Tag Archives: Smith Wigglesworth

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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In the Steps of Smith Wigglesworth

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In the Steps of Smith Wigglesworth, by Philip B. Taylor. England: The Author, 2007.

This a beautifully produced book. It contains over 150 photographs, many in colour of places connected with the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth. Here are the house and churches of the young Smith. From the humble beginning from his christening in 1859 to his conversion in Menston Chapel aged eight, all of these buildings are shown within the narrative of the story. Other places from Bowland Street in Bradford to All Saints’ in Sunderland and Glad Tidings in Wakefield where he died are all shown in full colour. Anyone interested in the life and ministry of Wigglesworth will want to add this sumptuous volume to their collection. For anyone wishing to follow the Wigglesworth trail or simply view the places when reading about him it makes an ideal companion. The compiler is congratulated on his production that is a valuable addition to the history of Pentecostalism in Britain.

Reviewed by Desmond Cartwright, Elim Pentecostal Church

Paperback, 128 pages, illustrated. £10.99 plus postage. Order from: www.smithwigglesworth.com

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Review: Assemblies of God in New Zealand

Pentecost at the Ends of the Earth: The History of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand (1927-2003), by Ian G. Clark. Blenheim, New Zealand: Christian Road Ministries, 2007.

The Assemblies of God in New Zealand, the largest Pentecostal organization in that country, traces its origins to the ministry of legendary healing evangelist Smith Wigglesworth. Despite its storied past and significant growth (claiming 30,000 adherents in over 200 churches in 2007), a history of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand had not been written. That is, until now.

Ian G. Clark, a seasoned Assemblies of God pastor and educator, has authored Pentecost at the Ends of the Earth: The History of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand (1927-2003). This well-written volume consists of 274 pages covering 76 years in 50 chronological chapters, documented with 483 footnotes. The author scoured a variety of sources – most significantly the New Zealand Evangel, denominational records, written memoirs, personal recollections, written histories, and his own memories – in the production of this admirably-researched history.

New Zealand’s relatively isolated island locale – described in the title – suggests the reason why it took until the 1920s for Pentecostalism to find firm reception. This breakthrough came when English plumber-turned-evangelist Smith Wigglesworth made a splash upon his arrival in Wellington, New Zealand in May 1922. His meetings, the first large-scale Pentecostal campaign in the country, led to the establishment of Pentecostalism in New Zealand. While Wigglesworth was preceded by other Pentecostal evangelists and isolated groups, Continue reading

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