faith and healing. Meagre Beginnings William Marrion Branham was born to a fifteen-year-old mother, and an eighteenyear-old father, in a tiny, dirt floor shack up in the hills of Kentucky. They were poor and illiterate, and had no interest in spiritual matters. William grew up without any knowledge of God, the Bible, or prayer. Yet God had a special call on his life and would go to great lengths throughout William’s childhood to get his attention. From a young age, William heard God’s voice, and knew that he was being called to a different kind of life than those around him. He didn’t understand the calling or how to quiet the longing he felt in his heart. At the age of nineteen he decided to move away hoping that he would find solace in a new location. He moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he worked on a ranch, but he still couldn’t escape the sense that God was calling him. When he received news that his brother had died, he returned home to his grief-stricken family. It was at the funeral that he heard his first prayer and knew then that he needed to learn to pray.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Answering the Call He stayed close to home to be near his grieving family, taking a job at a nearby gas works company. After two years on the job, William was overcome with gas fumes when testing a meter and ended up in the hospital where he underwent surgery for appendicitis. As he lay in the recovery room, he felt his life ebbing away. His body grew weaker and his mind grew dark; and then he heard the familiar voice saying, “I called you and you would not go.” The words were repeated again and again. William’s inner voice answered back, “Lord, if that is You, let me go back again to earth and I will preach our Gospel from the housetops and street corners.”2 He was released from the hospital a few days later and began immediately to seek the Lord. He found a small, independent Baptist church that nurtured and prayed for him and then six months later ordained him an independent Baptist minister. William obtained a small tent and began to minister with great results. It was in June of 1933 at the age of twenty-four, that Branham held his first major tent revival. Three thousand people attended in one night. It was during this time that a supernatural manifestation occurred. Branham Tabernacle William was holding a special baptism service where he baptized 130 believers in the Ohio River. When he had baptized the seventieth person, this is what William described happened: “A whirl came down from the heavens above, here come that light, shining down . . . it hung right over where I was at . . . and it like to a-scared me to death.” Many of the four thousand that saw the light ran in fear, some remained and fell in worship, others claimed to have heard an actual voice.3 Several months later, in the fall of that year, the people who attended those powerful meetings built a headquarters for William’s anointed ministry calling it “Branham Tabernacle.” From 1933 to 1946, Branham ministered at the Tabernacle while working at a secular job. During this time he also met his future wife, Hope Brumback, with whom he had two children before tragedy struck in 1937. The Price of Disobedience While Branham was on a fishing trip, he came across a camp meeting of the “Oneness Pentecostals” (a denomination often referred to today as “Jesus Only”) and was asked to minister there. Shortly after he started to speak, the power of God engulfed him and he ministered for the next two hours. Pastors from all over the country invited Branham to speak at their churches so that he completely filled his calendar for the following year. When he had excitedly returned home to share the news with his wife, her mother was there and scorned him for associating with the Oneness Pentecostals. Branham capitulated to her rebuke and cancelled all his meetings. He would later regret this


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

as the biggest mistake of his life. If he had gone on to hold those meetings, his family would not have been caught in the great Ohio flood of 1937. As it turned out, in the winter of 1937, Hope had just given birth to their second child. Because her immune system had not been completely restored, she had succumbed to a serious lung disease. It was during this period of recovery that the levee broke on the Ohio River and the floodwaters rose. She and her two young children were transported to several locations during which time both became seriously ill with pneumonia. Hope’s lung condition turned to tuberculosis and she died only weeks later. Although the older child eventually recovered, the younger infant’s pneumonia turned to a fatal spinal meningitis and the baby died the same night as her mother. The Rushing Wind The next five years were difficult for William as he reeled from the loss. He continued to preach at the Branham Tabernacle and have prophetic visions. No one seemed to understand him or the nature of his visions and he grew more restless. He did remarry during this time for his oldest child’s sake and worked to provide for the family as a game warden in addition to preaching at the Tabernacle. One spring day, in 1946, he came home for lunch and sat with a friend under a large maple tree. All of a sudden, according to Branham, “It seemed that the whole top of the tree let loose . . . it seemed like something came down from that tree like a great rushing wind.” His wife came running out to see what the commotion was all about, and after getting a hold of his emotions, Branham shared all the past experiences he’d had with the wind rushing above him in the trees. Since he was a young child, a “mighty rushing wind” haunted him, spoke to him, and compelled him to seek God for answers. He then told her that he was going to find out once and for all what was behind this “wind” and recalled that he had said, “I told her and my child good-bye and warned her that if I didn’t come back in a few days, perhaps I might never return.” 4 A Visit from an Angel Branham left for a secluded place to pray and read the Bible. He cried out to the Lord to speak to him in some way. That night he noticed a light flickering in the room that began to spread across the floor and then grew into a ball of fire shining on the floor. Footsteps approached and he saw a large man dressed in a white robe coming toward him. The man spoke, “Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the people of the world. If you will be sincere, and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer.”


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

William humbly replied that he was so poor and uneducated no one would listen to him. The Angel gave him two gifts that he would use as signs to help the people believe. The first would be his ability to detect disease by a vibration in his left hand; and the other would be the word of knowledge revealing the secret sin hidden in a person’s heart. Walking Out The Calling The following Sunday after returning home, Branham shared with his congregation what he had experienced. While he was speaking, someone handed him a telegram requesting that he come to St. Louis to pray for a gravely sick daughter. He quickly took up an offering for the train-fare and borrowed a suit of clothes. At midnight he boarded the train for St. Louis. He arrived to find the girl dying from an unknown sickness. She was weak and wasting away, hoarse from crying out in pain. William was moved to tears and pulled away to seek the Lord privately about what to do. He saw the answer in a vision and waited until the conditions were just as he had seen them in the spirit. He asked the people present if they believed he was God’s servant and directed them to do just he told them, nothing doubting. He proceeded to ask for several things and prayed according the vision the Lord had given him. Immediately the child was healed. News spread quickly and the people of St. Louis asked Branham to return. In June of 1946 he conducted a twelve-day healing revival there where tremendous manifestations took place. The lame walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard, and the dead were raised. A woman who stood mocking outside dropped dead from a heart attack. Branham went out to pray for her and she revived praising God. The healings that took place were beyond count as Branham often stayed until 2:00 a.m. to pray for the sick. From St. Louis he went on to Jonesboro, Arkansas, were 25,000 people attended the meetings.5 On one occasion, Branham went out to pray for a woman who had died in an ambulance outside the meeting hall. She sat up healed and Branham had to sneak out of the front of the ambulance under cover of disguise to return to the meeting.

Relentless Revival 1947 was a high profile year for Branham. In Arkansas he acquired his first campaign manager. Time published news of his campaigns as his ministry toured the western states. While in Portland, Oregon, T.L. and Daisy Osborn attended his meetings and were greatly influenced by what they witnessed. It has been said that


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

this was the refreshing and refocus they needed to launch their world-changing international ministry. This was also the year that Gordon Lindsey joined forces with Branham. Lindsey became his administrator and organized and promoted one of the greatest healing revivals to this day. Accompanied by Jack Moore, the “Union Campaign” joined the forces of the Oneness Pentecostals and the Full Gospel circles for a series of revival campaigns held throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Branham was successful at avoiding doctrinal differences and leading thousands to salvation and healing. Reports stated that 1,500 souls were born again in a single service and as many as 35,000 healings were manifested during that stretch of ministry. The Voice of Healing The Branham team wanted to give a greater voice to the message of healing that could reach beyond the confine of their meetings so decided to distribute a monthly publication they called The Voice of Healing magazine. Not long after his quick rise to national success, Branham suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1948, it was thought he might die when another rising healing evangelist, Oral Roberts, rallied believers everywhere to pray for Branham’s restoration. Six months later, Branham was back on the scene. In 1950, F.F. Bosworth joined the Branham team and together they conducted another major healing crusade gathering crowds of over 8,000 at a single service. During the same year, Branham travelled to Scandinavia making him the first Voice of Healing evangelist to travel to Europe. In the fall of 1951, the Voice of Healing ministry team travelled to Africa and held healing campaigns there through December. It is reported that the meetings were the greatest ever in South Africa with crowds exceeding 50,000 in number.6 Deviating from the Call Branham remained very influential in the ministry of divine healing for nine years. During this time healing evangelists began to surface all over the country. In 1952, at the height of the Voice of Healing revival, forty-nine prominent healing evangelists were featured in The Voice of Healing magazine. The revelation of divine healing had reached an all-time peak across the world. But from that year on, the healing revival fires began to dwindle. By 1955, Branham began to experience difficulties, and his ministry took a radical change. Branham had a falling out with Gordon Lindsey, who was forced to leave the ministry. Without Lindsey, his organization was mismanaged and fell into financial ruin. He also began to err in doctrine without the balanced voice of Lindsey who brought stability not only to his administrative affairs, but also kept his teaching sound and bible-based.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

As the glory days of the Voice of Healing revival began to wind down toward 1958, Branham searched for other ways to make his mark. He began teaching from his visions rather than from the Word of God. Not called to be a teacher, Branham began to veer off in extreme directions regarding his interpretation of truth. Disturbing doctrines were taught and emphasized throughout the remainder of his ministry. God Removes a Prophet On December 18, 1965, Branham and his family were travelling home to Indiana from Texas where William had preached for the last time at Jack Moore’s church. His son was in the car ahead of theirs when a drunk driver swerved and missed the son’s car but hit William’s car head on. Mrs. Branham was immediately killed. William was still alive when his son found him. He asked about his wife and when he was told she was dead, he instructed his son to place his hand upon her. His son picked up Branham’s bloodied hand and placed it on Mrs. Branham. Instantly a pulse returned and she revived. Branham remained in a coma for six days before he went to be with the Lord on December 24, 1965. Though saddened by his death, his ministry colleagues were not surprised. Gordon Lindsey wrote in his eulogy, “God may see that a man’s special ministry has reached its fruition and it is time to take him home.”7 Lindsey also accepted the interpretation of Kenneth E. Hagin—father of the Word of Faith movement—who had prophesied two years before that the Lord was “removing the prophet” from the scene. Branham died exactly when the Lord told Hagin he would. According to Hagin’s prophecy, William Marrion Branham, the “father of the healing revival” had to be removed from the earth because of his disobedience to his call and the creation of doctrinal confusion. Works Consulted 1. C. Douglas Weaver, The Healer-Prophet, William Marrion Branham: A Study of the Prophetic in American Pentecostalism (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987), 54 2. Gordon Lindsey, A Man Sent From God (Jefferson, IN: William Branham, 1950), 39-41 3. Weaver, The Healer-Prophet, 27 4. Roberts Liardon, God’s Generals: Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed (Laguna Hills, CA: Roberts Liardon Ministries, reprinted by permission of Whittaker House, 1996), 324. 5. Lindsey, William Branham, 93. 6. Liardon, Gods Generals, 331 7. Weaver, The Healer Prophet, 105


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages                                            

William &  Catherin  Booth     W.B  April  10th  1829   Died  Aug  20th  1912   Married  June  16th  1855   Children  Eight  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages    

“Generals in God’s Army” The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell.1 William and Catherine Booth grew up at the dawn of the industrial revolution. Unemployment, homelessness, labour abuses, and child prostitution were rampant in the British Isles. Both William and Catherine, from very young ages, were moved by the plight of the poor and the devastating social injustice of their time—and both longed to serve the Lord in a mighty way. Neither separately might have changed the world for Christ, but together they were an unstoppable force for spiritual revival and social reform that would change history. Best known for founding the Salvation Army, which evangelized the poorest areas and provided food and shelter for the homeless, the Booths were also tireless advocates for the rights of factory labourers, working women, and homeless children. William's and Catherine's Childhoods William was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, England in January of 1829, the only son of his three surviving siblings. By the time he was thirteen, his family was too poor to continue sending him to school, so they apprenticed him to a pawnbroker. The next year his father died leaving his family in poverty. During the next six years of his apprenticeship, he started attending church and came to a personal revelation of Christ. He read the Bible hungrily and taught himself how to write and speak articulately in order to become a Methodist New Connexion minister (or lay preacher). He disliked the pawn broking business, and as soon as he was released from his apprenticeship in 1849, he headed for London to find more suitable work and opportunities to preach. Unfortunately, all he found were few chances to preach and only another pawn broking position offering much needed room and board. Catherine was born in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England in January of 1829, and suffered from several debilitating illnesses growing up rendering her housebound for most of her childhood. During her times of convalescence, she studied the writings of John Wesley and Charles Finney among others, and by the age of twelve had read through the Bible eight times. Even as a youth, she was concerned about society’s ills and wrote articles for magazines about the dangers of drinking alcohol. She was an avid supporter of the national Temperance Society and from an early age, felt called to preach. She also looked to reform the church’s view of female ministers. Divine Appointments


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In 1851, William joined the Wesleyan Reform Union. It was about and a year later, on his twenty-third birthday in April of 1852, that he left pawn broking to work fulltime for the Reformers at their headquarters. It was during several meetings of this group that a mutual friend, Mr. Rabbits, introduced Catherine and William. The attraction between them was immediate, and after a long carriage ride home after the third time they met, they knew their lives would ever be connected. William struggled between his affections for Catherine and his longing to become a travelling evangelist. After many sleepless, prayerful nights, barely one-month after that carriage ride, they became engaged on May 15, 1852. However, the two weren’t married until three years later. In the interim, William was sent to Spalding in Lincolnshire, some one hundred miles away, to oversee several churches there. Throughout this period of separation, William and Catherine grew ever closer through daily correspondence by letter. They shared their deep affection for one another, as well as their political, social, and religious views. In addition, Catherine penned several well-articulated discourses on the biblical foundation regarding the equality of men and women in ministry. Most importantly, however, they encouraged each other in their faith and trust in the Lord. Reunited At Last William and Catherine were finally wed on June 16, 1855. William was so successful in his preaching duties on the Spalding circuit that he began to receive invitations from other areas. Booth was accepted as the Connexion’s travelling campaigner but was given only a small stipend. It was a hard way to start life for the newlyweds, especially with a baby on the way, but they continued strong in their passionate pursuit of winning souls for Christ. In 1857, William was given charge of another pastorate. And a year later, he became a fully ordained minister and was transferred to yet another church. Frustrated at being “pinned down” by pastoral duties, William made the decision to follow his heart and give up his position with the Methodist New Connexion. In 1861, William launched out as an independent preacher, and without any guarantee of income, the Booths travelled the country with a renewed evangelistic fervour. By now they had four children and had to rely completely on the goodwill of the churches where William preached. At Catherine’s urging, William began holding tent meetings in London in 1865. It was during this time that William would come home bruised and bloody from the persecution he received on the streets. However, Evangelistic outreach to the roughest parts of London would be a turning point for the Booths and provide the framework for the remainder of their ministry efforts together. By the close of 1865, the Booths were the parents of seven thriving children, three boys and four girls. Their youngest, and eighth child, Lucy, was born in the spring of 1868. The Rise of the Christian Mission


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

It was later that same year the Booth’s founded the Christian Revival Association, which soon became known as the East London Christian Mission. Before long stations were opened in other parts of town so the work became known simply as the “Christian Mission.” For the next decade, the Booth’s laboured under the banner of the Christian Mission all throughout London establishing what became twenty-six mission stations training and launching hundreds of voluntary speakers, holding thousands of meetings in all sorts of places, and increasing their numbers with every passing year. The Booths outreach efforts focused on the poorest areas, the slums and red light districts—they taught repentance, salvation, and Christian ethics to the most destitute including alcoholics, criminals, and prostitutes. They preached outside pubs and dancehalls, so often taking business away from the bars and public houses that a “Skeleton Army” was formed to harass and assault them as they ministered. It was dangerous work and many of the workers were severely injured and bloodied. The Booths and their volunteers, however, wore their wounds like badges of honour. It was also during this time that the Christian Mission took on a social service aspect opening their “Food for the Million” soup kitchens and offering shelter to the homeless for a small price, or payment in labour hours. The Booths believed that to preserve a person’s dignity and sense of self-worth that they should be required to pay something for the assistance they received, even if all they had was time and two hands. Many of the mission beneficiaries became full-time volunteers - some speaking at meetings, others working as skilled labourers - to promote the growing cause. The Volunteer Army Becomes The Salvation Army In 1878, fifty-one new mission stations were opened. In May of that year, the “Volunteer Army” that the Booths were equipping to battle evil, officially became known as the “Salvation Army.” By early 1879, Booth was in command of 81 mission stations staffed by 127 full-time evangelists with over 1,900 voluntary speakers holding 75,000 meetings a year. In March of 1880, the Army opened work in the U.S. soon to be followed by missions being established in France, Australia, and India.2 In the next ten years stations would be opened in Switzerland, Sweden, and most of the countries in the British Empire including Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and Jamaica. Booth was referred to as the General, he and all the Salvationist wore a uniform, and they carried a banner of red, blue, and gold with a sun symbol and the motto “Blood and Fire”—for the blood of Christ and the fire of the Holy Sprit—and were accompanied by bands marching military style playing military songs that were given Christian lyrics. The bands also played traditional drinking songs that they substituted Christian lyrics to, and of course, an occasional hymn. The Army was a sight to behold and hear as they marched down the street waving their banner in full military regalia, drawing crowds as they played loud, victorious songs with a full


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

array of instruments. Soon, because of their good works and persevering love, they became more welcomed and supported by both the local citizenry and public officials who offered donations and police protection during their open-air crusades. The Dangers of Match Making During the 1880’s, the Booths, Catherine in particular, were concerned by “sweated labour” where women and children worked long hours for low wages in very poor conditions. One particularly unfortunate circumstance was found in the cities’ match making factories. The chemicals used for dipping the end of the matches were so toxic that the workers teeth would corrode before they were eventually poisoned to death. It was not uncommon for the entire side of the face to give way to decay, turning green and then black, leading to a certain death. The Booths began campaigning to force the company to use safer chemicals. They publicized the affects of the toxic gases on the workers, and inquired about compounds used in other countries that were safer. The company insisted the matches would be prohibitively expensive and refused to change their methods. In a bold move, the Booths set up their own match making factory that was well ventilated and used safer chemicals. They began selling their matches advertising that no workers were harmed in their manufacture and scolding shop owners who continued to carry the harmful matches. Although the Booths couldn’t ultimately keep the factory open, combined with the bad press and competition, the old factories did make the necessary changes and provided working environments equal to what the Booth factory boasted. Exposing the White Slave Trade In one of the boldest moves, and certainly one of the most widely publicized in the late nineteenth century, the Booths, with the help of a journalist named W.T. Stead, set out to expose the white slave trade. This was a child prostitution ring that took advantage of poor, struggling families by buying their young girls to be placed in homes with false promises of a better future. The girls were put to work in brothels and sold to other prostitution rings throughout Europe. Mr. Stead posed as a buyer and “purchased” a young girl from her mother with the help of a Salvationist who had been saved out of this prostitution trade. Stead documented the girl’s travels right up to the point she was to be shipped off to the European mainland. When the story was printed in the paper, there was such a public outcry that Parliament was forced to change the legal age of consent for young women from thirteen to sixteen. This public exposure also brought the force of the law down on the brothels. But this wasn’t the end of the story. Those who were profiting from the prostitution ring found the girl’s father and charged Stead with kidnapping. By now the girl was saved and working at a Salvation Army mission in France. After a long and much publicized trial, the Booths


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

were finally absolved of any charges brought against them as a result of their association with Mr. Stead, and the journalist spent three, short months in prison. In the end, the Booths were recognized for all the good work they were doing and the Salvation Army received a boon of public support and publicity. The Darkest Days In 1888, Catherine was diagnosed with cancer. During her last years, the Booths, with the help of Mr. Stead, wrote a book exposing the tribulations of the poor and proposed solutions for widespread social reform. The Darkest England and the Way Out outlined the formation of employment offices, small loan bureaus, immigration and missing person services, and other social welfare strategies that seem the norm today. The book was published in 1890, the same year that Catherine entered paradise. The book was revolutionary and became a bestseller for that time period selling two hundred thousand copies its first year. It has been reprinted several times, most recently in 1970. Widely read and considered a forerunner to textbooks on social change, The Darkest England and the Way Out left a legacy of social awareness that seems commonplace today. Brought Before Kings After Catherine’s death and the success of The Darkest England, the Salvationist Army exploded onto the world scene. In that decade, the Salvationist Army continued to gain momentum under William’s leadership and its presence was felt in all spheres the world over. By 1900, the Army was in twenty-five countries and had become a commonly known and widely accepted Christian service organization. Booth was highly respected by the general public, heads of state, and the mass media, all of who used the title of “General” with great reverence. He was granted audiences by the world’s great leaders. In 1904, William was invited to visit with King Edward VII at Buckingham palace, and the following year was awarded a prestigious badge of honour on behalf of the city of London. Throughout the last ten years of William’s life, he tirelessly worked on behalf of the poor and continued to oversee the growing work of the now worldwide Salvation Army. In 1907, General Booth made his last visit to the United States. Yet in 1909, at eighty years old, he set out on a six-month tour of England by motorcar, a novelty of that day. And then in 1910, he travelled throughout northern Europe and Italy encouraging the troupes only to return to England for yet another motor tour around the country. He made his last public appearance on May 9, 1912, addressing seven thousand Salvationists at Albert Hall in London. He was now blind and his health had begun to deteriorate rapidly. He lost consciousness on August 18, and went home to Glory on August 20, 1912.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

What are you living for? What is the deep secret purpose that controls and fashions your existence? What do you eat and drink for? What is the end of your marrying and giving in marriage—your money-making and toiling and planning’s? Is it the salvation of souls, the overthrow of the kingdom of evil, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God? If not, you may be religious . . . but I don’t see how you can be a Christian."3 Works Consulted 1. Trevor Yaxley, William and Catherine: The Life and Legacy of the Booths, (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2003): 2. 3. T. Yaxley, William and Catherine: 63                    

John  Calvin     Born  July  10th  1509   Died  May  27th  1564   Married  August  1520     Children  Five  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

“The Teaching Apostle”

When I consider that I am not in my own power, I offer my heart a slain victim for a sacrifice to the Lord. . . . I yield my soul chained and bound unto obedience to God.1 John Calvin took the biblical truths that Wycliffe, Hus, and Luther had brought to light and created a worldwide movement. He did more to institutionalize the revolutionary doctrines of the reformation than any other reformer before him. John Calvin reorganized organized religion into what became known to the modern world as Protestantism. He brought opposing forces within the fledging movement to common ground providing the leadership and foresight that the “new church” needed to evolve. And due to Calvin’s persistent quest for unity, collaboration, and accountability, the reformation grew in strength and became a powerful voice for truth that could not be quenched. Calvin was a brilliant intellectual and theologian. He applied himself from a young age to his studies and advanced quickly through the ranks of academia. He studied philosophy, law, and religion and purposed to spend his life studying and writing. But the demand for his intellectual ability, insight into Scripture, and skill at debate propelled him into the forefront of the reform campaign. With the same resolve and vigour he applied to academics, he became a forerunner of organization development strategy applying a flair for operations and human resources management. And he did it all in the face of constant and severe opposition. Early Preparation John Calvin wasted no time walking in his calling, even if he didn’t understand it. He was born and raised in an influential town just north of Paris. Although he wasn’t born into a wealthy family, they were well off and respected. John grew up around the upper crust and became comfortable with those of influence and position. He had the advantages of private tutors and preparatory schools. He was only fourteen years old when he attended the most prestigious university in the known world, the University of Paris, and excelled at everything he set his mind to. John quickly earned the favour of his professors, who became his mentors and lifelong friends. In 1528, at just eighteen years of age, he earned his Masters of Arts degree. He was on a direct path for the priesthood when is father urged him to change direction and pursue law. Bound by duty to obey, he entered law school where he became known as a “rising legal scholar.”2 At the same time, he continued to pursue his passion for languages, literature, and culture developing an appreciation of the Renaissance and evangelical faith. During this time period, intellectualism was at its peak and the arts and sciences were exploding. After completing his doctorate in 1532, he wrote his first book entitled A Commentary on Seneca’s “Of Clemency.” Calvin loved politics and was fascinated by a philosopher named Seneca and his premise regarding the authority of kings—


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Calvin agreed they have a high authority by divine right but condemned the pride, sin, and self-deceived rationalization that led kings to pursue inhumane acts. He selfpublished the book which failed miserably, but it did provide the foundation for his political policies when he established himself as a leader of the reformation. On the Fence of Reform It is believed that in the years prior to 1533, John experienced an inner conversion that was the result of a revelation of the Protestant salvation by faith, although he remained a Catholic. It wasn’t until he attended the acceptance speech of a good friend who had just been named Dean of the University of Paris that his allegiance was made clearer. This was during a time of severe persecution in Paris and tensions were high. In the aftermath of this speech in which his close friend openly proclaimed reformist views—the friend was forced to flee Paris, and Calvin, being closely associated with him, was not far behind. Calvin went into hiding during the winter of 1533-1534 and struggled within himself for many months. In the spring, he returned to Paris to seek out the famed Bible scholar Lefevre d’Etaples who was approaching one hundred years old. The meeting took place on April 6, 1534, and from that point on, Calvin had no hesitation about where his duty lay. One month later, instead of arriving as planned to be ordained into the priesthood, he returned to the Catholic Church to turn in his ministerial papers severing his ties with Catholicism forever. Being Counted Among the Heretics Only three weeks after he broke ties with the Catholic Church in his hometown, John’s brother, Charles, was arrested for heresy, and John was arrested for not reporting him. After two short period of imprisonment, John was told to leave town. He moved from place to place, but still gathered a following of those who wanted to sit and learn from him. These were the first “Calvinists.” At the same time, the radical Protestants in Paris were launching a massive campaign against the Catholic Church which became known as the Affair of the Placards—this name was given because of the placards that were posted everywhere denouncing the practices of the Catholic Church. King Francis I was so outraged that he countered with the brutal burning of six Protestants and twenty-four more over the next six months. Calvin was forced to leave France for neighbouring Switzerland where he and many other reformers found safe refuge. He ended up settling high in the Alps in Basel. Here he hoped to withdraw from public notice and give himself to writing. He completed the 520-page first edition of the famous Institutes of Christian Religion in August of 1535. What began as six chapters would evolve into eighty chapters before it was finished.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In 1536, the first edition was published in Basel and sent directly to King Francis I with a letter exposing his murderous spirit and exonerating the martyrs. No one in Basel knew Calvin was the author because few knew he was there. He had been living under the assumed name of Martianus Lucanius.3 Soon the book was being widely distributed and Calvin rose high in the ranks of influential reformers. Destined for Geneva Calvin made his way to Strasbourg in search of renewed anonymity and solitude. He again planned to settle down and continue writing. As he made his way there, he was forced to make a detour and spend the night in Geneva. Only planning to remain one night before heading on to Strasbourg, Calvin was caught off guard when his presence there was made known to a fiery evangelist named Farel. This young man had taken the city for the Gospel and desperately needed help in organizing a long-term work to establish the Protestant believers there. His intention was to form a church and a school, but although he was a persuasive teacher, he lacked the organizational and administrative skills necessary. He hoped to convince Calvin to join him in leading the movement to make Geneva a Protestant stronghold. Calvin bluntly refused the invitation. He did not feel compelled to step into such a public role and oversee the logistics of organizing an unprecedented Protestant church and school. His objective was to continue his writing in solitude. Farel was bold and tenacious as he unrelentingly plied Calvin to consider this work. He finally pointed his finger at Calvin and rebuked him sternly thundering, “If you refuse to devote yourself with us to the work . . . God will condemn you.”4 By September 1st, Calvin was in Geneva ready to begin work. The Geneva’s First Pastor Geneva was unusual in that its citizens had voted to “live by the Gospel” to the extent that the political powers supported complete reformation of the religious and moral life of the community. While Farel, the zealous preacher, would stir up the waters and draw a harvest of souls, it was Calvin, who wove the net in which to bring them safely home. The same diligence he gave to his studies and writing, now Calvin poured into building the new church and establishing an enlightened society. He flooded every area of the community with his insight and wisdom about theology, philosophy, government, languages, pedagogy, and debate. No area that he had studied over the years went untapped. Calvin literally turned the community upside down. Where the people were accustomed to serving the Church, the church under Calvin’s direction was developed to serve the people. Where there were loose morals, he brought in knowledge of the Scriptures so that common people could grasp the deep truths that would equip them to overcome sin. He created a confession of faith that was to be proclaimed by all who wished to be citizens stating that the Word of God was the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

ultimate authority; that natural man had no good in him; and that salvation, righteousness, and regeneration were in Jesus Christ alone.5 Musical praise in the local language was introduced to the people so that they could worship freely from their hearts. Before then, all songs during Mass were sung in Latin and few understood. Calvin planned an educational program that everyone was required to attend followed by a rule of excommunication for those who failed to live by God’s standards. They refused to allow people who did not live up to those standards to take Communion. Struggles ensued over the strictness imposed on the city’s inhabits and a power struggle between the church leaders and government officials began to intensify. Finally, in January of 1538, the political powers were forced to forbid Farel and Calvin from preaching because Calvin called them “a council of the devil” in one of his sermons, and the two were ordered to allow everyone to take Communion. Calvin and Farel continued to preach and turn away immoral people from the Communion table. A mob erupted outside the church threatening to kill both of them. By April, the government ordered them to leave the city. After appealing to the councils of Bern and Zurich to intervene on their behalf, Calvin and Farel were forced to give up their vision for Geneva. Or so they thought. The Persistent Call Farel and Calvin had become close friends and resettled near to one another back in quieter Basel. Calvin fell into a depression overcome by a sense of failure, bitter over how he had been treated, and now without ministry direction, felt empty and useless. It was a difficult time of readjustment during which Calvin sold books for income. Farel was invited to another city to help with ministry there, when Calvin refused to go, Farel left alone. Feeling alienated and betrayed, he took a break from his surroundings in July and visited the city of Strasbourg. There he was introduced to a well-respected reformer by the name of Martin Bucer who invited him to move to Strasbourg to pastor a five hundred-member French refugee church. The French refugees felt alienated in the German-speaking city, and this seemed the perfect match for the French-born Calvin. Again he refused, never intending to pastor again. When Calvin returned to Basel, the invitation was renewed and Bucer gave the same warning that Farel had given Calvin in Geneva, “God will know how to find the rebellious servant, as He found Jonah.”6 This struck at Calvin’s heart and once again, by the first September, Calvin had resettled in Strasbourg ready to fulfil his duties as one of its leading pastors. Days of Hope and Renewal Strasbourg was a pleasant change to Geneva. The city had adopted evangelical worship fourteen years earlier and there was no council to negotiate with. Bucer and


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

others had done an excellent job of organizing the churches with well-rounded programs. It was a flourishing centre of reformation and it seemed Calvin and the French church were a perfect match. For the next three years Calvin thrived in this environment, healing from the disappointment of Geneva and maturing as a pastor. He applied for citizenship after only a few short months and embraced the work of the leading reformers there. He became close friends with a man named John Sturm, who Bucer had installed as the rector of the Old Strasbourg convent with the mission of turning it into a Bible school. With Calvin’s help, the school became one of the most renowned and successful ministry training schools of the reformation. His involvement in establishing this school would serve as a pattern for something he would pioneer later, something that would reach to every corner of the known world. Calvin’s influence began to spread during this time of training and maturing. He was constantly called out to lecture and speak at conferences in surrounding cities and nations. He became increasingly popular with Charles V, the current Holy Roman Emperor, who sponsored a series of conferences to which he always invited Calvin to speak. During his three years in Strasbourg, Calvin authored four books and a very famous letter that rescued the destiny of Geneva. Geneva Beckons Again In 1539, after Farel and Calvin had been banished from Geneva, the Catholic Church renewed hope of turning the city back to her former allegiance, Rome. A new Roman cardinal was installed in northern Italy who hoped to persuade Geneva to return to her Catholic heritage. He wrote a letter to the Council in Geneva inviting the government to realign itself to the Catholic Church while offering it political autonomy. The eloquent letter was written in Latin and cast shadows of suspicion. It pressured Geneva by asking if it “be more expedient for your salvation to believe and follow what the Catholic Church has approved with general consent for more than fifteen hundred years, or innovations introduced within these twenty-five years by crafty men.”7 The Council promised to send a response but felt unqualified to answer in a clear and sufficient manner. Their only hope was to send the letter to John Calvin and pray he would forgive them and respond on their behalf. Calvin didn’t give a second thought to clearing his schedule in order to write a thorough and articulate response. In six days he composed his masterpiece, which became so famous it was given a title, Reply to Cardinal Sadolet, and still circulates today. Calvin addressed every point with passionate precision. He stated that the Gospel was the sceptre by which the Father ruled the kingdom—not a Latinized liturgy or the tyranny of a papacy.8 “You either labour under a delusion as to the term Church, or . . . knowingly and willingly give it a gloss.”9


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Neither did Cardinal Sadolet ever reply to Geneva’s expansive response written by John Calvin, but the Catholic Church never bothered Geneva again. The Dawn of a New Day of Ministry Calvin found himself in the market for a wife and married Idelette Stordeur, a widow with two children. She had lost her husband to the plague, who had been a fellow pastor in Geneva and close friend of Calvin’s. A year after they were married, Calvin received an invitation from Geneva to return and resume his pastoral duties there. This took Calvin by surprise and he had no desire to leave his utopian Strasbourg. He refused, as he had before to even consider the invitation. It took Bucer to convince him of returning—if only for a season—to help the willing leaders of Geneva reorganize their church. With the only comfort being the hope of soon returning to Strasbourg, Calvin agreed to go to Geneva for a brief period to set the church in order. He planned on staying for only a few months but spent the next twenty-three years establishing churches, schools, and ministry training centres until his death in 1564. Geneva welcomed him with open arms and spared no expense in honoring him and making he and his family comfortable. Calvin had learned much and matured a great deal during his three years in Strasbourg. He was seasoned in the art of organization and diplomacy, and using the Scripture as his pattern, he began restructuring the church. He outlined four orders of the ministry—pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons. These four areas covered all of church life including worship, education, soundness, and moral purity, as well as the works of love and mercy. This pattern of organization provided the foundation of how Protestant churches have been structured since. What became known as Calvinism has influenced thousands of Christian thinkers throughout modern Christian history including Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, and David Brainerd. Opposition and Sorrow Though Calvin’s years in Geneva were successful as a pastor and reformer, his personal life suffered great sorrow. During their first summer in Geneva, Idelette gave birth prematurely to a son who died two weeks later. Three years later a daughter died at birth and in 1547, another child was delivered prematurely and died. Idelette never recovered from the last premature delivery and contracted tuberculosis. She died in quietly in 1549, leaving her two surviving children in the care of Calvin. During this time, Calvin also suffered from severe health problems. Yet he continued to grow the work and movement and became an international leader and respected mentor to future heroes of the reformation such as John Knox. As Calvin’s fame and success increased, so did his opposition. This time, opposition came in the form of a reformist group called the Libertines who openly challenged the strict holiness


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

doctrine of Calvin. Their leader, Michael Servetus, denounced Calvin’s teachings and taught that the Trinity was foolishness. The Libertines believed that Jesus was not God in the flesh but became a Son of God after He triumphed over temptation. Calvin had Servetus arrested and tried for heresy. As a result, Servetus was condemned to be burned at the stake. Although Calvin pleaded for a change of sentence, the courts denied his request and on October 27, 1553, Servetus, escorted by Farel to the stake, was burned for heresy. Calvin was blamed and became the subject of increasing controversy and criticism. They charged Calvin with being a tormentor of religious freedom, who stooped to the ranks of the Roman Catholic persecutors in the Inquisition.10 Increasing health challenges plagued Calvin. In addition to acute stomach problems, he suffered from migraines and his lungs were constantly inflamed and haemorrhaging. Arthritis had settled in his knees and he had a continuing problem with kidney stones. Nevertheless, Calvin never missed a day he was scheduled to preach, even if he had to be carried to the pulpit in a chair. When his physician denied him the privilege of leaving his bedroom, an audience would pack into his bedroom and listen to him teach for hours. On other occasions, when he couldn’t move from his bed, he would dictate letters. He gave his last sermon in the cathedral on February 6, 1564, and attended his last Mass on Easter Sunday of that year. When April came, Calvin bid farewell to the council and ministers in a letter recounting his goals, struggles, and faults. He also had letters written to his closest friends, calling Farel his best one.11 By May, his health was depleted and he was in and out of a coma, encouraging those who attended him to trust in the Lord at every opportunity. On May 27, 1564, at the age of fifty-four, Calvin departed this life. Today in Geneva, there stands a monument upon which the names are engraved of four great men who changed the world as we know it: John Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. Works Consulted 1. John T. McNeill, The History and Character of Calvinism (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1954): 159. 2. Ibid., 102. 3. Liardon, God’s Generals II, 214. 4. McNeill, The History and Character, 136. 5. Liardon, 220. 6. McNeill, 144. 7. Dr. William Lindner, John Calvin (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1998): 44-45 8. Liardon, 227.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

9. John Dillenberger, John Calvin: Selections from His Writings (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1971): 82. 10. Liardon, 244. 11. Ibid, 246.

                    Jack  Coe   Date  of  birth  March  11th  1918   Died    1957   Married  1940’s   Children  Six   “The Man of Reckless Faith”

God’s going to open the eyes of the blind and cause the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. He’s going to do it right here in this church tomorrow night.1


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Jack Coe was an independent and determined force for Christ. He had an unreserved faith in the Word of God that he combined with a frank audacity which made him both controversial and effective as a healing evangelist. During the height of the Voice of Healing revivals, from 1945-1956, Coe ministered throughout the nation to multitudes of lost, sick, and dying. His crusades were unprecedented as his tent revivals grew to become the largest in history. He boasted of a tent larger than even Oral Roberts or the Ringling Brothers big top, and still turned away thousands every night. But perhaps most memorable was his compassion for orphans. He built a home for children called the Herald of Healing Children’s Home, as well as a Christian day school at the Dallas Revival Centre he established. Among his other notable accomplishments were the construction of a live-in faith home for the sick where healing was ministered through teaching as well as prayer; the Revival Centre Church where people could attend services every night of the week; and the Herald of Healing publication that reached 300,000 subscribers by the time of his death in 1957 at only the age of 38. A Long Road to Zion Jack’s youth was not a happy time. His father was a gambler and alcoholic leaving his mother to single-handedly raise their seven children. When Jack was nine years old it proved too much for her and she left Jack and his older brother at an orphanage. To make things worse, Jack’s brother was hit by a car and killed when he tried to run away. When Jack was seventeen, feeling aimless and alone, he left the orphanage and took up a life of drinking and carousing. His health soon began to suffer and his doctor told him that his next drink could kill him. Desperate for help, Jack moved to California where his mother lived hoping she might provide the accountability he needed to stay sober. As soon as he arrived, his sister invited him to a dance from where he was soon brought home in a drunken stupor. The next evening he grew very weak and thought he was dying. An ambulance brought him to a hospital where he was examined, and while there, he cried out to God for just one more chance. Suddenly, his symptoms disappeared and he went home fully recovered. Getting Right with God Jack took his mother with him to Fort Worth, Texas, where he was offered a good job as a manager for the Singer Sewing Machine Agency. He soon forgot about his promises to God and began to drink again. One night when he couldn’t sleep after a night of drinking, he noticed his heart was bothering him. It would stop and start causing Jack to panic. Again, he cried out to God and heard Him say, “This is your last chance, I’ve called you several times, and I’m calling you now for the last time.”2 At this, Jack fell to his knees and pleaded with the Lord to give him until the following Sunday to set things straight.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

When the next Sunday came, Jack arbitrarily chose a church out of the phonebook. His finger landed on a Nazarene church so that’s where he decided to go. When the pastor made the altar call, Jack ran up to the front without hesitation. After he was prayed for, he knew his heart had changed and shouted, “Hot dog, I’ve got it!” Over the next six months, his hunger grew for God. His mother was so curious about what had caused such a change in her son, that she went to church to check it out for herself and got powerfully saved. A year and a half later, Jack came across a “Holy Roller” meeting that intrigued him greatly. When he attended a service out of curiosity, the pastor pointed him out in the crowd and asked him if he had ever been baptized in the Holy Ghost and spoken in other tongues. Jack said he hadn’t nor did he want to. The preacher challenged him to go home and read everything the Bible says about it and so Jack did. Undeniably, the baptism and tongues were spoken of all throughout the book of Acts. Initially, Jack was reluctant to return to the meetings, but so eager was he to learn more, he couldn’t stay away. Ultimately, he yielded, and so powerful was his infilling that he spoke in tongues for three days, having to write English words on paper in order to communicate. They Thought He Was Crazy Not long after that, Jack attended an Assemblies of God Bible college for about a year. Then in 1941, after Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, he joined the army. Still on fire for God, he prayed and witnessed to his fellow privates and soon found himself in the psychiatric ward. He was moved to seven different companies over the course of fifteen months, each time spending a season in the psyche ward. After his army service, Jack longed to preach. He approached a local Church of God pastor and asked for an opportunity. The pastor invited him to do altar work but Jack was insulted and turned to walk away. The Lord prompted him to return and tell the pastor he would be willing to do whatever the pastor needed. The pastor promptly put him to work as the janitor. To this he turned and walked out again, and after a sleepless night, once again returned to the church to be their new janitor. His faithfulness soon paid off as he was promoted to Sunday school teacher, then song leader, youth minister, and finally associate pastor. At last, when the pastor was called to another church, Jack was asked to fill in as the interim pastor. When they hired a new pastor, Jack was ready to start his own church. During this time he met Juanita Scott who would soon become Mrs. Jack Coe. They set up house and slowly but surely began to prosper. They were blessed with gifts of furnishings, a car, and were even able to put a thousand dollars in savings. Called to Divine Healing Jack began to pray for an understanding of divine healing. He studied and sought the Lord until one night he had a dream. His sister was lying in a hospital dying,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

given up for lost, when suddenly a bright light entered the room and she was instantly healed. She jumped up shouting and praising God. The next day, Jack found out that his dream was true. His sister had suffered double pneumonia and was given up to die. He went immediately to go visit her in the hospital and heard of the series of events that had transpired exactly matching his dream. This experience was a turning point for him. However, in 1944, when Juanita was expecting their first child, Jack Coe became gravely ill himself. He suffered from tropical malaria and lost ninety-five pounds. He was now twenty-six years old and nothing but skin and bones. His fevers were high and recurring, and his spleen and liver had become painfully swollen. Jack was in agony and prayed that God would let him die. After crying out to God and repenting of all that God showed him, he told the Lord he was ready to go. It was then God said he didn’t have to, his heart was now right, and he was miraculously healed. He would never suffer another attack of malaria. The next night Coe went out to preach on the street. Three people were saved. Later that same year, the Assemblies of God ordained him into the ministry. In 1945, Coe went to Longview, Texas, where he continually studied and prayed on the subject of divine healing. He asked God for a special manifestation of His power, and then decided to announce a healing meeting. Restoring Sight to the Blind Coe boldly proclaimed that at his healing meeting the blind would see, the deaf would hear, and the lame would walk. When the next evening arrived, the church was full. People lined up for prayer after he finished preaching and then came the blind woman. Coe hesitated, asking the Lord what he was supposed to do. The Lord said, “Son, whatever made you think that you could open the eyes of the blind? Do what you are supposed to do, and I will do what I am supposed to do.”3 Coe repented and then prayed and anointed the blind woman with oil. Her sight slowly came as vague impressions, so Jack prayed for her again, and then she suddenly cried out, “I can see! I can see!”4 From that point on, Jack Coe’s healing ministry was launched. His ministry was soon in such high demand that he would often stay until dawn praying for the sick. He travelled throughout the area staying in people’s homes wherever he ministered, but those seeking prayer would come to the home where he was staying at all hours of the day and night and ask for prayer so that Jack couldn’t get any rest. Finally, the Lord told him he needed to get proper rest and so he reworked his ministry strategy. The Revival Years In 1946, Coe joined forces with Lindsey in co-editing The Voice of Healing. It was in 1947 that the Coe’s sold their beautiful home and invested in a tent, a truck, and a


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

trailer in order to travel the road full-time, but still have a place where he could get the rest he needed. By 1948, Jack felt the Lord calling him to Redding, California. It was here that a lame woman about to have her leg amputated was miraculously healed. Her testimony stirred the entire city when Coe aired it on the radio. Even the station manager was saved. That night a wealthy woman arrived in a chauffeurdriven Cadillac and was also saved. Until this time, the offerings had been small and creditors threatened to take the Coe’s truck. So Jack stood up and told the people he needed $740 badly. When he did, a woman walked up to him and wrote a check for the entire amount. Two nights later he announced he would sure like an organ or some kind of music for the tent, and the same lady bought him an organ. The revival team would stay in Redding for seven weeks, receiving money enough to pay for the next crusade. In 1950, Coe started publishing the Herald of Healing and by 1951 it had reached a circulation of 35,000. As the self-proclaimed fastest growing magazine, by 1956 the circulation had reached 250,000. During this same time Coe was determined to have the largest tent in America. In 1951, when he visited an Oral Roberts meeting, he measured Oral’s tent and ordered one slightly larger. He boasted in The Voice of Healing that both tents were larger than the Ringling Brother’s big top. In 1952, Coe went on the radio. His broadcasts eventually grew to one hundred different stations per week. It was around this time that creative miracles—the miraculous recreation of missing body parts—began taking place in his meetings. Sadly, during the same year, the Assemblies of God felt Coe was too radical and independent, and expelled him from their circles. This caused Coe to envision establishing his own independent churches he would call Revival Centres to be duplicated throughout the country. In 1953, he launched the Dallas Revival Centre, and by 1954 he had built the Dallas Revival Centre Church. Homes for the Hurting During this time the Coe’s were also dedicated to building a home for orphans outside of Dallas. They built the Herald of Healing Children’s Home complete with four dormitories and a self-sustaining farm. Jack’s goal was to provide a home for two hundred children. He succeeded in playing the role of father to hundreds of children whenever he wasn’t travelling—caring, clothing, and instructing each one as if they were his own. He made sure their clothes, manners, and schooling was as fine as any child raised anywhere. Nearby he built Jack Coe’s Faith Home where those seeking healing could learn about faith as well as receive prayer. And not far from these homes was the Dallas Revival Centre complete with a ministry training centre and Christian school. When the Dallas Revival Centre Church was built in 1954, bus service was provided for those who didn’t have transportation, and free ambulance service was offered for those in the hospital who wished to attend the healing services.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

