Tag Archives: Great Britain

Smith Wigglesworth: How a British Plumber Became a Noted Pentecostal Healing Evangelist

Wigglesworth

This Week in AG History — April 5, 1947

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 6 April 2017

Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947) was one of the most prominent healing evangelists of the early Pentecostal movement. He was, however, largely unknown outside his town in northern England until he was 48 years old. That was when, in 1907, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit under the ministry of a Pentecostal Anglican vicar, A. A. Boddy.

Born into a very poor family, Wigglesworth started working at age 6 in factories and farms to help support his family. He had little formal education and did not learn to read or write properly until married. While his parents were not committed Christians, Wigglesworth found the gospel message compelling and spent his youth in varied churches. He accepted Christ at a Methodist revival at 8 years old, was confirmed by an Anglican bishop, was immersed in water as a Baptist, and was discipled under the Plymouth Brethren.

Wigglesworth operated a plumbing business in Bradford, England, and helped his wife with a small gospel mission. Early in his ministry, he began encouraging people to have bold faith for both salvation and healing. His stalwart belief in divine healing arose from his own experience of healing from a ruptured appendix. He understood suffering, and he felt a special call to minister to the sick.

Prior to experiencing the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Wigglesworth had gained a reputation for aggressive evangelism, but he spent little time in the pulpit. After he was baptized in the Holy Spirit, he found himself preaching with uncharacteristic fluency and boldness. People who heard him preach experienced deep conviction, and healings and miracles often followed his ministry. He became a well-known speaker across Europe and North America and also helped to establish the Pentecostal movement in New Zealand and Australia.

Wigglesworth held credentials with the Assemblies of God USA from 1924 to 1929, and Gospel Publishing House published two books of his sermons: Ever Increasing Faith (1924) and Faith That Prevails (1938). Stanley Frodsham, the editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, wrote a best-selling biography, Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith (1948). These books remain in print and have been translated into many other languages.

When Wigglesworth died suddenly of a stroke in 1947, the Pentecostal Evangel published an obituary by Donald Gee and also republished one of the healing evangelist’s classic sermons, “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe.” Gee wrote that Wigglesworth had “a unique ministry, a gift of Christ to His church.” Seventy years after his death, Smith Wigglesworth’s ministry continues to inspire and influence new generations of Pentecostals.

Read “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe” by Smith Wigglesworth and “Awaiting the Resurrection” by Donald Gee on pages 3 and 11-12 of the April 5, 1947, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Walking to Emmaus,” by John Wright Follette

• “Hallelujah! Christ Arose,” by Ernest S. Williams

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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 archive 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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Review: Pentecostal pioneers remembered

“Pentecostal Pioneers Remembered”: British and Irish Pioneers of Pentecost, by Keith Malcomson. N.p.: Xulon Press, 2008.

This book commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Pentecostal Movement in Great Britain and Ireland, 1907-2007. The author has a burden for present-day revival, and he hopes that the testimonies of early Pentecostal pioneers will inspire the next generation. He calls attention to their strong emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit with signs following, their belief in healing for the sick, and their belief in the authority of Scripture (which includes testing and proving all things). These are important principles for today’s generation.

The book is divided into three sections: Moulding influences; Pentecostal pioneers; and Foundation, heresies, departures, and restoration. Background topics covered include the Brethren Movement, the Keswick Convention, the Welsh Revival, and the Azusa Street Revival.

Most of the book is a collection of short testimonies and biographical sketches of a number of “fathers of the faith” in the Pentecostal Movement in Great Britain and Ireland. Some of these include: T.B. Barratt, A. A. Boddy, Arthur Booth-Clibborn, Robert A. Brown, W. F. P. Burton, Howard Carter, John Carter, Mrs. Eleanor Crisp, Stanley Frodsham, Donald Gee, Harold Horton, Edward Jeffreys, George Jeffreys, Stephen Jeffreys, James McKeown, Thomas Myerscough, J. Nelson Parr, Cecil Polhill, James Salter, Douglas Scott, and Smith Wigglesworth. Most of these pioneers were born in Britain and Ireland and ministered there, yet their ministries deeply affected the entire world. In addition to the biographical sketches, the author includes additional comments and sidebars regarding some of the better-known individuals.

The last section includes sketches on the Apostle Paul, W. O. Hutchinson, A. E. Saxby, David du Plessis, and B. H. Clendennen. Each of these men has a unique message which is worthy of exploration as they forged ahead in ministry, although not always with the mainstream. Lessons can be learned from each example given in the book, and the testimonies should inspire the present generation of Pentecostal believers. There is also a helpful bibliography.

Reviewed by Glenn W. Gohr

Softcover, 476 pages, illustrated. $23.99 ($35.99 for hardcover) plus shipping. Available from www.pentecostalpioneers.org or www.amazon.com

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