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Smith Wigglesworth

SMITH WIGGLESWORTH -  The Man They Called “The Apostle of Faith”

By Wayne Warner

It is probably safe to say that nobody identified with Paul Rader's chorus, "Only Believe," anymore than did the English dynamo, Smith Wigglesworth.

Only believe, only believe All things are possible, only believe.
Only believe, only believe All things are possible, only believe.

Paul Rader

This chorus and the scriptural principle so permeated his life and minsitry that friends and relatives felt it would be an injustice if they did not sing it at his funeral. Wigglesworth and faith were inseparable, which prompted people around the world to call him "The Apostle of Faith." A biography published a year following his death used that appellation as its title.

"Apostle of Faith" was more than just an honorary title. His lifestyle testified of his devotion to Christ. People in whose homes he stayed remarked that he would often fast and pray for the meetings he conducted, and he would take communion every day. He sought every day through prayer and study of the Bible to increase his faith so he could help hurting people.

Smith Wigglesworth was born into a poor family in Menston, Yorkshire, England, on June 10, 1859, and was converted at eight years of age. Not a naturally gifted speaker and having little formal education, Wigglesworth left the preaching and teaching to others in his early life, preferring rather to get involved in personal evangelism while working at his plumbing trade. He continued this practice even after he and his wife Polly founded a mission church in Bradford, England, in 1889. In 1907 Wigglesworth learned that God was blessing people with a baptism in the Holy Spirit. He, too, experienced the blessing and soon began preaching with new faith, fire, and courage. Eventually he received numerous invitations to preach, and he felt that God was leading him into full-time evangelism. Plumbing was forgotten as he plunged into reaching the lost.

For the next 40 years he traveled around the world preaching that Jesus could save sinners, sanctify believers, heal the sick, deliver from demons, and baptize in the Holy Spirit. Believers could have a dynamic relationship with God. Wigglesworth’s name became known everywhere he went because of his contagious faith and widely circulated sermons published in books and magazines.

In challenging his hearers to put faith into action, Wigglesworth thundered, “If you do not venture, you remain ordinary as long as you live. If you dare the impossible, then God will abundantly do far above all you ask or think.”

Firmly convinced that a supernatural power was essential to combat demons and sickness, Wigglesworth said: “It is not sufficient just to have a touch or to have a desire. There is only one thing that will meet the needs of people today. And that is to be immersed in the life of God. He will take you and fill you with His Spirit until you eat or drink or whatever you do, it shall be all for the glory of God.”

At times he was accused of insensitivity because of his rough treatment of those seeking his prayers. Wigglesworth explained that he was angry at the devil and sometimes the sick got in the way. But he was not insensitive. Friends saw the private side of Wigglesworth, the man who would weep and pray over requests that reached him from around the world.

Practicing his explosive and courageous faith in railroad cars, on streets, in parks, as well as in church buildings and tents, Wigglesworth attracted people to Christ on every continent. Now, more than 50 years after his death, he still inspires others through his faith-building sermons and inspirational writings.

His sermons are reprinted in numerous books and are available on the internet (see the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website for information: www.AGHeritage.org).


This article is taken from Wayne Warner, “Smith Wigglesworth The Man They Called ‘The Apostle of Faith,’” Assemblies of God Heritage 20 (Summer 2000): 24. Used with permission.

See: www.ifphc.org.

 


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