An Early End Jack Coe continued to hold healing crusades around the country, facing all sorts of persecution, including being arrested. By 1956, however, he was physically worn out. Doctors reported that he had the body of a ninety-five year old man even though he was only thirty-eight. It is believed that the Lord had told Coe about his early death a year earlier causing him to work that much more relentlessly to spread the Gospel. Coe was diagnosed with Polio late in 1956 and was admitted to the hospital where he was unconscious most of the time. On a few occasions, he was able to speak to his wife to make his desires known, and relay that the Lord had said he was ready to take Jack home. Early in 1957, Jack went home to be with the Lord. Works Consulted 1. Jack Coe, The Story of Jack Coe, (Dallas, TX: Herald of Healing, Inc., 1955), 60 2. Roberts Liardon, God’s sGenerals, p. 352 3. Ibid, 360 4. Jack Coe, The Story of Jack Coe, 60-62  

John Alexander  Dowie   Date  of  birth  May  25th  1847   Death  March  9th  1907   Married  May  26th  1876   Children  2     John Alexander Dowie

My tears were wiped away, my heart was strong, I saw the way of healing…I said, “God help me now to preach the Word to all the dying around, and tell them how ‘tis Satan still defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for He is just the same today.” John Alexander Dowie shook the world at the turn of the century with his passion for truth and zeal for the work of the Spirit. He brought to the forefront divine healing and repentance by shaking up a complacent Church and slaking the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

thirst of a parched society. He is known as the Healing Apostle of the late 19th century. Untold millions came to a revelation of Christ and the living power of the Holy Spirit through his deep conviction, unwavering faith and expansive vision. Against hypocritical, opposing clergy, fierce slanderous tabloids, murderous mobs, and relentless city officials, Dr. Dowie wore his apostolic calling as a crown from God, and his persecution as a badge of honor. Dowie was a force to be reckoned with. Born May 25, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dowie displayed from an early age a brilliance and enthusiasm for learning and a hunger for the truth of the Word of God. At only six years old he read the Bible front to back and upon encountering a humble street preacher named Henry Wright, Dowie gave his heart to the Lord. As a young man Dowie found much success in business applying himself wholeheartedly to all he set his hand to, but could not escape the deepening call of ministry upon his life. At twenty-one years of age, Dowie answered that call and began studying under a private tutor in preparation for the ministry. Less than a year and a half later, he enrolled in Edinburgh University to study in the Free Church School. As a student of theology and political science, his professors found him to be full of fervor as he often challenged their shallow interpretations with complete brilliance and accuracy. While still in Edinburgh, Dowie became the “honorary chaplain” of the Edinburgh Infirmary and it was his experiences there that would begin to shape his ministry forever. As he sat with the famous surgeons of that time, he came to an increasing realization about the primitive state of medicine and its inability to heal. Dowie exposed the lack of knowledge among these doctors and began to develop an intense aversion to the field of medicine. He brought their deceptive methods to light and was able to prove the accuracy of his accusations. Not long after, Dowie received an invitation to pastor in Australia at the Congregational Church in Alma. Naturally, the forwardness of his preaching created a rift within the church and persecution ensued shortly thereafter. Dowie was unable to stir up passion within his congregation and resentment towards him was openly voiced. So reluctantly he resigned, feeling that it was a waste of time to stay. Shortly after his resignation, Dowie received an invitation to pastor the Congregational Church in Manly Beach where he was warmly received. He stayed on with the pastorate though he felt frustration over their unyielding spirits to the Word of God. Eventually, his desire for a larger congregation consumed him and that was when God opened another door. In 1875, Dowie began pastoring a much larger group of believers in a suburb of Sydney called Newton. While in Newton, a disastrous plague ravaged the area and filled the inhabitants with terror. Within weeks of his arrival, Dowie presided over forty funerals within his congregation alone. It was on one such night that he heard a loud knock at his door. Two messengers had come bidding him to pray for a girl named Mary who was dying. Dowie rushed to her house and when he arrived he


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

found her lying there, grinding her teeth and groaning in agony. Something in him at that moment snapped and he began to cry out to God. Suddenly she lay still. When asked if she was dead, he replied, “No…she will live. The fever is gone.” 1 From that point the plague in Newton had lost its power. Not one member of his congregation died from the epidemic and Dowie’s healing ministry began. It was not long after, at the age of twenty-nine, that Dowie married his first cousin, Jeanie. Through many trials and hardships that followed their wedding, Dowie made an extraordinary decision to walk away from the denomination in which he had found such ministry success. He could not tolerate the cold, lethargic state of their leadership as he increasingly longed to proclaim the message of divine healing to an ailing city. He felt constrained by denominational politics and “letter of the law” theology. Deeply frustrated and disturbed by the lack of passion that the leadership and congregation demonstrated towards the Lord, Dowie targeted his mission towards those masses in the city who were uncared for, unnoticed and perishing, showing them that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. In 1878, Dowie secured the Royal Theatre in Sydney and began an independent ministry, selling his home and furnishings to keep the ministry afloat. Hundreds came to hear him speak despite rising opposition. Violent persecution rose from local pastors in response to Dowie’s merciless confrontations of the apathetic clergy. They became further enraged and conspired more vehemently against him as he continued to rebuke them with unprecedented accuracy and intelligence. In spite of intense criticism, Dowie also had many friends and supporters. The Temperance Society, for example, saw the potential of his influence and urged him to run for Parliament. Initially he opposed the idea, but eventually felt that he might be able to influence more people on a political platform. So he ran but was soundly defeated. As a result, Dowie had disgraced his ministry and hurt his church. Not to mention, made himself the prime target of the local newspapers, who having been damaged by his ministry, waged an all out war against him. Soon things got even worse. The time Dowie had spent campaigning for office had taken much away from his other responsibilities – not to mention the toll it took on his calling to preach divine healing. As a result of this pursuit he lost much ground in his ministry and spent the rest of his time in Australia in darkness and futility. Finally, in 1880, Dowie realized his error and repented. He returned to his first love and hungered again for revival. As he once more focused on preaching divine healing, the gifts of the Spirit manifested in his life and ministry; thousands were healed and thousands more were touched by the Spirit of God as a result. But once again, with the overflow of blessing came the onslaught of persecution. In 1888, Dowie felt led to travel through America and Europe and in June of that year he did. Upon the news of his arrival to the States, people came in droves from


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

all parts of California for healing. Soon healing crusades ran up and down the California coast. After Dowie had traveled much of America he chose to settle down in Evanston, Illinois. Unfortunately, he did not receive a warm welcome there either. The Chicago newspapers denounced him as a false prophet and made it very clear that he was not wanted or welcome in the area. But Dowie continued on, ministering wherever he felt led to go. It may have been precisely because of the intense spiritual opposition he felt in Chicago that Dowie chose to locate his headquarters nearby—he raised up Zion, Illinois, on its outskirts. By 1894, Dowie’s newsletter, Leaves of Healing, had a weekly, worldwide circulation. True to his form, Dowie never minced words in his writings. He fervently denounced and exposed evil industries and warned readers against lethargic and controlling denominations. He offended the Postmaster General of Chicago, who revoked his second-class mailing privileges, forcing Dowie to pay fourteen times the usual cost. Dowie solicited his readers to write Washington DC and was granted an immediate audience with the Postmaster General in Washington who not only reinstated his mailing privileges, but made sure the U.S. government publicly denounced the Chicago newspaper and its editor, one of Dowie’s greatest persecutors. While in Washington, Dowie was also granted an audience with President William McKinley. After leaving the office of the president, who warmly thanked him for his prayers, Dowie commented to his staff that he felt the president’s life was in danger. He later asked his followers to pray for the safety of the president who was assassinated on September 6, 1901 in Buffalo, New York. By the end of 1896, Dowie had gained great influence over the city of Chicago. His enemies were all either dead, imprisoned, or silent. The police department and political officials were considered as friends. Few in the city had not heard the Gospel as a result of Dowie’s outreach, while famous people from around the country received miraculously healings through his ministry. He literally ruled the city of Chicago for Jesus Christ moving the great Zion Tabernacle into its largest auditorium filling its six thousand seats at every service. In January of 1900, Dowie unveiled his plans to build a city called Zion outside of Chicago. It would be a “moral utopia” and it consumed him until his final days. He no longer gave himself to preaching divine healing, but to the matters of governing the rise of a new city. He considered himself to be a modern-day Elijah and set his sites on building what would ultimately be his own kingdom. He received counsel from no one and ended up letting personal pride separate him from the will of God. The city of Zion could not make it financially, and in the end, Dowie attempted to escape his woes through world travel. While he was out of the country, the city of Zion voted Dowie out of leadership, and though he fought the decision with his last ounce of strength, he was allowed to retire to his home there where he spent his remaining days. He died quietly on March 9, 1907.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  


David Du  Plessis     Date  of  birth  Feb  7th  1905     Death  February  2nd    1987     Married  Aug  13th  1927   Children  Seven   Mr. Pentecost1

“Lord, they’re enemies.”Then love them.“How can I love people that I don’t agree with?”Forgive them.“I can’t justify them.”I never gave any child of mine authority to justify anyone. I gave you full authority to forgive them. That’s all you have.2 While ministers such as Smith Wigglesworth and Kathryn Kuhlman took the Pentecostal experience to the masses in crusades and revivals, David du Plessis became the theological backbone of the Charismatic Renewal. He uncompromisingly and loving presented the biblical and theological justification of the Pentecostal Movement to the leaders of the traditional denominations the world round. Though this role was critical to the historical denomination’s openness to the baptism of the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Holy Spirit in the fifties and sixties, and the fact that David was recognized at one of the eleven greatest “shapers and shakers” of Christianity in the twentieth century in the September 9, 1974, issue of Time magazine, it is sad to note that David is relatively unknown despite the significance of the legacy he left. Regardless, this simple and unassuming South African is perhaps the most important figure in opening the door to Catholics, as well as other traditional denominations, for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. An Early Hunger David Johannes du Plessis was born in a small town called Twenty-Four Rivers near Cape Town, South Africa, on February 7, 1905—just over a year before William Seymour opened the mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles that would spark the Pentecostal Revival. Ever hungry for all that God had for them, David’s parents came into Pentecost in 1914 through the ministries of John G. Lake and Thomas Hezmalhalch, who had come out of the ministry of John Alexander Dowie in Zion, Illinois.3 In 1916, David’s family moved to Basutoland (which was renamed Lesotho in 1966) as missionaries. The area was often called the “Switzerland of South Africa” because of the beautiful, rugged, and often snow-covered peaks. Their mission station was halfway up one of these mountains. It was here David felt he first learned about simple and sincere faith. He knew that the Africans were illiterate, yet at the same time, much to his ten-year-old consternation, he also realized they knew Jesus in a much more real way than he did. When Europeans were saved, noticeable change took some time to detect, yet among the Africans it seemed overnight. He saw that to them, if the Bible said it one way, then that was the way it was, no questions asked. He had been getting up and praying and reading his Bible every morning as long as he could remember, but at the same time he knew he did not know Jesus as these people did. A new cry came from his heart to know Jesus as authentically as the Africans did. Jesus Saved Me Later that same year, this cry began to be answered. While riding from their missionary compound to the distant post office and back again on a fellow missionary’s horse, David saw a thunderstorm in the distance behind him that put great fear into his heart. He decided to try to outrun the storm, but this proved futile, and soon he found himself in the midst of a downpour. He was about a third of the eleven miles home when a lightning bolt struck the ground no more than twenty feet in front of him and the galloping horse. Then came the deafening thunderclap. Half thrown from his horse already, he slid off the rest of the way and called out, “Jesus! Save me! Save me!” Although no such appeal had before changed him, this call to Jesus broke through some spiritual barrier. Immediately upon his request, he knew in his heart that he


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

was saved. Nothing around him had changed, but it was as if everything within had. The fear was gone and he felt God near to him. He looked into the clouds wondering if it was in such clouds Jesus would return to the earth. He wanted so strongly to meet Him face to face! He mounted his horse again and headed home. When the mail was delivered and the horse was rubbed down and dried in its barn, David returned home where, his mother asked how he had gotten through the rainstorm. His answer was simple and to the point, "Well, Jesus saved me."4" A Thirst To Be Filled A few years later, in 1918 at about the age of thirteen, David longed to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit with all of his heart. While it seemed a strange request, he asked his high-school principal for a day off from school so that he could spend the day in prayer. This was granted. Because the Pentecostals were still regarded with great suspicion in the area, the only place they could rent to meet was the storehouse of a coffin maker. So David, his father, and some half-dozen others interested in helping in his quest gathered in this warehouse with him to fast and pray until he received this baptism. They prayed all day Friday, through Friday night, and into Saturday. By this time they were worn out, and David’s nerves were fraying with frustration. A quieter youth who had gathered with them, a farm girl about a year older than David, came to him to give him a message she felt she had from the Lord, “If you will confess the thing that is on your conscience, He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” Searching his conscience, he found that a lie he had told his parents seven years earlier still troubled him. It was the first sin he had ever been aware of making. He promptly confessed this to both parents who just as promptly forgave him, and with his conscience now cleared, he returned to prayer feeling anything but worthy of being filled with God’s Spirit. However, it was at this moment he received his first vision. He saw a book being held by two hands whose pages were totally white and clean. Then he heard a voice say, “There is nothing recorded against you. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God has cleansed you from all unrighteousness.”5 His heart was filled with joy at this, and he broke forth in holy laughter which soon gave way to a flow of speaking in tongues. David eventually arose from this to begin developing his skills and anointing as a street preacher in the weekly outdoor evangelism sponsored by his church in Ladybrand and elsewhere. In an increasingly strong and persuasive voice, he told his testimony again and again and received strong responses from all of his audiences. David’s Early Years in Ministry When David’s funds ran short for continuing at university, he moved to Pretoria to find work with the South African Railways engineering department. While in Pretoria, he became a regular minister in the Upper Room, a series of rooms and a meeting hall above a chemist’s shop a block from the largest Dutch Reformed Church in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Pretoria. Since the Dutch Reformed looked upon the Pentecostals as false prophets, it was always interesting on Sundays to see the two churches emptying into the streets where the city’s and nation’s highest officials and business leaders mingled with the poor, outrageous “apostolics.” It was as a minister in the Upper Room that one of the members of the congregation asked David to speak to his backslidden niece. When he met Miss Anna Cornelia Jacobs, he found out she had spoken a word from the Lord to one of the more distinguished women in her congregation and had been rebuked for it by the pastor. She had decided, because of this, that she would not return to church. At this, David asked about the genuineness of her conversion, and in telling him about it she melted and began weeping. While there had been no question about her offense, there was also no question about her love for Jesus. Before the evening was over, she was restored to the faith, and David had had a very special word from the Lord about her. The Lord simply told him, “That’s your wife.” Shocked, he didn’t know what to make of it, but he was grateful that she was so pretty. Two days later they had their first date, and their courtship lasted for eighteen months. They were married on August 13, 1927. They had seven children together—Anna Cornelia “Corrie” (1928–), Eunice Elizabeth (March-December 1932), David Johannes (1933-1985), Philip Richelieu (1940–), Peter Louis le Roux (1944–), Matthew Kriel (1947–), and Basel Somerset (1949–). Their marriage would last just short of sixty years. David was ordained at the age of twenty-five. In 1932, he finished second in the elections of the general secretary of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) and won the post in 1936, which he held until he resigned in 1947. It was as general secretary of the AFM that David was in charge of organizing the tour and speaking arrangements of Smith Wigglesworth, when he came to the country the same year David was elected general secretary. David was still a young man of thirty at the time. Smith Wigglesworth Visits South Africa When Rev. Wigglesworth came to him, David was no fan of the mainline denominational churches. His run-ins with the Dutch Reformed Church, which considered Pentecostals little better than heretics at best, greatly coloured his opinions of the traditional churches of the time. His hope was that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit would sweep true believers out of the mainline denominations and into Pentecostal churches. Yet the essence of Rev. Wigglesworth’s prophecy to him was that he would take Pentecost to them rather than the other way around—that this young man from South Africa would be chosen of God to travel to the United States and be a major catalyst of the Charismatic Renewal in the traditional denominations. Thus it was that Rev. Wigglesworth pinned this young man to the wall of his AFM office in 1936 and told him where God would lead him in the second half of the twentieth century.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In 1937, David was invited to address the General Counsel of the Assemblies of God in Memphis, Tennessee. This was not only his first trip to the United States, but also his first trip outside of South Africa. David was also key to the organization of the first Pentecostal World Conference that was held in Zurich, Switzerland in May 1947. David ended up giving the keynote address for the conference, a message entitled “Gather the Wheat—Burn the Chaff,” about coming into the maturity Christ has for all of us. Not long after this, God spoke to David about more of a worldwide ministry, and he resigned as secretary of the AFM and moved his family to Basel, Switzerland. Disaster Leads to Revelation While travelling and ministering in the United States in 1948, David and Pastor Paul Walker had a major accident when their Packard ran into a train on a foggy West Virginia mountain road. While he was recovering, David had great blocks of time to pray and seek the Lord. During this time, the Lord again spoke to him about Rev. Wigglesworth’s prophecy. He thought the Lord would bring him in like a prophet to pound them with the truth, yet God was asking him to go to them in meekness and humility and simply share. The revival would come through forgiveness offered without it being asked for. While David wanted to come in like Jonah and prophesy doom over them unless they repented, he was to come in as a servant and simply offer the truth. It would be a revival birthed from forgiveness, not fight. It took some time for David to get his mind around this fact, and he spent a lot of time meditating on 1 Corinthians 13 during the rest of his hospital stay. David also continued to work on the details of the 1949 Pentecostal World Conference (PWC) from his hospital room and attended the meeting in Paris on his crutches. Here, armed with his more profound understanding of love and forgiveness, David was very effective in stopping the arguments so that the conference could go on in peace and growing unity. The Door Opens to the Ecumenical’s One day as he was reading the newspaper (David and his family were living in Stamford, Connecticut, at this time), David came across a statement by Dr. John A. MacKay, who was president of Princeton Theological Seminary and a major Presbyterian leader. Previously, David had read that he had called the Pentecostal missionaries in Latin and South America “the fly in the ointment of Protestantism.” He had seen them as a hindrance to all that the Protestants were trying to accomplish in these areas, yet in this article Dr. MacKay said that the Pentecostal Movement was the greatest blessing to the church in the twentieth century. David was curious about such a change of heart. Could this be his open door? He telephoned Dr. MacKay at Princeton and asked him about his quote. He found that Dr. MacKay had indeed had a change of heart about what the Pentecostals were doing, and he invited David to lunch. David went to Princeton, met Dr. MacKay


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

and, as David himself described, “It was one of those rare and precious relationships in which both parties fully perceive the truth about the other—differences and all— and are in a twinkling of an eye united forever in the Spirit.”6 The friendship was indeed one that would last the rest of their lives. A few days after this meeting, David felt prompted in the Spirit to visit the headquarters of the World Council of Churches in Manhattan. With little more than this, he went and fumbled in his introduction of himself to Dr. Roswell Barnes because he couldn’t explain why he had come. However, Dr. Barnes and his staff were fascinated to have a Pentecostal in their midst, and David ended up spending the entire day with them as they asked him questions, and he explained what Pentecostalism and the baptism in the Holy Spirit were all about. When he contacted Dr. MacKay to thank him for his help, David was then invited to attend the world conference for the International Missionary Council (IMC) in Germany right on the heels of the 1952 PWC in London. David accepted, knowing he could easily extend his time for the PWC to attend the second event, but now he knew he was in the thick of it. The leading figures of the mainline denominations would be there, and he would be walking like Daniel into the mouth of a potential lion’s den. But it just happened that Dr. MacKay was still president of the IMC, and when David walked in Dr. MacKay greeted him quite warmly and introduced him around. David had planned on staying three days, but in the end he stayed for the full eleven days of the conference and had 110 interviews among the 210 delegates. It was from this meeting that people began to refer to David as “Mr. Pentecost.” David attended every WCC conference from 1956 until the end of his ministry. In 1956, David was invited to speak at a retreat of ecumenical leaders in Connecticut. He was invited to speak candidly on the issues surrounding the Holy Spirit, the Pentecostal Movement, and the growing Charismatic Renewal. David poured out his heart to them, and they still wanted more. David remembered this later as one of the greatest meetings of his life. The Door Opens to the Catholic Church A new breakthrough came when David spoke at a gathering in St. Andrews, Scotland, by invitation of the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. This was in preparation for the third assembly of the World Council of Churches, which was to meet in New Delhi in 1961. It was here that David had his first encounter with a Roman Catholic priest, Father Bernard Leeming, who just happened to be a personal friend of Pope John XXIII. Through this relationship, God would eventually open the door for David to minister in Rome and the Vatican. Despite this growing flow of the Spirit, in 1962 David received a letter saying that his papers as a minister with the Assemblies of God were being pulled, credentials he had obtained shortly after moving to the United States. There were no reasons given, just notice that he was no longer ordained by their body. David had too much


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

work to do for the Lord to worry about who was ordaining him or not. While the mainline Pentecostals were no longer calling him to speak at their meetings, the rest of the Christian world was. While the 1950s seemed to be the crucial years of breakthrough for David, the 1960s and 1970s would be major years of spreading the Gospel wherever the doors were opened—he would average over 100,000 miles of travel each year, ministering to the broadest group of people imaginable. These decades proved to be incredibly busy times. By then, David’s work had been again validated in the eyes of most Pentecostals, although his credentials as a minister were not reinstated until 1979. In 1972, and as a result of Vatican II’s desire to understand the growing Charismatic Renewal going on around the world in Catholic churches, David was crucial in initiating a series of dialogues between the Roman Catholic Church and a team of Pentecostals led by himself, and then eventually his youngest brother, Justus. Because he did not belong to any of the formal Pentecostal denominations, he became the perfect man for the job, as there were strained relationships between mainline Pentecostal denominational churches and Catholic churches around the world, especially in South America. These dialogues spanned four- or five-year periods continuing into the 1990s, but David served as the chairman of the Pentecostal side in the initial two, which spanned 1972-1976 and 1977-1982. It is easy to say that these dialogues would never have happened except for the constant efforts of David and his counterpart on the Catholic side, Father Kilian McDonnell. Martin Robinson described David as “the chief architect”7 of these talks, and as being instrumental to the tone and camaraderie of the discussions. Another note of this incredible opening was that David himself ministered in St. Peter’s Basilica as part of the 1975 Congress on Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. The one frustration was that, despite the impact this had on the Catholic Church in paving the way for the Charismatic Catholic Movement, none of the Pentecostal denominations, in either the West (such as executives from the Assemblies of God in the U.S.) or the third world (such as Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho of South Korea, who was also invited to attend) would be involved officially, despite the best efforts of both sides. Years of Faithful Service Are Finally Recognized David was recognized time and again for his work, having been the only significant leader to be part of the three most noteworthy Christian movements of the twentieth century: the Pentecostal Movement, the Charismatic Renewal, and the Ecumenical Movement. In the September 9, 1974, issue of Time magazine, David was mentioned alongside such people as Billy Graham, Hans Küng, Jürgen Moltmann, and Rosemary Ruether as one of the eleven greatest “shapers and shakers” of Christianity in the twentieth century. On May 23, 1976, St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, presented him with the Pax Christi award.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In May 1978, he finally received a D.D. that honestly gave him the title of “Dr. du Plessis,” when Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz, California, awarded him an honorary doctorate. As a result of these things and a growing acknowledgement that David had been following God throughout his ecumenical involvement, his Assemblies of God ordination papers were reissued in 1979. Then on November 9, 1983, David was honoured with the Benemerenti Medal by Pope John Paul II, an award for outstanding service to all of Christianity. It was the first time this award had been given by the Roman Catholic Church to someone who was not a Catholic. At the invitation of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, David formally donated his personal papers and library to what would become the David du Plessis Archive, which still exists today. Then from 1985 until his death, David also served at the seminary as their Resident Consultant for Ecumenical Affairs with part of his duties being to organize this archive. David’s final days came when, during a routine gall bladder operation in August of 1986, the doctors discovered David had inoperable abdominal cancer. David passed away within a few months on February 2, 1987, just five days short of his eightysecond birthday.

Works Consulted 1. Adapted with permission from The Smith Wigglesworth Prophecy and the Greatest Revival of All Time (Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Wilimington Group Publishers, 2005). 2. David du Plessis, Simple and Profound (Orleans, MA: Paraclete, 1986), 120. 3. John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907) purchased 6,800 acres of farmland in Lake County, Illinois and founded the city on Zion in 1890 as a community of faith and divine healing. For more information on the life and ministry of John Alexander 4. Dowie, see God’s Generals (Whitaker House). 5. David du Plessis, A Man called Mr. Pentecost (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1977), 21-24. 6. Ibid., 33. 7. Ibid., 172. 8. Martin Robinson, “To the Ends of the Earth: The Pilgrimage of an Ecumenical Pentecostal, David J. du Plessis (1905-1987).” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Birmingham, England, 1987),



Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

                    Kathryn  Kuhlman     Born  May  9th  1907   Died  Feb  20th  1976   Married  October  1938     Children  none   Kathryn Kuhlman

The world called me a fool for having given my entire life to One whom I’ve never seen. I know exactly what I’m going to say when I stand in His presence. When I look upon that wonderful face of Jesus, I’ll have just one thing to say: ‘I tried.’ I gave of myself the best I knew how. My redemption will have been perfected when I stand and see Him who made it all possible. In a time that was suspicious of both women ministers and Pentecostals, Kathryn Kuhlman shook twentieth-century Christianity back to its roots. Believers of all persuasions—Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, or whatever, it didn’t matter—flocked to her meetings to be healed or filled with the Holy Spirit as they had read about in the book of Acts. Though she called herself “an ordinary person,” the effects of her ministry were anything but ordinary. Kathryn was one of


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

a handful of ministers after World War II who prophetically reintroduced the Holy Spirit and His gifts to the body of Christ on the earth in what has proven the greatest revival of all time: the Charismatic Renewal. Kathryn Kuhlman was born on May 9, 1907, to Joseph and Emma Kuhlman. A childhood friend described Kathryn as having “large features, red hair, and freckles. . . . She wasn’t dainty or appealingly feminine in any sense of the word. She was taller than the rest of ‘our gang,’ gangly and boyish in build, and her long strides kept the rest of us puffing to keep up with her.” One Sunday when Kathryn was fourteen, she attended church with her mother. As she stood singing, she began to shake all over and sob. A weight of conviction came over her, and she realized that she was a sinner in need of salvation and forgiveness. She slipped out from where she was standing, went to the corner of the front pew and sat weeping. At that moment Jesus lifted the weight from her shoulders and entered her heart. In 1924 when Kathryn was about seventeen, she and her older sister Myrtle persuaded their parents that it was God’s will for Kathryn to travel with Myrtle and her husband Everett in their evangelistic tent ministry. Then in 1928, after a meeting in Boise, Idaho, Everett decided to go on to South Dakota, while the women stayed behind and continued to minister there. The offerings collected, however, were not enough to support them and Myrtle soon decided to rejoin her husband. After this happened, a local Boise pastor offered Kathryn a chance to preach at an old pool hall that had been converted into a mission and Kathryn’s ministry began. From the “pool hall” mission, she went on to minister in Pocatello and Twin Falls and eventually ended up in Denver, Colorado. It was there that she founded the Denver Revival Tabernacle in 1935. That same year, Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, an extremely handsome Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Despite the fact that he was married with two small boys, they soon found themselves attracted to each other. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known. Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kathryn had said that she could not “find the will of God in the matter.” These and other friends encouraged her not to go through with the marriage, but Kathryn justified it to herself and others by believing that Waltrip’s wife had left him, not the other way around. On October 18th, 1938, Kathryn secretly married “Mister,” as she liked to call Waltrip, in Mason City. The wedding did not give her new peace about their union, however. After they checked into their hotel that night, Kathryn left and drove over to the hotel where Helen was staying with another friend. She


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

sat with them weeping and admitted that the marriage was a mistake. She decided to get an annulment. The three women left Iowa for Denver in hopes of explaining what had happened to the congregation of Denver Revival Tabernacle. The congregation, however, was so furious with her for the secrecy of the marriage that they drove Kathryn “back into Waltrip’s arms.” In a moment’s time, the ministry that Kathryn had so diligently built was completely undone. People stopped attending her services. Her ministry was dissolved. Kathryn sold her portion of the Tabernacle. She’d lost everything. Her relationship with the Lord had suffered because she had put a man before her God. But from the moment she made the decision to divorce Waltrip and to surrender herself fully to the Lord, she never wavered again in answering the call that God had placed on her life so many years before. After Kathryn spent some time preaching in a mining community in Franklin, Pennsylvania, her ministry began to reshape. She travelled throughout the Midwest and the south into West Virginia and the Carolinas. In some places she was quickly accepted. In others, her past resurfaced and the meetings were closed. After an unsuccessful tour of the South, Kathryn was invited to hold a series of meetings in the fifteen hundred seat-auditorium of Gospel Tabernacle back in Franklin. It was there that Kathryn’s ministry was revived and the ills of the past eight years seemed to wash away. Not long after she opened meetings at the Tabernacle, she began daily radio broadcasts. Responses to the broadcasts were so great she soon added a station in Pittsburgh. At this time Kathryn was mainly praying for people to receive salvation, but she was also beginning to lay hands on and pray for people who came asking for healing. Though she despised the term “faith healer,” she attended the meetings of such ministers hoping to find out more about this phenomenon of God. Kathryn took a deeper understanding of the workings of the Holy Spirit from each meeting, though many of the things that she witnessed she found to be “unwise performances” and a misuse of the Holy Spirit. In response, she always exhorted people to focus on Jesus and nothing else. As Kathryn searched the Scriptures about divine healing, she made a life-changing discovery. She read that healing was provided for the believer at the same time as salvation, and it was at this time that she began to better understand the believer’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. Then one night, a woman stood to give a testimony of healing. At Kathryn’s service the night before, without anyone laying hands on her and without Kathryn being aware of it, this woman had been healed of a tumor. She had even gone to her doctor to confirm her healing. Then that next Sunday, a second miracle occurred. A World War I veteran who had been declared legally blind from an industrial accident had eighty-five percent of his vision restored in the permanently impaired eye and perfect eyesight restored to his other eye.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The crowds at the Tabernacle grew. Auditoriums would fill to capacity hours before she was to speak, and thousands were turned away. Countless miracles took place, most without any touch or prayer by Kathryn. She would simply walk the stage and call out healings as they took place where people sat. Sections of those in wheelchairs would walk. In one service, a five-year-old boy who had been crippled from birth walked onto the stage. In another in Philadelphia she laid hands on a man who had received a pacemaker eight months earlier, and the scar from the operation disappeared. Later x-rays confirmed that the pacemaker had as well! Great healing services continued and her ministry expanded to the Neighbouring towns. In 1950, a worldwide ministry began to develop and Kathryn’s messages were heard all over the United States via radio and her television broadcast, I Believe in Miracles. She grew so popular that she made appearances on The Johnny Carson Show and The Dinah Shore Show among several others. For the last ten years of her life, she held monthly services at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, where she ministered to countless thousands. Kathryn Kuhlman’s last miracle service was held in that same arena. Three weeks later, Kathryn lay dying in the Hillcrest Medical Centre of Tulsa, Oklahoma, after open-heart surgery. Oral and Evelyn Roberts were among the few visitors permitted to see her. As they walked into her room and began to pray for her healing, Kathryn recognized what they were doing and “put her hands out like a barrier and then pointed toward heaven.” Kathryn gave her sister, Myrtle, the same message and on Friday, February 20th, 1976, Kathryn Kuhlman went home to be with Jesus.

John G  Lake   Born  March  8th  1870     Died  Sep  16th  1935   Married    twice  J  Stevens  &  F.  Switzer     Children  Twelve   John G. Lake

No words of mine can convey to another soul the cry that was in my heart and the flame of hatred for death and sickness that the Spirit of God had stirred within me. The very wrath of God seemed to possess my soul! These words summarized the passion that propelled the life-long ministry of John G. Lake. He spoke these words in reference to the intensity of emotion he felt as his thirty-four year old sister lay dying. He had already witnessed eight of his fifteen siblings die from illness--yet he had also witnessed the miraculous healing of his own childhood rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a sister’s cancer and brother’s blood disease under the ministry of John Alexander Dowie. It was already too late to


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

take this sister who now lay dying to Dowie’s Healing Home in Chicago, so he telegraphed Dowie with a desperate plea for prayer. Dowie telegraphed back: “Hold on to God. I am praying. She will live.” That simple declaration caused John Lake to wage a furious spiritual attack on the power of death – and within the hour his sister was completely healed. It was battles such as this—at death’s very door—that brought John G. Lake face to face with his convictions. Was he going to stand by as the enemy took yet another loved one from him, or was he going to choose to stand in the enemy’s way? Such an opportunity again presented itself on April 28, 1898, when his wife of five years lay dying. Jennie battled for breath in her final hours when Lake finally put his foot down. He would not tolerate the enemy stealing away the mother of his children and his spiritual partner. He determined to believe God’s Word as it was revealed to him for her healing and at 9:30 a.m. he contended for her life in prayer upon which she rose up healed, praising the Lord in a loud voice. News spread of Jennie’s miraculous healing, and from that time on, John Lake was sought after for the power of his healing anointing. Such was the power of his anointing that he wrote about it as being like the lightning of Jesus: “You talk about the voltage from heaven and the power of God! Why there is lightning in the soul of Jesus! The lightning’s of Jesus heal men by their flash! Sin dissolves and disease flees when the power of God approaches!” Lake would also compare the anointing of God’s Spirit to the power of electricity. Just as men had learned the laws of electricity, Lake had discovered the laws of the Spirit. And, as God’s “lightning rod,” he would rise within God’s calling to electrify the powers of darkness and solidify the body of Christ. In 1901, at the age of thirty-one, Lake moved to Zion, Illinois, to study divine healing under John Alexander Dowie. But in 1904, when Dowie’s increasing financial problems began to surface, Lake decided to distance himself and relocated to Chicago. When his personal investments in Zion properties left him in near financial ruin following Dowie’s death in 1907, he bought himself a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade and over the next year was able to accumulate over $130,000 in the bank and real estate worth $90,000. This prompted the notice of top business executives who asked Lake to form a trust of the nation’s three largest insurance companies for a guaranteed salary of $50,000 a year. He was now a top business consultant to top business executives making money on the side through hearty commissions as well. By turn-of-the-century standards, John Lake was making a fortune. For a while he was able to juggle his great secular success and grow in his desire for God. He had learned to walk in the Spirit as he described like this: “It became easy for me to detach myself from the course of life, so that while my hands and mind were engaged in the common affairs of every day, my spirit maintained its attitude of communion with God.” But by 1907, he yielded to the call to full-time ministry, and he and Jennie sold their estate and all their belongings. From that point on the Lake’s relied on God for provision as they travelled the country ministering. By


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

January of 1908, they began praying for the necessary finances to take their team to Africa. In April of that same year, the Lakes and their seven children left for Africa with only money to pay for passage on the ship. In faith, they believed God for the finances necessary to gain them admittance into the country and for provision once they arrived. He provided what they needed as they were lining up to pay upon leaving the ship, and once aground, a miraculous housing offer presented itself before they had even left the dock. They immediately settled into a furnished home in Johannesburg. Days later, John was asked to fill in for a South African pastor who was taking a leave of absence. Over five hundred Zulus were in attendance his first Sunday in the pulpit, and as a result, revival broke out so that within weeks multitudes in from the surrounding area were saved, healed, and baptized in the Holy Spirit. The success astounded Lake so that he wrote: “From the very start it was as though a spiritual cyclone had struck.” In less than a year, he had started one hundred churches. Ministry success came at a price. Before the year was out, on December 22, 1908, Lake came home to find Jennie had died from physical exhaustion and malnutrition. He was devastated. Early in 1909, he returned to the States to recuperate, raise support, and recruit new workers. By January of 1910, he was headed back to Africa in the midst of a raging plague there. He was among few who ministered to the sick and dying. He proved to local physicians that the germs would not live on his body due to the Holy Spirit alive in Him. He actually verified this under a microscope showing that the germs died upon contact with his body. Those who witnessed the experiment stood in amazement as Lake gave glory to God explaining that: “It is the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.” In 1912, after five years of ministry in Africa, having produced 1,250 preachers, 625 congregations, and 100,000 converts, Lake returned to the United States. In 1913 he married Florence Switzer with whom he had five children. They settled in Spokane, Washington, where they founded the Spokane Healing Home and the Apostolic Church, which drew thousands from around the world for ministry and healing. In May of 1920, the Lakes left Spokane for Portland, Oregon, where he started another Apostolic Church and healing ministry similar to the one in Spokane. By 1924, Lake was known throughout America as a leading healing evangelist. He had established forty churches throughout the United States and Canada in which there had been so many healings that his congregations nicknamed him “Dr.” Lake. In December of that year, Gordon Lindsey, founder of Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas, was converted while hearing Lake preach in Portland. He attended his services nearly every night for a week and considered Lake to be a mentor. Lindsey later contracted deadly ptomaine poisoning, but was totally healed once he was able to get to Lake’s home.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In 1931, Lake returned to Spokane at the age of sixty-one. He was weak with fatigue and nearly blind. God ultimately restored his vision after Lake had a “talk” with the Lord about it. Sadly, on Labour Day of 1935, after returning from a church picnic, John G. Lake went home to be with the Lord. He was sixty-five years old.

I can see as my spirit discerns the future and reaches out to touch the heart of mankind and the desire of God, that there is coming from heaven a new manifestation of the Holy Spirit in power, and that new manifestation will be in sweetness, in love, in tenderness, and in the power of the Spirit, beyond anything your heart or mind ever saw. The very lightning of God will flash through men’s souls. The sons of God will meet the sons of darkness and prevail.          

Aimee Semple  McPherson     Date  of  birth  Oct  9th  1890   Died  Set  27th  1944   Married  3  Times   Children  Two   “A Woman of Destiny”

Show me a better way to persuade willing people to come to church and I’ll be happy to try your method. But please . . . don’t ask me to preach to empty seats. Let’s not waste our time quarrelling over methods. God has use for all of us. Remember the recipe in the old adage for rabbit stew? It began, “first catch your rabbit.” 1 Perhaps what Aimee Semple McPherson is most remembered for today is founding the Foursquare denomination that is still growing today. However, her life was marked by an unprecedented boldness in speaking and ministry from early childhood. She accomplished what no man had yet been able to do in ministry when in 1922 she built a five thousand-seat auditorium in a prestigious area of Los Angeles, which became the envy of Hollywood theatre owners. On opening day,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

January 1, 1923, the new Angelus Temple was featured on a float in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses parade—while the extravagant dedication service was given full coverage in the New York Times. What became the home of “The Church of the Foursquare Gospel” filled four times each Sunday and twice weekly. Aimee also ministered at highly sought after healing services during the week. Movie stars such as Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Charlie Chapman, and Anthony Quinn were known to attend Sunday services at the famous Angelus Temple. As a dramatic, theatrical person herself, Aimee used drama, music, opera, and extravagant stage sets to convey the gospel. Over the course of her life, she composed 175 songs and hymns, several operas, and thirteen drama-oratories.1 In the same year she opened Angelus Temple, she founded the world-renown L.I.F.E. (Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism) Bible college where Aimee was an avid instructor and took part in graduating over 8,000 ministers who gave rise to the countless churches currently associated with the Foursquare denomination. By the following year, in February 1924, she opened the first Christian radio station KFSG (Kall Four Square Gospel), and was the first woman to obtain an FCC license. Her tenacity, creativity, and courage have left a far-reaching legacy both in Christian broadcasting and entertainment, as well as crusade evangelism and denominational practices. She reached the unreachable, and opened territory for Christ where literally no man had gone before. She set the stage for greats like Kathryn Kuhlman, who was just giving her life to the Lord in 1922, and who would later host the first televised evangelistic healing program. It is interesting to note that in the same year the world famous Aimee Semple McPherson was launching her radio station, Kathryn had just started preaching as a teenager, and Maria Woodworth Etter had breathed her last breath at eighty years of age. The Birth of a Legend Aimee Elizabeth was born to James Morgan and Minnie Kennedy on October 9, 1890, in Ontario, Canada, the only daughter of a wealthy farmer. Her mother was a Salvationist and prayed that if the Lord would give her a daughter she would dedicate her to the ministry to fulfil the calling that she had neglected to fill herself. And so the Lord gave her Aimee, and Minnie supported her in the work of the ministry throughout her life. Both her mother and father treasured their daughter and she grew up with all the benefits that doting, wealthy, Christian parents could offer. Aimee was beautiful and precocious, and as a pre-teen demonstrated her gift for public speaking and debate. She became well known in village theatre productions and won the silver medal for speech at the Women’s Christian Temperance Union at the age of twelve. She went on to compete for the gold in London, Ontario. By the time she was thirteen, Aimee was a celebrated public speaker in high demand at


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

church functions and social events. She was headstrong and outspoken, often challenging teachers and church leaders. By the time she was seventeen, she had become disillusioned by the strict, religious doctrines of her Methodist church, being witness to hypocrisy, and struggled internally to reconcile her understanding of religion versus truth. The Dawn of Destiny The day after crying out to God to show her His true Self, she happened upon a revival meeting being held by Irish evangelist, Robert Semple. Being curious about the Pentecostal experiences she had heard of, her father took her to the meeting where her life would be forever changed. Robert had come to the experience of speaking in other tongues when it spread from Parham’s ministry in Topeka, Kansas to Chicago. It was there God filled him and called him to full-time ministry. He became a very successful evangelist well known throughout Canada and the northern U.S. and was now speaking in Aimee’s hometown. When Robert Semple spoke, his words pierced Aimee’s heart like an arrow and when he began to minister in other tongues, she understood every word. Three days later, Aimee stopped her carriage in the middle of a lonely road, lifted her hands toward heaven and cried out for God’s mercy. It was there she was powerfully born again. Shortly after committing her life to the Lord, she was given a vision of a black river rushing past with millions of people being swept into it. They were helplessly pushed along by the current and falling over a waterfall. It was then she heard the Lord say, “Become a winner of souls.” She became hungry for more of God and the power to fulfil her calling. She began to attend “tarrying” meetings where believers sought the baptism of the Holy Spirit, even skipping school to “tarry,” causing great alarm to her parents. One day, as she passed by the house where the tarrying meetings took place, she couldn’t resist going inside. She went in and explained how she longed to stay and receive the baptism. As they began to pray, Aimee asked God to delay school, and moments later an icy blizzard hit preventing her from traveling further. She was snowed in for the entire weekend. By the following morning, she began loudly speaking forth in other tongues waking the entire household. Among them was Robert Semple. Robert travelled extensively but corresponded regularly with Aimee and by the spring of that year he proposed marriage to her in the same house she received the baptism a few months earlier. Six months later, on August 12, 1908 they were married in her family’s farmhouse. Stepping Out In Ministry The Semples moved to Chicago in January 1909 where they ministered with William Durham. Later in the year they travelled with Durham to Ohio to work in another mission. It was here that Aimee had her first experience with divine healing. After breaking her ankle, she was told she would never have use of four ligaments again


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

and to stay off her feet for a month. As she sat in frustration and pain staring at her black and swollen toes, she heard the Lord say, “If you will go over to the (mission) and ask Brother Durham to lay hands on your foot, I will heal it.” She obeyed, and after Durham prayed for her foot she felt the bones and ligaments mend. Excitedly she asked someone to cut the cast off and as soon as they did she sprung up and danced around the church. 3 Not long after, early in 1910, when the Semples were expecting a child, they set sail for China. On the way they travelled to Ireland to visit Robert’s parents and then went on to London where Robert preached several meetings. While in London, Aimee was asked to preach for the first time in public. Although she was only nineteen, she wanted to be obedient to God’s call. She ministered to the people from Joel 1:4 and got so caught up in the anointing that she couldn’t remember anything she said, only the power of the anointing and the clapping and wiping of eyes when she had finished. Trial by Fire In June of 1910, the Semples arrived in Hong Kong where they were unprepared for the culture and living circumstances they found themselves in. The poverty and filth were alarming. Aimee was revolted by the Chinese diet of caterpillars, bugs, and rats. They got little rest in their tiny, noisy apartment, which they discerned was “haunted” by demon spirits. One day the Hindus burned a man alive outside their kitchen window. Aimee was beside herself trying not to give into hysteria. Because of their poor living conditions, they both contracted malaria and not two months after they arrived, on August 17, 1910, Robert was pronounced dead. One month later, on September 17, 1910, Aimee gave birth to a four-pound baby girl, Roberta Star. As she lay exhausted and mourning in the Hong Kong hospital, she was overcome by grief at the loss of her husband and overcome by the thought of carrying on alone. She was inconsolable. Finally, she received word that her mother was sending money enough for her to return home. As this young, griefstricken missionary steamed back across the ocean, the tiny baby she held in her arms brought her comfort and hope. The Turning Point After mourning the loss of Robert for a year in her childhood home, Aimee became restless for the ministry and returned to Chicago and New York seeking to minister in the churches that Robert left behind. In New York she met Harold McPherson who was a solid and kind Christian man who offered Aimee a proposal of marriage. She accepted and they were married on February 28, 1912. By July Aimee was expecting her second child. A boy she named Rolf was born on March 23, 1913. As a mother, Aimee began to realize that an emotional maturity and stability were being built within her that would benefit her future ministry.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

