Dr. Verna May Hall Linzey (1919-2016), an Assemblies of God minister who served as a pastor, crusade evangelist, television evangelist, songwriter, and author, spent over eighty years in active ministry.
Dr. Linzey’s son, Chaplain (MAJOR) James F. Linzey, USA (Ret.), deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center a collection of books, audio/video footage, photographs, and other materials documenting his mother’s life and ministry. Chaplain Linzey served as her road manager and is currently having her autobiography edited for publication.
Verna was one of six children born to Carey F. Hall and Alice M. Hall in the southeast Kansas town of Coffeyville. After her father passed away, her mother married Rev. Francis L. Doyle, who served in 1928 as pastor of Coffeyville First Assembly of God.
The early Pentecostal movement, with its dual emphases on the Word of God and spiritual renewal, made a significant impact on young Verna. She recalled that, as a young girl, prominent Assemblies of God educator and theologian P.C. Nelson routinely stopped at her family’s home with his ministry team. She received permission from her mother to get out of bed and sit at the kitchen table with other family members who were listening to Nelson and his team share about the meetings they had conducted.
Yielding to a call to the ministry, Linzey matriculated at the school founded by Nelson, Southwestern Bible School (now Southwestern Assemblies of God University), where she studied from 1937 to 1939.
Linzey participated in evangelism, pastoral ministry, and crusades with her eldest brother, Franklin Hall, in the 1930s and early 1940s in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and California. She eventually conducted her own crusades and ministry. She married Stanford E. Linzey (1920-2010) in 1941. They affiliated with the Assemblies of God and in 1946 planted and co-pastored a church, El Cajon Evangelistic Tabernacle, in El Cajon, California.
Linzey influenced her husband, Captain Stanford E. Linzey, Jr., CHC, USN (Ret.), to become a U.S. Navy chaplain. During his ministry as a Navy chaplain from 1955 to 1974, Verna Linzey continued to preach and teach in churches and at conferences, including at Women’s Aglow. She frequently taught on the Holy Spirit. Stanford sometimes accompanied her in ministry. It is estimated that Verna and Stanford Linzey laid hands on and prayed for 20,000 people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
Linzey was given the title “Mother of the Fleet” by Admiral Frederick C. Johnson, USN (Ret.) for her building the Sunday school program at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, which was the largest Sunday school program in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1970. She was also made an honorary U.S. military chaplain by the Coalition of Spirit-Filled Churches.
In addition to her ministry, Linzey had a very active family life. She and Stanford had ten children—five boys and five girls.
Linzey had a deep love for the Word of God. She mastered biblical languages at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. When her husband earned his his Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Seminary (1980), Verna Linzey audited and completed the coursework as well. She received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Kingsway University and Theological Seminary (2001). She served as chief editor of the New Tyndale Version Bible translation (2009) and as one of the translators of the Modern English Version Bible translation (2014).
In her later years, Linzey wrote extensively on the theology of the Holy Spirit, including articles published in various religious periodicals. In 2004, she authored The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, for which she received the Best Non-Fiction of the Year Award (2006) from the San Diego Christian Writers’ Guild. It is a classic restatement of Classical Pentecostal doctrine and was later republished in the Philippines by ICI Ministries and used as a textbook in 100 Bible colleges.
In 2004, following the publication of her book, Linzey received opportunities to preach on television. Her television ministry began when she preached on the baptism with the Holy Spirit on God’s Learning Channel, a satellite network founded by Al and Tommie Cooper. This paved the way for two television series which would later be filmed: “The Holy Spirit Today with Dr. Verna Linzey” and “The Word with Dr. Verna Linzey.”
In 2007, Linzey wrote another book, Spirit Baptism, and recorded a set of teaching CDs and videos titled, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit and The Light of the World.
Linzey continued to be remarkably active in ministry until the age of 97, when she passed away. In November 2010, she had a role in a major feature movie, Iniquity, which is an updated version of the story of David and Bathsheba. She sang “The Rose” by Bette Middler for the soundtrack. Linzey was one of the keynote speakers for the 2011 Leadership Summit at the Heritage Foundation, where she received the 2011 Leader of the Year Award. She also received the “National Bible Teacher of the Year Award” at Westminster Theological Seminary in California during National Bible Week in 2011. Her album “Oh Blessed Jesus” went Gold for Best Vocals in Southern Gospel Music, featuring Grammy Award Nominee Triumphant Quartet and the group Sisters as her backup vocals the year after she passed away.
Dr. Linzey’s remarkable life spanned the history of the Pentecostal movement, to which she made significant contributions. She touched countless thousands of people through her pastoral and evangelistic ministry and writings. Now, with the Verna Linzey Collection accessible at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, future generations will be able to study her life, ministry, and legacy.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200