The Soul-Winning Century, 1906-2006 : The Humbard Family Legacy … One Hundred Years of Ministry, by Rex Humbard. Dallas, TX: Clarion Call Marketing, 2006.
Since almost the beginning of the twentieth century Pentecostal movement, members of the Humbard family have been engaging in earnest, energetic ministry to reach the lost for Christ. Rex Humbard, whose preaching has graced the airwaves for over 65 years, has now told his family’s story in his memoirs, The Soul-Winning Century.
While Rex Humbard became a household name through his groundbreaking television ministry, his father, Alpha E. Humbard also was an important pioneer preacher in his own right. Alpha Humbard, born in 1890 sixty miles north of Little Rock, Arkansas, had a rough childhood. Poverty, fights, liquor, and hard work dominated the world in which young Alpha was reared. However, he sensed God’s calling at a young age and overcame the odds to answer this call. Alpha was a practical, direct, no-nonsense kind of preacher whose compassion for people, according to this telling, overcame any deficit created by his lack of formal education. Perhaps it was this lack of haute couture – combined with a dependence upon God — that allowed him to touch the masses where they were at.
Alpha once recalled that a seminary-trained minister bitterly complained that, while he was a learned man with good diction and degrees, he could not draw the crowds like Alpha, whom he described as “an old farm boy, a clodhopper who can’t talk good English.” Alpha recalled that he recommended that the minister throw away his cigar, which he was smoking while complaining, and get on his knees and pray (p. 27). Alpha was not alone – his innovative, sometimes rough-and-tumble ways reflected a whole generation of early Pentecostal preachers. Continue reading