God continued to call Aimee into the evangelistic ministry. She worked around the community, teaching and preaching, but this did not satisfy the deep yearning God birthed in her to reach the multitudes. In 1914, she became gravely ill. After a series of surgeries there was no improvement. She became so despondent she even begged God to let her die. The physicians called for her mother and Harold’s mother to inform them of Aimee’s approaching death. As she lay in a lifeless coma, Aimee heard God’s voice asking her, “Will you go?” From somewhere deep within her, she managed to whisper that she would. When she opened her eyes all the pain was gone and within two weeks she was up and well. Answering the Call From that point on, Aimee was determined to follow the call of God no matter what the cost. When Harold did not want to follow with her, she took her children and left for a camp meeting in Toronto, Canada. Soon she began preaching on her own, using any method to draw a crowd. In 1915, one of her meetings drew more than five hundred people. Her mother agreed to care for the children while she built her ministry. Besides her dramatics and anointing, she was a woman preacher, so everyone was curious to see and hear her. The first $65 Aimee earned went towards buying a much needed tent which was worth over $500 dollars. When she unrolled the seasoned canvas she found that it wasn’t such a bargain after all. It had been ripped to shreds in some places so she and her volunteers sewed until their fingers were sore managing to erect the patchwork tent by sunset. She continued to draw large crowds, and once saw Harold in attendance, who, before the night was over, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He joined her briefly in the meetings but could never reconcile himself to her vagabond lifestyle and eventually returned home and filed for divorce. For the next seven years, Aimee travelled across the United States preaching and ministering divine healing in more than 100 cities, holding meetings that lasted from two nights to a month. By 1919, her message of healing and restoration was in such high demand that she realized a permanent place to minister would be of great benefit. The Lord led her to settle in Los Angeles in the wake of the Azusa Street revivals where the people were ready to receive her ministry; her supporters there even donated land and built her a home. Between 1919 and 1923 she travelled the country nine more times raising money for the building of Angelus Temple. Momentous Times and Mysterious Headlines After a meeting in Denver in June of 1922, when Aimee was interviewing with a reporter, someone asked her to pray for an invalid outside. She invited the reporter to accompany her and when they walked out a side door they were abducted by the Ku Klux Klan. Blindfolded they were taken to a secret meeting where the Ku Klux Klan requested Aimee to deliver a special word meant for them alone. She delivered a message out of Matthew 27 on “Barabbas, the man who thought he would never


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

be found out.” Afterward they pledged their national and “silent” support. Then the two were returned blindfolded to the hall in Denver. The reporter published a great story about the kidnapping which brought Aimee even more publicity and garnered more funds for the building of the Temple. The Temple was completed in December 1922 and dedicated on January 1, 1923. While continuing to lead multiple services each Sunday, and conducting healing services throughout the week, Aimee launched the Bible college later that same year adding bible instruction to an already demanding schedule. Early in the following year, February 1924, she opened her radio station delivering messages across the radio waves. The Kidnapping By 1926, Aimee was in need of a vacation. Early in the year she travelled to Europe and the Holy Land although she ended up preaching and ministering throughout most of her visit abroad. On May 18, she and her secretary enjoyed an afternoon at the beach. There she made some final notes on a sermon to be given that night and asked her secretary to call the information back to the Temple. When her secretary returned, Aimee was gone. Over the next thirty-two days, Aimee’s disappearance became the hottest news story in the world. The beaches were combed and the outlying waters searched for any trace of her. When a ransom letter for $500,000 was received, the press went wild. “Aimee sightings” were reported from coast to coast. A memorial service was finally held on June 20. Then three days later Aimee walked into Douglas, Arizona, from the desert at Agua Prieta, Mexico. 4 Aimee reported that a man and a woman approached her on the beach asking her to please come pray for their baby. She went with them and was forced into a car where another man was at the wheel. They used chloroform to subdue her and when she awoke she found herself in a shack with the same woman and two men. At one point, the two men left her with the woman who tied her up with bed cloths before going to the store. She managed to cut through the cloth with the jagged edge of a tin can. Once free she crawled through a window and walked through the desert for hours until she came upon a cabin in Douglas, Arizona. Following a night in the hospital, some fifty thousand people welcomed Aimee back to Angelus Temple. But the Los Angeles District Attorney accused Aimee of lying and went to great lengths to discredit her. He produced witnesses who said they had seen her at a Carmel Bungalow with her radio producer. The witnesses’ stories were never the same, while Aimee’s story was always consistent. Eventually no malice was proven, nor were any kidnappers prosecuted. Oddly, the District Attorney was eventually sentenced to San Quentin and sadly Aimee’s attorney was later found dead. It has been suggested and believed highly probable that the mob was behind the ordeal.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In Search of Refuge As her popularity increased, so did the misguided investments of her promoters who involved her in all kinds of business ventures. When they failed, the blame and unpaid bills fell on her. Lawsuits, settlements, and the depression weighed heavily on Aimee and it took the next ten years to pay off all her debtors. The strain turned out to be more than she could handle and in 1930 she suffered a complete emotional and physical breakdown. Aimee was confined to a Malibu cottage for ten months under a physician’s constant care. When she returned to Angelus Temple she had recovered to some extent but never regained her former vigour. By 1931, the price of fame had caused great loneliness. In desperate need of companionship, love, and protection, she married David Hutton. He was not the virtuous man she believed him to be, and not long after they were married, another woman sued him for breaking his engagement to her. After a year of proceedings, the court ruled against him. While Aimee was away in Europe, in accordance with her doctor’s advice, Hutton filed for divorce. The years between 1938 and 1944 were very quiet years. There was very little said about her in the press. Much of Aimee’s efforts during these years were given to pastoring and training future ministers, as well as establishing hundreds of churches. In 1942 she led a brass band and colour guard into downtown Los Angeles to sell war bonds and sold $150,000 worth of bonds in one hour. The U.S. Treasury awarded her a special citation for her patriotic endeavour. She also organized regular Friday night prayer meetings at Angelus Temple for the duration of World War II, gaining the expressed appreciation of President Roosevelt and California’s governor. An Unexpected End By 1944, Aimee’s health was very poor. In September, she and her son flew to Oakland to dedicate a new church. Due to a blackout in the city, she and Rolf spent the evening together in her room for some ministry and family talk. When the evening drew to a close, Rolf kissed his mother goodnight and left the room. Plagued with insomnia, Aimee was taking sedatives prescribed by her physician to help her sleep. As she continued to battle sleep, she took another dose and by dawn she knew something was wrong. She called her doctor in Los Angeles who was in surgery so she called another doctor who referred her to Dr. Palmer in Oakland. Before she could make the third call, Aimee fell unconscious. At 10:00 a.m. Rolf found her in bed, breathing hoarsely, and tried to wake her. He called for medical assistance, but it was too late. On September 27, 1944, Aimee Semple McPherson went home to be with the Lord at the age of fifty-three.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Sixty thousand people came to pay their respects over the course of three days as Aimee’s body lay in state at Angelus Temple. The stage, orchestra pit and aisles were filled with flowers. Then on Aimee’s birthday, October 9, 1944, a motorcade of six hundred cars drove to Forest Lawn Memorial Park; two thousand mourners along with seventeen hundred Foursquare ministers whom she had ordained looked on as she was laid to rest.5 A True Hero of the Faith Not only did Aimee Semple McPherson break the barrier for woman evangelists during a time when women were not accepted in the pulpit, but she also built the largest church auditorium of her day, launched the first Christian radio station, established a Bible college, and birthed an entire denomination that is still growing today. She did all of this in the midst of the Great Depression during which one and a half million people received aid from her ministry.6 She was acknowledged by the President of the United States and U.S. Treasury for her war efforts—and by the media for her enterprising theatrics and daring in reaching the lost. She was and remains a true hero of the faith.

Works Consulted 1. Daniel Mark Epstein, Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson (Orlando, FL: Daniel Mark Epstein, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace and Company, 1993), 259. 2. Roberts Liardon, God’s Generals: Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed (Laguna Hills, CA: Roberts Liardon Ministries, reprinted by permission of Whittaker House, 1996), 265. 3. Ibid, 240 4. Ibid, 257 5. Ibid, 265 6. Ibid, 265            


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

                George  Fox   Date  of  Birth  1624   Death  Jan  13th  1691   Married  Oct  27th  1669   Children  None     “The Liberator of Spirit” The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, made up of living stones and lively members; a spiritual household of which Christ is the head. But He is not the head of a mixed multitude, or of an old house composed of lime, stones, and wood. When the Protestant Reformation seemed to be gaining ground toward the end of the 16th century—George Fox took reform to an entirely new level. As the earlier reformers sought to bring the Church back to Scripture, Fox sought to bring the power of the Holy Spirit into the life of every believer. Not only did he challenge the entire institution of organized religion, but he reintroduced the gifts of the Spirit— including healing, faith, prophecy and tongues, and taught on the authority of the believer. Fox took reformation further than any reformer before him by proclaiming that the Holy Spirit alone is qualified to lead and teach individual believers, and that true  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Christianity is not a matter of church attendance, certificates, or any ritual or legalistic practice, but is simply the condition of one’s heart before God. He preached salvation comes only by being born again and that only God Almighty has the authority to call a believer into ministry. What most set Fox apart was his holistic approach to faith. More than any other reformer, Fox incorporated his convictions into every area of life. He scrutinized every religious practice in light of Scripture, from traditions of marriage ceremonies to the celebration of holidays. He lived out holiness on every level, including how he dressed, what he ate and drank, and how he spoke. Modesty, temperance, and honesty governed all he did. His followers became known as the Quakers (or the Society of Friends), and their reputation for moral conduct and their strength of fortitude in the face of persecution preceded them wherever they went. Only One is Worthy to Teach Young George Fox was different from other boys. He didn’t play the frivolous games of his peers or get into mischief. He was quiet, serious, and thoughtful. At the tender age of eleven, he came into a profound revelation of Christ which forever transformed his life. From that time on, he determined to pursue purity and righteousness, speak only the truth, and seek moderation in all things. By the time he was nineteen, he knew he had a prophetic call on his life. He was tormented by the hypocrisy and ignorance he witnessed. He searched fruitlessly for answers to his deep questions. Travelling from church to church, inquiring of priests and pastors, he could not find answers to satisfy the yearning for truth in his heart. In despair, he cried out to God for light. Daily he sought the Lord and the Holy Spirit faithfully guided him from one revelation to another. The Lord taught young Fox the true meaning of faith. From Revelation to Reform Initially, the Holy Spirit led Fox into four main areas of Truth. The first was regarding the New Birth. The second was that only God calls and anoints—not people or organizations. The third was that believers who worshipped God in spirit and truth were the true Church, not cathedrals, buildings, or any form of organized religion. Fox daringly proclaimed that God lives in the hearts of born-again believers, not behind the altar in a brick sanctuary. Fourthly, Fox had the audacity to declare that all believers could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit for themselves— with no man to teach them, they could be instructed by God Himself. Fox went to the churches and challenged ministers as they preached from the pulpit. He travelled extensively, attending services and causing uproar and riot. He learned to seek out dissenting groups and preach to them his message of deliverance. These disassociated groups received him well and soon he had a faithful following. As the group grew, so did the persecution, but jail was nothing in comparison to the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

anointing that broke religious yokes and set those who had been spiritually captive free. The Prophet’s Mantle In 1647, while travelling from village to village, he came across an old prophet who lay dying. The elderly man, who we only know by the name of Brown, asked to speak with Fox and prophesied many wonderful things concerning his future. When Brown passed away, a great mantle of anointing came on Fox and for two weeks people came from everywhere to hear Fox minister. His prophetic anointing had come into full operation as he saw into the personal lives of his listeners. After this tremendous outpouring, he attended a gathering of various denominations called to dispute the issues that divided them. As a woman rose to speak, the presiding minister declared that women were not permitted to speak in church and rebuked her. This infuriated Fox who stood up and sharply rebuked the minister. He challenged him by asking if such a place could be called a church where no Spirit of Truth could be detected. This is when he stated that Christ was the head of the living church made up of the body of believers, and not the head “of and old house composed of lime, stones, and wood.” At that, the entire congregation burst into a yelling match and Fox was ousted from the building. From that day on, Fox was targeted as an enemy of established religion. He didn’t hold back in publicly challenging ministers and their congregations from the deception and sin that governed their lives. He suffered terrible beatings, and still he persisted. His followers also began entering churches and exposing empty traditions. It was not long before Fox and his disciples were marked as targets for violent persecution and imprisonment. Quakerism Fox’s followers humbly endured whatever persecution they faced. Like Fox, they considered it a mark of success in following Christ if they suffered for His Name’s sake. Over the course of his life, Fox would be imprisoned nearly a hundred times. In 1650, while serving his first six-month sentence, Fox reprimanded a justice for not trembling at the Word of God. The justice mocked Fox calling he and his followers “Quakers” because of the reference to trembling. The name stuck, as they were also known to tremble or shake at their meetings under the power of the Holy Spirit. Due to Fox’s convictions about institutionalized religion, he refused to call his meetings church services. Instead he referred to his gatherings simply as meetings. The Holy Spirit was given full reign at these meetings where the group would sit and wait in silent prayer for the Spirit to minister. The early Quakers would experience such manifestations of the Spirit that they would fall out on the ground for hours at a time, pray in other tongues, and prophecy to one another. A Lifestyle of Imprisonment


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The Quakers were a marked people and persecution followed them wherever they went. They dressed, spoke, and behaved differently making them easy targets. They interrupted church services to openly rebuke false religious practices and held evangelistic meetings in the most average places. They allowed women to teach, and proclaimed themselves ordained of God to minister in unconventional ways. Tongues, prophecies, and falling out under the power of the Holy Spirit were seen as threatening to organized churches. Demanding order and control, religious authorities considered this new sect in open rebellion to the established church, if not teetering on blasphemy and heresy. Fox was imprisoned for everything from refusing to take off his hat to refusing to take an oath. By 1656, over a thousand Quakers had been imprisoned for noncriminal actions. No Quaker was spared the humiliation and agony of the hostile persecutors. Many of their women were accused of witchcraft and publicly beaten before being thrown into the dungeons. Children were taken from their parents and sold into slavery. Even the sick were snatched from their beds and dragged through the streets to prison. If a sympathizer attempted to visit a Quaker while in prison they were severely whipped. Spiritual Warfare As Fox continued to itinerate, he not only preached to his growing followers and confronted lethargic ministers, but he also cast out demons and ministered divine healing. His life demonstrated his conviction that every believer should walk in the spiritual authority and power given to him in Christ. It was common for him to wage spiritual warfare, casting down dark spirits so the way could be made clear. He would feel the presence of darkness and take immediate authority over it. In his day, this kind of teaching was unheard of and caused even greater suspicion. There are many stories of Fox casting demons out of the mentally disturbed and laying hands on the gravely ill who would rise up healed. God gave him insight into the use of herbs for healing and he taught his followers how to use them as medicines. From praying against powers and principalities in the heavens, to commanding demons to flee, to healing through faith and a divinely given knowledge of medicinal herbs, Fox broke new ground in the hearts of men whereby the Spirit of Truth could bring new light and liberty. The Cromwell Connection As a true activist, Fox not only fought for freedom in the spirit, but he took his battle into the homes of high-ranking officials. He brought the cause of the Quakers to their personal lives. He wrote the heroic leader of England, Oliver Cromwell, pleading on behalf of the Quakers who suffered unjustly. Cromwell granted Fox a meeting and was moved by all he heard Fox say. Fox had found a new friend in Cromwell who invited him to visit often. From that point, all the charges were erased from Fox’s record and dropped against the imprisoned Quakers.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Fox wrote Cromwell regularly, advising him on matters of political and social reform. He reminded him often of his promises regarding religious reform and admonished him to guard his personal conduct. There was a high degree of mutual respect between the two leaders, and Fox deeply mourned when he had foreknowledge of Cromwell’s death months before he died in 1658. Cromwell’s son, Richard, ruled in his place until the Scots invaded England and Charles II took control of the throne. The Swarthmoor Alliance Probably the most significant alliance in the life of George Fox stemmed from his friendship with Thomas and Margaret Fell, the prominent owners of Swarthmoor Hall. Fox happened upon the mansion as the Lord led him to travel northward past the famous moors. The Fells had a reputation for their generous hospitality, and as he approached the great estate, another minister approached with him. The two men were invited inside by Margaret where they soon began a heated discussion about religious doctrine. Fox was invited to stay on as a houseguest while the other minister returned to his home nearby. Fox remained at Swarthmoor Hall over the next several days during which time Margaret invited him to attend a church “lecture day” with her. Initially, Fox refused to go inside, but when he heard the error being proclaimed from the pulpit, he rushed into the church to loudly rebuke the preacher. The leaders and congregation were outraged and demanded Fox be thrown out. Surprisingly, the highly respected Margaret Fell stood in his defence and the crowd was silenced. Later, he preached to the entire household at Swarthmoor and all were convicted. Margaret admitted that before his arrival she had seen a vision of “a man in a white hat that would come and confound the priests.” Swarthmoor Hall became the Quaker headquarters, and Margaret Fell became a trusted and respected leader in the movement. Six years after Fox arrived at Swarthmoor, Thomas passed away. He had served as an instrumental supporter of Fox and the Quakers, helping to bring in an era of renewed solidarity, order, and impact. His backing gave Fox the stability he needed to establish the growing denomination, which quickly spread to all corners of the world. After a long and fruitful ministry partnership, nearly eleven years after Thomas’ death, George and Margaret married on October 27, 1669. Fox Sets Sail Fox felt increasingly compelled to visit the Quakers residing in the West Indies. Only a few short years after his marriage to Margaret, he left for a two-month voyage across the ocean and stayed in Barbados for three months before deciding to visit the colonies in America. He spent nearly two years ministering to the Indians and colonialists residing in the newly established regions of New England and Maryland. He travelled down to Carolina and through portions of Virginia.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

He developed a strong relationship with the Indians and they welcomed him wherever he went. Persecution was severe for those who deviated from the Puritan tradition, but Fox encouraged and strengthened the Quakers everywhere he travelled. After feeling he had done what he could to secure the growing Quaker movement there in the new world, he felt released to return home to England. Finishing the Race Days after arriving in Bristol, having made his way back to London, he was arrested. Fox’s health began to fail him. He was now in his fifties and had endured a lifetime of physical pressures and hardships for the cause of the Gospel. Margaret pleaded with the public officials and wrote letters to influential leaders such as William Penn. Penn’s strong influence, along with countless letters from supporters around the region, in addition to Margaret’s persistent appeals to the magistrates, set in motion Fox’s release. Weak in body, but strong in spirit, Fox did not neglect his duties in overseeing the growing body of Quakers while teaching and admonishing them at every opportunity. In 1690, he settled down in London and met almost daily with his followers. By January of 1691, though Fox was frail, he insisted on attending a meeting. After the meeting, he complained of a pain in his chest and was escorted to the house of a nearby Quaker to rest. It was there that he passed away three days later on January 13 at the age of sixty-six. Fox had finished his race; he closed his eyes and with a look of great peace and satisfaction on his face, breathed his last breath. Works Consulted 1. Major Douglas, George Fox—The Red Hot Quaker (Cincinnati, Ohio: Revivalist Press, n.d.): 39. 2. Ibid 3. Cecil W. Sharman, George Fox and the Quakers (Philadelphia: Friends General Conference; London: Quaker Home Service, 1991): 92



Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

          Charles  F  Parham     Date  of  birth  June  4th  1873   Death  Jan  29th  1929   Married  Dec  31st  1896   Children  Six     “The Father of Pentecost”

I returned fully convinced that while many had obtained real experience in sanctification and the anointing that abideth, there still remained a great outpouring of power for the Christians who were to close this age. In a time when divine healing and moves of the Spirit had scarcely been heard of, Charles Parham introduced the American church to the power available through pursuing a Spirit-filled life. He revealed to the church the life-giving power found in the baptism of the Holy Spirit that was evidenced by speaking in other tongues. He sought to bring a balance of both the intellectual and experiential to the Body of Christ at the turn of the last century as a teacher, rooted and grounded in the Word of Truth, as well as a healing evangelist moved by compassion, commitment, and an amazing faith. From envisioning and founding a Healing Home to establishing Bible Schools, Parham studied to show himself approved with a rare diligence while fervently working to prove the truth of God’s Word through the demonstration of faith. He gathered crowds exceeding seven thousand people while his ministry contributed to over two million conversions. Trial by Fire


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

As with many of our heroes of faith, Charles suffered greatly as a child. He battled serious illness from infancy and then at the age of seven he lost his mother to a terminal sickness. Her parting words to him were, “Charlie, be good.” Though he had four brothers, he was overwhelmed by grief and loneliness. But the words of his mother rang in his ears and two years later, at the age of nine, Charles felt the call to ministry. Though he continued to battle debilitating physical ailments throughout his childhood, Charles became increasingly hungry for God. Due to a lack of libraries and formal instruction, he read history books along with his Bible to educate and prepare himself for ministry. He practiced a life of service by helping his brothers do chores and preached rousing sermons to the farm animals. Answering and Re-answering the Call Up until the age of thirteen, Parham had only heard the sermons of two preachers, and it was after one of these meetings that Parham experienced a powerful conversion. He was walking home heavy-hearted humming “I Am Coming to The Cross,” pondering how he could be certain of his salvation, when he recalled experiencing a “flash from the heavens, a light above the brightness of the sun, like a stroke of lightning it penetrated, thrilling every fiber of my being.” He soon began teaching Sunday school and held his first public meeting at the age of fifteen. He continued to preach before entering Southwestern Kansas College at the age of sixteen. It was there he became aware of the public’s disrespect for and the general poverty of ministers. Discouraged, he began to look for other professions. In light of his traumatic childhood illnesses he decided that the medical field would suit him well. Not long after changing his educational goals, he contracted rheumatic fever. He suffered for months from fever and the guilt of leaving his first call. He cried out to God that if he would not have to beg for a living he would preach. Heavily sedated with morphine, and with nearly his last breathe, he prayed the Lord’s Prayer. When he arrived at the phrase “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” his mind cleared and he realized it was God’s will to heal. So he cried out to God, “If Thy will is done in me, I shall be whole!” As he did, his lungs cleared and he was completely healed. In that moment, Parham renewed his commitment to give himself fully to ministry. Following Christ Alone, With Sarah Not long after, at the age of eighteen, Charles held his first evangelistic meeting in the Pleasant Valley School House, near Toganoxie, Kansas. It was there he met Sarah Thistlewaite who he would marry five years later. In the meantime, when Charles was only nineteen, he was asked to pastor the Methodist church in Eudora, Kansas. He fulfilled this position faithfully while continuing to pastor in Linwood on Sunday afternoons where Sarah and her family regularly attended services.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

His congregation steadily grew in Eudora, but Parham did not feel bound to promote the Methodist denomination. He exhorted new converts to find any church home even if wasn’t Methodist. He proclaimed that being a member of a denomination was not a prerequisite for heaven and that denominations focused too much on promoting themselves rather than Jesus Christ. Parham’s primary aim was to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit regardless if it was contrary to any denominational objective. Parham began to pray for direction. He felt the Lord leading him into the evangelistic field and decided to hold meetings in schools, halls, or any church willing to have him and believe for the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself in a mighty way. It was at this time that Parham proposed to Sarah. In a letter he explained that his life was totally dedicated to the Lord and that his future was unclear, but if she could trust God with him, they should marry. Six months later, on December 31, 1896, they wed. A Revelation of Healing The young couple was well received as they travelled and ministered across the plains of Kansas. Soon after the birth of their first son, Charles fell ill and began to weaken from heart disease. As he battled physical weakness, their tiny son was stricken with a mysterious fever. Doctors or medications could help neither father nor son. In his weakened state, Charles was called upon to pray for another ailing man. While praying for him he heard the words “Physician, heal thyself” ring out of his spirit and the power of God touched Parham who was healed instantly. He rushed home to tell Sarah and pray for his baby. He immediately threw away all of his medications vowing never to again trust in anything but the Word of God. The fever miraculously left his son who grew to be a healthy child. The joy of victory was soon turned to mourning as Parham received news that two of his closest friends had died. Despairing, he determined to proclaim the gospel of divine healing. From this time forward Parham’s ministry was marked by his dedication to preach the power of Christ to heal. Signs Following The Parhams moved to Ottawa, Kansas, where Charles held his first diving healing meeting. He boldly proclaimed the Word of God regarding His will and provision regarding healing. As Parham inspired the faith of his listeners, miraculous healings began to take place. A woman who had been given three days to live was instantly healed. Another woman who was blind received her sight. Although healing crusades were taking place in other parts of the country through the ministries of John Alexander Dowie and Maria Woodworth Etter, the people of rural Kansas had not been exposed to such manifestations of the Spirit. Word quickly spread and many in fear and ignorance accused Parham of witchcraft. Accusations


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

such as this drove him to withdraw and search the scriptures. Everywhere he looked in the Bible, healing was present. Parham realized that healing, just as salvation, came through the atoning work of the blood of Jesus, and from that point on, persecution and slander never offended him. The Spirit in Action By early 1899, the Parhams opened a home for divine healing. Sarah named it “Bethel.” The purpose was to minister to the sick around the clock. Powerful teaching services were held daily while individual prayer was offered several times throughout the day and night. On the ground floor was a chapel, reading room, and printing office. Upstairs were fourteen rooms with large windows. The Parhams kept the windows filled with fresh flowers and the atmosphere charged with peace and beauty. This refuge also placed orphans in Christian homes and found jobs for the unemployed. In addition, Bethel offered special classes for ministers and evangelists to train and equip them for the ministry field. Such an undertaking should have been more than enough to keep the Parhams busy! But because of Bethel’s success, many began to urge Parham to open a Bible School. After much prayer and fasting, Parham secured a large, beautiful building in Topeka, Kansas, in October of 1900. The Bible school was open to anyone willing to “forsake all” to follow the teachings of Christ. They were to come willing to study the Word deeply and believe God for all their personal needs. Tongues of Fire It was here that eager students were instructed to study the book of Acts over a period of three days and report back to Parham what they found. Every one of Parham’s forty students reported finding that all who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts spoke in other tongues. Now there was a great excitement at the school surrounding the book of Acts. Anticipation filled the atmosphere as people gathered for the evening Watch Night Service. A spiritual freshness seemed to blanket the meeting. A student named Agnes Ozman approached Parham and asked him to lay his hands on her so she would receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Parham hesitated not having received himself, but after she persisted, he humbly laid his hands on her head and she began speaking Chinese. She was unable to speak English for three days! After witnessing this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the students moved their beds from the upper dormitory and turned it into a prayer room. There they waited for two night and three days upon the Lord. Upon returning home from a meeting, Parham was led up to the room where he found twelve denominational ministers all speaking in other tongues. Overcome by what he saw, Parham fell to his knees praising God. He asked God for the same blessing, and after the Lord spoke to him about revealing the truth of this mighty outpouring everywhere he went—and that


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

he would face severe persecution as a result—he was filled and spoke with other tongues. The Birth of a Movement Soon news of what God was doing had the Bible school besieged with newspaper reporters, language professors, and government interpreters. They sat in on the services to tell the whole world of this incredible phenomenon. They had come to the consensus that these students were speaking in the world’s diverse languages and their newspapers were headlined, “Pentecost! Pentecost!” Newsboys shouted, “Read about the Pentecost!” On January 21, 1901, Parham preached the first sermon dedicated to the sole experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Parham went through the country preaching the truths of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in wonderful demonstration. Once when Parham began to speak in a tongue unknown to him, a man in the audience jumped to his feet and declared he had been delivered of infidelity having heard Psalm 23 in his mother tongue. Parham’s ministry was not limited to preaching divine healing. Now untold numbers were being delivered from all types of bondages as Parham revealed the freedom and power available to all believers through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Price of Victory Along with fame and victory came persecution and sorrow. Not only did this mighty outpouring of the Spirit give rise to slanderous persecution, tragedy struck the Parham household when their youngest child died on March 16, 1901. The family was grief-stricken. Their sorrow was further compounded when those who did not believe in divine healing blamed them for the death of their son. But through it all, the Parhams showed tremendous character. They kept their hearts tender toward God and continued to preach with even greater fervency. In the fall of 1901, the Bible school was unexpectedly sold out from under them. They moved into a rented home in Kansas City and Parham began to hold meetings around the country. Hundreds from every denomination received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and divine healing. A Kansas newspaper wrote: “Whatever may be said about him, he has attracted more attention to religion than any other religious worker in years.” Regaining Momentum Despite persecution, loss, and disappointment, Parham published his first book, A Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness, in 1901. The book was filled with sermons on salvation, healing, and sanctification. Then in June of 1902, another son was born to the Parhams. In 1903, Charles had his first experience with fanaticism and dedicated himself to studying the nature of the Holy Spirit and teaching how to discern what is truly of the Spirit and what is not.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

By the fall of that year, the Parhams moved to Galena, Kansas, where they erected a large tent. The tent could hold two thousand people, but it was still too small to accommodate the crowds. As winter set in they managed to secure a building although they were forced to leave the doors opened so that those remaining outside could participate. Huge number poured into Galena from surrounding towns when strong manifestations of the Spirit occurred, and hundreds were miraculously healed and saved. Two national newspapers declared Parham’s Galena meetings to be the greatest demonstration of power and miracles since the time of the Apostles, writing, “Many come to scoff but remain to pray.” Days of Glory On March 16, 1904 another son was born into the Parham family. One month later Charles moved the family to Baxter Springs, Kansas, and continued to hold tremendous meetings around the state. In 1905, Parham was invited to Orchard, Texas. While he ministered there, the outpouring of the Spirit was so great that he was inspired to begin holding “Rally Days” throughout the country. Many from Kansas volunteered to assist in the outreach, which was successfully launched in Houston, Texas, just a few short weeks later. The team returned to Houston once more due to high public demand, only this time they suffered severe persecution. Several of Parham’s workers were poisoned during one meeting making them very ill. They suffered with severe pain. Parham immediately prayed for each of them, and they all recovered completely. Parham’s own life was threatened several times. But not even poison enough to kill a dozen men could keep him down. Undaunted by the persecution, Parham announced the opening of a new Bible school in Houston and moved his headquarters there in the winter of 1905. It was here that William Seymour was introduced to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and attended Parham’s school. When the historic school came to a close, Parham moved his family back to Kansas where his last child was born on June 1, 1906. The Beginning of the End Around this time, Parham received letters from William Seymour asking him to come to the Mission on Azusa Street to help him discern the moves of the Spirit there. He was concerned that not all the manifestations being experienced were genuinely of the Holy Spirit. At the same time Parham felt led to hold a rally in Zion, Illinois in the wake of Alexander Dowie’s decline there. The people of Zion were disillusioned and losing hope making them vulnerable to corrupt forces attempting to take control of the city.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Parham decided to bring the blessing of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the discouraged people of Zion. He met with great opposition but eventually managed to secure a private meeting room in a hotel. After just one night he required two rooms and the hallway and then the meetings grew from there. Soon Parham was invited to hold meetings in the largest homes of the city—one of which belonged to renowned author F. F. Bosworth. The meetings were tremendously successful and prompted the most ardent persecution. Not only were the newspapers critical, but Dowie himself spoke out against Parham. The overseer of the city asked him to leave. In October of 1906 Parham felt released to leave Zion and hurried to Los Angeles to answer Seymour’s call. Parham and Seymour were unable to come to see eye-to-eye regarding the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and after holding only a few meetings there, Seymour locked Parham out of the mission. Parham returned to Zion in December of 1906, again unable to obtain a building. He set up a large tent capable of seating two thousand people and again had such powerful meetings that opposition soon arose. When he closed the meetings, he traveled alone to preach in Canada and New England leaving his family in Zion. The entire family suffered from harassment there. Finally one day Mrs. Parham received a devastating letter accusing her husband of scandalous acts. She was forced to move her children back to Kansas. A Legacy of Faith The Parhams suffered greatly at the maligning of Charles’ character. His enemies were using any means possible to destroy his reputation. National headlines read that he had been arrested for sodomy with his supposed companion. All of this was proven false and later recanted by the newspapers. Parham later wrote about the ordeal: “The greatest sorrow of my life is the thought that my enemies in seeking my destruction have ruined and destroyed so many precious souls.” For the remainder of his life, Parham suffered as a result of the scandal. His ministry was threatened, as was his life on occasion. But he was steadfast in his commitment to continue travelling and preaching. He held tremendous meetings in the Pacific Northwest where thousands were healed and baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was in one of these meetings in the winter of 1924 that Gordon Lindsay found salvation and would later establish the international Bible college, Christ for the Nations. In 1927, Charles Parham realized his lifetime dream of travelling to the Holy Land. He returned in April, 1928 with slides of his visits to Jerusalem, Galilee, Samaria, and Nazareth and spent the next year and a half showing them at his meetings. After spending Christmas of 1928, with his family, he was scheduled to preach and show his slides in Temple, Texas, and it was there while making his presentation he collapsed from heart failure. In a weakened condition he returned to his home in Kansas. He waited for his son Wilfred to return from ministry in California, while his


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

youngest son, Robert, quit his job to be at his side. After many days fasting and praying, Robert came to Parham’s bedside to tell him he had dedicated his life to the ministry. Parham was filled with joy and a great peace overcame him. He died quietly on January 29, 1929, at the age of fifty-six.

John Knox   Date  of  Birth  1514   Death  Nov  24th  1572     Married:    Twice  1555  &  March  25th  1564     Children  Two   "The Sword Bearer" I will be of no other Church but that which has Jesus Christ for pastor, hears His voice, and will not hear the voice of a stranger. More than any other reformer, John Knox defied the Catholic Church and Europe’s aristocracies. Even as an exile, he stirred up nobles and commoners alike to challenge the status quo established by Catholic rule throughout England and Scotland. He was relentless in speaking out against the deception and duplicity he saw in the ranks of both clergy and royalty. Holding to Scripture as his only measure of truth, he brought down queens and cardinals, and miraculously, escaped martyrdom. Not only was Knox an imposing character in frame and disposition, but he was also an astute intellectual who could brilliantly articulate his arguments. In his early days he carried a two-edged sword as a bodyguard, but as he matured in his beliefs, the two-edged sword he wielded came only from his mouth. He spoke tirelessly and wrote prolifically. He did not falter for a moment in the intensity of his passion to see the Gospel proclaimed and Christ glorified. A devoted Calvinist, he strove to reproduce what Calvin accomplished in Geneva in his own Scotland. Until his last breath, he fought to bring the Word of Truth to the people. Born For Such a Time as This John Knox was born near Edinburgh, Scotland in 1514. Little is known about his parents other than that they had a distant affiliation with the powerful Bothwell family, which garnered young John the privilege of a good education and a position tutoring a nobleman’s children. At an early age, John mastered Latin, and when the pupils he tutored were sent to the University of St. Andrew’s in 1529, young Knox was able to attend with them.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

It was at university that Knox studied under the famous Scottish theologian John Major, the same teacher John Calvin had studied under in Paris. He also studied the writings of Jerome and Augustine. He was a dedicated student who had a seemingly insatiable hunger for truth. He vigorously searched the Scriptures to confirm all he learned for himself. Early on, he showed himself to be a man of strong conviction. Although he was ordained a priest in 1536, by 1543 he had cut his ties with the Catholic Church. Upon hearing a former friar proclaim the Gospel, he converted to Protestantism and took a position as a bodyguard for a fiery evangelist named George Wishart. It was in Knox’s absence that Wishart was arrested and burned at the stake for heresy. This caused a wave of outrage among the Protestants and propelled the reformation into a new era of activism. The Dawn of Revolution From this point on, the reformers did not hold back their fury. They stormed St. Andrew’s castle where a pompous cardinal had hoped to hide safely from the reformers threats of revenge. As his mistress snuck out in the early hours of the morning, the group of retaliators killed the guard and slipped into his bedchamber. There they threatened to kill the cardinal unless he repented of shedding Wishart’s blood. This he refused to do and was immediately stabbed through with a sword. The group hung the cardinal’s corpse out the window above the place Wishart had been imprisoned months earlier. The group, of whom Knox was not a part, secured St. Andrew’s castle as their own stronghold and were supplied with provisions by sympathetic supporters throughout Europe. They called themselves the Castilians—and as the onslaught of persecution by the Catholic Church increased, Knox was forced to seek refuge among them for his own safety. He lectured within the castle walls on Protestant doctrine impressing their leaders with his strength and ability to verbalize his beliefs. When the Catholics commanded them to present a list of arguments, they elected Knox to write it for them. Then they asked him to accept the position as their chaplain. However, Knox felt unworthy of this office and overcome by emotion, ran from their presence. He hid away in his room praying and deliberating this call to public ministry. His solitude was interrupted when he heard a priest he especially disliked would be holding a service at a nearby parish. He felt compelled to go and witness what this priest was teaching to the people. Thrust into Public Ministry Knox was so disturbed by what he heard; he rose up in the middle of the service and challenged the priest. The crowd demanded that Knox prove his claims in an open debate and Knox accepted. The following Sunday, Knox was given the pulpit. Many distinguished citizens and university peers, including John Major, came to support him. Many more friars and priests crowded into the church to oppose him.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

When he began to speak, none dared make a sound, and after he finished, all remained speechless. Up until this time, none had delivered such an accurate and detailed message explaining the cause for reform. Some said that Wishart never spoke so bluntly as Knox, yet he was burned at the stake. It was fully expected that Knox was sure to become the next martyr. Not long after, several prominent Catholics called him to a meeting in order to question him further regarding his sermon. He answered their accusations with such resolute accuracy that his intimidators were again rendered speechless. From Mountain Top to Wilderness Knox proved to be such a threat to the Catholic Church in Scotland; they issued a command prohibiting anyone but priests and professors from preaching or teaching on Sundays. Fortunately, Knox was able to take full advantage of the other six days in the week. Daily he drew large crowds to the castle, who upon hearing his messages, promptly denounced Catholicism. The Scottish Catholics became so infuriated they called in the French military to lay siege to the castle and take captive all those residing there. Knox was forced to surrender with the others inside the castle. In July of 1547, the Castilians made an agreement with the French that if they went peacefully to France, they would be granted their freedom. As soon as they arrived on the shores of France, the Castilians were boarded onto ships and confined to the galleys. Knox was sent out to sea as a galley slave for the next nineteen months. He endured cruel hardship and severe illness. Not all survived, but Knox was determined to return to Scotland and preach again at St. Andrew’s castle. Although this was the most distressing time of his life, testing all his strength and resolution of will, through it Knox grew into the leader and remarkable reformer we know him as today. The Turning of the Tide In February of 1549, King Edward VI granted the Castilians their freedom. The tide was turning for the Protestants in England. The religious and political authorities wanted to establish Protestantism in their nation and were pleased to have someone like John Knox at their disposal. For the next five years, Knox remained in England as an honoured guest. He pastored a church in Berwick populated by Scottish immigrants and the British soldiers that opposed them. His galley experience gave him the finesse and fortitude to handle both groups. He dramatically preached throughout the region forcefully exposing error and calling into check any wrong thinking regarding the Lord. By 1551, Knox had such influence in England that he was first offered the job of bishop and then the pastorship of All Hallows in London. He refused them both


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

content to remain in Berwick. History tells of a woman, Mrs. Bowes, and her daughter, Marjory, who lived in the area and who became closely associated with Knox. Although there was much controversy surrounding their relationship, by 1553, Knox and Marjory were engaged to be married. Her Catholic father disapproved, so the wedding was put on hold while Knox continued to itinerate throughout the region. Knox was so celebrated in England that he was appointed to preach before the king as royal chaplain. In this role he was also assigned to help rewrite the Book of Common Prayer into a second edition. The Tide Turns Again In July of 1556, King Henry VIII died and Mary of Tudor was crowned queen. Being a strong Roman Catholic, Queen Mary immediately began to undo all the Protestant reforms her father had instituted. She restored Catholicism as the national religion and informed the Protestants that they had until December 20 to change their beliefs before they would be tried as heretics. In January 1554, Knox was forced to leave England and seek refuge in France. Mrs. Bowes and her daughter remained in England safe for the time being due to Mr. Bowes Catholic affiliation and the position of their family. A little over a year later, in February of 1555, Queen Mary held her first execution—a Protestant Bible translator by the name of John Rogers. During her reign of terror, Mary of Tudor executed more than three hundred people, including the first author of the Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cranmer. She shed such blood in her effort to restore Catholicism that she was given the nickname “Bloody Mary.” In the late summer of 1554, Knox remained in Dieppe, France, fostering his hatred for the queen and her doctrines. From here he wrote, The Faithful Admonition unto the Professors of God’s Truth in England. In the letter he attacked the Catholic bishops, calling them the “Devil’s Gardeners,” and the priests, “blind buzzards,” declaring they all deserved death. He unveiled the hypocrisy of Bloody Mary’s court writing how they were once unified in their opinion that she was an “incestuous bastard who would never reign in England,” but they were now kneeling at her feet. More controversial still, he declared that if they had put her to death before she became queen they would have saved the world from her cruelty. He wrote, “Jezebel, that cursed idolatress, caused the blood of the prophets to be shed . . . yet I think she never erected half so many gallows in all Israel as mischievous Mary hath done in London alone.” He ended with a chilling prayer on behalf of England: “Delay not Thy vengeance, O Lord, but let death devour them in haste; let the earth swallow them up and let them go quick to the hells. For there is no hope of their amendment, the fear and reverence of Thy Holy Name is quite banished from their hearts.” Knox Goes to Geneva and Frankfurt


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

After making sure his letter left Dieppe, Knox travelled to Geneva to meet with John Calvin. Calvin admired Knox for his courage and embraced him. Knox studied closely under Calvin for the next several months before he was invited to pastor a church in Frankfurt, Germany where many of the persecuted English Protestants fled. It was a familiar situation although the congregation of exiles was more difficult to manage than he anticipated. Division arose over which liturgy to adopt. In February 1555, Knox and a group of men drew up a new order of service which would eventually become the official worship book of the Church of Scotland, The Book of Common Order. Unfortunately, the bickering wearied Knox and he began to challenge the shallowness of the congregation. In a series of searing messages, he attacked their lack of faith and lashed out at the local government—he even went as far as to declare that Emperor Charles V was the same enemy to Christ as Nero had been. The city magistrates feared what might happen to their city and expelled Knox as the pastor. Knox gladly left with several others from the church. They returned to Geneva in April 1555 and were cordially welcomed by Calvin. Knox returned to a life of study striving to learn all he could about how Calvin ran Geneva. He organized a radical English congregation grooming them and rallying them to eventually return to England for a Protestant takeover. Back To Scottish Shores About this time, Mrs. Bowes wrote several letters that their safety was at increasing risk and requested that she and Marjory be allowed to join him in Geneva. Finally, he arranged for them to meet him in Scotland. Many of the English had fled to Scotland as the persecution was not as severe there as in England. They easily made the trip and when Knox arrived in the summer of 1555, he and Marjory were married. For the next nine months, Knox itinerated throughout Scotland encouraging the Protestants and inspiring them to stand strong against their Catholic oppressors. He was so successful at invigorating the masses to rise up against the Catholic Church that in May of 1556 the Scottish bishops summoned him to Edinburgh to face legal proceedings. Hundreds of Protestants gathered to rally in his support. Memory of the St. Andrew’s siege was fresh enough that the proceedings were wisely cancelled. Geneva Calls Again At the same time Knox realized that Scotland was not as ready for radical change as he had hoped, the English congregation in Geneva was begging him to return to his pastorate there. He returned in July with his wife and mother-in-law, but not long after he received a summons to return to Edinburgh to face charges of heresy. When Knox failed to appear, the Catholics made a show of burning a sculpture in the likeness of Knox on a public cross.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Knox focused on his work in Geneva. The English congregation he pastored eventually produced the Geneva Bible still widely used today. This was a peaceful time for the Knox family. In the spring of 1557, Marjory gave birth to a son, Nathaniel. The English church thrived under Knox as he immersed himself in study. He relished being able to speak freely with Calvin whenever he needed to. The Appeal from Scotland In October of that year, after receiving an urgent request from the Scottish reformers for his return, he travelled alone to Dieppe, France, to await passage to Scotland. There he was told to remain until further notice. He was frustrated at their indecision and lack of organization. He had just travelled eight hundred miles, leaving his wife and newborn son and now was in danger of being arrested in France as he awaited news from Scotland. When December came, he was still waiting. He wrote a second letter to which he again received no reply. In the middle of the month he wrote a third letter to the nobles of Scotland with no intention at this point of returning. He composed a manuscript in which he poured his disgust for the two women rulers who were making his life, and those of the reformers, so difficult: Mary of Tudor; and the Scottish Regent, Mary of Guise (soon-to-be mother of Mary Queen of Scots). Upon his return to Geneva, although busy with pastoral duties, Knox managed to write a half dozen books and pamphlets. None of these were as controversial as the manuscript he had composed in Dieppe. Once distributed, The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment [Unnatural government] of Women created a “greater uproar than anything that had been published in Europe since Luther’s three great treatises.” A New Level of Controversy First Blast caused a tremendous uproar not only among the Catholics, but among Protestants too. His most controversial document, First Blast challenged the people in both England and Scotland to depose their female rulers on the premise that it was unnatural, even ungodly, for a woman to hold such a position of authority. Even Calvin was so outraged that he banned it from Geneva. The book was so widely condemned that a royal proclamation was given that anyone found in possession of the book would be put to death. Unknown to Knox, Bloody Mary’s health had suffered greatly and she died not long after the manuscript was published. Her successor, Queen Elizabeth I, although a Protestant, was so offended by the views Knox presented that she continued to banish him from England. The years of persecution had come to an end and the nation was now open to reform, yet Knox was still seen as an enemy of the State and would not be allowed to pass over England’s borders.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The Start of a Revolution As the English who sought refuge in Geneva returned to England, Knox made plans to return to Scotland. Relations were now strained with Calvin, and his services as pastor to a refugee English church were no longer necessary. Knox planned his return to Scotland. He left his family in Geneva, which now included a second newborn son, and made his way again to Dieppe, France to await safe passage. Once established in Scotland, he would send for his family to join him. He arrived on the coasts of Scotland four months later, in May of 1559. As soon as he stepped ashore, he discovered the queen-regent had summoned the local reformers to a hearing as a result of their stand against her. They had boldly sent her word that if she stood in the way of reform, they would force her out of Scotland. When the Regent Mary heard that Knox was back in the country and planned to appear on their behalf, she cancelled the proceedings. The judges, however, accused the reformers of failing to appear in court and ordered their arrest. In retaliation, Knox preached a fiery sermon about the idolatry of Mass and called on Christians to do their duty. This was the sermon that started a civil war. Mobs of angry Protestants destroyed Catholic altars and statues throughout the region and sent priests and monks into hiding. In response, the Regent Mary declared war on the Protestants threatening to overtake them with the power of the French military. Protestant supporters came from all over Scotland to stand against the queenregent. She saw there was no hope of victory for her own forces, so she called in the French troops to help. In January of 1560, the French arrived on the Scottish coast and a guerrilla war ensued in the depths of winter. Knox wrote to Queen Elizabeth I to beseech her to protect her interest in Scotland, but before she had received his letter, fourteen British ships were already on their way. The British drove the French back to France, and the Regent Mary, who was by now very ill, retreated to her castle in Edinburgh. She passed away in June of 1560, putting an abrupt end to the struggle. In August, the Scottish Parliament voted to abolish Catholicism and establish Protestantism as the national religion. Enter Mary Queen of Scots The battle may have been won, but the war was not over. Mary Queen of Scots, who was being raised and educated in Catholic France, now returned to Scotland to assume her rightful rule as queen. She was nineteen years old and devoted to the Catholic faith. From the beginning she would be at odds with the advance of Protestantism, and with Knox in particular. She continued to hold Mass at court and suffered an onslaught of ridicule from the reformers. Meanwhile, Knox had established himself as the leading pastor in Edinburgh and had since settled his family there. Unfortunately, not long after, Marjory became


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

ill and died. Several years later, in May of 1564, he remarried—this time to a distant cousin of Queen Mary. The strife between the Queen and Knox was intense and continual. They contended publicly on numerous, documented occasions. Although the Queen married, she eventually did herself in through her own adulteress relationships. Her husband was found murdered and she was put on trial as an adulteress. The Protestants called for her death as a murderer, idolater, and adulteress, but instead she was forced to abdicate the throne to her infant son and was imprisoned. She escaped and fled to England seeking aid from the Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth saw her as a threat and threw her in prison where she remained for the next nineteen years. Finally, she was declared guilty of treason and beheaded in February of 1587. Knox Finishes the Race After Queen Mary left Scotland, Knox focused on establishing the Protestant Church there. He had spent himself completely in fighting for the cause of reformation, and not long after Queen Mary was deposed, he suffered a stroke. By 1572, although Knox was extremely feeble, he continued to write and preach on occasion. In September, Knox resigned his office as pastor. By November, his health had so deteriorated that his mind began to slip. On the evening of November 24, 1572, John Knox went home to be with the Lord. Works Consulted 1. Stewart Lamont, The Swordbearer—John Knox and the European Reformation (Kent, England: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1991): 57 2. “Mary I,” The World Book Encyclopaedia 13, (Chicago, Ill.: World Book, Inc., 2003): 239. 3. Liardon, God’s Generals II, 280. 4. Lamont, 76. 5. Liardon, 283 6. Jasper Ridley, John Knox (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1968): 12.


Martin Luther  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Date of  Birth  Nov  10th  1483   Died  Feb  18th  1546   Married  June  13th  1525   Children  Six   “The Battle-Ax of the Reformation”

Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning . . . then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Perhaps one of the most influential Germans ever to live, Martin Luther was instrumental in not only shaking loose from the foundations of the Catholic Church, but in bringing about the modern German language, as well as a renewed appreciation for the arts. Much like his predecessor, John Hus, he searched the Scriptures and discovered the truth regarding the love of God and His plan of redemption through faith and not works. And like Hus, he burned to bring the truth of the Gospel to the people in their own language. Though he was unreserved in his convictions, he seasoned his boldness with compassion. As a fearless visionary and leader, exceptional theologian, prolific writer, translator, and composer, he made time to converse with his students and dote on his children. Luther sought to dispel the deception of the Church and expose its abuses. He challenged the Pope at every turn, from posting and distributing his ninety-five theses, to burning papal decrees and the Church’s canon law, to liberating nuns and priests “imprisoned” in convents and monasteries, and then marrying them off to one another. He even married himself while continuing his duties as a priest. He wrote a German mass and a catechism for both adults and children; and gave the people a Bible in their vernacular German. Luther composed hymns and led his congregation in revolutionary worship with singing and instruments, calling them all to attend a music practice weekly. All the while, Martin Luther expected any day to be tried and burned as a heretic. Though he suffered continual ailments and illnesses, he remained a gentle husband and father, as well as a dedicated teacher and mentor. Luther was not only an unconventional pastor and priest, but he was a compassionate servant of the people, taking in orphans and needy students. He even intervened during times of social unrest to bring understanding between the peasants and nobles. Martin Luther is truly one of history’s most notable reformers, and certainly one of God’s most heroic Generals.

The Early Years


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany. His father worked in the copper mines, and eventually established two smelter furnaces. Through hard work, they were no longer looked upon as peasants and the family became social with people of stature in the community. Martin’s parents were religious, praying with their children every night, as well as strict disciplinarians, never sparing the rod. The schools carried on the custom by administering whippings if students fell short in their Latin drills. Martin flourished in this atmosphere of routine and discipline. He completed his baccalaureate and master’s degrees in record time with the intention of studying law, which was his father’s greatest ambition for him. An unexpected event would suddenly change the direction of his life when he was just twenty years old. It was on July 2, 1501, as he was walking back to school after visiting his family, when a thunderstorm overtook him. As the lightning struck violently around him, he feared for his life as he remembered how a friend has been struck dead by lightning. Caught in a clearing with nowhere to hide, he cried out in desperation to the only help he knew, “St. Anne help me! I will become a monk.” He kept his vow, and that is how Martin Luther entered the priesthood to the great dismay of his father. In Search of Holiness If nothing else, Martin seemed to do whatever he did wholeheartedly and without reservation. He threw himself into his new calling with gusto and joined the strictest monastery of his day, the Order of the Augustinian Hermits in Erfurt, Germany. He knew full well that he was committing to at least one probationary year of “scant diet, rough clothing, vigils by night, labours by labours, mortification of the flesh, the reproach of poverty and the shame of begging.” Martin was so driven to appease God, that he couldn’t seem to fast, pray, or torture himself enough. After his probationary period, Martin vowed to commit his life to God and continued as the most devout monk in the degree to which he laboured, fasted, and debased himself—yet for all his works the peace he sought with God ever eluded him. No matter how he strived for holiness and to be counted worthy in the sight of God, no matter how many hours he spent in confession, or how long on his knees praying, reading, or chanting, no matter how much he fasted from food, drink, or sleep, he couldn’t bring himself closer to God. Yet it was through these dark years of pursuing endless works in search of holiness that he came to the revelation that the righteousness of God can only be attained through grace by faith in the Blood of Christ.

The Long Road to Revelation


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In 1510, Luther travelled to Rome as a representative from his cloister to settle a dispute with the Pope. While there, he discovered the priests to be irreverent in the way they rushed through Mass and the comments he overheard them make while preparing Communion. This was his first taste of disillusionment with the established Church. When he returned home he was transferred to an Augustinian Cloister in Wittenburg, Germany, which was a small town compared to the city of Erfurt. It was here that he found a mentor in Johann von Staupitz who would remain faithful to Luther until the end of his life. When Luther seemed inconsolable in his efforts to find peace with God, it was Staupitz who gave up his position at the University of Wittenburg to Luther so that he might be absorbed by the challenges of studying and teaching the Scriptures. As a result, he was made a doctor of theology in 1512 at twenty-nine years of age, and so began his exodus into the freedom that knowledge of the truth brings. And so Luther studied the Psalms and the Pauline Epistles for the next five years and entered into a growing revelation of righteousness and the justice of God. Meditation and study over this period brought Luther to a new theology of justice and justification. He wrote of his experience during this critical time: “At last, meditating day and night and by the mercy of God, I . . . began to understand that the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. . . . Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through gates that had been flung open.” Coming to the Cross Somewhere between 1518 and 1521, Luther’s final revelation came to him—and it would set off a revolution. He wrote of the days immediately preceding his breakthrough as a time when he was depressed. Historians refer to this transformation from depression into freedom as his “evangelical breakthrough” or his “tower experience.” You can almost feel the peace of God in Luther’s heart as he wrote of his revelation, “If you have a true faith that Christ is your Saviour, then at once you have a gracious God, for faith leads you in and opens up God’s heart and will, that you should see pure grace and overflowing love. This it is to behold God in faith that you should look upon his fatherly, friendly heart, in which there is neither anger nor ungraciousness. He who sees God as angry does not see him rightly but looks only on a curtain, as if a dark cloud had been drawn across his face.” Luther’s new revelation of Scripture resolved all the worries about falling short of God’s approval that had been instilled in him since childhood. All his personal battles of unworthiness stopped with the Cross and he could see there the mercy of God and Christ’s victory over Satan. This new understanding of his position in Christ as a result of the Cross is summed up in the following hymn: Thus spoke  the  Son,  “Hold  thou  to  Me,  From  now  on  that  wilt  make  it.  I  gave  my  life  for  thee   And   for   thee   I   will   stake   it.   For   I   am   thine   and   thou   art   mine,   And   where   I   am   our   lives   ntwine,  The  Old  Fiend  cannot  shake  it.”    


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Nailing His Revelation to the Church Door When Luther saw the truth of God’s redemptive plan, he came face to face with the greed and hypocrisy governing church affairs. Grieved by the deception and abusive practices taking place, he determined to expose the Church and bring its followers to a clear understanding of God’s redemptive work on the Cross. Luther began this daunting task by compiling a list of concerns. By the time he finished writing down his concerns and objections, there were ninetyfive statements. It was his intention that these would provide the basis for open discussion. Not even sure of their scriptural accuracy, he nailed them to the church door with an invitation to explore the topics further during a time of public debate. He had no idea that what he posted would ignite a revolution that ultimately changed the course of history. The main points of Luther’s theses were: 1) his objection of indulgence money going to build St. Peter’s Basilica; 2) his denial of the Pope’s power over purgatory; and 3) his consideration of the welfare of the sinner. The ninety-five theses as they came to be known had been translated into German and were circulating among the common people as well as the church officials. At the same time that they angered Church leaders they were opening the eyes of the people. Within a matter of weeks, all of Germany knew of the articles and nearly everyone praised Luther’s boldness. It wasn’t long before Rome was alarmed and a case was established against Luther. Rome’s Reply The Pope set a trap and invited Luther to a forum in Augsburg to engage in a public debate. It was the fall of 1517 when Luther arrived ready to make his case heard. Soon Luther discovered the Pope’s true agenda for the meeting, and that was to intimidate Luther into recanting without any room for discussion under threat of being bound and taken to Rome. Luther boldly declared that he would not and stated that a common man armed with Scripture had more authority than the Pope and all his councils. Somehow Luther was not bound, nor taken to Rome, but simply thrown out of the building. He made his way back to Wittenburg where he was safe from the arm of the Church due to his popularity among the people there. The Church hierarchy became increasingly frustrated and determined to ensnare Luther. An order was issued by the Pope declaring his official stand regarding the sale of indulgences—one of the main issues Luther had spoken out against. This put Luther one step closer to being charged with heresy. The papal bull was issued in October of 1520 and Luther was given sixty days to recant. Meanwhile, as a result of the bull, Luther’s books were being burned throughout Europe. Luther’s response was to issue a statement in which he declared:


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

"Know that I, with all who worship Christ, consider the Seat of Rome to be occupied by Satan and to be the throne of the Antichrist, and that I will no longer obey nor remain united to him, the chief and deadly enemy of Christ. If you persist in your fury, I condemn you to Satan, together with this Bull and your decretals for the destruction of your flesh, in order that your spirit may be saved with us in the Day of the Lord. In the name of Him whom you persecute, Jesus Christ, Our Lord." When the sixty days passed, Luther posted another invitation—this time he invited the public to witness a grand display of burning not only the papal bull, but also the precious canon law! Like Hus, he asserted that Scripture alone was the final authority, not the Pope, nor his councils, nor the canon law—and that furthermore, the Pope had no power over purgatory. In fact, there was no biblical basis for any such thing as purgatory in the first place. New Waves of Reform and Rebuke Threatened with excommunication, Luther remained undaunted. He pressed on with a renewed fervour in his preaching, teaching, and writing. He published devotional booklets, tracks on prayer, studies on the book of Psalms and a commentary on Galatians. Four thousand copies of Luther’s Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation sold within eighteen days of it printings and a number of reprints went to press. Almost the entire upper class of Germany read it. Next he published On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church and shortly after that he wrote On the Freedom of a Christian. In response to these writings, a second attempt was made to silence Luther. It was now 1521 and the annual meeting of a secular court of judges was being held called the Diet of Worms, in the city of Worms. Luther was summoned there to answer for his writings. Again, he was given the opportunity to claim responsibility for the writings and to recant. Again, Luther refused not being able to “act against his conscience.” He was condemned and given twenty-one days to return to Wittenburg. The Edict of Worms legally condemned Luther as a heretic which meant anyone could murder him without consequences. A high-ranking friend arranged for a fake arrest as Luther made his way home and brought him to one of his castles. Luther hid there in a room behind a retractable staircase for ten months. He grew his hair and a beard and was referred to as “Knight George.” When he left the castle he was not even recognized by a close friend. It was during his time in hiding that he translated the entire New Testament from Latin to German. Life back in Wittenberg A peasant revolt broke out on the heels of Luther’s stand for reformation. There were violent clashes between the classes, and the churches were being desecrated. Luther stepped in to keep the peasants from destroying religious artwork and relics; and to keep the nobles from retaliating too harshly against the peasants. He aided in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

liberating monks and nuns from being held against their wills in monasteries and convents, and began social reforms that included care of the poor, orphans, students at the university, and providing dowries for poor brides. One of the nuns he helped to liberate, Katherine von Bora, had been placed in the convent against her will by a new stepmother when she was only nine or ten. She was now twenty-six years old and Luther was having a difficult time finding a suitable husband for her. Katherine suggested Luther himself, and despite their age difference—Luther was forty-one—and the two became close friends. On June 13, 1525, they were married. She was an excellent administrator and financial manager. The two complimented each other well, she cared for his ailments and kept his affairs in order. Together they had six children. Luther continued his pastoral duties—preaching, teaching, writing, and mentoring students. He wrote a German Mass that was centred on Scripture and two catechisms for both children and adults to study. He wrote hymns and brought music and singing into his services. And most importantly, in 1534, he expanded his translation of the Bible to include the Old Testament. He assembled a team of the best scholars and visited different regions to hear how they spoke so he could make the translation relevant to all. Every German sought to possess Luther’s Bible and it remains a popular translation in Germany today. It not only brought the light of Scripture into the homes and hearts of the laity, but also laid the groundwork for the formation of the modern German language. His Last Days On January 23, 1546, Luther set out on a journey to settle a dispute between various dukes and their subjects. Although he was weak from illness and had to stop and rest along the way, when he arrived he still managed to preach four times, administer Communion twice, and ordain two ministers. He commented, “If I can but succeed in restoring harmony amongst my dear princes and their subjects, I will cheerfully return home and lay me down to the grave.” By February his illness had grown worse, and on the night of February 17, Luther prayed continuously that the Lord would take him home. In the early hours of February 18, he closed his eyes and entered peacefully into eternal rest. Works Consulted 1. “Martin Luther, The Early Years,” Christian History Magazine 11, no. 2, issue 34 (Carol Stream, III.: Christianity Today, Inc.): 16 2. Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand—A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1978), 25 3. Liardon, God’s Generals II, 125. 4. “The Early Years,” 15 5. Ibid. 6. Bainton, 50.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

7. Ibid, 51. 8. God’s Generals II, 141. 9. God’s Generals II, 145. 10. “The Early Years,” 14. 11. God’s Generals II, 153 12. Back to the Bible Publisher, Martin Luther, The Reformer (Lincoln, NE: Moody Press): 125.  

                      John  Hus   Date  of  Birth  Circa  1372     Died  Martyred  July  6th  1415   Married  No   Children  None  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

“The Father of Reform”

Therefore, faithful Christian, seek the truth, hear the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, adhere to the truth, defend the truth to death; for truth will make you free from sin, the devil, the death of the soul, and finally from eternal death. If it can be said that John Wycliffe was the grandfather of the Reformation, then John Hus would be its father. Wycliffe’s ideas and writings found their way to the University of Prague in the late Fourteenth Century—about the same time as John Hus. The University of Prague had risen in recent years to become the most prestigious university in central Europe, and Hus had risen to prominence at the centre of it. He was not only her most respected theologian, but among the most compassionate of scholarly priests whose concern for the welfare of common people would put him in direct opposition to the practices of the Catholic Church. His heart’s most ardent desire was to bring Christ to Christians. Hus loathed the sin and corruption that permeated the Roman Catholic hierarchy. He spoke out boldly from the pulpit of Prague’s most notorious church, Bethlehem Chapel, against the self-serving motives of Catholic bishops, cardinals, and priests. He studied after Wycliffe and made alliances with his supporters seeking to restore the Catholic Church to her original glory, much as Wycliffe had hoped to do. He opposed unchecked papal rule, ignoring its dictates, bulls, and indictments. He continued to preach the truth of God’s Word undaunted by threats of excommunication, imprisonment, and finally death. Early Success Little is known about the childhood of John Hus other than that he was born in 1372, in a village called Husinec in the southern part of Bohemia. Though his parents were poor peasants, his mother had a rich faith in God. She taught John how to pray and trust God, and encouraged him to become a priest. When John was thirteen, she brought him to a school an hour away in the commercial city of Prachatice so that he could begin to secure his future. At the age of fourteen, he left for Prague where he enrolled in a preparatory school and was admitted to the University of Prague at eighteen. This was admirable as few from his area made it to university. When Hus enrolled in university, he decided to change his name from John of Husinec to simply John Hus. He was a typical struggling student who sang for his supper at nearby churches. Originally he determined to enter the priesthood so he could be financially well off, but as he read the Scriptures he came to a personal knowledge of Christ which further stimulated his hunger for the Word of God. The Mark of a Reformer


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Early in his studies Hus was quoted as saying, “For I know that those things I have learned are but the least in comparison with what I do not know.” That shows the humility and teachable spirit he possessed. He was a seeker of the truth at any cost. Because of his diligence he received his Bachelor of Arts degree by the time he was twenty-one. Three years later, in 1396, he passed the rigors of his Masters degree. From 1398 to 1402 he lived in the King Wenceslas College, a small section of the university, teaching and mentoring students. Over these ten years he became close friends with a fellow student, Stephen of Palec, and an admired instructor, Stanislov of Znojmo. Palec and Stanislov, along with Hus, formed a tight friendship as they studied and talked together continually. Stanislov taught from Wycliffe’s writings and followed all of his beliefs. Hus began copying some of Wycliffe’s works for his own use. Interestingly, the Swedish Army took one of these manuscripts with them during the Thirty Years’ War and it is now on display in Stockholm. Hus began lecturing several times a day as well as training students how to use what they had learned and put it into speeches. Two years later, he was chosen to promote students to the degree of bachelor. He loved his role as mentor and friend, and formed many close alliances throughout this time. In 1401, his old friend Jerome of Prague returned from Oxford with chest full of Wycliffe manuscripts that he had copied. He left them with Hus and the other reformist thinkers before leaving on a series of world adventures, not to reappear on the scene until 1412. Bethlehem Chapel In 1402, Hus was appointed to pastor the infamous Bethlehem Chapel—the church that was at the centre of the Bohemian reform movement. This appointment demonstrated the confidence Hus inspired as a promising reformer. What made Bethlehem Chapel particularly unique was that all its services were conducted in the native Czech language. Hus would be called upon to exhibit the wisdom and character necessary to live on the front line of the reform movement, not only as a priest, but also as a young Czech patriot. Bethlehem Chapel held three thousand people and the local population crowded into each service. Out of the cities forty-four churches, twenty-seven chapels, sixteen monasteries, and seven convents this was the only place they could hear a sermon in their own language. Hus was creative in his efforts to reach the common folk, even the illiterate. He painted the walls of the chapel with huge paintings portraying the humility and servitude of Christ juxtaposed with paintings depicting the excessive wealth and pride of the Pope. For example, a painting of the modestly attired Lord Jesus bending down to wash his disciples feet was displayed alongside the Pope in his elaborate robes, crown, and jewels extending his hand to be kissed. Hus was determined to fill the hearts and minds of the people with God’s principles of truth. He was an attentive and revolutionary pastor who believed it was his duty


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

to look after the spiritual and eternal welfare of his flock. In a year’s time, Hus would preach over two hundred fifty sermons at Bethlehem Chapel alone, in addition to lecturing and mentoring the students at the university. He also established a home for the poorest students behind the chapel which he personally supervised. He identified with the peasant class and they, along with the educated and well to do of the city, became his loyal followers. After Hus had been pastoring for four years, he took on the challenge of revising and improving the Czech New Testament. He also revised portions of the Old Testament. Eventually, he would revise the entire Czech Bible in order to make it easier to read. Hus hoped to free all people, including the clergy, from the bondage of sin and death through a personal revelation of Christ. Champion of Truth In seeking to bring people to an authentic relationship with God, Hus found the Church to be his greatest obstacle. Foremost on his mind was persuading the priests to live a lifestyle free from lustful greed and immorality. This message alone set the entire Church hierarchy ablaze. Hus fearlessly called for a complete re-evaluation of Church doctrine and what it meant to be a priest. He stated that the true authority of the priest was linked to his character, not his office. He went on to say that the love of money had destroyed their morals. Hus denounced the elite attitudes of the clergy and their excessive wealth. He rebuked priests who used their churches for personal gain and prestige, who indulged in sexual immorality, and then bought and sold pardons to excuse and further prosper themselves. In a very bold statement he declared that no one should attend a Mass conducted by a priest who was involved in providing ministerial duties for financial gain or engaged in sexual indiscretions. He further declared that people should withhold their tithes from such priests. Friends Turned Foe By now the Pope taken notice of these Bohemian reformers. In 1408, Hus’s old friend and confidante, Stanislov, capitulated under persecution for his Wycliffe teachings and increasingly distanced himself from Hus and the other reformers. Stanislov convinced their mutual friend Palec to do the same and the two became outspoken enemies of Hus. Still, for all their efforts to realign themselves with the papacy, they were summoned to appear before the court in Italy and subsequently thrown in prison. Amazingly, Hus was not yet formally accused of heresy—only of causing division in the Church because he denounced the sins of the clergy. He had, however, fallen out of favour with the King of Bohemia and the Archbishop of Prague, who at one time had been one of Hus’ most ardent supporters. Together they set out to quiet Hus in an effort to preserve the peace, and more importantly, secure favour with the Pope.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The Battle Lines Are Drawn As Hus continued to write and preach on the necessity of Church reform, the Pope issued an order prohibiting preaching in any place except a Catholic cathedral or monastery. This was directed at Hus because his chapel was the only place not deemed a cathedral. Hus refused to stop preaching and garnered even more dedicated backing from his followers who loudly pledged their support for the cause. In outrage and retaliation, on July 16, 1410, the Archbishop of Prague ordered all of Wycliffe’s books to be burned in a public ceremony. Hus responded with a public declaration, “Such bonfires never yet removed a single sin from the heart’s of men. Fire does not consume truth. It is always the mark of a little mind that it vents its anger on inanimate objects.” This remark caused the Czech citizens to openly revolt. They mocked the Archbishop who became outraged and excommunicated Hus. He then fled Prague for his life. By the fall of that year, Hus was ordered to appear in Italy to explain why he disobeyed papal orders. He ignored the summons, as well as the Archbishop’s attempt to excommunicate him, and continued to preach and carry on his duties at the chapel. In February of 1411, Hus was excommunicated yet again by a superior cardinal in Italy for not appearing before the Pope. After a series of battles and hearings in Prague, riots ensued and the King feared for control of the city. Finally, during the Roman council of 1412-1413, the cardinal declared Hus excommunicated for the last time and ordered that if Hus did not appear before the council in twenty days, the entire city of Prague, or any city that harboured Hus, would be under interdict. This meant that no one would be allowed to interact with Hus in anyway, and that wherever Hus was found, that place would have all church services suspended for three days. Hus again refused to appear before the council, only this time for the welfare of the people he retreated to the surrounding countryside. Lies and Deception From October of 1412 until Easter of 1413, it is unknown where he resided. He used this time to write several manuscripts including his most renowned document entitled “On The Church” in which he outlined his beliefs on how the true church should be governed—with Jesus Christ as its head. Meanwhile, kings and councils were plotting to ensnare Hus for the last time. When the Pope called for the next council, the King of Hungary and Germany, who had by now been deemed the Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope, designated that the council be held in his jurisdiction. He plotted with his half-brother, the King of Bohemia, to invite Hus to the council under the pretence of allowing him to present his views. Despite the eminent danger, Hus agreed to go having been promised safety under the King’s protection.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Two knights came to escort him to the council who firmly believed they were to protect Hus throughout his journey. On October 11, 1414, in the company of the two knights, he set off for Constance, Germany fully prepared to make his presentation before the council. The Pope lifted the interdict and Hus and the knights experienced a peaceful journey and were welcomed upon their arrival. They stayed together in the home of a widow for one month before being summoned by the Pope. Although one of the knights’ sensed danger, Hus calmed him down and agreed to go. After arriving at the Pope’s residence, Hus was questioned by a Franciscan theologian. Later that evening, Hus was told he would have to remain but the knights could leave. When they resisted, they were assured that Hus would be taken care of since he had been brought this far in order to state his case before the council. Reluctantly they left him in the hands of his inquisitors and eight days later Hus found himself in a dark dungeon on an island off the shore of Lake Constance. He was held there for three and a half months, never having the opportunity to present his position to anyone. The Next Six Months Now it was January 1415, and Hus was being roughly interrogated about whether or not he agreed with all of Wycliffe’s forty-five articles. When Hus finally managed to calm his interrogators down, they agreed to allow him to submit his response in writing. Hus wasn’t prepared to address every detail of Wycliffe’s articles, that’s not what he had come to Germany to discuss. Hus did not agree with everything Wycliffe wrote and did not base his doctrine completely on Wycliffe’s beliefs. He had his reservations regarding thirty-two of the articles and stated that he could only partially support thirteen of them. Hus did not hear a word back for another several months. His health was beginning to fail due to his living conditions in the prison. By spring, the King revoked the safe conduct passes that had been issued to anyone still in Constance. Finally, his former close friend and associate, Palec, was assigned the task of preparing a list of errors from Hus’ own writings. Palec compiled a twenty-page thesis outlining Hus’ errors, embellishing it with other accusations. When Hus received a copy, he found it full of lies and malice, yet he answered every error listed and accusation made in one night. He humbly requested that he be shown where any of his replies were not consistent with Scripture, and added that if this were so, he would recant. Hus’ supporters in Prague were up in arms over the news of his arrest and almost five hundred noblemen signed a petition demanding his release. Though these nobles were ordered to appear before the council, they refused. The council was preoccupied with deposing Pope John XXIII for immoral crimes including murder and sodomy for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. The changing of the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

guard only meant a change of prisons for Hus. He was moved from the dungeon to a castle in Gottlieben where he was kept in strict isolation—his feet bound by day and one of his hands chained to the wall by night. The Trial The Czech and Polish nobles were finally able to intervene on Hus’ behalf stating that only a public trial would prove if Hus was guilty or not. After five months in prison, the council promised to hear Hus at a public meeting on June 5, 1415. When June 5th arrived, the council held the meeting without Hus. When word got to the nobles they demanded that the King intervene. The King ordered the meeting stopped until Hus was summoned. When Hus arrived, weak and filthy, he stood before his accusers. None of his supporters were allowed inside. Every time Hus attempted to give an answer, he was cut off, told to answer only “yes” or “no,” and if he did not answer quickly, it was taken as an admission of guilt. There was such an uproar, that the trial was reconvened for the following Friday when a weary Hus was brought in again to undergo the same battery of questions without truly being given the opportunity to speak. Finally the court ordered that Hus’ writings be condemned and Hus knew his fate was sealed. In a letter he wrote: “This is my final intention in the name of Jesus Christ: that I refuse to confess as erroneous the articles which have been truthfully abstracted and, to abjure [renounce] the articles ascribed to me by false witnesses. For God knows that I have never preached those errors which they have concocted.” The Sentence On the morning of July 6, 1415, Hus stood before the council one final time. He looked nothing like the former preacher and pastor, but was so frail he could hardly stand. Thirty articles were read against him. When he tried to protest he was told to keep silent and that he could speak at the end, but when the end came, he was not allowed to speak. The bishop stood and read the sentence. As an incorrigible heretic, he was to be stripped of his priestly office and turned over to the secular authorities and burned. His writings were also to be publicly burned at the same time. When Hus quietly asked if his writings had ever been read, the angry shouts quickly silenced him. Hus fell to his knees and prayed aloud, “Lord Jesus Christ, I implore Thee, forgive all my enemies for Thy great mercy’s sake.” Hus was ordered to mount a platform and put on priestly vestments. He stood holding the communion cup which was ripped from his hands as a curse was spat upon him. Hus loudly answered back, “I trust the Lord, Almighty God . . . that He will not take the cup of His salvation from me. I have the firm hope that I shall today drink of it in His Kingdom.” Then, after cutting his hair, they placed a paper crown upon his head depicting three devils fighting for his soul. They mocked and cursed him as they violently stripped his vestments from his body. After they humiliated him to their satisfaction, he was turned over to the soldiers.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

A procession of accusers, townspeople, and sympathizers followed as he was escorted out of town past a cemetery where his writings were already being burned. Nearby, stripped of all his clothing except a thin shirt, he fell to his knees one last time to pray. He was pulled up by his executioner and tied to a stake with wet rope, his neck secured to the pole by a rusty chain. Bundles of wood and hay were stacked around him up to his chin. Before the fire was set, he was asked one last time to recant. Hus lifted his voice over the hush of the crowd and speaking in German said, “God is my witness that . . . the principal intention of my preaching and all of my other acts or writings was solely that I might turn men from sin. And in that truth of the Gospel that I wrote, taught, and preached in accordance with the sayings and expositions of the holy doctors, I am willing gladly to die today.” The executioners were ordered to set the fire and as the flames mounted, Hus was heard singing a hymn before the flames overtook him and his head bowed in prayer. Hus’ ashes were loaded in a cart and thrown into the Rhine River. Revenge of the Husites News of Hus’s execution shook Bohemia and nearly five hundred nobles gathered in Prague to protest his trial and death. They entered into a solemn covenant pledging to defend Hus’s teachings and the Czech reformation against all threats. Four years later, in 1419, the Husites were a force to be reckoned with. They refused to diplomatically resolve their disputes with the Catholic Church since the deception of the Hus trial, and from then on took matters in their own hands. If the Catholic councilmen held reformers in jail and refused to release them, the Husites would throw the councilmen out the window to their deaths. The Husites became a trained militia called the “Warriors of God.” They had fortified settlements, were armed with weapons, and used innovative battle strategies. They created a banner depicting the communion cup that became the symbol of the entire movement. The banner read, “Truth conquers.” It was said that the Husites created such fear by their fighting that an army once fled at the sight of their banner. For twenty-one years the Husites remained a force to be dreaded by governments and the Catholic Church. The legacy that Hus left behind changed the course of history. The next generation of great reformers, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and George Fox were influenced by his teachings. Martin Luther once said, “We are all Husites.” Through the Moravians (a Husite Branch), Hus’ influence reached John Wesley. Hus brought to light truths that are central to the message of Christ and have become the foundation of the modern Church. Works Consulted


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Matthew Spinka, John Hus’ Concept of the Church (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1966): 320. Matthew Spinka, John Hus: A Biography (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1968): 29. Bruce L. Shelley, “A Pastor’s Heart,” Christian History Magazine, 19, no. 4, issue 68:30. Thomas A. Fudge, “To Build a Fire,” Christian History Magazine, 19, no. 4, issue 68: 13-14. Spinka, John Hus’ Concept of the Church, 374-375 Ibid, 381 Paul Roubiczek and Joseph Kalmer, Warrior of God (London: Nicholson and Watson, 1947): 241 Fudge, 18 Liardon, God’s Generals, 109 Timothy George, The Reformation Connection,” Christian History Magazine 19; no. 4, issue 68:36.        

Even Roberts     Date  of  Birth  June  8th  1878   Death  Jan  29th  1951     Married:  Not  married   Children  None   Evan Roberts


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In Luke it does not say, “preach and faint not,” but “pray and faint not.” It is not difficult to preach. But while you pray, you are alone in some solitary place, fighting in a prayer-battle against the powers of darkness. And you will know the secret of victory.1

More than anything else, Evan Roberts was a man of prayer. Yes, the whole world felt the impact of revival that swept Wales from November 1904 through 1905, but certainly the extent of his public influence was a direct result of his personal commitment to prayer. More than a 100,000 Welsh came to Christ during an unprecedented nine months of intense revival that closed bars and cancelled sporting events. It triggered revival around the world, including the famous Azusa Street revival of 1906 which forever changed the landscape of Twentieth Century Christianity. As with all great heroes of the faith, a deep hunger for the Word of God and an unquenchable thirst for more of the Spirit of God began at an early age. Of his early years, he later wrote “I said to myself: I will have the Spirit . . . for ten or eleven years I have prayed for revival. I could sit up all night to read or talk about revivals. It was the Spirit who moved me to think about revival.” Because of his unique desire for the Lord, Evan gave himself to fervent prayer and intercession. So much so, that by the time he was twenty-one years old, he was known by some as a “mystical lunatic.” It was during this period that Evan would get so caught up in the Lord that he reported his bed shaking. He would awaken every night at 1:00 a.m. to be “taken up into divine fellowship” and would proceed to pray until 5:00 a.m. when he would fall back to sleep for four hours before waking again at 9:00 a.m. continuing in prayer until noon. The Dawn of Revival By December 1903, Evan knew in his heart that God had planned a great revival for the Welsh community. Although he had been accepted to Bible college, he could not continue his studies because of his desire to preach and pray. Throughout that year Evan wrestled over what was expected of him and what he felt the Lord calling him to do. He battled with depression, which would prove a life-long struggle for him, eventually rendering him ineffective as a minister. But in September of 1904, Roberts discovered a breakthrough as he sat listening to the evangelist Seth Joshua plead with the Spirit to “Bend us! Bend us!” Later that night, Roberts cried out to the Lord, “Bend me! Bend me!” and fully surrendered to the will of God, allowing His compassion to fill him. It was the very next month that Roberts had his first vision. While strolling in a garden, Evan looked up to see what seemed to be an arm outstretched from the moon, reaching down into Wales. He later told a friend, “I have wonderful news for you. I had a vision of all Wales being lifted up to heaven. We are going to see the mightiest revival that Wales has ever known – and the Holy Spirit is coming just now. We must get ready.”


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

He obtained approval to begin a small series of meetings that began on October 31 at a small church. This quickly grew into a major revival that lasted two weeks. Soon, entire communities were transformed as the meetings increased in fervor, strong moves of intercession flooding the services, often lasting well into the night. Evan led the congregations and teams of intercessors in prayer sometimes until morning when crowds would already be gathered outside ready to begin another day of services. Nine months later, Wales was in the midst of a sweeping revival that ushered in a worldwide hunger for God that would change the course of modern Christianity. The Effect of Revival on a Nation One eye-witness of the revival said that what drew people to Evan “perhaps more than any other thing, was the unfeigned humility in all his actions.” His services were marked with laughing, crying, dancing, joy, and brokenness. Soon, the newspapers began covering them, and the revival became a national story. Political meetings were cancelled, theatres were closed down, and bars and casinos lost their customers. Most wonderfully, Christians from all denominations worshipped together as doctrinal differences fell by the wayside. Some of the reporters themselves were converted at the meetings. The revival spread with such fervour throughout the nation, that former prostitutes started holding Bible studies, while delinquent, bar-going husbands became a great joy and support to their families. Debtors paid their debts. Denominational barriers were broken, and eventually, national and racial barriers began to crumble. Women were welcome to participate in a public role for the first time in the history of Wales. They opened the meetings by leading in song and stirring testimonies; and continued to prayer, sing, and minister without restraint. The Foundation of Revival The foundation upon which the revival was built had a great deal to do with the softening of hearts. Evan Roberts based his principles of revival on four points; 1) Confess all known sin; 2) Search out all secret and doubtful things; 3) Confess the Lord Jesus openly; 4) Pledge that you will fully obey the Spirit. Repentance was a central theme in light of surrendering all to the Holy Spirit and putting the love of the Lord Jesus above everything. Revival begins in a heart completely sold out to seeing the Kingdom of God revealed on earth. A heart that seeks first God’s Kingdom, and His Righteousness. A heart consumed by God’s love, and committed to perpetuating righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; a heart hungry for holiness. Evan’s hunger for more of the Spirit was palpable and contagious. His sensitivity to the move of God and his ability to discern spiritual things left the crowds silent with anticipation. After waiting quietly upon the Spirit, he would suddenly call out a malady that someone in the audience was suffering and they would be instantly


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

healed, or a habit that held a listener in bondage that they would instantly be freed from. He might suddenly leave the building in search of a passerby to reveal a sin that held that person captive from which they would be compelled to cry out and repent. Soon, word of the Welsh revival spread to other nations. The people of South Africa, Russia, India, Ireland, Norway, Canada, and Holland rushed to Wales. Many came to carry a portion of this revival back to their own nations. Such was the case with California evangelist and journalist, Frank Bartleman, who wrote to Roberts about how to bring revival to America. Evan corresponded several times with Bartleman, each time listing the principles for revival while encouraging him to pursue it, and assuring him of prayers from Wales. Barlteman would later record the events of the Azusa Street Revival that originated in Southern California in 1906. There is no doubt that the revival in Wales started a worldwide hunger for God. Confusion, Collapse, and Confinement By 1905, Roberts’ mind became confused from physical and emotional exhaustion. He began hearing conflicting voices in his head and doubted his ability to distinguish the voice of the Spirit among them. He would rebuke his listeners for not being pure of heart, while he became increasingly obsessed with examining his own self for unconfessed sin. He feared most that he would be exalted instead of God and became overly critical of his audiences and church leaders. He entered into a period when he would withdraw for days at a time. When he would finally emerge, he might suddenly leave a meeting in frustration, or decide at the last minute not to show up at all. His final downfall came when he was invited to participate in an Easter convention for ministers and church leaders in the summer of 1906. It was there that he spoke on what he called his “new burden”—the identification with Christ through suffering. Soon afterwards, he became tremendously overstrained, and had a complete breakdown. It was at this conference that he was introduced to Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis. She also preached on “suffering with Christ” and although she was a wealthy, influential woman, her ministry was rejected in Wales because of serious doctrinal conflicts. When Mrs. Penn-Lewis heard Evan’s message on the cross, she aligned herself with him in hope of being accepted among the Welsh leadership. She convinced Evan of her allegiance, and sympathized with the abuses he was suffering because of what she told him was his excellent teaching. In his weakened condition, Evan succumbed to her influence, and after suffering a severe nervous breakdown, allowed Mr. and Mrs. Penn-Lewis to transport him by train to their estate in England. They built their new home around his needs, including a bedroom, prayer room, and private stairway. It was there that the great revivalist was confined to bed for more than a year.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Evan became ever more isolated and reclusive as years passed. He refused to see friends, and eventually family. He allowed Penn-Lewis to dictate who he would see, and what he would do. They wrote a number of books together, the first one, War on the Saints, was published in 1913. Mrs. Penn-Lewis stated the book was birthed from six years of prayer and testing the truth. Within a year after the book was published, Roberts denounced it. He was quoted as saying it had been a “failed weapon which had confused and divided the Lord’s people.” The Penn-Lewis Years Though his opinion eventually changed, during the years of writing War on the Saints, Evan seemed mesmerized by Penn-Lewis, saying, “I know of none equal to her in understanding of spiritual things, she is a veteran in heavenly things.” During his years of recovery with Penn-Lewis, they formed a team that not only published numerous booklets on spiritual warfare, but also a magazine called "The Overcomer" that was widely distributed throughout the world. In 1913, Penn-Lewis decided to discontinue the magazine and started holding “Christian Workers’ Conferences” where she would preach and Roberts would be confined to holding counselling sessions. When the conferences became less popular over the years, Evan found his outlet through the School of Prayer started during the Swansea Convention of 1908. He taught how to intercede for families, ministers and churches, and wrote essays on various aspects and degrees of prayer. Several ministers of that day commented that everything they knew about prayer came from Evan’s teaching. Eventually, Evan Roberts stopped teaching and writing, and pulled away to focus exclusively on his own prayer life. He would pray mostly in private, interceding for Christian leaders and believers around the world. Evan remained inside the walls of the Penn-Lewis home for eight years. The Lonely Road Home Sometime between 1919 and 1921 he moved to Brighton in Sussex. He purchased a typewriter and began to write several booklets that were never successful. In 1926 his father became ill and he returned to Wales for a visit. When Mrs. Penn-Lewis died of lung disease in 1927, Evan relocated to his home country permanently. When his father passed away in 1928, he did something unusual at the funeral. He suddenly interrupted the sombre eulogy declaring, “This is not a death but a resurrection, Let us bear witness to this truth.” Of that day, one person remarked, “Something like electricity went through us. One felt that if he had gone on there would have been another revival then and there.” Soon afterward, there was indeed a short revival when Evan was asked to take part in a special service locally. News travelled quickly and soon visitors came from all over to again hear Evan Roberts speak. For a time, he ministered with a renewed


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

grace and power. Evan prayed for healings and deliverances and operated in the gift of prophecy. Healings, conversions, and answered prayers were the talk of the day with people clogging the streets to get a glimpse or take part. It was only a short year later when Roberts totally disappeared from private life. By 1931, Roberts was nearly a forgotten man. He stayed in a room provided by Mrs. Oswald Williams and spent the last years of his life writing poetry and letters. He kept a daily journal and enjoyed watching sports and theater. In May of 1929, Evan had to stay in bed all day for the fist time. He became increasingly weak. And then, at the age of seventy-two, on a wintry day in January 1951, Evan Roberts passed away. He was buried in the family plot on January 29, 1951. It was not until many years later that a memorial column was raised there commemorating this former coal miner’s efforts to stir international revival from his small town in Wales. Works Consulted 1. The Revival Library                

Billy Sunday   Date  of  Birth  Nov  19th  1862   Death  Nov  6th  1935   Married  Jan  31st  1892   Children  Four   William Ashley “Billy” Sunday


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

"Faith is a warrior invading the enemy's country and burning every bridge behind, for it expects to live there. Faith makes no provision for relapse. Faith is going to the goal for a touchdown. Faith will put the ball over the fence in the last half of the ninth inning, score 3 to 0 against you, bases full, two men out and two strikes and three balls called on you."

William Ashley “Billy” Sunday began his career in the public eye as a professional baseball player, but he ended it as one of the most prominent and enigmatic evangelists in America in the early 1900s. He was known not only for his evangelism, but also for his social influence in implementing the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, as well as his support of the war effort during World War I. With his colourful approach and fiery sermons, Sunday won many to faith in Christ and used his status as a public figure to speak a message of morality to American society. On November 19, 1862, Billy Sunday was born in Bina, Iowa. Only a month after he was born, his father—a solider in an army camp in Patterson, Missouri—died tragically of pneumonia. Now widowed, his mother was faced with the grim prospect of raising three sons alone. Sunday spent most of his childhood in poverty, and when he was thirteen, he was sent to an orphanage in Glenwood, Iowa, along with his older brother. Eventually Sunday ran away from the orphanage, worked a series of odd jobs to support himself, and moved to Marshalltown, Iowa. It was there that he discovered his first great love. Billy Sunday excelled as an athlete, and whatever spare time he could find, he played baseball for the local team. One afternoon the celebrated player and team manager Cap Anson came to watch Sunday play and soon after signed him on to the Chicago White Stockings. Sunday’s fame grew with his skill, and he was acknowledged as the champion sprinter of the National League. Over the course of eight more years, Sunday would play for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia teams, setting records and enjoying the blessings God bestowed upon him. During his baseball career, Sunday was invited to attend a service at the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. One night in 1886, Sunday decided to give his life to Christ, and he began attending services at the Mission regularly. Two years later he married Helen Thompson, and in 1889 Helen gave birth to a baby girl. Even though he had everything he could ever want—fame, wealth, and family—Sunday knew he was missing something in his life. In 1891, he decided to devote more time and energy to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and accepted a job as the secretary of the religious department. He’d been stealing bases, but the Lord was ready for him to steal souls for God’s Kingdom. Evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman, who often held revival meetings across the country, visited Sunday in 1894 and offered to hire him as an assistant. With Chapman, Sunday got his feet wet in the world of evangelism. In 1896, Chapman decided to begin pastoring a church and left his nationwide ministry, and Sunday struck out on his own. During the first week of his revival meetings in Garner, Iowa, one hundred


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

people accepted Jesus Christ, and this was just the beginning. In 1903 he was ordained as a minister by the Presbyterian Church, and Sunday began his ministry in earnest. Sunday found that his success as a professional athlete had already made him a household name in the Midwest and the East, and his background in baseball provided him with a rich store of images, metaphors, and stories he could sprinkle throughout his sermons. He also was known to throw imaginary baseballs, hit homeruns, and slide into home while he preached to further underscore his message. Sunday’s energy in the pulpit was contagious, and both men and women found Sunday’s masculine Christianity appealing. He considered himself a warrior for Christ, and challenged men to be “real men” who could “stand up and give battle to the devil.” He despised the notion that a Christian could be considered “…a sort of dish-rag proposition, a wishy-washy, sissified sort of galoot that lets everybody make a doormat out of him.” Sunday embodied a virile, blunt, and brawny Christianity and declared, “Let me tell you the manliest man is the man who will acknowledge Jesus Christ.” Along with this emphasis on rugged manliness, Sunday encouraged new converts and seasoned saints alike to support the American war effort in buying bonds, conserving resources, and enlisting in the military. As most popular evangelists of his day, Sunday was not without his critics. He knew little about theology and had no oratorical training. Mainstream journalists critiqued Sunday’s willingness to call people to a faith that church critics claimed he knew nothing about. Sunday was also attacked for his business-like manner in running his revivals, and the sizeable income that resulted. Nevertheless, Sunday’s appeal to America was undeniable. Many Americans found Sunday’s success story truly inspiring. “I have butted and fought and struggled since I was six years old. If ever a man fought hard, I have fought for everything I have ever gained,” Sunday would sometimes remark in his sermons. Sunday continued to travel across U.S. In 1917, Sunday embarked on a ten week campaign to New York, and over 98,000 people came to trust in Jesus Christ. In his later years his popularity began to wane, as technologies and national attention began to shift from “big tent” preaching after World War I. Nonetheless, Billy Sunday remained in demand as a speaker and preacher until his death in 1935.



Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

                                William  J  Seymour   Date  of  Birth  May  2nd  1870   Death  Sep  28th  1922     Married  May  13th  1908     Children  None     “The Catalyst of Pentecost”


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

When people run out of the love of God, they get to preaching dress, and meats, and doctrines of men and preaching against churches. All these denominations are our brethren... So let us seek peace and not confusion... The moment we feel we have all the truth or more than anyone else, we will drop.

William J.Seymour is best known for ushering in the Pentecostal Movement that began with the Azusa Street mission in 1906. He was one of the first to preach and minister around the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. As hungry believers sought this experience, as they prayed and pressed God to baptize them with fire, revival broke out in Southern California that gained momentum and sparked a Pentecostal “wave of the Spirit” that revolutionized evangelism and worship across the nation. Seymour’s “Azusa Street Revival” gave rise to several charismatic denominations, as well as introducing the “nondenominational” Christianity so common today. The Journey to Self-Discovery Born in Centerville, Louisiana on May 2, 1870, to newly freed slaves, William J. Seymour grew up during a time of racial unrest and injustice. Although they were free, his family continued to work the plantation afraid to go elsewhere. Seymour taught himself to read primarily through studying the Bible. It was there he learned his freedom lay in Jesus Christ. His hunger for the truth of God’s Word increased throughout his youth, and from early in life he experienced divine visions and looked fervently for the return of Christ. It wasn’t until William was twenty-five years old that he broke through a selfimposed bondage that he was inferior because of his race, and finally ventured away from the mentality of the plantation to seek a livelihood in the North. He settled in Indianapolis, Indiana where he joined a Methodist Episcopal Church that had a strong evangelistic outreach to all classes and races. However, it wasn’t long before racial lines began to harden in Indianapolis and Seymour was forced to move to Cincinnati, Ohio to pursue his dream of cross-racial ministry. As a follower of John Wesley, Seymour aligned with his doctrine that there should be no discrimination in Jesus Christ, but the Methodist church in general was moving away from her original roots. Eventually Seymour joined the “Evening Light Saints” which would later become known as the Church of God Reformation Movement. These believers were strict in their beliefs about purity and holiness. They did not use musical instruments, wear rings or make-up, dance or play cards, but they were joyful in their faith and warmly accepting of William. It was among this group that Seymour received his call to ministry. He did not immediately yield to the call with his whole heart, and felt that a serious bout of smallpox, which left him blind in one eye and permanently scarred on one side of his face, was retribution for not more expediently obeying the call of God. Heeding the Call


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

And so when he recovered after three weeks of horrible suffering, William Seymour left Cincinnati and travelled to Texas, evangelizing along the way. He found family in Houston so settled down there, and in the summer of 1905, came upon Charles Parham’s evangelistic crusade in full swing. Parham had established a school of ministry in Houston where Seymour enrolled. After completing his studies there, the events that led Seymour to Los Angeles quickly transpired. It was early 1906 when William Seymour, in the midst of making plants to start a Pentecostal church, received a letter from a woman who had sat under his leadership during the short period of time he was substitute pastoring in Houston. She invited him to Los Angeles to lead a small congregation that had just broken away from a Nazarene church. Convinced the letter revealed his destiny, Seymour left for California late in January. When he arrived in Los Angeles, there was already evidence of a growing spiritual hunger. Turn of the century evangelists had sown the seeds of revival through Southern California and many groups of people were praying and witnessing throughout the city. The entire city was on the verge of a great spiritual happening as many local congregations were earnestly seeking God. One such congregation eagerly awaited the return of their pastor who had been on a three-week trip to Wales. He had gone to sit under the great Welsh evangelist, Evan Roberts. This pastor hoped to bring the same revival that swept Wales home to Los Angeles. The congregation that sought Seymour as their pastor was meeting in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Asbery when they grew so large that they had to rent a small mission hall on Sante Fe Street. Believing a stranger to the Los Angeles area could be more effective at commanding respect among them, a cousin of Mr. Asbery remembered Seymour from her visit to Houston. After hearing her testimony and praying at length, they all agreed to extend Seymour the invitation.

Delivering the Message Because there was already a revival climate city-wide, Seymour felt he had stepped into divine destiny as he began to deliver his message to the group assembled at the mission hall on Sante Fe Street. He did not hesitate to make the most of this opportunity to expound on the gospel of divine healing and the soon return of Christ. He made no hesitation in setting forth his belief, based on Acts 2:4, that a person is not baptized in the Holy Spirit unless they speak with other tongues. He admitted that he had not yet received this manifestation, but nevertheless, proclaimed it as God’s Word. His message was received with mixed reactions. He was invited home to dinner by a couple in the congregation, and found upon returning, that he had been locked out


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

of the mission where he was staying. Having no place to go, and little money, the couple who hosted him for dinner felt obligated to invite him to stay overnight in their home. Seymour remained in his room behind closed doors fasting and praying for several days. He then invited his hosts to join him in prayer, and soon other members of the mission gathered with them upon hearing of the prayer meetings. Seymour gained new respect as his reputation grew as being a man of prayer. Not long after he was invited before the Holiness clergy in the area to discuss his doctrinal beliefs. He clung to his interpretation of Acts 2:4, and told the Holiness preachers that unless they had the same experience as those who had gathered in the Upper Room, they could not claim to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. He declared that their dispute was with the Word of God and not him. One minister who had been against Seymour would later say, “The contention was all on our part. I have never met a man who had such control over his spirit. No amount of confusion and accusation seemed to disturb him. He would sit behind that packing case and smile at us until we were all condemned by our own activities.” The Mantle of Leadership The calming leadership of William Seymour was noticed by all. Following his investigation, in February 1906, the Asbery’s asked him to move into their home where he began holding regular meetings. The meetings grew in attendance and hunger for the Holy Spirit, and soon Seymour announced they would hold a ten-day fast until they received the blessing of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The group fasted and prayed through the weekend and by Monday one of the members called Seymour to his home to pray for his healing. He was healed instantly and when Seymour was asked to lay hands on him to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Seymour did and the man began shouting in other tongues. The two walked together back to the Asbery house for the evening prayer meeting. When they arrived, every room was packed with people already praying. Seymour took charge of the meeting, leading the group in songs, testimonies, and more prayer. When Seymour told the story of this man’s healing and subsequent baptism, the man raised his hands and began to speak in other tongues. The entire group fell to their knees worshipping God and crying out for the baptism. Then, six or seven people lifted their voices and began to speak in another tongue. People rushed outside prophesying and preaching. It was said that the front porch became the pulpit and the street the pews. For three days they celebrated what they declared “early Pentecost restored.” It was during the third night of these meetings, on April 12, 1906, after everyone had left, that Seymour himself was finally filled and began speaking in other tongues. 312 Azusa Street


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Everyone knew another meeting place had to be found quickly as so many were flocking to the Asbery house to see and experience what was happening in the Spirit. On April 14, 1906, Seymour and his elders set out find the perfect place. They wandered the local area until they came upon a dead-end street where an industrial business section once flourished. It was in a former Methodist Church that had been remodelled for other purposes. When a fire destroyed the second floor, the cathedral-shaped roof was flattened and covered with the tar. Now the building was being used for storage upstairs and a stable below. Seymour was offered the building for eight dollars a month. People came from all over to help restore the property. They did a quick job of renovating the building, and it was just in time to receive the swell of crowds who would come seeking hope and restoration after the great San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906. The next day shocks were felt throughout Los Angeles, and even the wealthy fled to Azusa to seek refuge in God’s Word and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the services ran continuously for ten to twelve hours; sometimes they ran for several days and nights. Some said the congregation never tired because they were so energized by the Holy Spirit. Many gathered after the services in the early morning hours talking about the Lord under the streetlights. Azusa began operating day and night. The entire building had been organized for full use. Great emphasis was placed on the blood of Jesus, inspiring the group to a higher standard of living. Divine love began to manifest, allowing no unkind words to be spoken of another. The people were careful to make sure that the Spirit of God wouldn’t be grieved. Both rich and poor, unlearned and educated, sat together on the makeshift pews. Gathering Spiritual Momentum It was said that the power of God could be felt at Azusa, even outside of the building. Scores of people were seen dropping into a prostrate position in the streets before they ever reached the missions. Then many would rise, speaking in tongues without any assistance from those inside. By summer, crowds had reached staggering numbers, often into the thousands. The scene had become an international gathering—one witness described it as follows: “Every day trains unloaded numbers of visitors who came from all over the continent. New accounts of the meeting had spread over the nation in both the secular and religious press.” Many newly baptized in the Holy Spirit, would feel called to a certain nation. Men and women were now departing for Scandinavia, China, India, Africa, Egypt, Ireland, and other nations. Robert Semple had a friend tell him about the miraculous events he had experienced at the meetings. Semple excitedly told his new bride, Aimee Semple McPherson, all he had heard before they left for China. When Robert later


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

died there, Aimee returned to America and settled in Los Angeles from where her phenomenal ministry would rise. When John G. Lake visited the Azusa Street meetings, he was deeply touched by Seymour. He would later recount in his book Adventures With God, “It was not what he said in words, it was what he said from his spirit to my heart that showed me he had more of God in his life than any man I had ever met up to that time. It was God in him that attracted the people.” In September of 1906, due to popular demand, Seymour began a publication entitled, The Apostolic Faith, which grew to twenty thousand subscribers within a few months. This number had more than doubled by the following year. The Rising Tide of Persecution When some members arrived at the mission early one morning to find the words “Apostolic Faith Mission,” they felt betrayed by Seymour’s willingness to align himself with the denominational influence of his former mentor Charles Parham. They did not want to become just another in Parham’s large network of churches and Bible schools. One observer wrote, “From that time, the trouble and division began. It was no longer a free Spirit for all as it had been. The work had become one more rival party and body, along with the other churches and sects of the city.” Division continued to plague the Azusa mission. Seymour’s trusted secretary left with the mailing list of fifty thousand names to rally the support of the centers that had earlier been established in Seattle and Portland. She mailed the May, 1908 edition of Seymour’s popular publication from Portland requesting that all contributions be sent to the offices in Oregon from now on. No article written by Seymour appeared by the June issue and by midsummer 1908, all references to Los Angeles were omitted entirely. The lists were never returned so that Seymour was unable re-establish his subscription base and thus ended the dramatic era of Azusa. The Sun Sets on Azusa Street Throughout 1909 and 1910, Seymour continued his ministry at Azusa, though the number of people decreased dramatically. He was forced to leave two young men in charge of the mission and take to the road in order to raise the needed funds to maintain the mission. While he was on his cross-country preaching tour in early 1911, a man by the name William Durham was invited to hold meetings at Azusa in Seymour’s place. Hundreds once again flocked to the mission to hear Durham’s dramatic preaching. Many of the old Azusa workers, from various parts of the world, returned to the mission for what they called “the second shower of the Latter Rain.” At one service, over five hundred people had to be turned away. The last conflict at Azusa took place between Seymour and Durham. The two differed greatly in their theology. Durham preached that people could not lose their salvation if they sinned, but were saved by faith. Seymour, believing that sins of the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

flesh would indeed cause a believer to lose their eternal reward, quickly returned to Los Angeles to confront Durham. Unable to come to an agreement in their doctrine, Seymour locked Durham out of the mission. Durham, unshaken, secured a nearby two-story building that seated more than one thousand people, and continued to hold his increasingly popular meetings. The second story of his building served as a widely sought prayer centre that was open day and night. Thousands were saved, baptized, and healed there while the old Azusa Mission became virtually deserted. Finishing the Race In 1921, William Seymour made his last ministry campaign across America. When he returned to Los Angeles in 1922, people began to notice he looked very weary. He attended many ministry conventions, but was never publicly recognized from the platform. Finally, on September 28, 1922, while at the mission, Seymour suffered a heart attack. Later that day his heart failed him completely and he went home to be with the Lord. Though the legacy and ministry of William J. Seymour seems heartbreaking, the results of his efforts between 1906 and 1909 produced and exploded the Pentecostal Movement around the world. Today, many denominations attribute their founding to the participants of Azusa. Most of the early Assembly of God leaders came out of Azusa—and probably everyone in the Pentecostal Movement today can attribute his or her roots in some way to Azusa. Regardless of doctrinal disputes, William Seymour’s ministry ignited Pentecostal revival around the world.    

Maria Woodworth-­‐Etter       Date  of  Birth  July  22nd  1844   Died    1924   Married:  Twice  1875  &  1902   Children  Six    Maria Woodworth-Etter

I have been in great dangers; many times not knowing when I would be shot down, either in the pulpit, or going to and from meetings…But I said I would never


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

run, nor compromise. The Lord would always put His mighty power on me, so that He took all fear away, and made me like a giant…If in any way they had tried to shoot, or kill me, He would have struck them dead, and I sometimes told them so.¹

Within a short time after Maria Woodworth-Etter responded to God’s call to “go out in the highways and hedges and gather in the lost sheep,”² and people were thronging to hear her speak with signs and wonders following. By 1885, without a public address system, crowds of over twenty-five thousand pressed in to hear her minister while hundreds fell to the ground under the power of God.³ WoodworthEtter not only shook up denominational religion, she rocked the secular world with life-altering displays of God’s power. Those who came to investigate, condemn, or harass her seemed most at risk of “falling out” in what was described as a trance-like state. Maria preached that these strong manifestations of the Spirit were “nothing new; they were just something the Church had lost.” 4 She was unwavering in her determination to break the strongholds that held people, communities, and whole cities in bondage. It seemed the more opposition she faced, the more she dug in her heels. Maria produced invincible strength through tenacious prayer that enabled her to take authority and minister with grace and power. She was known as a revivalist who could break towns open. Maria Woodworth-Etter did not immediately heed the Lord’s call to evangelistic ministry in her life. As a single woman in the latter part of the nineteenth century, she felt the need to position herself by first obtaining an education and then marrying a missionary. Her well thought-out plans were interrupted when her father suddenly died in a farming accident and she was left with the burden of helping support her family. She met P.H. Woodworth upon his return from the Civil War, and after a brief courtship, they married and took up farming. Over the course of time, P.H. and Maria became the parents of six children. Farming life proved difficult and they struggled with the demands of making a living and raising a family. Maria was frustrated that she couldn’t answer the call to ministry due to the demands of her life on the farm as a wife and mother of a growing family. She battled illness and disappointment that her husband did not share her desire for ministry. Then overwhelming tragedy struck as the Woodworth’s lost five of their six children to illness. P.H. never recovered from this loss and Maria did her best to support him while raising their only surviving daughter. Instead of growing bitter, Maria applied the Word of God to her heart. She came to understand through her study of the Bible that God had used women as ministers, prophets, and leaders. From the prophecy of Joel she read that God would pour out his Spirit on both men and women. Still, she felt inadequate and illequipped to be of useful service to the Lord. She continued to study and later wrote, “The more I investigated, the more I found to condemn me.”5


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Then Maria had a vision. Angels came into her room and took her to the West, over prairies, lakes, forests, and rivers where she saw a long, wide field of waving grain. As the view unfolded she began to preach and saw the grains begin to fall like sheaves. Then Jesus told her that, “just as the grain fell, so people would fall” as she preached.6 Finally, Maria yielded to the increasingly clear call and asked the Lord to anoint her for ministry. And the Lord did. Shortly after she began ministering to small groups in her community, churches began inviting her to speak to their congregations. The result was always a deep conviction among the hearers as they fell to the floor weeping. Soon she was invited westward and began travelling extensively. It wasn’t long before she had held nine revivals, preached two hundred sermons, and started two churches with Sunday school memberships of over one hundred people. God honoured Maria’s dedication and faithfulness restoring her heart and the years she had lost. But it was not until she preached at a church in western Ohio that the meaning of her vision about the sheaves of wheat became clear. Here the people fell into what seemed like “trances”—an altered state which would come to profoundly mark her ministry and confound the wise of her day. “Fifteen came to the altar screaming for mercy. Men and women fell and lay like dead,” Maria recounted. “After laying on the floor for some time, they sprang to their feet shouting praises to God. The ministers and elder saints wept and praised the Lord for His ‘Pentecost Power’”7—and from that meeting on, her ministry would be marked by this particular manifestation with hundreds miraculously healed, and hundreds more coming to Christ. At every meeting she held, there was a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. One reporter wrote, “Vehicles of all sorts began pouring into the city at an early hour—nothing short of a circus or a political rally ever before brought in so large a crowd.”8 Maria couldn’t answer all the invitations she received to minister, but the ones she did accept created a national stir that has never been silenced. The writings of then young F.F. Bosworth described the spectacular meetings that took place in Dallas, Texas, from July through December. As a result, Dallas became a hub of the Pentecostal revival. Along with Maria’s ministry success came great pressures and severe persecution. It was during a controversial crusade in Oakland, California—where she had met with unusually challenging opposition—she decided to leave her unfaithful husband after his infidelity had been exposed. After twenty-six stormy years of marriage, they were divorced in January of 1891. In less than a year, P.H. remarried and publicly slandered Maria’s character. He died not long after on June 21, 1892, of Typhoid Fever. God, however, continued to honour Maria. As she persistently sowed, laboured, and reaped a momentous harvest for the Lord, God sent her a true friend and partner in Samuel Etter. Again her sorrow was turned to joy as the two were married in 1902.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Samuel became a vital part of Maria’s ministry in every capacity and the two colaboured for Christ until his death twelve years later. Maria never wavered in her dedication to the healing and evangelistic ministry she was so powerfully called to. She seemed invincible in her ability to carry on in the face of tragedy and opposition. Her fame for miraculous healings and revival services grew, as did her critics. But God silenced them all. She has been called the grandmother of the Pentecostal movement. None has done more than Maria Woodworth-Etter to shed light on the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, the role of women in ministry, and the power of miracle crusades to revive a nation. In addition, she brought insight on how to effectively administrate massive miracle crusades, build sustainable ministry centres and manage opposition in the public arena. Her commitment and dedication personally influenced such great heroes of the faith as Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, E.W. Kenyon, F.F. Bosworth, and Kathryn Kuhlman. Her legacy is evidenced by the ongoing ministry work of healing evangelists around the world. Though, for the last six years of her life, she confined herself to ministering from the Tabernacle she had erected in Indianapolis, ID, her healing anointing remained as powerful as ever. She continued to speak with power from the Word of God until her very last days. As she became weaker, she was carried in a chair to the pulpit, and finally ministered a touch of healing or a word of hope from her bed. In 1924, at the age of eighty, Maria B. Woodworth-Etter fell into a deep sleep and went home to be with the Lord. Her passing was mourned by all whose lives she touched and was felt by the entire nation. She ministered God’s healing power with the last ounce of her strength, proclaiming God’s love with the last of her breath.

Works Consulted 1

Maria Woodworth-Etter, “A Sermon for Women,” A Diary of Signs & Wonders (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, Reprinted from 1916 ed.), 184 2

Wayne E. Warner, “Neglect Not the Gift That Is In Thee,” Etter Sermon from The Woman Evangelist (Metuchen, NJ and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1986), 7



Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

                              Charles  Spurgeon   Date  of  Birth  June  19th  1834     Died  Jan  31st  1892   Married    1856  Susannah  Thompson     Children  Twin  sons  

Charles H. Spurgeon


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

“I would go into the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.”

With a voice that could captivate thousands, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s eloquent and dynamic preaching brought understanding and freshness to the word of God for everyday people in nineteenth century London. Spurgeon’s dedication to preaching and ministering to the common masses made him a servant unlike other ministers in his day. While some called his style “vulgar and theatrical,” Spurgeon maintained that there was value in speaking to people in language relevant to them. He was aflame with a passion to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and draw everyone into faith. Even as he battled harsh criticism, bad health, and chronic depression, Spurgeon remained faithful to his calling to become one of the most compelling preachers of his time, and to this day has more material in print than any other Christian author. Born in 1834 in Kelvedon, Essex, to a family of Independent ministers, Spurgeon grew up listening to sermons, singing hymns, and reading Christian works. Pilgrim’s Progress and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs were among his favorites and remained an influence on his understanding of spiritual life. Spurgeon was fifteen in the winter of 1850 when he decided to breach his family’s religious tradition and become a Baptist. He’d been traveling when a snowstorm diverted his trip and he found himself in a Primitive Methodist chapel where “God opened his heart to the salvation message.” This “accident” helped strengthen Spurgeon’s resolve “…that the truth was more likely to be found among the poor and humble than among the overeducated and refined.” A year later he preached his first sermon. In 1852 he became the pastor of a small Baptist church in rural Cambridgeshire, where he became known for his preaching, which most considered above average. Spurgeon’s reputation soon spread and led him out of Cambridgeshire and into London where he was called to the pastorate at New Park Street Chapel, London’s historic Baptist church. Spurgeon’s youth, dramatic style, and paradoxical beliefs blending Calvinism and Arminianism quickly brought criticism from the press and his peers. His dramatic and emotional approach to preaching inspired some critics to compare him to popular circus entertainers, while others dismissed his style as mere sensationalism. And his conviction that infant baptism was unscriptural (developed when he as still a schoolboy) alienated many evangelicals of his time, who practiced it as a form of family initiation. Despite these attacks, God allowed Spurgeon’s ministry to flourish, and his congregation multiplied rapidly. In fact, so many thousands of people flocked to hear him that he began preaching in places like London’s Exeter Hall and the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall which were large enough to accommodate his audiences. His fame and power as a preacher were growing, but the weight of his ministry would only intensify.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Spurgeon was holding his first service in Surrey Hall in October 1856. The building could accommodate twelve thousand people, but an additional ten thousand had gathered in the gardens. While Spurgeon was praying, a prankster shouted, “Fire! The galleries are giving way!” There was widespread panic, and in the rush to evacuate the building and premises, seven people died and twenty-eight were hospitalized. Spurgeon was inconsolable and had to be carried away from the pulpit. His depression lasted for several days, and he would carry the burden of that night for the rest of his life. A close friend commented about the affair, “I cannot but think, from what I saw, that [Spurgeon’s] comparatively early death might be in some measure due to the furnace of mental suffering he endured on and after that fearful night.” It wasn’t all darkness, though. That same year, Spurgeon married Susannah Thompson, a member of his congregation. Though she did not describe their relationship as “love at first sight,” Spurgeon was a determined suitor and finally won her heart. Before the year was out, Susannah gave birth to twin sons, Charles and Thomas. God blessed their marriage with steady and abiding love, and in Susannah, Spurgeon found comfort and consolation. In 1861, Spurgeon’s congregation moved permanently to the newly built Metropolitan Tabernacle. The new building could seat five thousand people and left standing room for an additional thousand. Although this afforded him less travel time from London, he remained busy with the duties of caring for his sizeable flock. The anxiety Spurgeon harbored over his responsibilities probably only aggravated the illness he first saw signs of in 1858, but he refused to slow his pace. Spurgeon felt he was accountable to God for the people in his care, and he would only settle for giving his all. “We are all too much occupied with taking care of ourselves…,”Spurgeon wrote, “A minister of God is bound to spurn the suggestions of ignoble ease, it is his calling to labour; and if he destroys his constitutions, I, for one, only thank God that he permits us the high privilege of so making ourselves living sacrifices.” The effects of his ministry were taking their toll on his body and mind. In 1869, Spurgeon was severely afflicted with gout and as well as periodic episodes with different illnesses that could incapacitate him for weeks or even months out of the year. With sinking spirits he battled depression, and tried to find God throughout his sufferings. However, Spurgeon’s assurance in God’s being in charge could not keep from letting the question, “why?” fall from his lips. The answer he seemed to receive was not an easy one, but one that he accepted with grace. “The way to stronger faith usually lies along the rough pathway of sorrow,” he said, “…I am afraid that all the grace that I have got out of my comfortable and easy fumes and happy hours, might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable.... Affliction is the best bit of furniture in my house. It is the best book in a minister’s library.”


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Spurgeon burned to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring people into relationship with God. His originality, energy, and charisma influenced countless lives as he reached into people’s hearts and spoke to them in a way that not many ministers were willing to do at the time. His resonant voice was a gift—before electronic amplification, Spurgeon’s voice could be heard by thousands who gathered to listen, and yet, he never seemed to be straining. When Spurgeon died in 1892, a funeral parade two miles long followed his hearse to the Upper Norwood, where his burial would take place. Along the way, a hundred thousand people lined the streets, and shops and pubs were closed. Despite his depression and illness, Spurgeon was steadfast and answered the call of God to bring the people into life with Jesus Christ. He was one of the greatest preachers of the Victorian age, and his witness still shines brightly for all to see. Works Consulted 1. Amundsen, Darrel W. “The Anguish and Agonies of Charles Spurgeon,” Christian History, 10,1 (1991). 2. Drummond, Lewis A. “The Secrets of Spurgeon’s Preaching,” Christian History, 10,1 (1991). 3. Kruppa, Patricia. “The Life and Times of Charles Spurgeon,” Christian History, 10,1 (1991). 4. Wikipedia, Accessed April 17th, 2006.


Smith Wigglesworth   Date  of  Birth  June  8th  1859   Died  March  12th  1947   Married    1882   Children  Five     “The Apostle of Faith”*


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

I saw that God wants us so badly that He has made the condition as simple as He possibly could—“Only Believe.”

It is arguable that there is no more significant patriarch of the Pentecostal Movement than Smith Wigglesworth. While he was not the catalyst for breakthrough revivals such as the one in Wales led by Evan Roberts in 1904 or that of the Azusa Street Mission in 1906 that was led by William Seymour, it was Smith Wigglesworth’s steady faith and staying power that made the Pentecostal revival the most significant Christian movement of the twentieth century. Where other Pentecostal ministers would emerge overnight and then disappear from the public scene almost as quickly, Smith Wigglesworth travelled widely from after the death of his wife in 1913 until not long before his death in 1947. During these decades his ministry of faith and miracles changed the face of Christianity and set the stage for the Charismatic Renewal that would restore the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the modern church. An Early Call To Evangelism Smith was born in a small village near Menston, Yorkshire in England on June 8, 1859. Smith’s younger years were marked by a hunger for God, even though his parents were not Christians at the time. His grandmother was an old-time Wesleyan, and she always made sure that Smith attended meetings with her when she could. When he was eight, he joined in with the singing at one of these meetings, and as he began, “a clear knowledge of the new birth” came to him. He realized in that moment just what the death and resurrection of Jesus meant for him, and he embraced it with his whole heart. From that day forth, he never doubted that he was saved. Soon he began operating as the evangelist, which would be most of his life’s focus. His first convert was his own mother. When his father realized what was happening, he started taking the family to an Episcopal church. Although his father was never born again, he enjoyed the parson, who just happened to frequent the same pub as he did, and remained a faithful church-goer through Smith’s youth. When he was thirteen, his family moved from Menston to Bradford, where Smith became deeply involved with the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Even though he couldn’t read, it was at this time that Smith began the habit of always having a copy of the New Testament with him wherever he went. Then in 1875 when Smith was about sixteen, the Salvation Army opened a mission in Bradford, and Smith found a powerful ally in his desire to see people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the meetings he attended with the Salvationists, he soon learned there was great power behind prayer and fasting. At seventeen, Smith met a Godly man at a mill who took him in as an apprentice and taught him the plumbing trade. He also told Smith about what the Bible taught on water baptism, and soon afterwards Smith gladly obeyed and was baptized in water.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

During this time, he also learned more about the second coming of Christ and strongly believed that Jesus would come at the turn of the century. This made him ever more vigilant to “change the course” of everyone he met. The Favour of God In 1877 at the age of nearly eighteen, Smith decided it was time to set out on his own. He went to the home of a plumber and asked for a job. When the plumber told him he had no need for any help, Smith thanked him, apologized for using his time, and turned to walk away. Immediately, the man called him back. He said, “There is something about you that is different. I just cannot let you go.”† At that, the man hired him on the spot. By the time Smith was about twenty, the man he worked for could not keep him busy anymore—he just worked too efficiently! So Smith moved to Liverpool to find more work. There he began to minister to the children of the city. Ragged and hungry children came to the dock shed, where he preached the Gospel to them and did his best to feed and clothe them from what he made as a plumber in the area. He also visited the hospitals and ships, praying and fasting all day on Sunday, asking God for converts. As a result, he never saw fewer than fifty people saved each time he ministered. He was also frequently invited by the Salvation Army to speak at their meetings, but though he saw great results, he was never eloquent. He often broke down and cried before the people because of his burden for souls, and it was this brokenness that brought people to the altar by the hundreds. Smith Meets Polly It was also around this time that Smith watched with great interest as a young, socially affluent woman came forward in one of the Salvation Army meetings and fell to her knees. She refused to pray with any of the workers until the speaker known as “Gypsy” Tillie Smith came and prayed with her. When they were done, the young woman jumped to her feet, threw her gloves in the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah! It is done!” The next night as she gave her testimony, Smith felt as if she belonged to him. As Smith later said, “It seemed as if the inspiration of God was upon her from the very first.”‡ The young woman’s name was Mary Jane Featherstone, but everyone called her “Polly.” She eventually received a commission as an officer in the Salvation Army from General William Booth. Smith did what he could to work near her, and in the coming years a romance bloomed between them. As Smith and Polly grew closer, Polly eventually faced the difficult decision of choosing either to continue with the Salvation Army or her love for Smith. Even though Smith never officially joined the Salvation Army, he was considered a private in their ranks, and Polly was an officer. There were strict regulations against officers and lower ranks having romantic relationships, so even though they always remained true friends of the Salvationists, Polly retired from their ranks and took up


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

mission work with the Blue Ribbon Army. Those in her Methodist church also recognized her calling and asked her to help evangelize their churches. Hundreds were converted as a result. A Divine Partnership Polly had from the beginning the eloquence Smith longed for but couldn’t learn. When in 1882, Smith returned to Bradford, he and Polly wed. Polly was twenty-two years old and Smith was twenty-three. In their thirty years of marriage, the Wigglesworths had five children: Alice, Seth, Harold, Ernest, and George. Before each child was born, Smith and Polly prayed over them that they would faithfully serve God throughout their lives. Smith and Polly had a burden for a part of Bradford that had no church, so they soon opened the Bradford Street Mission and began ministering together. Polly did most of the speaking, because she was the stronger and more accomplished of the two as an orator, and Smith oversaw the needs of the rest of the work. While she preached, he was at the altar praying for more to come to Christ. Of this relationship, Smith later said, “Her work was to put down the net; mine was to land the fish. This latter is just as important as the former.”§ A Cold Winter The winter of 1884 was very severe in Bradford, and plumbers were in high demand. As a result, a time of intense work began for Smith that would last for the next two years, and he became literally consumed by his natural occupation. His church attendance declined and slowly but surely his fire for God began to grow cold. In the light of Polly’s increasing faithfulness, Smith’s backsliding seemed all the more pronounced to the point that her diligence began to wear on him. Then one night, this came to a head when she came home from church a little later than usual. Smith confronted her: “I am master of this house, and I am not going to have you coming home at so late an hour as this!” Polly quietly replied, “I know that you are my husband, but Christ is my Master.”** At this, Smith forced her out the back door, then closed and locked it. However, in his annoyance, he had forgotten to lock the front door, so Polly simply walked around the house and came in through the main entrance, laughing. When Smith finally saw what he had done, he caught her laughter and realized how silly he had been. Together they laughed about the matter, but to Smith it was also a revelation of how cold he had grown in the things of God. Shortly afterward, he spent ten days praying and fasting in repentance, and God gloriously restored him. Smith Meets “The Lord that Healeth Thee” On a trip to Leeds for plumbing supplies, Smith heard of a meeting where divine healing was to be ministered. He attended and was amazed at what he saw. What


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

others saw as fanaticism, Smith recognized as sincere and of God. On his return to Bradford, he would search out the sick and pay for their way to attend the Leeds healing meetings. When his wife grew ill once, he told her about the meetings, somewhat afraid that she would think he had finally gone off the deep end. Instead, she accepted it and agreed to go to the meetings with him. When the prayer of faith was offered for her in Leeds, she received an instant manifestation of healing. They both became passionate about the message of divine healing and their meetings began to grow, causing them to need a larger mission space. Soon they obtained a building on Bowland Street and opened the Bowland Street Mission. Across the wall behind the pulpit they hung a large scroll which read: “I Am the Lord That Healeth Thee.”†† Not many years after this, in the first years of the 1900s, Smith received prayer for healing a haemorrhoid condition he had battled since childhood. He was soon fully healed and never had a problem with this condition for the rest of his life. Embracing Divine Healing Over the years that followed, the healing available through God increasingly became a part of Smith’s sermons and ministry, though healings were not frequent nor truly spectacular at first. Then those in the Leeds Healing Home recognized Smith’s faith and asked him to speak while they were away at a convention. Smith accepted only because he felt he could get someone else to do it once he was in charge of the meeting, but all others refused, insisting they felt God wanted him to speak. Smith ministered his sermon hesitantly, but at the close of the service fifteen people came forward for prayer, and all of them were healed! One of them had hobbled forward on crutches and began dancing around the room without them after Smith prayed for him. He had been instantly healed! No one was more surprised by the results of his prayers than Smith himself.

Desiring More of the Spirit In 1907, Pentecost had reached Sunderland, and Smith heard that people there were being baptized in the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues. Smith felt he had to see this for himself. Smith was among those who believed that sanctification and the baptism in the Holy Spirit were the same, so he felt he already had this baptism. Others warned him that these people in Sunderland were not receiving the Holy Spirit, but demons instead. Other friends with whom he prayed urged him to follow his own leadings. When he arrived at the meeting in Sunderland, which was being led by Vicar Alexander Boddy (who had attended some of Evan Roberts’ meetings in Wales during the Welsh Revival), he was surprised at the dryness of it in contrast to the moves of the Spirit he had experienced elsewhere, especially among the Salvationists. In fact, he grew so frustrated at this, he interrupted the meeting,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

saying, “I have come from Bradford, and I want this experience of speaking in tongues like they had on the day of Pentecost. But I do not understand why our meetings seem to be on fire, but yours do not seem to be so.”‡‡ Smith was so disruptive that they disciplined him outside of the building. Smith Receives the Baptism He soon decided he needed to return to Bradford, but before doing so decided to go to Vicar’s home and say, “Goodbye.” There he met Mrs. Boddy and told her he was returning home without speaking in tongues. She told him, “It is not tongues you need, but the baptism.”§§ Smith asked her to lay hands on him before he left. She agreed, praying a simple but powerful prayer, and walked out of the room. It was then that the fire fell, and Smith had a vision of the empty cross with Jesus exalted at the right hand of the Father. Smith opened his mouth to praise God and began instantly speaking in tongues. He knew immediately that what he had received of God now was much fuller than what he had received when praying and fasting and asking God to sanctify him. Instead of going home, Smith went to the church where Vicar Boddy was conducting the service and asked to speak. Vicar Boddy agreed. Smith then spoke as he never had before, and at the end of his “sermon” fifty people were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Even the local paper, the Sunderland Daily Echo, picked up the story and headlined the meeting and what Smith had experienced. Smith telegraphed home about what had happened. “That’s Not My Smith!” Upon arriving home in Bradford, Smith found a new challenge to what he had experienced. Polly met him at the door and firmly stated, “I want you to know that I am just as baptized in the Holy Spirit as you are and I don’t speak in tongues. . . . Sunday, you will preach for yourself, and I will see what there is in it.”*** When Sunday came, Polly did see what there was in it, as Smith preached with a power and assurance she had never heard in him before. She squirmed in her seat thinking, “That’s not my Smith, Lord. That’s not my Smith!” At the end of the sermon a worker stood to say he wanted the same experience Smith had received, and when he sat back down, he missed his chair and fell to the floor! Smith’s eldest son had the same experience. In a very short while there were eleven people on the floor, laughing in the Spirit. Then the entire congregation was absorbed in holy laughter, as God poured even more of His Spirit out upon them. In the coming weeks, hundreds in Bradford would receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speak with other tongues—one of whom was Polly. The couple soon began travelling throughout the country, answering calls to speak and minister. This experience also caused Smith to pursue God more than ever through prayer and fasting. He answered every request he could of those asking for divine healing. Sometimes he took a train to the nearest city and then borrowed a bicycle to ride


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

another ten miles to reach the person. Soon he had no more time for his plumbing work, so he vowed before the Lord that if he were ever in severe need again in his life, he would return to plumbing; otherwise, he would serve as a minister for the rest of his days. The Lord made sure Smith never returned to plumbing. Polly Goes Home to Be with the Lord Not long after this, while waiting at a train station to leave for Scotland, Smith received word that his beloved wife, Polly, had collapsed at the Bowland Street Mission from a heart attack. He rushed to her bedside only to discover her spirit had already departed. But Smith rebuked death, and she came back. Smith had just a short time to visit with his wife again, and then he was impressed that it was time for her to go home to be with her Lord and Savior, so he released her again. Polly passed away on January 1, 1913, and it was as if her dedication and spiritual power went with her husband after that and multiplied the effects of his ministry. Immediately, Smith started to minister again throughout the country, travelling with his daughter, Alice, and her husband, James “Jimmy” Salter. Smith continued to preach a simple Gospel of “only believe.” In a time when other ministers seemed frail and failing despite the enormous revivals that had come through their ministries, Smith soon rose to prominence in Pentecostal circles because of the undeniable power in his ministry and the uncompromising stability with which he operated. His convictions would never change in the next four decades, and Smith remained a growing force for God and Pentecostalism right up until his death in 1947. The Apostle of Faith and His Worldwide Ministry In the months following Polly’s passing, Smith’s fame in England grew, and in 1914 he began travelling abroad to minister. By the 1920s and 1930s there was no more sought-after speaker in Pentecostalism. Although he never accepted the cloak, his acknowledgement as the “Apostle of Faith” made the Pentecostal world look to him as one of its greatest patriarchs, even though he had never been involved in any of the revivals that started the movement. Miracles, healings, the dead being raised, and other signs and wonders followed his ministry as he continued in the uncompromising and blunt style that no one could ever emulate. Truth be told, Smith just never seemed to feel the need to be polite when chasing out sickness, disease, and other works of the devil. His sentiment was also that if the Spirit were not moving, then he would move the Spirit. This was not arrogance, but confidence in the work God wanted done on the earth. Smith would create an atmosphere of uncompromising faith in the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit would never fail to show up. In 1922 Smith travelled to New Zealand and Australia, among other places, and in a few short months saw thousands saved and several Pentecostal churches birthed in the greatest spiritual renewals either nation had ever seen. In 1936 he travelled to


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

South Africa and delivered to David du Plessis a profound prophecy of the upcoming revival of the Charismatic Renewal that would not even start until after Wigglesworth’s death. By this time Smith was in his seventies and probably the most well-known Pentecostal in the world. Going Home Then on March 12, 1947, while attending the funeral of a fellow minister, Smith bowed his head in the midst of a conversation and went home to be with the Lord without any pain or struggle at the age of 87. While Smith would never form his own denomination or write a book, let alone a systematic set of doctrines and theology, his simple faith still impacts believers today. His relationship with God produced power that had not been seen on the earth for many centuries. For this reason, God also showed him things that others only dreamed of seeing. He never wanted to be put on a pedestal and worshipped, but be instead, an example of what every Christian can experience if they would “only believe.” Works Consulted •

• • • • • • • •

*Adapted with Permission from The Smith Wigglesworth Prophecy and the Greatest Revival of All Time (Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Wilimington Group Publishers, 2005). †Stanley Howard Frodsham, Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1948), 15. ‡Ibid, 19-20. § Ibid., 22. **Ibid. †† Exodus 15:26. ‡‡Frodsham, 42. §§ Ibid, 44. ***Ibid, 46-7.



Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  


                John  Wycliffe     Date  of  Birth  circa  1330     Death  Dec  31st  1384   Married:  not  married   Children:    No  children     “The Bible Translator”

Forasmuch as the Bible contains Christ, that is all that is necessary for salvation; it is necessary for all men, not for priests alone. It alone is the supreme law that is to rule church, state, and Christian life, without human traditions and statutes. John Wycliffe has been referred to as the “morning star” of the Great Reformation. He paved the way for the next generation of reformers, such as Hus, Luther, and


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Calvin, to challenge the oppressive hold that the exploitative and dictatorial Roman Catholic Church held over Europe’s governments and their people. Wycliffe was among the first Oxford scholars and highly respected catholic priests to challenge the supreme rule of the papacy, and the abuses of its unbiblical religious practices. He was called the “most learned man of his generation in England,” and as such, church authorities had a difficult time answering his well-articulated and biblically sound charges. Wycliffe was so successful at stating his case; he caused a rumbling among thinkers and lay people everywhere that was to grow in intensity long after he left this world. He managed to cause such confusion within the Church itself that for a large part of his career as a theologian, writer, and eventually a Bible translator, he went unnoticed as the Church occupied herself with her own internal disputes over power. Meanwhile, a movement was ignited that began to question the universal authority of the church over all areas of public and private life. Most importantly, however, the seed was planted in the minds of both educated clergy and common men that the Bible could, and should, be read by all people in their own language. The Making of a Groundbreaker John Wycliffe was born in Yorkshire, England, around 1330. Little is known about his childhood or young adult years until the time he entered Balliol College at Oxford in 1360. It is widely accepted that he left for college as most young men of his day at the age of sixteen. He entered the priesthood and spent his formative years as a cleric there at Oxford, first as a student, then the dean, and finally a highly acclaimed professor. He also held the position of rector, or head of the local parish, where he was charged with overseeing governance of the Catholic Church in the area. The Black Plague swept through England from 1349 until 1353, taking nearly half her population with it. It was in the chaos and despair of these dark times that Wycliffe turned to the Bible. Because the Bible could only be read in Latin, he was among the few of his time who had the desire and ability to study it. Even the Catholic priests of his day were ignorant of Holy Scripture, but Wycliffe had a hunger for the Word of God and a heart ready to receive it. His profound knowledge of the Bible provided the foundation for all he set out to accomplish. Wycliffe relished life as both a student and a teacher. In 1369 he obtained his bachelor of divinity and by 1371, he was recognized as the age’s leading theologian and philosopher at Oxford, Europe’s most prestigious university. In 1372, Wycliffe received his doctorate celebrating sixteen years of intensive study and research. The Line in the Sand In 1374, Wycliffe began making a name for himself as a provocative thinker and individualist. At a time when the Church was at odds with Europe’s aristocracies, Wycliffe took a stand in opposition to the pope’s control of civil and social affairs. He


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

believed there was a legitimate need for a secular power to govern the affairs of each nation and that the sole concern of the Church should be the spiritual needs of humanity. Wycliffe boldly declared that in owning land and living in excessive wealth at the expense of the people, the Church had become secular and of no use to anyone. Based on his years of biblical study, he unreservedly proclaimed that the separation of church and state was indeed God’s will. He soon became aligned with King Edward III, who was quick to recruit this highly acclaimed academician and respected Catholic priest. It was under his protection that Wycliffe remained unharmed as he openly attacked the papacy. Acting as the clerical advisor to King Edward’s second son, John of Gaunt, Wycliffe continued to forge a bond with heads of state and Oxford’s academia that protected him from the onslaught of papal rebuke that he would sustain for the remainder of his life. Points of Contention In 1336, Wycliffe began writing his famous tracts. Little by little he exposed the excesses of the Catholic Church and it wasn’t long before Rome was enraged. He felt the first of the pope’s wrath in 1337, when he was summoned to London to answer charges of heresy. Wycliffe went under the escort of John of Gaunt and the mayhem that ensued was more the result of the already hostile relations between landed noblemen and proud Londoners in support of its clergy. A riot arose between the sides and John of Gaunt barely escaped with his life. Wycliffe was well on his way back to Oxford before the unrest had settled days later. When Rome had heard what a disaster the trial turned out to be, Pope Gregory XI determined to take the matter into his own hands. He issued five bulls—or official documents from the pope—that cited eighteen errors from Wycliffe’s tract, On Civil Dominion. Copies were sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Oxford, and the King. The bulls also ordered the government to turn Wycliffe over the church authority in London, but the bulls went largely ignored by all parties. The court in London persisted in summoning Wycliffe to address the charges. Wycliffe accepted the challenge and, before a large crowd of priests, bishops and other church representatives, Wycliffe stated his position: “I deny that the Pope has any right to political dominion: that he has any perpetual civil dominion: that he can qualify or disqualify simply by his bulls.” He rendered the court dumbfounded. But the shouts of outrage never indicted Wycliffe—Joan of Kent, the Queen Mother, sent a message forbidding them to pass sentence. Miraculously, Wycliffe was not defrocked or excommunicated and was allowed to leave without penalty. The First Evangelicals The next revolutionary move by Wycliffe was to organize a group of men; some ordained priests and others laymen, to roam the countryside teaching truths from Word of God. They lived simply, dressed humbly and did not seek to profit from their goal of making the Bible known and bringing hope and comfort to rural villagers.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

These “evangelical men,” or “apostolic men” as Wycliffe referred to them, went throughout England denouncing the abuses of the Catholic Church and teaching sound biblical doctrine in the common language of the people. Wycliffe wrote sermons for these first evangelists to preach and tracts for them to distribute. This type of outreach was unheard of in the fourteenth century, but Wycliffe was desperate to get the truth of God’s Word into the hearts of the people. The result of this innovative “grassroots” evangelism was that the soil of men’s hearts was being tilled to receive the seeds about to be planted by the approaching ranks of reformers. A New Frontier In March of 1378, Wycliffe released a booklet entitled On the Truth of Holy Scripture that sent the Catholic hierarchy reeling with anger. From this one foundation—that the Scriptures alone contain the truth for the Christian lifestyle and doctrines— Wycliffe began to skilfully dissect the various heresies and hypocrisies that had flourished in the Catholic Church. This one booklet contained thirty-two chapters upholding the truth of the Scriptures against the lies of the papacy. It wasn’t until 1380, that Oxford was finally forced to take a stand against Wycliffe. In an effort to silence Wycliffe’s supporters there, the chancellor threatened to suspend or imprison, or worse, excommunicate, anyone who taught or defended Wycliffe’s views. Wycliffe appealed to the King to overturn the chancellor’s decision but the request went ignored. Even John of Gaunt rushed to persuade him to obey the chancellor, but Wycliffe refused and spent the next year writing a Confession that defended his condemned opinions. The Force of Destiny At fifty-one years old, Wycliffe was forced to leave his beloved Oxford. Although moving away to a quiet residence in a small village must have been a huge emotional adjustment, the next and final three years of Wycliffe’s life proved tremendously eventful. As he sought the Lord for direction, he became inspired; he realized that from the obscurity and peace of his current situation he would launch out on his greatest contribution to Christianity—the translation of the Bible from Latin into common English. Wycliffe was not alone in his new endeavour. Two of his most trusted supporters and companions remained by his side and with their help, he set out on this daunting task. John Purvey was his loyal personal secretary and constant attendant until his final days. Wycliffe dictated much of his prolific writing to Purvey because he foresaw early on that he would be the one to carry on his work. Another loyal supporter, Nicholas Hereford, was among Wycliffe’s most educated colleagues. Together, Purvey and Hereford tirelessly worked with Wycliffe to translate the entire Bible—Wycliffe focused on the New Testament, while Purvey and Hereford directed their attention to the Old Testament under the constant supervision of Wycliffe.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Wycliffe saw the completion of the first edition of the English Bible before he died; however, Purvey spearheaded a revision that when completed he appropriately entitled, The Wycliffe Bible. The King James Version of the Bible we have today is largely identical to the original Wycliffe translation. The Heat of Battle The tension between the Church of Rome and the British Crown began to intensify in the early 1380s. The Catholic Church stepped up its persecution of all those who opposed its methods, largely as a result of the Peasant Revolt of 1381 and the swelling ranks of Lollards (a word that means “mumblers”), who were classified as any group that opposed the Church. A council was convened to formally condemn Wycliffe’s writings which were believed to have fuelled the widespread unrest. When the proceedings ended on May 21, 1382, the council did not officially condemn Wycliffe personally, but pronounced his writings heretical. Shortly thereafter, in an attempt to silence Wycliffe’s supporters, it was decreed that any now called “poor preachers” caught preaching were to be arrested. Sentence was also passed that all of Wycliffe’s teachings and tracts—anything he had written or edited—were to be seized and destroyed. Any student at Oxford or any cleric found sympathizing with Wycliffe would be expelled and excommunicated. Meanwhile, during this same year, King Richard II married Anne of Bohemia. This opened the door for Bohemian students to study at Oxford and many of these secretly agreed with Wycliffe’s writings. One of the most famous was Jerome of Prague who brought Wycliffe’s writings back to Bohemia where they fell into the hands of John Hus, who would take the baton and usher the world into the Great Reformation.

The Final Days Wycliffe’s epilogue came in the form of his most famous document to be published called Trialogue—a discussion between Truth, Falsehood, and Wisdom—and touched on all the subjects that Wycliffe had previously dealt with at length. It was his first writing to be printed, although not until one hundred and forty years after his death in 1525. It is credited for being the one original writing that linked Wycliffe to the Reformers in the sixteenth century. Amid writing this final chapter, Wycliffe suffered the first of two strokes in 1382, which left him partially paralyzed. His second stroke came late in December 1384 while he was listening to Mass. This stroke left him completely paralyzed and unable to speak. Three days later, on December 31, John Wycliffe went home to be with the Lord. Works Consulted


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

1. “John Wycliffe and the 600th Anniversary of Translation of the Bible into English,” Christian History Magazine 2, no. 2, issue 3 (Worcester, PA: Christian History Institute, 1983): 26 2. “Wyclif, John,” The Encyclopedia of Religion 15, (New York, N.Y.: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1987): 488. 3. Christian History Magazine, 11 4. Ibid, 18 5. K.B. McFarlane, John Wycliffe and the Beginnings of English Nonconformity (London, England: English Universities Press, Ltd., 1952): 117.


George Whitfield     Date  of  Birth  Dec  16th  1714     Death  Sept  20th  1770   Married  Nov  14th  1741     Children:    One  child  but  he  died  in  infancy     George Whitefield

God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them. George Whitefield - known as the “Great Orator,” the “Divine Dramatist,” and the “Heavenly Comet” for his style and impact on all who heard him - was an evangelistic pioneer. Moved with such deep compassion for the lost, he was the first in the Great Awakening to preach “out in the open” to coal miners and shipyard workers as they passed on their way to and from work, for they had no other opportunities to hear the Gospel. His charisma and compassion carried him from


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

parlours to prisons in England and from politicians’ houses to Native Americans’ huts in the New World. George Whitefield was born to innkeepers in the cosmopolitan city of Gloucester, England. He was the youngest of seven children. Two years after George’s birth, his father passed away and his mother was left alone to run the inn and care for the family. When George was ten years old, he attended grammar school at St. Mary de Crypt where he discovered a love of theatre. Although he progressed rapidly in the standard classical studies, his passion for winning the lead role in school plays was all consuming. Because of his acclaimed oratory abilities, he was also called upon to deliver a speech whenever important people visited the school. The Dawn of Destiny Breaks Forth George Whitefield was eighteen when he entered Pembroke in November 1732. Because his family was poor, George worked to earn his way through college as a servitor to wealthier students. Sometime in 1735, Whitefield learned that a woman in one of the workhouses had attempted to cut her own throat. Knowing that John and Charles Wesley would be willing to counsel her, he sent them word via an apple seller who divulged her source to Charles even though George had charged her not to. Charles sought George out and invited him to breakfast. Charles, a college tutor and six years George’s senior, was impressed by Whitefield and invited him to join the Holy Club. Their friendship flourished rapidly. Charles lent him several life-transforming books, of which the most profound was the Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal. After reading this book, Whitefield wrote that through it,

Jesus Christ first revealed Himself to me, and gave me the new birth. I learned that a man may go to church, say his prayers, receive the Sacrament, and yet not be a Christian. How did my heart rise and shudder like a poor man that is afraid to look into his ledger lest he should find himself bankrupt. He wasted no time delving deeper into the Gospel while the Wesleys were still “stumbling in the mazes of salvation by conduct.” It would take the Wesley brothers three more years to experience the magnitude of God’s saving grace and receive the new birth themselves. The Boy Preacher Whitefield delivered his first sermon as a deacon from the pulpit of St. Mary de Crypt in Gloucester, not far from where he had served as a common tapster not five years earlier. Probably out of curiosity more than anything else, a surprisingly large crowd gathered to hear him preach a message entitled “The Necessity and Benefit of Religious Society.” As a result of this message, fifteen people were reported to have


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

“gone mad” from an overwhelming conviction of their sins. The bishop responded that he hoped “the madness might not be forgotten before next Sunday."3" From the beginning, Whitefield’s preaching reflected years of theatrical performances and a heart filled with intense devotion. The pulpit was his stage, and he would use every ounce of intellect and talent to convey his sermon points. A famous actor of the time, David Garrick, exclaimed, “I would give a hundred guineas if I could say ‘Oh’ like Mr. Whitefield.” 4 America Calling George soon received a letter from John Wesley imploring him to come to America “where the harvest is so great and the labourers so few. What if thou art the man, Mr. Whitefield?” “Upon hearing this,” wrote Whitefield, “my heart leaped within me, and, as it were, echoed to the call!”5 Roughly a year later, George set sail for America. As Whitefield’s ship, the Whitaker, was heading for the open sea, John Wesley was just returning to England, having determined Georgia a failure. The two ships had, in fact, passed within sight of each other along the English shoreline, though neither at the time knew a friend was aboard the other. The Whitaker arrived in Georgia on May 7, 1738. From the outset, Whitefield was moved by the living conditions of the poor, and especially by the growing number of orphans. One month after his arrival, he began to teach the children in the surrounding villages and made arrangements to establish a school in Savannah. He also felt compelled to begin plans for an orphanage that would eventually be named Bethesda. He soon decided he would have to return to England to secure funding for the care of widows and orphans in the colonies. He also needed to complete his ordination as a priest. All the Trees of the Field Shall Clap Their Hands When Whitefield returned to London in December 1738, he found much had changed. Foremost, Charles and John Wesley had experienced their own personal conversions through the work of the Moravians and were preaching at Oxford and elsewhere on the “new birth.” Their message, combined with the strictness of their moral code, had incurred waves of opposition in the city. Due to Whitefield’s association with the “Methodists,” pulpits had become less welcoming to him as well. In spite of this, Whitefield was ordained into the Anglican priesthood on January 14, 1739. He managed to preach to large crowds at the few remaining churches that would admit him, collecting significant financial contributions for the orphanage he proposed in Savannah. His celebrity, as well as his charity, caught the interest of the Countess of Huntingdon, who invited him to deliver a presentation to a gathering of her aristocratic friends. She and several of her peers were soon counted among his most faithful supporters and patrons.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Open-Air Preaching From London, Whitefield made his way to Bristol, where he found the religious atmosphere cold and unwelcoming. Being censored by the established churches, he went to the mining district of Kingswood - where there was no church - to preach to the coal miners. He recorded his first experience preaching out in the open, saying in part:

I went upon a mount, and spake to as many people as came unto me. They were upwards of two hundred. Blessed be to God, I have now broken the ice; I believe I never was more acceptable to my Master than when I was standing to teach those hearers in the open fields.6 Whitefield went on to write that he could see the “white gutters made by their tears, which plentifully fell down their black cheeks.” 7 The more he took to field preaching, the more he received hostility from the churches. After a brief stint back in London, Whitefield returned to Bristol with Charles and John Wesley near the end of March 1739. There, in the town centre, he stepped up on a low wall and began to exhort the townspeople as they passed by. George’s example soon had the Wesley’s preaching in the open air themselves, satisfied that they would do so for the rest of their lives. George left the Wesley’s in the provinces and returned to London where revival sprang up wherever he preached. The Great Awakening was now in full swing. Awakening America On October 30, 1739, Whitefield returned to America and travelled immediately to Philadelphia. It was not long before even the largest of churches proved too small to hold the throngs of people pushing their way in to hear Whitefield. From Philadelphia to New York, he spoke to record-sized audiences - those who gathered to hear him often outnumbered the population of the local towns and cities! Benjamin Franklin heard Whitefield preach when he first arrived in Philadelphia, and wrote, “He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his words and sentences so perfectly, that he might be heard and understood at a great distance, especially as his auditories, however numerous, observed the most exact silence." 8 Franklin and Whitefield would share a lifelong friendship. From the outset, Franklin offered to publish Whitefield’s sermons in his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and later his journals. Franklin would even help Whitefield raise money for the orphan house. He was so taken with Whitefield’s fundraising ability that he wrote:

I happened soon after to attend one of his sermons, in the course of which I perceived he intended to finish with a collection, and I silently resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistols in gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, and


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of his oratory made me ashamed of that, and determined me to give the silver, and he finished so admirably, that I emptied my pocket wholly into the collector’s dish, gold and all 9 Adding Fuel to the Fire By mid-October 1740, Whitefield found himself in Northampton, Massachusetts, the guest of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. Jonathan was so moved by Whitefield’s sermons that he was known to break down in tears as he listened. Sarah was also taken with Whitefield’s oratorical abilities, and wrote,

It is wonderful to see what a spell he casts over an audience by proclaiming the simple truths of the Bible. I have seen upwards of a thousand people hung on his words with breathless silence, broken only by an occasional half-suppressed sob. . . . A prejudiced person, I know, might say that this is all theatrical artifice and display; but not so will anyone think who has seen and known him 10 Whitefield’s presence in Northampton had the effect of fresh fuel applied to an already kindled fire. While Edwards preached fear of God’s judgment, Whitefield preached God’s mercy and acceptance. He recorded, “I found my heart drawn out to talk of scarce anything else besides the consolations and privileges of the saints and the plentiful effusion of the Spirit upon believers.” 11 Hearts that had already been “scorched and broken with the fires of judgment” 12 melted at the sound of Whitefield’s compassionate words. Division with the Wesley’s Beginning in 1741, divisive public debates that lasted nearly a year created two camps among the Methodists: the Wesley’s’ “free grace” societies and Whitefield’s Calvinists. Soon both Whitefield and the Wesley’s saw the danger of the split - they realized the opposition they felt toward one another was scarcely as strong as the opposition between their followers. Though they could not reconcile their organizations, not one of the three could bear to be separated “in spirit” from the others for long. Their friendships would be rejoined, but the two movements of Whitefield’s “Calvinistic Methodism” and the Wesley’s’ “United Societies” would not. The Cambuslang Communion Having conquered England and North America, Whitefield shifted his aim to awaken Scotland. Calvinists all, Americans and Scots were kindred spirits in the eighteenth century, and Whitefield found great success among both. Whitefield would visit Scotland fourteen times, experiencing a depth of revival he had not witnessed in the rest of Great Britain or the colonies. He reminisced later in life about the joy he always found in speaking to the Scots; he was “impressed by the ‘rustling made by opening the Bibles’ as soon as he ‘named’ his text.” 13


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

He put a small town named Cambuslang, just southeast of Glasgow, on the map after he preached to twenty thousand twice in one day and to thirty thousand the next. He had never witnessed such a hunger for the presence of God. Enormous tents were set up to accommodate the thousands desiring to partake in Communion, while worship and prayer continued into the early hours of morning. He recorded:

You might have seen thousands bathed in tears. Some at the same time wringing their hands, others almost swooning, and others crying out, and mourning over a pierced Saviour. . . . All night in different companies, you might have heard persons praying to and praising God. . . . It was like the Passover in Josiah’s time. 14 This scene would repeat itself wherever Whitefield ventured to preach; it is said that the fires kindled during these “Cambuslang Revivals” set all of England aflame. George Marries Near the end of 1741, Elizabeth Burnell James, a widow, agreed to marry Whitefield even though he made it clear that preaching the Gospel would always be his first love. Elizabeth was thirty-six and Whitefield twenty-six. During their weeklong honeymoon, Whitefield preached twice a day. Within the month, he was back on the road; thereafter, he would rarely see, or even speak of, his new wife. Elizabeth set up residence in London; George would only stay there for short periods as the call of evangelism tugged constantly at his heart. In 1744, Elizabeth gave birth to a son who died in infancy. This loss weighed heavily on George, and from that point he showed special concern for children everywhere. He was known to speak directly to them when he preached, telling them that if their parents would not come to Christ, they were to come anyway and go to heaven without them. After the loss of their son, Elizabeth went on to suffer four miscarriages. Although observers noted that George was always respectful and courteous towards his wife, Elizabeth wrote of her marriage, “I have been nothing but a load and burden to him.” 15 Persecution and Triumph The years following 1741 were filled with incredible evangelistic victories - as well as with the most violent persecution. George was frequently pelted with stones, rotten vegetables, and dead animal parts as he spoke. On one occasion, a rock struck his head and nearly rendered him unconscious. On another occasion, he would have been stabbed had the crowd not intervened on his behalf. Another time, a man tried to strike him with a whip as he preached; on other occasions, protestors attempted to drown out his voice with drums or trumpets. In 1744, an intruder broke into his home and attacked him in his bed. His life was preserved thanks to his landlady who - when Whitefield screamed, “Murder!” - came running and shouting, waking the entire neighbourhood and sending the assailant fleeing into the night.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Following a third successful trip to America in 1745, George returned again to England, Scotland, and Wales. He earned the further attention and respect of the wealthy Lady Huntingdon. She appointed him chaplain of a network of chapels she had built, a position that relieved some of his financial burdens. The demand for his preaching did not slacken; persecution did, fortunately. During the 1750s, both camps of the Methodists had gained popular support as their message became more widely accepted among all ranks of society. As individuals, they had also mellowed. Whitefield learned to use a gentler tone in his letters and public declarations, ruffling far fewer feathers as he grew older. In August 1768, after twenty-seven years of marriage, Elizabeth entered heaven’s gates two years ahead of her husband. After she died, George said, “I feel the loss of my right hand daily.” 16 The Final Visit to America Almost exactly one year later, Whitefield returned to the colonies in November 1769. Although he was not in good health when he arrived in Charleston, he preached to large crowds for ten consecutive days. He continued his preaching tour throughout New England as if he were still a youthful man. He insisted to his friends that he “would rather wear out than rust out.” 17 On the morning of September 19, 1770, he preached a moving message in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and then set out immediately for his next destination: Newburyport, Massachusetts. Friends and admirers observed his weakened condition and begged him to rest, but he pressed on. By midday, Whitefield was implored by a gathering crowd to preach, and he complied. He climbed atop a barrel in an open field to preach what would be his last sermon. The text he spoke about was “Examine yourselves whether ye be in faith,” which discussed the new birth. Whitefield’s last public words were about the uselessness of works to get to heaven: “Works! Works! A man gets to heaven by works! I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand.” 18 George Whitefield breathed his last in the early hours of September 20, 1770, the very next day. He was fifty-six years old. Works Consulted 1. From a sermon given by Whitefield in 1769, quoted in Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (London: InterVarsity Fellowship, 1961), 12. 2. Albert D. Belden, George Whitefield - The Awakener: A Modern Study of the Evangelical Revival (Nashville, TN: Cokesbury Press, 1930),19. 3. Stuart Clark Henry, George Whitefield: Wayfaring Witness (New York: Abingdon Press, 1957), 28. 4. Harry S. Stout, “Heavenly Comet,” Christian History 12, no. 2 [Issue 38] (1993): 10.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

5. Belden, George Whitefield - The Awakener, 31. 6. Stuart Clark Henry, George Whitefield: Wayfaring Witness (New York: Abingdon Press, 1957), 48. 7. John Gillies, Memoirs of Reverend George Whitefield (New Haven: Whitmore & Buckingham, and H. Mansfield, 1834), 39. 8. Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 9. Ibid. 10. Stout, “Heavenly Comet,” 13. 11. Belden, George Whitefield - The Awakener, 113. 12. Ibid. 13. Henry, George Whitefield - Wayfaring Witness, 79. 14. Ibid., 78. 15. Mark Galli, “Whitefield’s Curious Love Life,” Christian History 12, no. 2 [Issue 38] (1993): 33. 16. Galli, “Whitefield’s Curious Love Life,” 33.

  Jonathan  Edwards   Date  of  Birth  Oct  5th  1703     Death  March  22nd  1758     Married  July  20th  1727   Children  Eleven     Jonathan Edwards

The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my heart, an ardour of soul, that I know not how to express. Jonathan Edwards was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, to Puritan parents Timothy and Esther Stoddard Edwards. Of their eleven children, he was the only son. Times in northern New England were turbulent and there was constant friction between the settlers and the French and Indians of Canada. For example, less than a year after Jonathan’s birth on February 29, 1704, the town of Deerfield was attacked by roughly two hundred braves and a small contingent of Frenchmen. Fiftysix of its roughly three hundred residents were killed, and another one hundred were kidnapped. Jonathan’s uncle, John Williams, was taken with his family in the attack,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

though he later escaped with some of his children. His wife and two youngest children were killed. The Puritan mind-set interpreted such calamities as signs of the times for God’s new covenant people, which they believed themselves to be. Like the nation of Israel, Puritans believed they were blessed or punished according to their obedience or disobedience to God. For them, the Deerfield Massacre and kidnappings were likened to Israel being carried off into Babylon, while their return was likened to Nehemiah’s rebuilding of Jerusalem. With death and hardship always near, the Puritans felt they had to hold God even closer if they were to keep any hope of survival. Edwards grew up with the constant burden of praying for the protection of family members several times a day. A Young Scholar Edwards sensed God’s calling on his life rather early. He recorded in his journals that he spoke often about God to the other boys his age, and together they built a place to pray in the woods. He wrote that for a period of months, he and the other boys would go there as often as five times a day to seek God. At the age of thirteen Jonathan enrolled at the Collegiate School of Connecticut, which would later become Yale University. While studying for the ministry, Edwards devoured books in the largest library in the area, reading works not only particular to ministry, but also from various other fields. He graduated in 1720 at the head of his class, but stayed for two more years to pursue a master’s degree. At age sixteen while still at college, Jonathan had a near-death experience. He became very ill with pleurisy 1 and was terrified that he would die without being prepared for eternity. He described the experience as being “shook over the pit of hell” - imagery that would reappear years later in his most famous sermon. Though he recorded that during this time he committed himself to God in a new way, when he eventually recovered from his illness, he “fell again into his old ways of sin” and continued to have “great and violent [spiritual] struggles.” 2 This hot and cold relationship with God went on throughout Jonathan’s formative years. His father held to a strict Calvinistic doctrine that individuals would know whether or not they were saved through a process of conviction, repentance, and revelation of Christ’s saving grace. His maternal grandfather once told him that, ten to one, those converted would surely know that their experience was real. Since Jonathan struggled with uncertainty, he must have wondered whether God had indeed granted him salvation. Finally, in 1721, in a regular time of study, the truth of a passage surpassed his rational mind to the point of revelation: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17). Of this experience, Jonathan wrote,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

There came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the divine being; a new sense, quite different from anything I ever experienced before. . . . I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was; and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be wrapped up to God in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him. 3 From this moment on, Edwards determined to understand God and His Word from all aspects, believing that “the more you have of a rational knowledge of divine things, the more opportunity will there be, when the Spirit shall be breathed into your heart, to see the Excellency of these things, and to taste the sweetness of them.” 4 A Pastorate and a Young Bride After graduating from Yale, Edwards accepted his first call to be a pastor in New York. Though he loved the congregation, the church struggled financially and could not pay him an adequate wage, so Jonathan moved back home to Connecticut. His father convinced him to take a pastorate at Bolton, but he left this in a few months to take a teaching position at Yale. Some thought his reason for taking the job at Yale had to do with the daughter of the pastor there, Sarah Pierrepont, who Jonathan described in his journals as sweet and “beloved of that Great Being.” 5 Unfortunately, Jonathan was not yet cut out to manage young men who had grown wild with their first taste of independence, so when his grandfather, the Reverend Solomon Stoddard, invited him to become his assistant pastor at the Congregational Church in Northampton, Massachusetts, he jumped at the opportunity. This was the largest church in New England outside of Boston, and Stoddard, a highly influential man now in his eighties, needed help. With his new position and steady salary - adequate to purchase land and a home Edwards now formally pursued courtship with Sarah. They were married on July 20, 1727; Jonathan was twenty-four and Sarah was seventeen. Sarah wore a bright green, satin brocade dress - an exuberant expression of the Puritan celebration of love and marriage. 6 Eleven children were born to Edwards and Sarah: Sarah, Jerusha, Esther, Mary, Lucy, Timothy, Susannah, Eunice, Jonathan, Elizabeth, and Pierrepont. All eleven lived into adulthood, which was extremely unusual for that day and age. “The Religious Psychologist” For Jonathan Edwards, there was no division between science and religion. For example, he had a deep interest in spiders, so he carefully studied and categorized them, describing them in great detail as he did so. Jonathan’s remarkable account of a spider weaving a web is still widely read today. When he would go for a ride in the woods, he always carried a pen, ink, and bits of paper along with straight pins. He used these rides to think and to talk with God,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

and then he recorded the ideas that came to him and pinned them, in order, to his coat. His wife, vigilant to keep them in order when he arrived home, then carefully unpinned this checkerboard of thought. Edwards once carefully disassembled a Bible and sewed a sheet of blank paper between each page to allow him to record his notes. He resolved, “to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.” 7 Edwards was determined to take time to think about the implications of what he observed, going so far as to skip dinner if it threatened to interrupt the flow of his deliberations. As he had done with everything else in his life, he carefully observed and analyzed which foods best suited his mental labour. Some said that his discipline in eating left him thin and frequently ill, but Edwards evidently gave great consideration to his diet, though there is at least one hint of a small indulgence. Jonathan loved chocolate, and A letter remains of his request that a courier to Boston be sure to procure some for him. 8

The Dawn of the Great Awakening The year after Jonathan became assistant pastor at his grandfather’s church, all of New England experienced the Great Earthquake of 1727. According to some accounts, it began with a flash of light followed by rumbling and shaking that lasted throughout the night. People who were awakened from their sleep crowded together in the streets believing that judgment day had come. The next morning, churches across New England were filled with penitents. Fasts were called for throughout the land several times in the weeks following. It was Jonathan’s first experience of anything close to a revival, though as nerves settled, so did the community’s devotion. Then Solomon Stoddard died in February 1729 and the church decided to make Jonathan the senior pastor. It was a position he took very seriously. He wrote about climbing the steps to the podium to preach as becoming “the trumpet of God.” 9 Some said he turned into an entirely different person when preaching. After the sudden death of a young man in April 1734, Jonathan preached a funeral message that encouraged those present to turn away from their sinful lifestyles and focus instead on their eternal rewards. He asked, if one was to die so young, what would he have to show for his life? “Consider,” he advised. “If you should die in youth how shocking would the thought of your having spent your youth in such a manner be to them that see it.” 10 Another death, along with another funeral message, continued a renewal of spiritual interest. Reports of changed lives began to pour in. Evenings of “frolicking” were traded for prayer meetings, and soon the great majority of the community - young and old alike - attended such meetings.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

By April 1735, the evidence of a changed spiritual atmosphere in the community was undeniable. Edwards himself described it this way:

A great and earnest Concern about the great Things of Religion, and the eternal World, became universal in all Parts of the Town, and among Persons of all Ages. . . . All other Talk but about spiritual and eternal Things, was soon thrown by. . . . The Minds of People were wonderfully taken off from the World; it was treated amongst us as a Thing of very little Consequence. . . . The Temptation now seemed to lie on that Hand, to neglect worldly Affairs too much, and to spend too much Time in the immediate Exercise of Religion. 11 Without being prompted, neighbours took up a collection for the owner of a general store after it burned to the ground. Backbiting and gossiping stopped. Taverns were reported to have emptied. Illness nearly disappeared from the town. Even church services were transformed. Some reports say that more than five hundred people half of them men - joined the church as a result of the revival. However, by March 1737, the spiritual condition of Edwards’s congregation was again cold. He described the people as having “eagerness after the possessions of this life” 12 and noted that there had been a return of the heated “party spirit.” He began to pray again for revival True Awakening Takes Hold By 1739, George Whitefield was already preaching to crowds of thousands in the streets and fields of England and was now coming to the colonies. Edwards wrote to him in February 1740 and persuaded him to come to Northampton, warning him that his people might be more hardened of heart than others to whom he had preached. A major publicity campaign helped draw the crowds in the cities to hear Whitefield, and when he moved on to Northampton on October 17, 1740, the attention of the masses followed him. When Whitefield reminded Edwards’s congregation of their closeness to Christ after the last move of God in the area, many began to weep, including Edwards himself, as he saw five years of prayer for revival begin to be answered. Some of his own children came to Christ through Whitefield’s ministering. As Whitefield ministered, it was not uncommon for people to fall out under the power of the Holy Spirit - which Edwards called “fainting.” There were some instances of persons lying in a sort of trance, remaining perhaps for twenty-four hours motionless, and with their senses locked up; but in the mean time under strong imaginations, as though they went to heaven and had there visions of glorious and delightful objects. 13 The revival continued, and Edwards and Whitefield stayed in contact by letter. Edwards reported the results of the awakening in his area to be greater than the previous awakening of Northampton in 1734.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” On Wednesday, July 8, 1741, Jonathan was among a team of preachers at Enfield (near the border of Massachusetts and Connecticut) to minister to large numbers of people who were inquiring about how to be saved. Several ministers had been preaching at the ongoing services between Enfield and Suffield. On that Wednesday morning, it was decided at the last minute that they would rest and let Jonathan preach. Jonathan searched his saddlebags and found a sermon he had used shortly before with his congregation. It had little moved them, but he decided to use it again anyway. The passage for the sermon was Deuteronomy 32:35, “Their foot shall slide in due time.” Here is a brief excerpt of the words he spoke that day:

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like a fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. . . . And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; . . . many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him that has loved them and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! 14

Before Edwards could even finish his message, the people became agitated and began crying out. He asked the congregation to be quiet as there was no way to be heard. He never finished the sermon, however, and in the coming months the community was utterly transformed. “Trust in God” Despite this blessed time, Jonathan would never see such revival again, though he would meet individuals such as the young missionary, David Brainerd, whose devotion was unquestionable and moving. In 1750, Jonathan lost his position of twenty-three years at the church in Northampton when he took a hard stand against servicing communion to non-church members, a practice his grandfather had allowed. From Northbridge he went to Stockbridge to become a missionary to the Native Americans. His six years as a missionary turned out to be a gift from God, allowing him to do his best theological writing - work that is still revered today. Then in September 1757, Jonathan received the news that his son-in-law, Aaron Burr, Sr. had died of malaria - and with it came an invitation for Jonathan to take his place as president of the College of New Jersey, now called Princeton University. Though at first he resisted, stating he was not educated well enough for the post,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

after much thought, he agreed to seek counsel from some trusted friends. When they expressed their belief that it was his duty and responsibility to accept the appointment, Edwards broke down in tears before them. He would leave immediately to answer what they believed to be the call of God on his life. Jonathan travelled with his daughter Lucy and arrived in New Jersey in January 1758. To his surprise, he enjoyed preaching to the students and faculty and was comforted by their warm reception. What’s more, he actually had more time for study and writing than he had anticipated. Settling in Princeton looked promising. However, at this time, smallpox had spread throughout New England and many were dying. Being the scientific progressive that he was, he had decided years earlier that he would receive inoculation if he needed to. He received the shot on February 13, 1758. At first, Edwards showed only some slight symptoms of the disease. But weeks later, a severe fever set in, and on March 22, 1758, at the age of fifty-five, Edwards died. Days before he died, knowing that eternity was near, he asked his daughter Lucy to record his last words. As expected, he gave his love to his dear wife and children, calling his relationship with Sarah “an uncommon union.” He requested that his funeral be simple, and that any designated funeral money would instead be used for the poor. When those standing around his deathbed thought he was no longer capable of hearing or speaking, Edwards surprised them with these final words: “Trust in God, and ye need not fear.” Works Consulted 1. A respiratory disease of the lungs. 2. George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 36. 3. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, 41. 4. Jonathan Edwards, “The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth” (sermon), Christian Classics Ethereal Library, (accessed October 17, 2007). 5. John Nichols, American Literature: An Historical Sketch, 1620–1888 (Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black, 1882), 54. 6. Elisabeth S. Dodds, Marriage to a Difficult Man: The “Uncommon Union” of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1971), 24. 7. Jonathan Edwards, “The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards,” Bible Bulletin Board, 8. Steven Gertz and Chris Armstrong, “Did You Know?: Interesting and unusual facts about Jonathan Edwards,” Christian History 22, no. 1 [Issue 77] (2003), (accessed October 12, 2007).


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

9. Helen Westra, The Minister’s Task and Calling in the Sermons of Jonathan Edwards (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1986), 7, in Marsden, Jonathan Edwards - A Life, 132. 10. Jonathan Edwards, Sermon (April 1734), quoted in Marsden, Jonathan Edwards - A Life, 154. 11. Jonathan Edwards, The Christian History (1743), quoted in Mintz, S. (2007). Retrieved October 19, 2007 from Digital History. 12. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, 184. 13. Jonathan Edwards, “Revival of Religion in Northampton in 1740–1741,” Jonathan Edwards on Revival (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1984), 154, quoted in Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic History, 116. 14. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life,223.

Francis Ashbury     Date  of  Birth  Aug  20th  1745   Died    March  31st  1816   Married  :  Not  married     Children:  None   Francis Asbury

We should so work as if we were to be saved by our works; and so rely on Jesus Christ, as if we did no works. On the frontier of scattered homesteads and small towns of the newborn United States that stretched towards the Mississippi River, news was scarce and churches even scarcer. Ministers of the time were concentrated in the large cities of the east, but Francis Asbury saw the importance of returning to the pattern set by the apostles when Jesus sent them out two by two. In his lifetime, Asbury “rode more than a quarter of a million miles on horseback and crossed the Allegheny Mountains some sixty times . . . Asbury stayed in 10,000 households and preached 17,000 sermons.” 2 Rather than speaking to record-breaking crowds in city commons, the Methodist Circuit Riders - of which Asbury was a chief model - took revival to the farthest reaches of the frontier and became the threads that wove Americans together as a people. Francis Asbury, or “Franky,” as he was called in his early years, was born in Hamstead Bridge, Staffordshire, England, not far from Birmingham. He was the only surviving child of Joseph and Elizabeth Asbury, who became committed Methodists


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

after the loss of an infant daughter, Sarah, before Francis’s birth. Francis’s mother was a sombre and dedicated believer. When Asbury was thirteen, a travelling shoemaker held prayer meetings in the area. Although the man was a Baptist, Elizabeth believed he was sincere, and she invited him to speak at the Methodist society meeting in their home. The man’s words excited young Francis’s heart about salvation. Not long afterwards, Alexander Mather, a Methodist circuit rider, was assigned to the Birmingham area. When young Francis heard Mather explain how a person could have freedom from sin, his heart was again moved to undertake a life of holiness. The Methodist society meetings had an indelible impact on Asbury as he grew through his teenage years. He loved the hymns they sang but was especially impressed by the freedom with which the preachers prayed and spoke. Mather’s, for example, prayed as if God were standing in the room. He preached from his heart without ever relying on notes. This would become the model for the type of American Methodism Asbury would spread everywhere he went. The Making of a Preacher Francis began preaching publicly when he was about fifteen - he simply read Scripture passages aloud and expounded upon them at his mother’s society meetings. From there, he began branching out to the homes of other Methodists. Mather took notice of him and appointed him a local lay preacher and youth leader. Between the ages of seventeen and twenty, Francis recorded that he went “almost every place within my reach for the sake of precious souls; preaching generally, three, four, and five times a week, and the same time pursuing my calling.” 3 When Francis was twenty-two, the Methodist Conference in England gave him a probationary license; one year later, he was assigned his own circuit. At this time, the Wesley brothers had been receiving letters from American pastors calling for experienced ministers to come over and help with those converted in the revivals of George Whitefield and the other awakeners. So, at the Bristol Conference in August of 1771, John announced, “Our [American] brethren call aloud for help. Who are willing to go over and help them?” 4 The call touched Francis’s heart deeply, and he, along with Richard Wright, agreed to go. Francis set sail within a month on September 4, taking two blankets for a bed, some clothes, and ten pounds sterling that had been given to him by some friends. He distilled his own mission statement into these few words:

Whither am I going? To the New World. What to do? To gain honour? No, if I know my own heart. To get money? No: I am going to live to God and to bring others so to do. 5 When I Saw the American Shore


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The voyage was long for Asbury, who was often seasick. But he held to his calling he preached on deck every afternoon he could, even if it meant tying himself to a mast in order to resist the pitching of the ship. When they docked in Philadelphia on Sunday, October 27, 1771, Asbury and Wright went to Saint George’s Church, the city’s Methodist headquarters, that very night. Asbury wrote:

The people looked on us with pleasure, hardly knowing how to show their love sufficiently, bidding us welcome with fervent affection and receiving us as angels of God. O that we may always walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called! When I came near the American shore my very heart melted within me to think from whence I came, and where I was going, and what I was going about. 6 After preaching for the first month in some of the largest churches in Philadelphia and New York, Asbury’s soul grew restlessness: “The preaching stops were enjoyable, but where was the evangelistic thrust to the countryside and to the more marginalized members of society?” 7 He wrestled with his frustration that the people in charge had not established any plans to spread the Gospel outside of New York and Philadelphia. Soon, Francis persuaded two local churchmen to go with him to Westchester, New York, where he convinced the local judge to let him use the courthouse as his pulpit. It went so well that he returned two weeks later, and although the courthouse was not available, he simply set up church at the home of the tavern owner. Asbury spent the night in the home of a local family who, when he invited them to pray after supper, became Methodists. Asbury would repeat this pattern of evangelism for the next forty-some years - he would find a place to preach, stay with a local family, and pray with those present to accept Christ. Each time he did, a new Methodist society would be born. Methodist Drawbacks Asbury’s first decade in America was marked by few such successes, however. The Methodist mission to America suffered from two major stumbling blocks. The first was that Methodism was inherently English, and tension between America and England was growing exponentially. All the Methodist leaders were men sent from England, and the societies were patterned after those in England, with their members still part of the Church of England. To make matters worse, John Wesley made the unfortunate choice of telling the colonists it was their Christian duty to seek reconciliation with the Crown. The second obstacle was that Methodism could not find a home in the pluralistic Protestantism of the thirteen colonies. Why should one become a Methodist when the local Baptist or Congregational church had similar meetings already? In England, the formality of Anglicanism left a great deal of room during the rest of the week for the societies to meet. Churches in America, however, were much more open, with an emphasis on similar disciplines to those of the Methodists as opposed to the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

rituals of the sacraments. Methodism would have to break new ground as its own denomination before it could gather speed. “I Am Determined Not to Leave Them” As the tension with Great Britain continued to grow, so did Asbury’s allegiance to the colonies. The progression of his shifting allegiance is evident in his journal entries. In 1773, he wrote that the people were too disloyal to the mother country; in 1775, he penned, “Surely, the Lord will overrule and make all these things subservient to the spiritual welfare of his Church;” 8 by July 1776 he boldly proclaimed that the British would have little prospect of winning; and finally, in 1779, he prayed that God would “mercifully interpose for the deliverance of our land.” 9 By spring of 1780, Asbury was a recognized citizen of Delaware. In August 1775, Asbury received a letter from the man with whom he had shared leadership for a time, Thomas Rankin, saying the decision had been made that all English Methodist missionaries were to return to England because of the growing unrest. Asbury’s response was firm:

I can by no means agree to leave such a field for gathering souls to Christ, as we have in America. It would be an eternal dishonour to the Methodists, that we should all leave 3,000 souls, who desire to commit themselves to our care; neither is it the part of a good shepherd to leave his flock in time of danger: therefore, I am determined, by the grace of God, not to leave them, let the consequence be what it may. 10 Asbury continued his preaching efforts with little interference. By early spring of 1778, all the English Methodists in leadership had left except for Asbury. However, he was vehemently determined to focus on spreading the work of Christ and to ignore politics as much as possible. Freedom Comes to America In February 1782, the British Parliament voted not to continue the war in America. The end of the conflict brought many changes for Asbury and Methodism. The travelling restrictions were minimized, but until a treaty was officially signed, Asbury was still suspect and had to obtain a valid pass to move about. Such inconveniences were minor compared to more drastic ministry needs. While the attendance and ministry of most churches had diminished during the trials of war, Methodism had actually grown. In 1773, American Methodism had 24 preachers, 12 circuits, and 4,921 members; by the end of the war, there were 82 Methodist preachers, 39 circuits, and a membership of 13,740.11 Given the growth, John Wesley seemed to feel obliged to exercise his leadership again as the father of the movement. However, when Wesley tried to regain control by sending Thomas Coke as co-superintendent with Asbury, Coke got an earful. The story goes that Coke interrupted American Methodist preacher Nelson Reed to say,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

“You must think you are my equal,” to which Reed responded, “Yes, Sir, we do; and we are not only the equals of Dr. Coke, but of Dr. Coke’s king.” 12 Asbury leaned on this independent, democratic spirit to solidify - once and for all - his leadership of the Methodist movement in America by calling for a vote from the combined northern and southern conferences. This was in direct opposition to John Wesley’s method of appointing leaders rather than electing them. It would prove the final break with English leadership. On December 27, 1784, the Americans voted - and they chose Asbury to be superintendent of the newly formed Methodist Episcopal Church. Methodism was its own denomination and Asbury its bishop. By 1787, the American leadership had rejected the last of Wesley’s directions, effectively declaring American Methodism’s independence. “Live or Die I Must Ride” While many new leaders would have set up a base of operations in a capital city, Francis's heart led him to travel the nation as a circuit rider. This leading proved to be of great benefit: as Bishop Francis was also a travelling ordination service. Whenever he came to a new area and found a young man worthy of ministry, he ordained him on the spot and appointed him to a freshly created circuit. Each Methodist preacher was responsible for a circuit that was between two hundred and five hundred miles in circumference. He was expected to visit each preaching site every two to six weeks. Thus, Methodism grew as a web-like network across the new territories, and with it, the Gospel became the common language of America, from the original Plymouth settlement to the farthest reaches of Kentucky and beyond. “No family was too poor, no house too filthy, no town too remote, and no people too ignorant to receive the good news that life could be better.” 13 Other denominations simply could not keep up with Asbury’s pace. College education was the primary avenue to success for mainline clergy, but Methodist preachers preferred to be without credentials so that they could better relate to the common people. Asbury certainly didn’t discourage learning, but he didn’t want anything to distract a man from speaking “the plain truth to plain people.” 14 Only four questions were posed to evaluate prospective Methodist itinerant preachers: “1) Is this man truly converted? 2) Does he know and keep our rules? 3) Can he preach acceptably? 4) Has he a horse?” 15 Dinner with President Washington Slavery was a troubling subject for Asbury and for the Methodist organization in general. Asbury could not understand how a country that fought so passionately for freedom could make slaves of other human beings. He made sure that the slaves felt welcomed by every preacher and were always included with their masters in Methodist Episcopal services. Asbury drew no colour line for ministers either. He did


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

not hesitate to travel with Harry Hosier, the first African-American Methodist evangelist, to the state of Virginia. Many Methodists considered Hosier to be one of the best preachers in the world. After the Revolutionary War, Francis and Thomas Coke made an attempt to get President George Washington to sign a petition to emancipate the slaves. Visiting him at Mount Vernon, Asbury felt uncomfortable having black servants wait on them at dinner. Afterwards, Washington said that although he agreed with the principle, he would not sign the petition. He explained that the slaves needed to be educated so that they would understand their obligation of freedom; otherwise, freedom would not be a gift. Washington himself owned several hundred slaves who worked his plantation, but a few months before he died, he changed the specifications of his will so that they would all be set free when his wife died. The degree to which Asbury may have influenced that decision is uncertain.

The Holy Spirit Explosion on the Western Frontier In June 1800, James McGready, the pastor of three small congregations at Red River, Gaspar River, and Muddy River, invited the local ministers to join him at the annual Communion gathering at the Red River Church. The event would take place over a weekend with Communion to be served on Monday. The initial days were quiet, but when one of the local preachers spoke on Monday morning, the Spirit of God fell on a woman and she began shouting and singing. Presbyterian minister John McGee, who was sitting in the congregation as the minister brought his message to a close, began weeping. It was not long before the rest of the congregation was weeping as well, crying out for salvation. Then, McGee spoke and exhorted the crowd to let “the Lord God Omnipotent reign in [your] hearts, and to submit to Him.” He later recalled, “I turned to go back and was near falling; the power of God was so strong upon me. I turned again and, losing sight of the fear of man, I went through the house shouting and exhorting with all possible ecstasy and energy, and the floor was soon covered with the slain.” 16 The power of God fell and people dropped to the ground everywhere. In the following months, similar meetings were organized. The summer of 1801 was a literal Pentecost season with spiritual manifestations that would sweep holding camp meetings into popularity for many decades to come. The revival reached its height at the Cane Ridge camp meeting that August. It didn’t take long for many mainline ministers to condemn this emotionalism, as their predecessors had during the Great Awakening. Asbury, however, saw the work of God rather than excess, so he embraced the camp meeting movement to the point that he urged Methodists in the East to imitate this format in their own districts hoping for the same movement of God to revive souls. These people needed to be


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

shepherded, and if the Presbyterians and the Baptists weren’t going to do it, then the Methodists certainly would. “What Shall I Do When I Am Old?” By 1813, when Francis was sixty-eight, his body began giving out from all of the years in the saddle. Added to this, he had rheumatoid arthritis; and has he grew older, the ailment was so severe that he gave up horseback riding and had to be transported by carriage. In 1816 he and a travelling companion were on their way to Fredericksburg, pushing hard in hopes of making it to the General Conference. When Francis could go no farther, they took shelter at the home of an old friend, George Arnold. The next morning was the Sabbath, and he asked that the family gather around him for worship. His lungs had filled with fluid, so he had to be propped up in a chair. At the end of the singing and preaching by his travelling partner, Asbury did as he always did - he called for the plate to be passed so a collection could be taken for the needs of his fellow preachers. In a final act of praise, he raised his hands in triumph when asked if he felt the Lord Jesus was precious. Francis Asbury passed away at four o’clock that afternoon, on Sunday, March 31, 1816. Works Consulted 1. The exact date of Francis Asbury’s birth is actually uncertain. Sources state that it could have been a day earlier (August 19) or later (August 21). 2. John H. Wigger, “Holy, ‘Knock-’em-down’ Preachers,” Christian History 14, No. 1 [Issue 45] (1995): 25. 3. Asbury, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury, vol. I, 722, in Darius L. Salter, America’s Bishop: The Life of Francis Asbury (Nappanee, IN: Francis Asbury Press, 2003), 28. 4. Salter, America’s Bishop, 36. 5. Asbury, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury, vol. I, 4, in Salter, America’s Bishop, 36. 6. Ezra Squier Tipple, Francis Asbury: The Prophet of the Long Road (New York: The Methodist Book Concern, 1916),111–112. 7. Salter, America’s Bishop, 38. 8. Tipple, Francis Asbury: Prophet of the Long Road, 120. 9. Asbury, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury, vol. I, 294, in Salter, America’s Bishop, 71. Emphasis added. 10. Asbury, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury, vol. I, 161, in Salter, 5556. 11. Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1773– 1828 (New York: Mason and Lane, 1840), 7, 17–18, in L. C. Rudolph, Francis Asbury (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1966), 42. 12. John Vickers, Thomas Coke: Apostle of Methodism (New York: Abingdon Press, 1969), 119, in Salter, 87.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

13. Salter, America’s Bishop, 167. 14. “A Grassroots Movement,” The Methodist Church website, =1498. 15. Timothy K. Beougher, “Did You Know?” Christian History 14, no. 1 [Issue 45] (1995): 3. 16. Mark Galli, “Revival at Cane Ridge,” Christian History 14, no. 1 [Issue 45] (1995): 11.


James McGready     Date  of  Birth  1763   Died  February  1817     Married  1790   Children  unknown     James McGready and the Kentucky Revivals

About this time, a remarkable spirit of prayer and supplication was given to Christians, and a sensible, heart-felt burden of the dreadful state of sinners out of Christ: so that it might be said with propriety, that Zion prevailed in birth to bring forth her spiritual children. At the turn of the nineteenth century, America experienced its first Pentecost in the summers of 1800 and 1801 in the newly formed states of Kentucky and Tennessee. It was a time that would set the American frontier on fire for God and make the Gospel the common language of the nation from the settlements on the Atlantic seaboard to the Mississippi River. Central to this move of God was James McGready, a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian minister born in Pennsylvania in 1763. When he was very young, James’ parents moved to Guilford County, North Carolina, where he grew up and attended David Caldwell’s academy. He returned to Pennsylvania for college and seminary at Cannonsburg near Pittsburgh (the institution later became part of Washington and


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Jefferson College). Here he would hear Dr. John Blair Smith recount the history of a powerful revival he had experienced in Virginia. James immediately grew fascinated with the subject of revival. He was licensed as a minister by the Presbytery of Redstone on August 13, 1788 and married sometime around 1790. He pastored a congregation in Orange County, North Carolina for a while, which was not far from Guilford. He quickly gained notoriety in the area “for his effective preaching . . . and for his intense moral seriousness. He touched people by his prayers and sermons, and at the same time troubled them by his denunciation of anything less than perfect holiness in conduct.” 1 From time to time he would minister at Caldwell’s academy where he had been educated, and there touched the lives of future revivalists. Among them was William Hodge, who would become a protégé of James, and Barton Stone, who would be the pastor at Cane Ridge during the 1801 camp meeting there. Stone would later say of McGready:

Such earnestness - such zeal - such powerful persuasion, enforced by the joys of heaven and miseries of hell, I had never witnessed before. My mind was chained by him, and followed him closely in his rounds of heaven, earth, and hell, with feelings indescribable. His concluding remarks were addressed to the sinner to flee the wrath to come without delay. Never before had I comparatively felt the force of truth. Such was my excitement, that had I been standing, I should have probably sunk to the floor under the impression. 2

Heading West   In 1796 James left North Carolina for Kentucky and became the pastor for three congregations in Logan County near the communities of Red River, Gaspar River, and Muddy River. There he continued to call for moral excellence on one of the roughest parts of the frontier. The region was known as “Rogue’s Harbor” for those who had fled there to escape the long arm of the law east of the Alleghenies. It was an area rampant with vice and alcoholism, land grabbing, and homesteaders trying to bring civilization to a land never before tamed. Christianity also seemed on the ropes as Universalism and Deism were on the rise. As Methodist minister James Smith put it in 1795, “the Universalists, joining with the Deists, had given Christianity a deadly stab hereabouts.” 3 The 1790s were actually seeing a decline in church attendance in Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1798 the Presbyterian General Assembly decreed a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer to call for the redemption of the frontier from “Egyptian darkness.” 4 With them, Rev. McGready began earnestly praying for revival to sweep the two new states. In May of 1797, Rev. McGready saw the first visit of the Holy Spirit as he preached. One of the women who had been a faithful part of the church “was struck with deep conviction,” sought salvation anew, “and in a few days was filled with joy and peace in believing.” In a letter to a friend of October 23, 1801, McGready went on to describe what happened next:


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

She immediately visited her friends and relatives, from house to house, and warned them of their danger in a most solemn, faithful manner, and plead with them to repent and seek religion. This . . . was accompanied with the divine blessing [manifestations of the Holy Spirit] to the awakening of many. About this time the ears of all in that congregation seemed to be open to receive the word preached, and almost every sermon was accompanied with the power of God, to the awakening of sinners. During the summer about ten persons in the congregation were brought to Christ. 5 The seeds of revival were starting to sprout.

The Annual  Communions   Ever looking for opportunities to spur renewal in the hearts of his congregation, James adapted a formula that had sparked revival in Ulster (Northern Ireland) and Scotland, the greatest of which had been at Cambuslang in 1742 where George Whitefield had ministered to crowds as large as 30,000. McGready called for a multiday communion service. Families from the surrounding areas would come to stay with a family in town, and meetings would start Friday evening. Services would continue on through Saturday and Sunday, then there would be a Monday morning service with communion being taken around noontime. This proved a good formula for the sparsely populated Logan County. Scattered settlers were able to come together as a community to receive the sacrament, which was otherwise impractical on a weekly, or even monthly, basis because of the travel times. These became annual events in McGready’s churches - as they probably had been in North Carolina as well - but were anything but routine after the services at Gaspar River in July of 1798. Again, in McGready’s own words:

On Monday the Lord graciously poured out his Spirit; a very general awakening took place - perhaps but few families in the congregation could be found who, less or more, were not struck with an awful sense of their lost estate. During the week following but few persons attended to worldly business, their attention to the business of their souls was so great. On the first Sabbath of September, the sacrament was administered at Muddy River. . . . At this meeting the Lord graciously poured forth his spirit, to the awakening of many careless sinners. Through these two congregations already mentioned, and through Red River, my other congregation . . . awakening work went on with power under every sermon. The people seemed to hear, as for eternity. In every house, and almost in every company, the whole conversation with people, was about the state of their souls. 6

As a  New  Century  Dawned   The first Communion of the summer of 1799 took place at Red River in July. Keeping with the formula at Cambuslang, James welcomed other ministers including the Presbyterians John Rankin, William Hodge, and William McGee, and William’s  


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Methodist brother, John McGee. McGready described what happened in a letter he wrote in 1801:

On Monday the power of God seemed to fill the congregation; the boldest, daring sinners in the country covered their faces and wept bitterly. After the congregation was dismissed, a large number of people stayed about the doors, unwilling to go away. Some of the ministers proposed to me to collect the people in the meetinghouse again, and perform prayer with them; accordingly we went in, and joined in prayer and exhortation. The mighty power of God came amongst us like a shower from the everlasting hills - God’s people were quickened and comforted; yea, some of them were filled with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Sinners were powerfully alarmed, and some precious souls were brought to feel the pardoning love of Jesus. 7 Again similar things followed in the Gaspar and Muddy River congregations - but God was far from done. The following summer, James called for the Red River Communion to take place earlier in the year, on the weekend of Saturday, June 21 to Monday, June 23, 1800. Roughly five hundred people attended. Rev. McGready invited the same group of ministers as the year before, but this time the results were beyond expectations as the Holy Spirit showed up with power. As McGready recalled:

In June the sacrament was administered at Red River. This was the greatest time we had ever seen before. As multitudes were struck down under awful conviction; the cries of the distressed filled the whole house. There you might see profane swearers, and Sabbath breakers pricked to the heart, and crying out, “What shall we do to be saved?” There frolickers, and dancers crying for mercy. There you might see little children of ten, eleven, and twelve years of age praying and crying for redemption, in the blood of Jesus, in agonies of distress. During this sacrament, and until the Tuesday following, ten persons we believe, were savingly brought home to Christ. 8 The eruption at Red River was truly unexpected the first three days, which passed with little remarkable happening. The services had been reverent and orderly. During Monday morning’s service though, as William Hodge preached a moving message on Job 22:21 - ”Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee” - a woman who had been seeking assurance of her salvation for some time began shouting and singing. Then, after a short intermission, John McGee rose to speak, and came to the pulpit singing, Come Holy   Spirit,   heavenly   dove,   With   all   thy   quickening   powers,   Kindle   a   flame   of   sacred   love  In  these  cold  hearts  of  ours.      


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

At this at least one other woman cried out, probably also coming to a sudden knowledge of saving grace. McGee descended to congratulate them, and as he did, the glory of God broke out over the people. Some fell to the ground, others cried out for mercy, others prayed, and others began praising God at the top of their voices. William McGee, who was sitting nearby, rose to go to the pulpit, but collapsed onto the floor before it. As John McGee turned to him, he felt the power of God fall so heavily that he nearly crumbled beside his brother. John later recalled,

I turned to go back and was near falling; the power of God was strong upon me. I turned again, and, losing sight of the fear of man, I went through the house shouting and exhorting with all possible ecstasy and energy, and the floor was soon covered with the slain. 10 Unsure of what was happening as they had never seen people fall to the ground before as they preached, McGready, Hodge, and Rankin wondered if they should intervene. McGee, however, a “shouting Methodist” himself, assured them that this was the work of God, and they let the service run its course. Rev. Rankin later reported:

On seeing and feeling his confidence, that it was the work of God, and a mighty effusion of his spirit, and having heard that he was acquainted with such scenes in another country, we acquiesced and stood in astonishment, admiring the wonderful works of God. When this alarming occurrence subsided in outward show, the united congregation returned to their respective abodes, in contemplation of what they had seen, heard, and felt on this most oppressive occasion. 11

The Revival  Grows   The ministers then decided to have another Communion the following month at the Gaspar River Meetinghouse. The McGee brothers went to speak someplace different almost every weekend that summer and such meetings truly caught on like wildfire. The word spread quickly, and momentum gathered towards the Gaspar River Communion. As Rankin remarked,

The news of the strange operations which had transpired at the previous meeting had run throughout the country in every direction, carrying a high degree of excitement to the minds of almost every character. The curious came to gratify their curiosity. The seriously convicted, presented themselves that they might receive some special and salutary benefit to their souls, and promote the cause of God, at home and abroad. 12 In his Narrative, McGready describes how the Kentucky revival truly took hold in Gaspar, drawing people from far and wide:

In July the sacrament was administered in Gasper River Congregation. Here multitudes crowded from all parts of the country to see a strange work, from the


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

distance of forty, fifty, and even a hundred miles; whole families came in their wagons; between twenty and thirty wagons were brought to the place, loaded with people, and their provisions, in order to encamp at the meeting-house. . . . Of many instances to which I have been an eyewitness, I shall only mention one, viz. A little girl. I stood by her whilst she lay across her mother’s lap almost in despair. I was conversing with her when the first gleam of light broke in upon her mind - She started to her feet, and in an ecstacy of joy, she cried out, “O he is willing, he is willing - he is come, he is come - O what a sweet Christ he is - O what a precious Christ he is - O what a fulness I see in him - O what a beauty I see in him - O why was it that I never could believe! That I never could come to Christ before, when Christ was so willing to save me?” Then turning round, she addressed sinners, and told them of the glory, willingness, and preciousness of Christ, and plead with them to repent; and all this in language so heavenly, and, at the same time, so rational and scriptural, that I was filled with astonishment. But were I to write you every particular of this kind that I have been an eye and ear witness to, during the two past years, it would fill many sheets of paper. 13 As a result of the numbers, the Gaspar River meeting house proved too small to hold the crowds, so areas where cleared to hold meetings in the open air. A “preaching stand” was constructed as were log pews. Services ran through the entirety of the first night and the cries of the penitent threatened to drown out the voice of John McGee as he spoke on Sunday. The same signs of the move of the Spirit that had been at Red River were at Gaspar River - people falling under the power of God, those crying out and praying under the conviction of the Spirit, as well as the loud cries of joy and praise from those who found the peace with God they had come to receive. The Camp Meeting Was Born Most consider Gaspar River to be the first camp meeting ever held, though the term would not be coined for another year or two. This would happen because the Communions began to draw crowds larger than could be housed with local families, and would soon outgrow the capacities of the meetinghouses to hold everyone. The conviction of the Spirit showed no limits either, as believers, Universalists, Deists, and even Atheists were all struck down alike. Revival fire spread out from Logan County throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Communions were held almost every weekend for the rest of the summer.

At this sacrament a great many people from Cumberland, particularly from Shiloh Congregation, came with great curiosity to see the work, yet prepossessed with strong prejudices against it; about five of whom, I trust, were savingly and powerfully converted before they left the place. A circumstance worthy of observation, they were sober professors in full communion. It was truly affecting to see them lying powerless, crying for mercy, and speaking to their friends and relations, in such language as this: “O, we despised the work that we heard of in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Logan; but, O, we were deceived - I have no religion; I know now there is a reality in these things: three days ago I would have despised any person that would have behaved as I am doing now; but, O, I feel the very pains of hell in my soul.” . . . When they went home, their conversation to their friends and neighbours, was the means of commencing a glorious work that has overspread all the Cumberland settlements to the conversion of hundreds of precious souls. The work continued night and day at this sacrament, whilst the vast multitude continued upon the ground until Tuesday morning. According to the best computation, we believe that forty-five souls were brought to Christ on this occasion. 14 As 1800 drew to a close, God’s presence was surely falling on Kentucky and Tennessee, but they had not seen anything yet - a fresh dose of Pentecost was just around the corner. The next year, 1801, would see roughly fifty different congregations plan four-day Communions between May and November, the largest and most explosive of all would be at Cane Ridge in August. (See “Barton Stone and the Cane Ridge Revival” for more on this.) Revival Fires Quenched Those who tried to fit the works of God of this summer into some kind of man-made doctrinal box would see no more of such manifestations. Other groups would leave their denominations and form new ones in order to continue chasing these “exercises of the Spirit,” but miss out on the heart of God by chasing the spectacular rather than God Himself. The Cumberland valley congregations broke off from mainline Presbyterianism to become the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Notably, however, James McGready refused to leave the mainline Presbyterians, and never became part of the Cumberland group. However, he stayed in contact and fellowship with them in the years to come. James never left Kentucky. James attended a Cumberland Presbyterian camp meeting near Evansville, Indiana, in t he fall of 1816. After ministering, he had prayed with those seeking salvation, and he proclaimed, “O blessed be God! I this day feel the same holy fire that filled my soul sixteen years ago, during the glorious revival of 1800.” He encouraged the other minister there, “Brethren, go on, God is with you, be humble, and he will continue to bless you.” He returned to his congregation in Henderson County and told them, “Brethren, when I am dead and gone, the Cumberland Presbyterians will come among you and occupy this field; go with them, they are a people of God.” While he lived no Cumberland preacher operated near his congregations out of respect for him. James McGready died in Henderson in February of 1817. Works Consulted 1. Paul K. Conkin, Cane Ridge: America’s Pentecost (Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), 53.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

2. Barton Stone, A Short History of the Life of Barton W. Stone, 1847, Chapter 2, 3. Mark Galli, “Revival at Cane Ridge,” Christian History 14, no. 1 [Issue 45] (1995): 11. 4. Ibid., 11. 5. James McGready, “Narrative of the Commencement and Progress of the Revival of 1800 in a Letter to a Friend dated October 23, 1801,” Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. T. Marshall Smith, Legends of the War of Independence (Louisville, KY: J. F. Brennan, Publisher, 1855), 372-373, in Kenneth O. Brown, Holy Ground: A Study of the American Camp Meeting (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992), 18. The hymn, “Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,” was written by Isaac Watts, and was widely sung by Methodists. 10. John McGee to Douglas, Methodist Magazine, 4: 190, in John B. Boles, The Great Revival: Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1972), 54. 11. John Rankin, “Autobiographical Sketch,” 1845, in John Patterson MacLean, Shakers of Ohio: Fugitive Papers Concerning the Shakers of Ohio, With Unpublished Manuscripts (Columbus, OH: The F. J. Heer Printing Company, 1907), 57. 12. John Rankin, “Autobiographical Sketch,” 280-281, in John B. Boles, The Great Revival: Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1972), 55. 13. McGready, “Narrative of the Commencement and Progress of the Revival of 1800.” 14. Ibid.

"Barton Stone and the Cane Ridge Revival" Cane Ridge,  Kentucky                    August  6-­‐11,  1801  

Kentucky was ablaze with revival at the turn of the nineteenth century. So when Barton Stone heard that God was moving at James McGready’s Communions in Logan County Kentucky in 1800, he decided to attend one the following spring. The scene that greeted him was revolutionary. By then the crowds attracted by these multi-day Communion gatherings had grown too large to have services all in one place at one time, so various areas of


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

ministry began taking place concurrently. In his autobiography, Rev. Stone described what he experienced:

The scene to me was new, and passing strange. It baffled description. . . . Many, very many fell down, as men slain in battle, and continued for hours together in an apparently breathless and motionless state - sometimes for a few moments reviving, and exhibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan, or piercing shriek, or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered. After lying thus for hours, they obtained deliverance. The gloomy cloud, which had covered their faces, seemed gradually and visibly to disappear, and hope in smiles brightened into joy - they would rise shouting deliverance, and then would address the surrounding multitude in language truly eloquent and impressive. With astonishment did I hear men, women, and children declaring the wonderful works of God, and the glorious mysteries of the gospel. Their appeals were solemn, heart-penetrating, bold and free. Under such addresses many others would fall down into the same state from which the speakers had just been delivered. 1 While he might have been sceptical that such experiences were genuine, he knew some of the “slain” personally, so there was no room for doubt. When he returned to his congregations at Cane Ridge and Concord, he shared some of what he saw and his parishioners were struck to the heart. At Cane Ridge, “The congregation was affected with awful solemnity, and many returned home weeping.” At Concord, “two little girls were struck down under the preaching of the word, and in every respect were exercised as those were in the south of Kentucky.” 2 Upon returning to Cane Ridge, he found many seeking salvation with new vigour. A good friend, Nathaniel Rogers, greeted him by praising the Lord as he had just gained the assurance of his own salvation. Then, an even more interesting scene emerged:

We hurried into each others’ embrace, he [Nathaniel Rogers] still praising the Lord aloud. The crowd [that had been seeking the Lord while awaiting Reverend Stone’s return] left the house, and hurried to this novel scene. In less than twenty minutes, scores had fallen to the ground paleness, trembling, and anxiety appeared in all - some attempted to fly from the scene panic stricken, but they either fell, or returned immediately to the crowd, as unable to get away. In the midst of this exercise, an intelligent deist in the neighbourhood, stepped up to me, and said, “Mr. Stone, I always thought before that you were an honest man; but now I am convinced you are deceiving the people.” I viewed him with pity, and mildly spoke a few words to him - immediately he fell as a dead man, and rose no more till he confessed the Saviour. The meeting continued on that spot in the open air, till late at night, and many found peace in the Lord. 3 After these events, Stone scheduled a Communion in Cane Ridge for the first weekend of August, only a month after he married. Expecting impressive


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

numbers, and knowing that the meetinghouse could seat 350 and hold no more than 500, areas were cleared and a large tent erected as secondary places of ministry. Unexpected Numbers On Friday, August 6, wagons of families began arriving. Hundreds soon turned into thousands, and local families housing the attendees - even the richer ones who might house three or four families - were soon swamped to overflowing. With no organization that could hold those numbers, the scene passed somewhere between the absolute chaos of a refugee camp and the Christian equivalent of the Feast of Tabernacles. In his autobiography, Rev. Stone tried to describe the scene that quickly began to spread over several acres:

The roads were literally crowded with wagons, carriages, horsemen, and footmen, moving to the solemn camp. The sight was affecting. It was judged, by military men on the ground, that there were between twenty and thirty thousand collected. Four or five preachers were frequently speaking at the same time, in different parts of the encampment, without confusion. The Methodist and Baptist preachers aided in the work, and all appeared cordially united in it - of one mind and one soul, and the salvation of sinners seemed to be the great object of all. We all engaged in singing the same songs of praise - all united in prayer - all preached the same things - free salvation urged upon all by faith and repentance. A particular description of this meeting would fill a large volume, and then the half would not be told. The numbers converted will be known only in eternity. . . . This meeting continued six or seven days and nights, and would have continued longer, but provisions for such a multitude failed in the neighbourhood. 4 Building Up and Overflowing It had rained the first Friday evening, so the numbers were smaller, but the meetinghouse was still filled to overflowing. Pastor Stone gave the opening address and Matthew Houston gave the first sermon to a very expectant audience. Nothing remarkable happened that evening, though some remained in prayer throughout the night. Saturday morning was still quiet as the services continued, but by noon more families where arriving, and they were doing so by the thousands despite the intermittent rain. Single men who could more easily come in on horseback during the day were staying in taverns or sleeping in barns as far away as Lexington - a distance of some twenty-five miles. The centre could no longer hold, there were simply too many bodies to keep in one area. By the afternoon, both the meetinghouse and the tent were filled to overflowing and the preaching continued without interruption. It wasn’t long, however, before


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

preaching began breaking out wherever crowds were gathered. It was said that over the weekend there were times when as many as seven preachers were preaching to large crowds all at the same time. The numbers swelled to tens of thousands in the following hours, and at the high point of the attendance, one tally had that 1,143 wagons and similar vehicles had set up camp in the area. These were extraordinary numbers considering that Lexington only had a population of 1,795 at the time, and there were fewer than 250,000 people in all of Kentucky. 5 Touched by the Holy Spirit In one of the gatherings, a young minister named Richard Nemar exclaimed he had found a “true new gospel” and it was as if electricity shot through the crowd. Though no one was quite sure what he meant by this - some were even shocked and offended - the Holy Spirit fell in the midst of the congregation. Rev. Stone kept a careful record of all the manifestations over the weekend and included the following account of some of them:

The bodily agitations or exercises, attending the excitement in the beginning of this century, were various, and called by various names - as, the falling exercise - the jerks - the dancing exercise - the barking exercise - the laughing and singing exercise, etc. The falling exercise was very common among all classes, the saints and sinners of every age and of every grace, from the philosopher to the clown. The subject of this exercise would, generally, with a piercing scream, fall like a log on the floor, earth, or mud, and appear as dead. Of thousands of similar cases, I will mention one. At a meeting, two . . . sisters, were standing together attending to the exercises and preaching. . . . Instantly they both fell, with a shriek of distress, and lay for more than an hour apparently in a lifeless state. Their mother, a pious Baptist, was in great distress, fearing they would not revive. At length they began to exhibit symptoms of life, by crying fervently for mercy, and then relapsed into the same death-like state, with an awful gloom on their countenances. After awhile, the gloom on the face of one was succeeded by a heavenly smile, and she cried out, “Precious Jesus,” and rose up and spoke of the love of God - the preciousness of Jesus, and of the glory of the gospel, to the surrounding crowd, in language almost superhuman, and pathetically exhorted all to repentance. In a little while after, the other sister was similarly exercised. From that time they became remarkably pious members of the church. . . . The jerks cannot be so easily described. Sometimes the subject of the jerks would be affected in some one member of the body, and sometimes in the whole system. When the head alone was affected, it would be jerked backward and forward, or from side to side, so quickly that the features of the face could not be distinguished. When the whole system was affected, I have seen the person stand in one place, and jerk backward and forward in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

quick succession, their head nearly touching the floor behind and before. All classes, saints and sinners, the strong as well as the weak, were thus affected. I have inquired of those thus affected. They could not account for it; but some have told me that those were among the happiest seasons of their lives. I have seen some wicked persons thus affected, and all the time cursing the jerks, while they were thrown to the earth with violence. Though so awful to behold, I do not remember that any one of the thousands I have seen ever sustained an injury in body. This was as strange as the exercise itself. . . . The barking exercise, (as opposers contemptuously called it,) was nothing but the jerks. A person affected with the jerks, especially in his head, would often make a grunt, or bark, if you please, from the suddenness of the jerk. This name of barking seems to have had its origin from an old Presbyterian preacher of East Tennessee. He had gone into the woods for private devotion, and was seized with the jerks. Standing near a sapling, he caught hold of it, to prevent his falling, and as his head jerked back, he uttered a grunt or kind of noise similar to a bark, his face being turned upwards. Some wag discovered him in this position, and reported that he found him barking up a tree. The laughing exercise was frequent, confined solely with the religious. It was a loud, hearty laughter, but one sui generis [“of its own kind”]; it excited laughter in none else. The subject appeared rapturously solemn, and his laughter excited solemnity in saints and sinners. It is truly indescribable. The running exercise was nothing more than, that persons feeling something of these bodily agitations, through fear, attempted to run away, and thus escape from them; but it commonly happened that they ran not far, before they fell, or became so greatly agitated that they could proceed no farther. I knew a young physician of a celebrated family, who came some distance to a big meeting to see the strange things he had heard of. He and a young lady had sportively agreed to watch over, and take care of each other, if either should fall. At length the physician felt something very uncommon, and started from the congregation to run into the woods; he was discovered running as for life, but did not proceed far till he fell down, and there lay till he submitted to the Lord, and afterwards became a zealous member of the church. Such cases were common. 6 Estimates of those touched by the Holy Spirit ranged from five hundred to a thousand at a time. Another Eyewitness Account Among those in the audience were some detractors, of whom Robert W. Finley was one, even though he was the son of the builder of the Cane Ridge Meetinghouse, Rev. James B. Finley. (James B. was also a successful circuit


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

rider who had a powerful ministry among the Wyandot Indians of Ohio.) This is what he had to say of the events:

On the way to the meeting I said to my companions, “If I fall, it must be by physical power, and not by singing and praying,” and as I prided myself upon my manhood and courage, I had no fear of being overcome by any nervous excitability or being frightened into religion. We arrived upon the ground, and here a scene presented itself to my mind not only novel and unaccountable, but awful beyond description. A vast crowd, supposed by some to have amounted to twenty-five thousand, was collected together. The noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of human beings seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. I counted seven ministers, all preaching at one time; some on stumps, others in wagons, and one - the Reverend William Burke, now of Cincinnati - was standing on a tree which had in falling lodged against another. Some of the people were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy in the most piteous accents, while others were shouting most vociferously. While witnessing these scenes a peculiarly strange sensation, such as I had never before felt, came over me. My heart beat tumultuously, my knees trembled, my lips quivered, and I felt as though I must fall to the ground. . . . I became so weak and powerless that I found it necessary to sit down. Soon after I left and went into the woods, and there I strove to rally and man up my courage. I tried to philosophize in regard to these wonderful exhibitions, resolving them into mere sympathetic excitement, a kind of religious enthusiasm, inspired by songs and eloquent harangues. My pride was wounded, for I had supposed that my mental and physical strength and vigour could most successfully resist these influences. After some time I returned to the scene of excitement, the waves of which, if possible, had risen still higher. The same awfulness of feeling came over me. I stepped upon a log, where I could have a better view of the surging sea of humanity. The scene that then presented itself to my mind was indescribable. At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment, as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them, and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens. My hair rose up on my head, my whole frame trembled, the blood ran cold in my veins, and I fled for the woods a second time, and wished I had stayed at home. . . . In this state I wandered about from place to place, in and around the encampment. At times it seemed as if all the sins I had ever committed in my life were vividly brought up in array before my terrified imagination, and under their awful pressure I felt as if I must die if I did not get relief. My


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

heart was so proud and hard that I would not have fallen to the ground for the whole State of Kentucky. I felt that such an event would have been an everlasting disgrace and put a final quietus on my boasted manhood and courage. . . . Then came from my streaming eyes the bitter tears, and I could scarcely refrain from screaming aloud. Night approaching, we put up near Mayslick, the whole of which was spent by me in weeping and promising God if he would spare me till morning I would pray and try to mend my life and abandon my wicked courses. 7 Robert Finley went on to become a lifelong minister of some importance in the Methodist Church.

Evenings at Cane Ridge As evening descended, campfires were lit and candles, lamps, and torches provided the light as the services continued into the night. This light playing on the trees must have created a wondrous atmosphere for renewed reverence. Another witness had the following testimony about what the evenings were like:

The spectacle presented at night was one of the wildest grandeur. The glare of the blazing campfires falling on a dense multitude of heads, simultaneously bowed in adoration, and reflected back from the long range of tents upon every side, hundreds of lamps and candles suspended among the trees, together with numerous torches flashing to and fro, throwing an uncertain light upon the tremulous foliage and giving an appearance of dim and indefinite extent to the depths of the forest; the solemn chanting of hymns, swelling and falling on the night winds; the impassioned exhortations, the earnest prayers, the sobs, the shrieks or shouts bursting from persons under agitation of mind; the sudden spasms which seized upon and unexpectedly dashed them to the ground - all conspired to invest the scene with terrific interest, and arouse their feelings to the highest state of excitement. 8 Thousands Saved The communion service had been planned for Sunday instead of Monday as it always was at other such gatherings, and came off as planned. The tables for this were set up in the meetinghouse in the shape of a cross and could serve as many as a hundred people at a time. Estimates range from between 800 and 1,100 for those who actually took part as only those recognized as converts were allowed to partake of it.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

As the people exited the communion services, a vast number of small prayer groups began forming, and literally hundreds began spontaneously exhorting anyone within earshot as the Spirit of God fell on them. This was the most remarkable manifestation of Cane Ridge, as these exhorters could be men, women, illiterate people, African Americans, children, or people known for their shyness. Because of such sights, camp meetings would soon earn the title “carnival of preachers” as one could literally walk among them and hear preachers from all sides. One seven-year-old girl named Barbara climbed up on a man’s shoulder and began to speak words much beyond her years until she was near exhaustion and settled down to rest her head on the man’s head as if falling asleep. When a tender-hearted man nearby remarked “Poor thing, she had better be laid down,” she revived immediately to proclaim, “Don’t call me poor, for Christ is my brother, God my father, and I have a kingdom to inherit, and therefore do not call me poor, for I am rich in the blood of the Lamb!” 9 As many packed their belongings to return home on Monday, others were just beginning to show up to experience the outpouring. Prayer, preaching, exhorting, singing, and manifestations of the Holy Spirit would continue until Thursday of that week. Estimates of those who where touched with “exercises of the Spirit” ranged between 1,000 to 3,000 - the same numbers were estimated for how many were converted over the course of the meeting. Cane Ridge was the high point of the Kentucky Revival, but was far from exclusive. 1801 was a year of “boiling-hot religion.” Such manifestations of the Holy Spirit would continue through the rest of the summer of 1801. Kentucky and the young United States would be forever changed. The camp meeting set the precedent for America being seen as an “evangelical nation.” 15. Barton Stone, A Short History of the Life of Barton W. Stone, 1847, Chapter 5, 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Ray A. Billington, Westward Expansion (New York, 1949), 250, in Bernard A. Weisberger, They Gathered at the River: The Story of the Great Revivalists and their Impact upon Religion in America (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1958), 31. 20. Barton Stone, A Short History of the Life of Barton W. Stone, 1847, Chapter 6, [Inserts added.]


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

21. Robert W. Finley in James R. Rodgers, The Cane Ridge Meeting-House (Cincinnati, OH: The Standard Publishing House, 1910), 59-62. 22. Davidson in Rodgers, The Cane Ridge Meeting-House, 56. 23. Letter from a man to his sister, August 10, 1801,


Peter Cartwright     Date  of  Birth  Sept  1st  1785     Death  Sept  25th  1872   Married  August  18th  1808   Children  Nine     Love everybody and fear no man. It is said sometimes that hard times call for hard men, and this can certainly be said of Peter Cartwright. Peter’s dedication as a circuit rider on the American frontier not only helped establish Methodism as the way of revival in his time, but also saw roughly 10,000 converted. That is saying a good deal for a man who spent most of his time preaching to rural communities and small crowds. In his sixty-seven years as a minister, he preached almost 15,000 sermons. His title of “The Backwoods Preacher” was well earned, and he was an American hero to rival the likes of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. With God’s help, he won the West as no one else ever would. Peter Cartwright was born to Peter Cartwright, Sr. and Christiana Garvin on September 1, 1785 in Amherst County, Virginia, a year and a half before they were married. According to a newspaper story from Civil War times, he was born while his mother was hiding from an Indian attack in a cluster of closely growing cane trees. 1 His father was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. When Peter was about five, the family moved into the newly opening Kentucky territory. When the family moved west in 1790-1791, Kentucky was still an unbroken wilderness - the land of “canes and turkeys” - with no roads and few towns. It was a


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Promised Land to many poor Easterners, complete with warring tribes to overcome. Indian fighting was so active that as the group of two hundred families headed west they required an escort of one hundred. Still, not all of the party made it safely through more the more settled areas of Kentucky. “A Wild, Wicked Boy” The Cartwright homestead was about nine miles south of the county seat, Russellville, just a mile north of the Kentucky/Tennessee border. Though his mother had become a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Peter grew up more rogue than Christian with a passion for card playing, horseracing, and dancing. Though his father held some sway over him, his mother wept and prayed constantly hoping for his reform. At times he would be moved by her words, or attend a meeting and vow to seek God more earnestly, but these moments of remorse always came to nothing as he soon found himself again in the company of other young people gambling and dancing. To make matters worse, his father bought him a fine horse that proved a strong racer and his own pack of cards. While he didn’t cheat, he did become rather proficient at winning money gambling and it became an addiction for him. Peter called himself “naturally a wild, wicked boy.” 2 The Holy Spirit Falls on Kentucky When Peter was sixteen, revival hit Kentucky through the four-day Communions held by James McGready and others. In his Autobiography, Peter describes his conversion in this way:

In 1801, when I was in my sixteenth year, my father, my eldest half brother, and myself, attended a wedding about five miles from home, where there was great deal of drinking and dancing, which was very common of marriages those days. I drank little or nothing; my delight was in dancing. After a late hour in the night, we mounted our horses and started for home. I was riding my race-horse. A few minutes after we had put up the horses, and were sitting by the fire, I began to reflect on the manner in which I had spent the day and evening. I felt guilty and condemned. I rose and walked the floor. My mother was in bed. It seemed to me, all of a sudden, my blood rushed to my head, my heart palpitated, in a few minutes I turned blind; an awful impression rested on my mind that death had come and I was unprepared to die. I fell on my knees and began to ask God to have mercy on me. . . . Next morning I rose, feeling wretched beyond expression. I tried to read in the Testament, and retired many times to secret prayer through the day, but found no relief. I gave up my racehorse to my father, and requested him to sell him. I went and brought my pack of cards, and gave them to mother, who threw them into the fire, and they were consumed. I fasted, watched, and prayed, and engaged in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

regular reading of the Testament. I was so distressed and miserable, that I was incapable of any regular business. . . . In the spring of this year, Mr. M’Grady [McGready], a minister of the Presbyterian Church, who had a congregation and meeting-house, as we then called them, about three miles north of my father’s house, appointed a sacramental meeting in this congregation. . . . To this meeting I repaired, a guilty, wretched sinner. On the Saturday evening of said meeting, I went, with weeping multitudes, and bowed before the stand, and earnestly prayed for mercy. In the midst of a solemn struggle of soul, an impression was made on my mind, as though a voice said to me, “Thy sins are all forgiven thee.” Divine light flashed all round me, unspeakable joy sprung up in my soul. I rose to my feet, opened my eyes, and it really seemed as if I was in heaven; the trees, the leaves on them, and everything seemed, and I really thought were, praising God. 3 The meeting lasted without a break through the entire night and more than eighty people found peace with God. This meeting was at the Red River Meetinghouse in June near the beginning of the biggest Communion season ever. Called to Preach At the beginning of the Communion season the next year, Peter was surprised when his pastor presented him with a letter acknowledging him as an exhorter for the Methodists. By the time Peter was eighteen he was a regular circuit rider and was asked to travel with another minister to aid him in the work. Peter’s father objected, but his mother prevailed in urging him to go. Along the route, Peter was asked to give the evening service, which he had never done before and wondered if he was called to do it. He prayed fervently that God help him, and asked God to give him one convert that night as evidence that he was truly called to preach. That night his preaching was met with tears and sighs, and one young man who was known as a heathen, gave his heart to the Lord and joined the church. He went on to travel the circuit for three months, saw twenty-five more converted, and received six dollars as pay at the end. Peter became known as “The boy preacher” or “the Kentucky boy” and felt his call had been assured. A Funeral Service Leads to Revival Peter soon received a request to perform a funeral service in an old Baptist meetinghouse, and when he did, the Holy Spirit fell as He had during the camp meetings. He stayed to minister night and day for a while and at every meeting the Holy Spirit manifested. Peter saw twenty-three saved, but had to contend with the local Baptists for their memberships. Later in his life he said of the Baptists, “Indeed,


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

they made so much ado about baptism by immersion, that the uninformed would suppose that heaven was an island, and there was no way to get there but by diving or swimming.” 4 Peter continued itinerating and was ordained as a deacon in the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Western Conference in 1806 by Francis Asbury himself. After his ordination, Peter was sent northeast to the Ohio border, and for the first time met Yankees. At first, he had not wanted to go, but when Francis Asbury took him in his arms and said, “O no, my son; go in the name of the Lord. It will make a man of you,” 5 he could hardly refuse. This particular area was filled with various sects such as Universalism, Unitarianism, Deism, etc. and proved a veritable seminary for young Peter as he had to pour through his Bible to find rebuttals to their teachings. During this time, Peter honed his skill and wit as a powerful debater.

Peter Marries The Conference was in Chillicothe, Ohio on September 14, 1807, roughly two weeks after Peter’s twenty-second birthday. He was assigned a circuit in the Cumberland district, closer to home, under James Ward who was the presiding elder there. In this area, he met and began courting Frances Gaines. As a result, Cartwright broke with the tradition of celibacy set forth by Bishop Asbury and Peter’s Bishop, William McKendree, and married Frances on her nineteenth birthday, August 18, 1808. Of this he said, “After mature deliberation and prayer . . . I thought it was my duty to marry,” 6 and that seemed enough justification of the act to him, as he had consulted none of his superiors on the matter. They celebrated their infare (a combined wedding reception and housewarming 7 ) with his parents the following September on Peter’s twenty-third birthday. That year the Western Conference was in Liberty Hill, Tennessee (just south of Nashville) on October 1. Peter left his wife with his family and headed there with the added weight that he would have to tell Bishop McKendree of his marriage. McKendree said he was not sorry Peter had married, but now he would have to settle in one place - something that could significantly hurt his promotion. Peter accepted his grace, but then fired up to show his determination. “It raised my ambitions and I became pretty spunky, and I just said, Now, here goes; I can work for my living, I can split rails, plow, grub, mow, cradle, or reap. I was raised to it.” 8 And he would not give up itinerating. He would work his farm and ride his circuit without compromise. McKendree must have appreciated his determination, for he made him an elder in the Methodist Church before the end of the conference. Issues of Slavery As an elder, Peter was expected to get more involved in the politics of the church, and he soon found himself embroiled with the debate about slavery. While the Methodist Disciplines forbid the purchase, sale, or ownership of slaves, southern


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Methodists in the United States had long disregarded that tenet. Now it was becoming an issue in the west where slavery was allowed, but was quickly growing unpopular in the wake of the revivals and the growing support of abolition that they had inspired. It was an issue that Peter had at first avoided, feeling it more political than spiritual. He did, however, feel owning slaves was immoral - but his office as an elder would not long permit any neutrality on the issue of slavery. Members of the Methodist conferences soon became divided along pro-slavery and abolitionist lines. This repeatedly came up when new ministers were nominated for ordination who were slave-owners - could a man who owned slaves be welcomed as a minister for the Methodist Episcopal Church? In his Autobiography, published in 1856, Peter had this to say about the matter:

Slavery had long been agitated in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and our preachers, although they did not feel it to be their duty to meddle with it politically, yet, as Christians and Christian ministers, be it spoken to their eternal credit, they believed it to be their duty to bear their testimony against slavery as a moral evil, and this is the reason why the General Conference, from time to time, passed rules and regulations to govern preachers and members of the Church in regard to this great evil. The great object of the General Conference was to keep the ministry clear of it, and there can be no doubt that the course pursued by early Methodist preachers was the cause of the emancipation of thousands of this degraded race of human beings; and it is clear to my mind, if Methodist preachers had kept clear of slavery themselves, and gone on bearing honest testimony against it, that thousands upon thousands more would have been emancipated who are now groaning under an oppression almost too intolerable to be borne. Slavery is certainly a domestic, political, and moral evil. 9 Unfortunately, not all of his fellow elders felt this way, as many of them owned slaves themselves, and while Peter’s cantankerous nature won him much support in the cause to end slavery, it also made him a focal point for the opposition which said he was merely doing it to cause trouble and advance his position in the leadership of the church. A Time for Change and Meddling in Politics Peter remained in Kentucky until 1824 where he and his wife had had seven children. As their oldest, Eliza, now fourteen, was approaching marrying age on the frontier, Peter became concerned his girls might marry into a slave-owning family and disgrace his standing against the issue, so he sold his land, and early in October of 1824, moved his family to Illinois. By thirty-nine, Peter had become a formidable man to deal with, whether it was from behind the pulpit, in a personal confrontation, or as a public figure. Though he had left slavers behind, he had now embraced emancipation on a larger scale. In addition to his circuit duties as a presiding elder and his responsibilities in running his farm, Peter ran for a two-year seat in the General Assembly of the Illinois


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Legislature, coming in fourth out of eleven for three seats in 1826, winning a seat in 1828, losing again in 1830, and winning again in 1832, this time against the formidable opponent, Abraham Lincoln. He would run again in 1834, but withdraw before the election, and thus Lincoln won his first public office. In 1835, he ran for state Senate, but lost to Job Fletcher. Cartwright and Lincoln would again face each other for a U.S. Senate seat in 1846. As one story of this election goes:

During the campaign Lincoln went to a revival meeting where Cartwright was to preach. In the course of the meeting, Cartwright announced: “All who desire to lead a new life, to give their hearts to God and go to heaven, will stand.” Quite a few stood up. Then the preacher raised his voice and roared: “All who do not wish to go to hell will stand.” All stood up except Mr. Lincoln. Cartwright was quick to note the exception, and in solemn tones he said: “I observe that many responded to the first invitation to give their hearts to God and go to heaven, and I further observe that all of you save one indicated you did not wish to go to hell. The sole exception is Mr. Lincoln, who did not respond to either invitation. May I inquire of you, Mr. Lincoln, where you are going?” Lincoln rose slowly, the eyes of all upon him. “I came here,” he said, “as a respectful listener. I did not know I was to be singled out by Brother Cartwright; I believe in treating religious matters with due solemnity. I admit that the questions propounded by Brother Cartwright are important. I did not feel called upon to answer as the rest did. Brother Cartwright asks me directly where I am going. I desire to reply with equal directness: I am going to Congress!” 10 And so Lincoln did. He beat Cartwright by 1,511 votes. Peter’s Preaching Style Few examples remain of Peter’s preaching style, but probably the best was a short narrative written about him called “The Jocose 11 Preacher” from an eyewitness account of a camp meeting sometime in the 1830s. The story begins by telling of Peter arriving in the evening instead of the morning for a sermon because his horse fell injured. He could have left the horse and walked, but in a note to the awaiting group he explained, “Horses have no souls to save, and therefore it is all the more the duty of Christians to take care of their bodies.” 12 It was a beautiful late summer evening, and when he finally arrived,

They knew not . . . what to think or make of the man. His figure was tall, burly, massive, and seemed even more gigantic than the reality from its crowning foliage of luxuriant coal black hair, wreathed into long, curling ringlets. Add a head that looked large as a half-bushel, beetling brows, and rough and craggy as fragmentary granite, irradiated at the base by eyes of dark fire, small and twinkling like diamonds in the sea - (they were diamonds of a soul shining in a measureless sea of humour,)


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

a swarthy complexion, as if embrowned by the kisses of sunbeams, a fixedness of purpose in the expression of the mouth, with rich, rosy lips, always slightly parted as if wearing a perpetual and merry smile, and you have a life-like portrait of Peter Cartwright, the far-famed Methodist Residing Elder. 13 As the singing finished, a hush fell over the crowd and Peter began. Taking his text from Matthew 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” - one of his favourites - he began. The eyewitness described it as “transcendent eloquence.” 14 He gave about fifteen minutes of a conversational introduction leading into a half hour satirical parable of the folly of a sinner. From here he descended into a dramatic description of the horrors of hell itself, and then ascended to a triumphant picture of the joys of heaven awaiting those who turned to the Lord. The audience was visibly moved. “Five hundred, many of them until that night infidels, rushed forward and prostrated themselves upon their knees. The meeting was continued for two weeks, and more than a thousand converts were added to the church.”15 Thus was the power of a Peter Cartwright sermon. Peter’s Final Years In 1856, Peter released his Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, The Backwoods Preacher, and the book became a bestseller in one of the greatest decades of American literature alongside Melville’s Moby Dick, Thoreau’s Walden, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The book is still popular today as a wonderful portrait of frontier life, the Kentucky camp meetings, and Peter’s remarkable stories of preaching and living on the Wild West of the early 1800s. It is hard to come away from reading it without feeling that Peter was indeed a legend of a time in America when the “West” was still east of the Mississippi. This was not his only book, he also wrote Fifty Years as a Residing Elder (1871) among others. Peter finally retired from circuit riding in 1869. Evidence points to the fact that Peter ended his days virtually senile in a struggle over selling some land they felt he was selling only because he had lost his mind. Before they could take legal action though, on September 25, 1872, Peter passed away at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of unknown causes just a few weeks past his eighty-seventh birthday. Works Consulted 1. Robert Bray, Peter Cartwright, Legendary Frontier Preacher (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 7. 2. Peter Cartwright, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, The Backwoods Preacher, ed. W. P. Strickland (Cincinnati: Cranston and Curts, 1856), 27. 3. Ibid., 34-38. 4. Ibid., 134. 5. Ibid., 98. 6. Ibid., 111.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

7. Bray, Peter Cartwright, 54. 8. Peter Cartwright, Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder (Cincinnati: Hitchcock and Walden, 1871), 217, in Bray, Peter Cartwright, 54. 9. Cartwright, Autobiography, 128. 10. Edgar De Witt Jones, Lincoln and the Preachers (Salem, NH: Ayer Publishing, 1970), 44. 11. Means “with a playfully joking disposition.” 12. “Rev. Peter Cartwright, the Methodist Presiding Elder. A Genuine Portrait from “Life in Illinois,’” Southern and South-Western Sketches, 6-7, in Bray, Peter Cartwright, 153. 13. “Rev. Cartwright . . . ,” 7-8, in Bray, Peter Cartwright, 153-4. 14. “Rev. Cartwright . . . ,” 11, in Bray, Peter Cartwright, 154. 15. “Rev. Cartwright. . . ,” 11, in Bray, Peter Cartwright,154.

Charles Finny   Date  of  birth  August  29th  1772     Death  August  16th  1875   Married  3  Times  1824  -­‐1848  &  1864   Children  Six  from  his  first  marriage     Charles Finney

Christian people, are you figuring round and round to get a little property, yet neglecting souls? Beware lest you ruin souls that can never live again! Charles Finney’s life spanned nearly the entire first century of U.S. presidents - from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant - and no single individual had more influence in the United States’ coming to be considered “A Christian Nation.” Finney’s revivals sparked the Second Great Awakening and unified the country around the Bible and the power of prayer, while his moral stances for social justice laid the foundations for everything from abolition to temperance to the civil rights movement. His teachings on Christian perfectionism inspired the Holiness Movement of the latter half of the nineteenth century and the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in the twentieth century. Finney’s evangelistic style and methods - include prayer meetings before and during the event, nightly meetings for weeks at a time, altar calls, and pushing for decisions before listeners leave the auditorium - influenced everyone from Dwight L. Moody to Billy Graham. Charles Grandison Finney was born in Warren, Connecticut only a year after the death of John Wesley. He was the seventh child of Sylvester and Rebecca Finney. When Charles was about two years old, the family moved to Oneida County, New York, which, at the time, was a relative wilderness.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Sylvester, Sr. was a farmer who had fought in the Revolutionary War. In all the years Charles lived with his family, he had little religious education. Though Methodist circuit riders would speak in the local one-room schoolhouse from time to time, they were usually uneducated and rarely held their audience’s attention. Western New York at this time had become known as the “Burned-over District,” as it had seen so many preachers that the local population had grown immune to their preaching. Charles the Lawyer In 1818, Finney’s parents persuaded him to enter the law office of Judge Benjamin Wright in Adams, New York, not far from their home near Lake Ontario. Though he had never attended law school, young Finney’s mind took to the law profession with a passion. It was in Adams that Finney met Reverend George W. Gale, the pastor of the town’s Presbyterian church. While Finney was not greatly moved by Gale’s sermons, he spent a good deal of time discussing them. Finney was determined to make sense of what he heard, but the more he talked with Gale, the more questions formed in his mind. Gale found Finney well-informed about religion but hardened to it. At the same time, as Charles studied the law, he began to notice how writers quoted the Bible as a basis for many of the great principles of common law. This piqued Finney’s curiosity to the point that he went out and purchased his first Bible. Then, when he would come across legal texts that referred to Scripture passages, he would check the references and their biblical context. He soon found himself reading the Bible more and more, and with greater and greater interest. Is God a Lie? On Wednesday morning, October 10, 1821, Finney prepared himself for work, still mulling over these questions of God’s existence and the state of his eternal soul. When he set out for the law office that morning as he always did, a voice within confronted him: “What are you waiting for? Did you not promise to give your heart to God? And what are you trying to do? Are you endeavouring to work out a righteousness of your own?”1 The answer to these questions came just as suddenly:

Just at this point the whole question of Gospel salvation opened to my mind in a manner most marvellous to me at the time. I think I then saw, as clearly as I ever have in my life, the reality and fullness of the atonement of Christ. . . . Without being distinctly aware of it, I had stopped in the street right where the inward voice seemed to arrest me. How long I remained in that position, I cannot say. But after this distinct revelation had stood for some little time before my mind, the question seemed to be put, “Will you accept it now, to-day?” I replied, “Yes; I will accept it to-day, or I will die in the attempt.” 2


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Instead of going to work, he went into the woods and hiked over a small hill - he retreated to a place where some trees had fallen and formed a partially covered enclosure. As he tried to pray, the words wouldn’t come. He was too concerned that someone would see him. When he realized what was holding him back, he said to himself, “What! . . . such a degraded sinner as I am, on my knees confessing my sins to the great and holy God; and ashamed to have any human being, and sinner like myself, find me on my knees endeavouring to make my peace with my offended God!” 3 A Scripture passage came to his mind: “Then shall ye . . . go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. [Then] ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12–13). Charles seized this message, crying out, “Lord, I take thee at thy word. Now thou knowest that I do search for thee with all my heart, and that I have come here to pray to thee; and thou hast promised to hear me.” 4 Charles’s heart opened, and God filled it with promises from His Word. He accepted each personally, as if it had been made to him alone. Soon, Finney found himself on his way back to town with no idea how long he had been in the woods. He thought, “If I am ever converted, I will preach the Gospel.” He then realized that the despair for his soul was completely gone. Meeting Jesus Face-to-Face That afternoon, the law office employees were occupied with moving all of the furniture and books from one office to another. When it was dark and the move was complete, Judge Wright bade Finney good night and went home. Finney described what happened next:

As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. . . . I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears. . . . I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. . . . The Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. . . . These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more”; yet I had no fear of death. 5 Charles’s Anointing Starts to Spread


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

In the following months, Charles took it upon himself to undergo training to be a Presbyterian minister. It was suggested that he attend Princeton, but he opted instead to stay in Adams to be tutored by Rev. Gale and to study Gale’s library of religious books. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in March of 1824. Finney did not desire to preach to an established church or regular congregation, so he took a six-month commission with a women’s missionary society in Oneida County in upstate New York, and travelled to the town of Evans Mills to begin his ministry. He travelled back and forth between there and a German settlement in Antwerp, ministering regularly at both. At the time, Finney was engaged to Lydia Andrews of Whitestown in Oneida County, and they married in October 1824 and travelled to Adams. Two days after the wedding, Finney went back to Evans Mills with the intention of returning about one week later to move the couple’s home there. However, E2revival took off so quickly and the work was so much that Charles wouldn't return until early the spring of 1825 - some six months later. Meeting the Prayer Warrior It was in Evans Mills that Charles was reacquainted with Daniel Nash, a minister he had first encountered when he was examined to be ordained. Charles soon learned that since they had last met, Nash had been infected with an eye disease that had left him lying in a dark room, unable to read or write. Because of his ailment, Nash had given himself almost entirely to prayer; eventually, he had emerged from the sickness physically healed and spiritually transformed into a man of intercessory prayer. As Finney and Nash began to pray together in meetings, Charles was deeply moved by the power of Nash’s prayers and the magnitude of his faith. After meeting again at Evans Mills, Finney and Nash began working together. They determined to make the unchurched their primary focus. As Nash stated in a letter,

When Mr. Finney and I began our race, we had no thought of going amongst ministers. Our highest ambition was to go where there was neither minister or reformation and try to look up the lost sheep, for whom no man cared. We began and the Lord prospered. . . . We go into no man’s parish unless called. . . . We have room enough to work and work enough to do. 6 For the next seven years until his death, Nash became a key part of every meeting Charles led. Together, they learned a great deal about “praying down revival.” Nash was not timid in prayer - it was said his prayers could sometimes be heard up to half a mile away. When Father Nash died on December 20, 1831, Charles gave up his itinerant ministry within four months to take a position as a pastor. 100,000 Saved


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The greatest outpouring of Charles’s life came in Rochester, New York, starting in September 1830. Lyman Beecher, one of Finney’s harshest critics in his early years, would eventually call the revival in Rochester “the greatest work of God, and the greatest revival of religion, that the world has ever seen, in so short a time. One hundred thousand . . . were reported as having connected themselves with churches.” 7 It was recorded that as many as eighty-five percent of those converted remained Christians years later. It was a revival that touched all social classes - from civic and business leaders to schoolteachers, physicians, shopkeepers, farmers, and migrant workers. Bars closed for lack of patrons. Crime rates dropped dramatically and stayed low for years, even as the population grew. At one point, the teenagers in the local high school were so distraught about the condition of their souls that they paid no attention to their lessons, so the director invited Finney to come and speak. Nearly the entire student body was saved, including the director, who had originally thought it was a ploy by the students to get out of their work. Forty of the students went on to become ministers. One of these later wrote:

The whole community was stirred. Religion was the topic of conversation, in the house, in the shop, in the office and on the street. The only theater in the city was converted into a livery stable; the only circus into a soap and candle factory. Grog shops were closed; the Sabbath was honoured; the sanctuaries were thronged with happy worshippers; a new impulse was given to every philanthropic enterprise; the fountains of benevolence where opened, and men lived to good. 8 The Rochester revival would prove to be the height of the Second Great Awakening and a spark to light the fuse of a national revival that ran like wildfire throughout the United States in 1831. A host of evangelists, including Beecher himself, took up the torch from Rochester, and the rolls of membership swelled in churches everywhere Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Congregational, and others alike. New England churches grew by one-third in 1831 alone. Charles Becomes a Professor Charles soon took a pastoral position in New York City because of the toll itinerating had taken on his health. Revival continued to flow whenever Finney spoke in New York through the end of 1834 and into the winter of 1835. As a result, he was suddenly faced with a large number of young men who wanted to go into the ministry but had no proper place to be educated and ordained according to the Gospel as Finney preached it. Soon, the requests for Finney to teach theology grew numerous enough that he agreed and began a lecture series. Around this time, there was a controversy at Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, that would soon take Finney’s career as a theology instructor a step further. The seminary was composed largely of converted young people from New York’s “Burned-over District” who firmly believed that owning slaves was a sin. Many of


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Lane Seminary’s trustees owned slaves themselves, however, and they tried to silence the students. Asa Mahan, a trustee, took up the students’ cause, and when the students left to start a new college in Oberlin, Ohio, Mahan left with them. He became the first president of Oberlin College, and the students requested Finney as their professor of theology. When the Tappan brothers offered to finance the professorship of Finney and seven others, Finney agreed to teach at Oberlin in the summer and return to pastor in New York City in the winter. The Finneys’ first summer in Oberlin was in 1835. Oberlin College opened its doors to one hundred students when Finney began teaching there, and by 1840, five hundred students were enrolled. By the time Finney became the president of Oberlin in 1851, the college had more than one thousand students. After Finney’s death, U.S. President James Garfield affirmed to the student body of Oberlin “that no college in the land had more effectively touched the nerve centres of the national life and thought and ennobled them than did this institution to which Charles Finney devoted so many years of Christian service.” 9 A Deeper Baptism of the Holy Spirit During his first years in Oberlin, Finney was troubled by the fact that some of those who had been converted during his revivals had since backslidden or fallen away from the faith. He began to think that Christians needed a deeper conversion, or “second blessing” beyond conversion, if they were going to live wholly sanctified lives on this earth. He came to believe that a further work of the Holy Spirit would allow Christians to live in holiness, thereby following Jesus’ exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48 to “be ye perfect.” This belief would bring criticism on Oberlin, an institution that many people came to see as a den of extremists - chief among them, Finney and Mahan. The Second Blessing was a theme that Finney developed in his lectures at Oberlin, which would eventually be published as the two-volume Lectures on Systematic Theology. Finney would not experience anything along these lines in his own life, however, until the winter of 1843–1844.

During this winter, the Lord gave my own soul a very thorough overhauling, and a fresh baptism of his Spirit. . . . My mind was greatly drawn out in prayer, for a long time; as indeed it always has been, when I have laboured in Boston. . . . This winter, in particular, my mind was exceedingly exercised on the question of personal holiness; and in respect to the state of the church, their want of power with God; the weakness of the orthodox churches in Boston, the weakness of their faith, and their want of power in the midst of such a community. The fact that they were making little or no progress in overcoming the errors of the city, greatly affected my mind. 10 Finney’s Deepest Setback


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Back in Oberlin, Lydia Finney had grown more and more frail, something that was not helped by the pregnancy and birth of her fifth child, Sarah, in 1841. Sarah fell deathly ill early in 1843 and died on March 9. The Finneys’ sixth and final child, Delia Finney, was born in 1844 but would live only eight years, dying from illness on September 1, 1852. Lydia Finney died when Delia was only three on December 17, 1847. The burden of work for his revivals and the busyness of his teaching schedule made it difficult - if not impossible - for Finney to remain a single parent. It was a tough decision to remarry, but on November 13, 1848, Asa Mahan, then president of Oberlin College, officiated at the marriage of Finney and Elizabeth Ford Atkinson, a widow from Rochester. Though the marriage of Finney and Elizabeth may have been more of a matter of convenience than of love, Elizabeth proved an able mother to Finney’s children, and Finney came to love and admire her over time as she became a positive influence on his ministry and family throughout their years together. Charles’s Final Years After many requests, Charles and Elizabeth travelled to Great Britain in the fall of 1849 to minister there. Finney again found success with the methods he had come to rely on in the United States, and Elizabeth found success holding meetings for women - a greater empowerment of women’s involvement in ministry was started under Finney’s leadership. In 1851, Finney became the president of Oberlin College, but he continued to travel and lead revivals as his duties would allow him. Between 1851 and 1857, he would travel and preach in Boston, Massachusetts; New York City; Hartford, Connecticut; and again in Rochester. In 1859, he returned to England and pushed north to preach in Scotland. It was this last trip to the British Isles that taxed his health to its limits; after returning to the United States in 1860 at the beginning of the Civil War, Finney would not leave Oberlin again. On November 27, 1863, Elizabeth passed away. The following year, Finney married for the third time. His new wife, Rebecca Allen Rayl, was the assistant principal of Oberlin’s women’s department. Though he continued to teach and preach in Oberlin for the rest of his days, Finney resigned from his position as college president in 1866. At the request of friends and colleagues, he would finish his Memoirs in 1868, even though they wouldn’t be published until a year after his death. Two weeks short of his eighty-third birthday, Finney passed away of natural causes as the first hints of autumn hung in the morning air of August 16, 1875. Works Consulted 1. Charles Finney, Memoirs of Charles Finney (New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1876), 14. 2. Ibid.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

3. 4. 5. 6.

Ibid., 16. Ibid., 16. Ibid., 19- 21. Paul Reno, Daniel Nash: Prevailing Prince of Prayer (Asheville, NC: Revival Literature, 1989), 7. 7. Finney, Memoirs, 300 - 301. 8. V. Raymond Edman, Finney Lives On (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1971), 68, quoted in Eddie L. Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity: A 20th Century Look at Church History from a Pentecostal/Charismatic Perspective (Chicota, TX and Tulsa, OK: Hyatt International Ministries, Inc., 1996), 137. 9. Basil Miller, Charles Finney: He Prayed Down Revivals (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1951), 96–97. 10. Finney, Memoirs, 373 - 374, 380                                


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  


    Dwight  Moody   Date  of  birth  February  7th  1837   Death  Dec  22nd  1899   Married  August  28th  1862   Children  Three   Dwight Moody

The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. . . . I will try my utmost to be that man. Dwight Lyman Moody was the sixth child of Edwin and Betsy Moody in Northfield, Massachusetts. In the next four years, his parents would have three more children, and the last a set of twins. Tragically, on the morning of May 28, 1841, Edwin Moody would experience a deep pain in his side while working, return home at midday only to have it grow worse, and would collapse before his wife and die before either of them understood the severity of his condition. His mother, Betsy, was eight months pregnant with the twins at that time. All of Dwight’s formal education had ended by the time he was ten and never totalled more than four years. After that he was deemed able to work to support himself. Then, at seventeen, he decided it time to strike out on his own. So, in April of 1854, he headed to Boston to see what he could make of himself. A Little Fish in a Big Pond Two of Dwight’s uncles, Samuel and Lemuel Holton, had left Northfield a few year before and now both had prospering shoe and boot stores in Boston. Young Dwight decided to follow them to the big city. For a teenager who had never seen a town larger than a thousand people before, Boston’s 150,000 must have been daunting.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Dwight went to work for his Uncle Samuel as a sales clerk. In three months, he became the shop’s best salesman, and soon was prosperous enough to buy his mother and siblings back home new shoes. He became the new family provider. He plugged in with his uncles, aunts, and cousins as if part of their immediate family, which proved to be a healthy support system for the young D. L. He also attended Mount Vernon Church at his uncle's recommendation, but it held little interest for him, It was not uncommon to find him sleeping through the sermons because of his long work hours.

Moody Meets Jesus Dwight’s Sunday school class was run by Edward Kimball, a devout middle-aged man who took some interest in the eighteen-year-old shoe clerk. On Saturday, May 21, 1855, Edward felt compelled to check on the state of Dwight’s soul rather than do his daily devotions. Dwight later remembered this of Mr. Kimball’s visit to the shoe store:

I had not felt that I had a soul till then. I said to myself, “This is a very strange thing. Here is a man who never saw me till lately, and he is weeping over my sins, and I never shed a tear about them.” But I understand it now, and know what it is to have a passion for men’s souls and weep over their sins. I don’t remember what he said, but I can feel the power of that man’s hand on my shoulder to-night. It was not long after that I was brought into the Kingdom of God.1 Forty years later, Dwight spoke of how things changed for him after coming to Christ:

I remember the morning on which I came out of my room after I had first trusted Christ. I thought the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before - I thought that it was just smiling upon me; and as I walked out upon Boston Common and heard the birds singing in the trees I thought they were all singing a song to me. . . . It seemed to me that I was in love with all creation. I had not a bitter feeling against any man, and I was ready to take all men to my heart. If a man has not the love of God shed abroad in his heart, he has never been regenerated. 2 Heading West - Dwight Moves to Chicago In Boston, Dwight was beginning to feel “like a caged bird. The settled and finished condition of everything around him was a constant constraint. There seemed to be no room for him anywhere.” 3 He decided to follow his impulses and move west to Chicago. While missions and Sunday schools were popping up throughout Chicago, Dwight noted a void. No one was reaching out to the children who were orphaned or lived in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

homes broken by alcoholism or poverty. Dwight’s heart went out to them and he decided to do something about it. Dwight had again found success as a shoe salesman in Chicago, so he used his surplus earnings to rent a vacant saloon in the heart of " The Sands” - the worst slum of Chicago, an area many referred to as “Little Hell” - and set it up as a “Sabbath School.” Children sat on the floor and he used an old discarded barrel as a pulpit. Touching the lives of these “Little Arabs,” as they were not so affectionately called, become Dwight’s passion, and he was willing to throw convention out the window to do it. Dwight loaded his pocket with pennies and pieces of maple-sugar candy to offer children in exchange for coming to his school. Dwight earned the nickname “Crazy Moody” for his efforts. By 1860, the Sabbath schools under Dwight’s leadership had grown to roughly 1,500 participants a week. As a recognition of the work, President-elect Abraham Lincoln visited the school in November. A few months later, when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to save the Union, seventy-five that had heard him that day were among the first to enlist. Stepping Out into Full-time Ministry As the War Between the States erupted, Dwight felt the call to leave business and dedicate himself to ministry full-time. He gave notice at his work and informed his landlady he would be moving out. He began living as meagrely as possible to make his savings go as far as it possibly could and kept his conditions secret so that no one might pity him. When his friend John Farwell learned that he was sleeping on chairs he pushed together at the local YMCA - where he was also doing some janitorial work - John vowed his friend would never want for support again as long as he was able to provide it. As Dwight was going though these initial adjustments to full-time ministry, the United States was having troubles of its own. Abraham Lincoln had drawn the line in the sand by being elected with the platform that he would not allow any new territories to become slaves states, and before he even took office, seven states seceded from the Union. This was quickly followed by four more after his inauguration. There was talk of a diplomatic settlement, but when the newly formed Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, the executive response was to put down the rebellion. Camp Douglas, just three miles north of Chicago, quickly filled with new recruits. Dwight, along with B. F. Jacobs and John Farwell, where put in charge of the YMCA’s efforts to minister to the spiritual needs of these soldiers. D. L. held between eight and ten services every day, and the association handed out thousands of tracts and other religious materials. Hundreds were converted and several times more rededicated their lives to Christ.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

The YMCAs decided to better coordinate their efforts in a Christian Commission dedicated to ministering to the soldiers. Dwight was selected as the Chicago delegate for the commission. Dwight would travel to the front lines nine different times with General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces. Years later, Dwight would be among the first Northerners to enter Richmond when it fell to the Union. Somehow in the midst of all of this, he still found the time to marry Emma on August 28, 1862. Before the War drew to an end, they would also have their first child, a daughter named Emma after her mother and grandmother, born on October 24, 1864. The First Trip to England In 1867, Dwight decided to take his wife on a cruise to England so she could rest and strengthen herself against her asthma. Dwight also wanted to take the time to meet with George Williams, the London founder of the YMCA, and if possible, George Mueller and Charles H. Spurgeon. In his uncouth yet blatantly honest way, Dwight made an immediate impression on England when he addressed a Sunday school convention he was invited to attend. According to one witness:

The vice-chairman announced that they were glad to welcome their “American cousin, the Reverend Mr. Moody, of Chicago,” who would now move a vote of thanks to the noble Earl who had presided on this occasion. With refreshing frankness . . . Mr. Moody burst upon the audience with the bold announcement: “The chairman has made two mistakes. To begin with, I’m not the ‘Reverend’ Mr. Moody at all. I’m plain Dwight L. Moody, a Sabbath-school worker. And then I’m not your ‘American cousin’! By the grace of God I’m your brother, who is interested with you in our Father’s work for His children. . . .” That opening fairly took the breath away from Mr. Moody’s hearers. Such talk could not be gauged by any standard. Its novelty was delightful, and Mr. Moody carried his English hearers from that time on. 4The Moody’s would spend four and a half months in the British Isles, and as was usual for Dwight, accomplished all they had set out to do. Moore house’s John 3:16 Sermons Several weeks after returning to Chicago, Dwight received a letter from Harry Moore house, who he had met in his trip to Great Britain, letting him know he was stateside and asking if he was still invited to speak. Dwight answered casually, thinking he would never hear from him again, but he did. In a few weeks, to the chagrin of Dwight’s staff, Dwight agreed to let him speak while he was out of town. Dwight returned on the third night he spoke, and what he heard changed his life. Harry Moore house spoke seven straight nights on John 3:16. His message on the love of God struck deeply into Dwight’s heart.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Dwight and Emma would have two more children in the coming years, both boys. William Revell Moody was born March 25, 1869 in Chicago, and their youngest, Paul, would be born during Dwight’s extended Baltimore campaign over a decade later on April 11, 1879. It would be an interim in which Dwight’s ministry was totally transformed - yet he would need one more important element before that would happen. Empowered by the Spirit of God While being transformed by the love of God was likely the most important revelation of God’s truth to Dwight, God was also trying to reach Dwight with the message of where his true power lie. Dwight said of this:

I remember once when I was first converted I spoke in a Sabbath school, and there seemed to be a great deal of interest, and quite a number rose for prayer, and I remember I went out quite rejoiced; but an old man followed me out. . . . He caught hold of my hand and gave me a little bit of advice. . . . “Young man, when you speak again, honor the Holy Ghost.” I was hastening off to another church to speak, and all the way over it kept ringing in my ears - “Honor the Holy Ghost.” And I said to myself, “I wonder what the old man means.” 5 Years later Dwight would have a similar encounter with two women. Each time he would speak with them after a meeting, they would tell him, “We are praying for you.” One night, he lost his patience and pointedly asked, “Why are you praying for me? Why don’t you pray for the unsaved?” They told him, “We are praying that you may get the power.” In the autumn of 1871, Moody crossed paths with these two women again and asked more pointedly about what they meant. According to R. A. Torrey, who was the first superintendent of Moody Bible Institute, “They told him about the definite baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then he asked that he might pray with them and not they merely pray for him.” 6 Thus they agreed to meet in a YMCA building every Friday afternoon for prayer. The leader of the two women was named Sarah Cooke, a devout Methodist who had moved to Chicago in 1868 with her husband and had received a burden from the Lord that Dwight might be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. In the coming weeks they met on Fridays as planned, and on Friday, October 6, 1871, they seemed to have a breakthrough. Cooke later wrote of this, “At every meeting each of us prayed aloud in turn, but at this meeting Mr. Moody’s agony was so great that he rolled on the floor and in the midst of many tears and groans cried to God to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire.” 7 However Dwight reported that he left this meeting unchanged. He felt near his breaking point. It was some months later, while walking the streets of New York, that Dwight had the following experience:


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

One day on his way to England, he was walking up Wall Street in New York; . . . and in the midst of the bustle and hurry of that city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. 8 D. L. Moody’s Great Awakening Dwight’s return trip to London was in June of 1872. He slipped quietly into the country. He quickly found some meetings to attend, sat in the back to take notes, and started what he had planned as a religious retreat. Then, one night at a prayer meeting at the Old Bailey - the building that formerly housed London’s central criminal court - Reverend John Lessey saw Dwight and begged him to speak at his church the next Sunday. Reluctantly Dwight agreed. That Sunday morning went uneventfully, but Sunday night was very different. Almost the entire congregation responded to his call for those who wanted to be saved. Dwight immediately sensed that God wanted him to do more in England than take notes. When he received similar results after an invitation by an Anglican priest to preach at Chelsea Chapel, he determined God did want him to minister in Great Britain, so he decided he would return to the United States, find a singer to accompany him, solicit support for an extended campaign, get his family, and return as quickly as he could. The British Revival The Moody family and singer Ira Sankey and his wife boarded a ship for Liverpool on June 7, 1873 to return to the British Isles and minister there. They arrived ten days later to stunning news. The two largest benefactors promising to fund the campaign had both died, and they had no money for expenses. The two families set to prayer. Hearing of their arrival, George Bennett, the head of the YMCA in York invited Dwight to come there to speak. When Dwight told Sankey of the invitation, he said, “Here is a door which is partly open, and we will go there and begin our work.” 9 What happened next was phenomenal. York started slowly, with only fifty people attending the first meeting and six at the prayer meeting that first midday, but interest quickly grew as local pastors began to throw their support to the thirty-sixyear-old evangelist. Dwight’s to-the-point, American style and anointing struck a cord with the British souls who were used to sermons that sounded more like history or philosophy lectures. As one listener put it:

He is a master in his work: he aims at one thing, viz.; getting people to consider their state before God, and he brings everything to bear on the one object to accept Jesus, as offered to us in the Gospel. From this aim he is never for a moment diverted. His simplest illustrations, his most touching stories, his most


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

pathetic appeals, his gentlest persuasiveness, his most passionate declamation, his most direct home thrusts, his (almost unfair) reference to people and places, all are used, and unsparingly, unfearingly, used, for the one purpose of touching the heart, that Jesus and the Father may come in and abide there. 10 In York, roughly two hundred people joined the churches, and Baptist Pastor Arthur A. Rees invited them to speak in Sunderland. There, churches began to overflow, and to avoid the appearance of favouring one denomination over another, the meetings were moved to a public hall. The tour would continue on over the next two years, on to Scotland, Ireland, and then return to England in November 1874, to continually overflowing crowds. In 1875, Dwight and Ira travelled to London for the final months of the campaign. The last service was held on July 12, 1875. In London alone, the evangelists had conducted 285 meetings and addressed 2,500,000 people. 11 The Moody’s and Sankeys returned to New York on August 14. They were no longer simple Christian missionaries serving their Lord, they were now international celebrities, welcomed back to America with the fanfare usually reserved for the rich or famous. Dwight’s Final Campaign Dwight’s last campaign would begin on November 12, 1899 in Kansas City, Missouri. His last sermon would be on the 16th, from which he would retire exhausted and be told by his physician he needed rest. He returned to Northfield by train, but would not recover, nor would he see the twentieth century. According to his son’s biography, on his last day:

About six o clock he quieted down, and soon fell into a natural sleep, from which he awoke in about an hour. Suddenly he was heard speaking in slow and measured words. He was saying: “Earth recedes; Heaven opens before me.” The first impulse was to try to arouse him from what appeared to be a dream.” “No, this is no dream, Will,” he replied. “It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.”12 Following that, he had time to call his family to him side and speak with them awhile. Then, quieting, he fell asleep and never woke up. The date was December 22, 1899. Dwight was only sixty-three. Emma would survive him and die in 1903. Works Consulted 1. J. Wilbur Chapman, The Life and Work of Dwight Lyman Moody (Philadelphia: American Bible House, 1900), 76. 2. William R. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1900), 42. 3. W. H. Daniels, D. L. Moody and His Work (Hartford, CT: American Publishing Company, 1875), 27.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

4. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody, 132. 5. From a sermon by D. L. Moody, in M. Laird Simons, “Dwight Lyman Moody,” Christian Biography Resources, 2007, 6. R. A. Torrey, Why God Used D. L. Moody, 1923, y.html. 7. Sarah Cooke, Wayside Sketches: or The Handmaiden of the Lord (Grand Rapids, MI: 1895), 362. 8. Torrey, Why God Used D. L. Moody. 9. Ira Sankey, My Life and the Story of Gospel Hymns (New York: Harper, 1907), 38-39, in Lyle W. Dorsett, A Passion for Souls: The Life of D. L. Moody (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997), 177. 10. Jane MacKinnon, “Journal of Mrs. Jane MacKinnon,” 61, 95, Yale Archives, in Dorsett, A Passion for Souls, 185. 11. Chapman, Life and Work of Dwight Lyman Moody, 12. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody, 552.



Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Billy Graham   Date  of  Birth  November  7th  1918   Death     Married  August  13th  1943   Children  Five     Billy Graham

My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ. In his lifetime, Billy Graham has preached in person to nearly 215 million people in over 185 countries and territories - more than any other person who has ever lived. Hundreds of millions more were reached through television, video, film, literature, and webcasts. In his 417 crusades more than 3.2 million have come forward in response to his altar calls. This is not counting the millions of others who responded to his books, television broadcasts, or other media he used to spread the Gospel. In 1996, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association sponsored a rebroadcast of one of Billy’s sermons to an estimated audience of 1.5 billion in forty-eight languages and 160 countries, a remarkable feat as it represented a truly global simulcast. Billy’s legacy will live on through his organizations and sons, with his place secured as one of the greatest evangelists of all time. William Franklin Graham, Jr. was born on a dairy farm outside of Charlotte, North Carolina where his grandfather had first built a log cabin after the Civil War. It was four days before the armistice of World War I and a year after the Communist Revolution in Russia. Billy was born to William Franklin and Morrow Coffey Graham. Billy grew to adolescents in the midst of the depression. His parents were devout in many ways. They had established an altar in their home the first day of their marriage and dedicated themselves to daily Bible reading. His father, raised a Methodist, had been a strong supporter of prohibition. The day it was repealed in 1933, he brought home some beer and took Billy and his sister into the kitchen. There he made them drink it, all of it, until they were ready to vomit. “From now on,” he said, “whenever any of your friends try to get you to drink alcohol, just tell them you’ve already tasted it and you don’t like it. That’s all the reason you need to give.” 1 Billy was a teetotaller his entire life. “I Like a Fighter” When Dr. Mordecai Ham held a revival in Charlotte when Billy was fifteen, he had no desire to go and turned down all invitations for the first month of meetings. However that would change after Dr. Ham made some accusations about a house of


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

immorality near Central High School in Charlotte. He claimed that it was being frequented by some of the students every day during their lunch hour. Stating he had affidavits to prove his claims, the story made the Charlotte News. Offended by the accusations, a group of students from the school pledged to march on his next meeting and protest in front of the podium. Some had even threatened to pull him from the podium and teach him a lesson. That day, a friend of Billy’s asked, “Why don’t you come out and hear our fighting preacher?” "Is he a fighter?" Billy responded. “I like a fighter.” 2 So he agreed to go. That night Billy found himself awestruck, not so much by what Dr. Ham said, but by the power behind it. As he put it in his autobiography, “I was hearing another voice, as was often said of Dwight L. Moody when he preached: the voice of the Holy Spirit.” 3 From that night on, Billy was at every meeting of Dr. Ham’s that he could attend. Then, one night shortly after Billy’s sixteenth birthday, Dr. Ham gave an invitation at the end of his sermon quoting Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” On the last verse of the second song they sang waiting for people to come forward, Billy responded to the invitation and walked to the front of the stage with some three hundred or so others. As Billy described that night to biographer William Martin in A Prophet with Honor,

I didn’t have any tears, I didn’t have any emotion, I didn’t hear any thunder, there was no lightning. . . . But right there, I made my decision for Christ. It was simple as that, and as conclusive. 4 College and Ruth In May of 1940, Billy graduated from Florida Bible Institute after a short stint at Bob Jones College. It was traditional that just before commencement one of the class members be asked to read a “prophecy” at the Class Night they had prayed over and composed. That year the reading came very close to being a prophecy indeed as the woman chosen read:

Each time God had a chosen human instrument to shine forth His light in the darkness. Men like Luther, John and Charles Wesley, Moody, and others were ordinary men, but men who heard the voice of God. Their surrounding conditions were as black as night, but they had God. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). It has been said that Luther revolutionized the world. It was not he, but Christ working through him. The time is ripe for another Luther, Wesley, Moody, _______. There is room for another name in this list. There is a challenge facing us. 5


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

During his last year at Florida Bible Institute (which was not an accredited college), a lawyer from Chicago named Paul Fischer heard Billy preach and offered to pay his first year at Wheaton College in the Chicago area if he would enroll. After a little hemming and hawing, Billy applied and was accepted. Then, in December of 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II. Billy’s first instinct was to volunteer for service, but as a minister, his next was to sign on to be a chaplain. In pursuing this course, he needed to finish his degree, which kept him at Wheaton. Because he decided to stay, he met Ruth Bell. Her parents had been missionaries in China, where she was born, and she had spent the majority of the first seventeen years of her life in Asia. Billy was immediately taken with her hazel-eyes and attractive figure. Despite the fact that she wanted to be a missionary to Tibet, Billy started dating her. In a few months Billy proposed. Billy and Ruth agreed to wait until after they graduated to marry, which they did, graduating the same year and getting married later that summer on Friday, August 13, 1943. Soon after getting married, Billy took over the pastorate of the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinois, which had fewer than a hundred members and averaged only about fifty a service. By the turn of 1944, however, church attendance had doubled to over one hundred each week. Billy was still hoping on a chaplaincy, but with the war winding down, opportunities would take him in a different direction. Radio Ministry Starts One of the local ministers who was regularly on the radio called Billy one day and offered him a radio show he had planned, but no longer had the time to record. Billy approached his congregation with it, who at first thought it would be too much money, but when a way was provided to pay for it, they agreed. It would prove another turning point for Billy’s ministry - that booming voice of his played well over the radio. As the program grew in popularity, Billy got more calls to do evangelistic outreaches in other areas. In a short time this began putting strain on his congregation who felt they were paying full-time for a half-time pastor. It wasn’t long before he would step down and become a full-time evangelist. When a bout of mumps and the end of the war finished Billy’s application to be a chaplain once and for all, he was offered to be the first employee and organizer of a budding ministry - Youth for Christ International. The organization grew rapidly and Billy’s enthusiasm for the Gospel caught wherever he went. Billy earned the nickname, “God’s machine gun,” because of his rapid-fire delivery and seemingly boundless energy. Others, not so fond of such antics, called the Youth for Christ rallies “Christian vaudeville” as their events would put on stage anything from bands to quiz shows to performing animals and emcees with light-up


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

bowties. Regardless, the meetings grew in popularity as a million kids a week might be attending such meetings across the nation. “You’ve Spoken of Something I Don’t Have” In the spring of 1946, Billy and the Youth for Christ team travelled to Europe. Billy enjoyed the life of an evangelist, and his sincerity and energy continued to serve him well despite cultural differences. In October of 1946, Billy heard a minister by the name of Stephen Olford when he ministered at Hildenborough Hall in Kent. Olford’s text was Ephesians 5:18: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” At the end of the service, Billy approached Olford and asked, “Mr. Olford, I just wanted to ask you one question: Why didn’t you give an invitation? I would have been the first one to come forward. You’ve spoken of something I don’t have. I want the fullness of the Holy Spirit in my life too.” 6 Billy and Olford agreed to meet in Wales a short time later near where Billy was scheduled to preach. They spent a day studying the Scriptures together until Billy prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to go on without knowing this anointing You’ve given my brother.” 7 The next day the two men met again, and Olford began teaching about being filled with the Holy Spirit. He told Billy how one had to be broken as Paul was when he proclaimed himself “crucified with Christ” before receiving this infilling. He taught him that “where the Spirit is truly Lord over the life, there is liberty, there is release - the sublime freedom of complete submission of oneself in a continuous state of surrender to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.” Billy’s response was “Stephen, I see it. That’s what I want.” The two men knelt together to pray about mid afternoon. As they prayed, Olford described what happened: “All heaven broke loose in that dreary little room. It was like Jacob laying hold of God and crying, ‘Lord, I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.’” Billy described how he felt after the prayer, exclaiming, “My heart is so flooded with the Holy Spirit! . . . I have it! I’m filled. I’m filled. This is the turning point of my life. This will revolutionize my ministry.” 8 The effects were immediate. According to Olford, “That night Billy was to speak at a large Baptist church nearby. When he rose to preach, he was a man absolutely anointed. . . . The Welsh listeners jammed the aisles. There was chaos. Practically the entire audience rushed forward.” Olford told his father that evening, “Dad, something has happened to Billy Graham. The world is going to hear from this man. He is going to make his mark in history.” 9 A College Presidency The following year, 1947, Billy returned to touring in the United States, and began focusing his “campaigns” - as he called them then as D. L. Moody had - on specific cities. That year these would be in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Charlotte, North


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

Carolina. In 1948, Billy’s campaigns would be in Augusta, Georgia and Modesto, California. Sometime in 1947, Billy was also asked to speak at North-western Schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the president of the schools, Dr. W. B. Riley, took him aside to tell him he felt Billy was to be the next president of the college. Billy was shocked, of course, only being in his late-twenties, but he thought perhaps this might be something that was for the distant years ahead. However, Dr. Riley was eighty-six years old and in poor health. On December 5, 1947, Dr. Riley breathed his last, and despite the fact that Billy had no more than an undergraduate degree and was only four years from having graduated himself, the board of directors respected Dr. Riley’s wishes and offered him the presidency of North-western Schools. Despite misgivings, Billy accepted for the interim, hoping it would be a short one. When he did finally resign the post in 1952, the school was greatly improved by his tenure. Billy’s Crusades Begin In 1949, Billy had four campaigns scheduled in Miami, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Altoona, Pennsylvania; and Los Angeles, California. It would be this last one in Los Angeles in which Billy would first grab the attention of the entire nation, if not the world. An organization called “Christ for Greater Los Angeles” invited Billy to speak at their next revival that would begin the last week in September and run for three weeks. In the course of this, Billy was invited to speak to a group of Hollywood celebrities in Beverly Hills, where he met Stuart Hamlin, who had a popular local radio program. He told Billy he might invite him on his show, and that if he did, he could fill his tent. Billy thought he was joking, but expressed his gratitude for the thought. A team was set up to bathe the event in prayer. While everyone involved prayed when they could, there were forty or fifty that would get together to pray before the event each evening and then attend the service. Once the meetings had started, Stuart Hamlin proved good to his word and invited Billy onto his radio show. Billy knew some on the committee would be upset with his appearance on the show because of its connection with Hollywood, but Billy also felt that if he was going to get sinners to come to his tent, then he had to find a way to invite them directly. Stuart’s enthusiasm bubbled over the radio as he told his audience to “go down to Billy Graham’s tent and hear the preaching.”10 Billy was even more surprised when Stuart announced he would attend himself. Stuart did attend, but the effect upon him was not merely the entertainment he had expected. He found himself angrily walking out on the meetings repeatedly as his heart struggled with what Billy was saying. But he kept coming back. At 4:30 in the morning shortly following this, Stuart called Billy telling him he was in the lobby and needed to see him right away. Billy woke Ruth, who went to pray in


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

the next room with Grady and Wilma Wilson. Billy dressed and went down and talked with Stuart for a time, then they prayed together as Stuart gave his heart to the Lord. At the service the next evening, he came forward in response to the altar call. From this, Billy and the committee saw that the work of the campaign was not yet finished, so they decided to extend it. “Puff Graham” The first week of the extension, Stuart gave his testimony over the radio, and interest began to build. Billy and his team determined to extend the campaign again, and the next night the tent was crawling with reporters and photographers. When Billy asked one of reporters why they were suddenly there, he was told, “You’ve just been kissed by William Randolph Hearst.” Somehow Hearst, the newspaper mogul known for his cantankerousness and use of his press power to make things happen, had heard of Graham as a red, white, and blue patriot calling for spiritual renewal and decided he had a message the nation needed to hear. So he sent a simple, twoword telegram to his editors: “Puff Graham.” It would change Billy’s outreach forever. The next day’s headline stories in the Los Angeles Examiner and Los Angeles Herald Express, which were both Hearst papers, were about the campaign. The story spread to New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Detroit, and then competitor’s papers. The committee had another confirmation that the campaign should continue, and the larger tent Billy had asked for was soon filled to overflowing. In the course of the eight weeks of this crusade, hundreds of thousands had come to hear and thousands had answered the altar calls - eighty-two percent of whom had never been church members before. Thousands of others came forward to recommit their lives to Christ. Billy Graham was now a celebrity and recognized the nation over. A Pastor to Presidents On July 14, 1950, Billy made his first visit to the White House to meet with Harry Truman. Billy became a confidant of every president for the next five and a half decades. He met with each of them, Eisenhower through George W. Bush - eleven presidents in all - and because of this, George H. W. Bush called him, “America’s pastor.” Gerald Ford said of Billy, “Billy came to the White House to give me the kind of reassurance that was important in decisions and challenges at home and abroad. . . . Whenever you were with Billy, you have a special feeling that he was there to give you help and guidance in meeting your problems.”11 Bill Clinton recently said of him, “When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs at the White House, you feel he is praying for you. Not for the President.” At the same event honoring Billy in May of 2007, Jimmy Carter said, “I’m just one of tens of millions of people whose


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

spiritual life has been shaped by Billy Graham.”12 Carter had actually worked at one of Billy’s crusades in Georgia as a younger man. When U.S. presidents wanted to pray, it was usually Billy they called. On the evening the Gulf War started in 1991, Billy spent the night in the White House beside President Bush and his wife Barbara. Again, critics thought this gave his endorsement of the war, but Billy said he was merely there to support the Bushes in a time of difficulty. This made sense, as Billy was a faithful friend of the Bushes. In 1985 he took a long walk on the beach with the President’s son, George W., that set the forty-year-old oilman on the path to salvation. On the eve of his eighty-ninth birthday in October 2007, Billy was again a guest for lunch at the White House with George W., just a short time after Ruth Graham’s death on June 14 of that year. The President just wanted to offer his encouragement to the man whose personal church - more than any other building - might well have been the White House. Six Decades Spreading the Name of Jesus As I write these words, Billy is semi-retired from ministry, eighty-nine years old, and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the same disease that removed his “good friend” Ronald Reagan, from public appearances. Billy still gave a remarkably lucid interview for The Preacher and the Presidents which released in August 2007. Though not involved in the day-to-day affairs, he is still consulted from time to time by his son, Franklin, who has taken over the reigns of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. His wife of sixty-three years, Ruth, died on June 14, 2007 at the age of eightyseven. Ruth is buried alongside the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, where Billy will one day be laid beside her. He now lives in Montreat, North Carolina in the house his wife had built as a retreat from the public, not far from where he was born. Works Consulted 1. Billy Graham, Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997), 17. 2. Ibid., 26. 3. Ibid., 24. 4. William Martin, A Prophet with Honor: the Billy Graham Story (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991), 64. 5. Graham, Just As I Am, 59-60. 6. Sherwood Eliot Wirt, Billy: A Personal Look Billy Graham, the World’s BestLoved Evangelist (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 28. 7. Wirt, Billy, 29. 8. Ibid. 9. Letter from Stephen Olford, May 9, 1996, in Wirt, Billy, 29-30. 10. Graham, Just As I Am, 147. 11. Nancy Gibbs and Richard N. Ostling, “God’s Billy Pulpit,” Time,November 15, 1993,,9171,979573,00.html.


Gods Generals     Various men & women throughout the ages  

12. Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, “Billy Graham: ‘A Spiritual Gift to All,’” Time, May 31, 2007,,8599,1627139,00.html.


Gods Generals  

The history of kingdom transformers

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you