Healing and Revival


 

"Take the Full Gospel to the World"

 

Albert Benjamin Simpson was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada on December 15th, 1843 to James and Janet (Clark) Simpson. His family had emigrated from Scotland and Simpson's religious training was through his parent's Scottish Covenanter heritage. A depression hit Canada in the 1840's and his father's business failed. They moved to western Ontario and took up farming. His father was a highly respected deacon and his parents pressed Simpson to become a minister. He had conflicting feelings about this. He had a sound moral background, but no strong personal conviction that he was called to the ministry.

Simpson went to at Knox College in Toronto to become a Presbyterian minister. Under great stress while studying to become a minister, he had an emotional and physical collapse. Simpson was only 14 years old! He was convinced that he might die at any time, and he became overwhelmed at the thought that he didn't really know God and might not have eternal life. In 1858 he had a pivotal change in his understanding of God. He had come across Walter Marshall's book on the "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification" in his pastor's study. It included a clear presentation of the necessity of receiving Jesus Christ as savior and that all works outside of this were in vain. Total justification was on the acceptance of Jesus alone, and on that basis we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive a new heart. Amazingly, this was a new revelation to Simpson. He fell to his knees and committed his life to Christ. A new sense of peace filled him and the Word became alive to him as never before.

Simpson graduated in 1865, and accepted a pastorate at Knox Church in Hamilton, a church with 1200 members, and the second largest in Canada. He stayed with the church for eight years as an extremely successful minister. The church added 750 members while he was there. Simpson, still suffering health problems, accepted a pastorate in a Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky in 1874. The Civil War had left the city and churches with heavy financial and spiritual problems. Simpson called for reconciliation and prayer meetings. Two months of united prayer meetings among the clergy led to a year of interdenominational meetings with 10,000 local residents. He set up missions all over the city to give a place to those who did not go to church. Simpson continued to drive himself beyond his physical strength. His father worried that he was killing himself. At the end of five years Simpson felt he'd done all he could do in Louisville. He was called to New York City to pastor the Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church in 1879.

1881 was the turning point in Simpson's health and beliefs about divine healing. He had experienced a token of God's love in this area years before. A woman, whose older son was in a coma and dying, asked him to come and pray with the man. She was not sure that he was saved and felt burdened about his salvation. Simpson went to her house and prayed that her son would become well enough to speak to his mother about this. When Simpson was getting ready to leave the son woke up and from that point on recovered his health. It was so remarkable that Simpson never forgot it. He made an initial attempt to believe in Jesus as his healer, but was told by a physician it was presumption and so abandoned it.

That summer he and his family went to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Dr Charles Cullis was holding a convention there, but Simpson only attended a few meetings. His goal was rest and relaxation. During that summer he heard several testimonies of people being healed by believing the Word of God. He became committed to find out for himself if this was true. He opened his bible and sought to find God's direction in this matter. He became convinced that it was true. He went to the forest by himself and made a commitment to believe three things. First, healing was in the Word of God and he would never doubt it. Secondly, that he committed his physical well-being to Christ and would depend on Jesus to keep him. Third, that he would speak about healing and minister in any way God called him to. He was overwhelmed with the presence of God and knew something had changed. He was healed of his heart disorder in August.

Simpson began teaching on divine healing, which was viewed with suspicion by many. New York had a large immigrant population. He felt a great a great burden for the poor and the lost. He lead approximately 100 Italian immigrants to Christ and wanted them to become members of his church. His congregation suggested that another church would be more appropriate. Simpson's heart was broken, and in November he left Thirteenth Street Church to begin a work that would accept people from all walks of life. He established the Gospel Tabernacle in New York City as an independent church. He held evangelistic meetings, ran several rescue missions, preached at the jails, had meetings for sailors, opened an orphanage and a home for unwed mothers, provided a dispensary for the poor, and started the Missionary Training School.

In 1883 Simpson began to hold meetings regularly to pray for the sick. They dedicated his house as a Home for Faith and Physical Healing and prayer times were set asided twice a week. He also began holding public meetings at the Tabernacle on Friday nights. The progression was quick as the teaching spread. Between 1883 and 1917 the healing home was run by Sarah Lindenberger and moved into larger facilities four times, until it was finally moved onto the CM&A Campus in Nyack, New York in 1897. It continued to operate until 1917 when Lindenberger retired at the age of 76.

Simpson created two groups: the Christian Alliance for the pursuing the higher Christian life, and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance for foreign missions. Two years later these two groups were joined together, becoming The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Simpson said, "We are an alliance of Christians for world wide missionary work. It is to hold up Jesus in fullness, ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever!’ It is to lead God’s hungry children to know their full inheritance of privilege and blessing for spirit, soul and body. It is to encourage and incite the people of God to do the neglected work of our age and time among the unchurched classes at home and the perishing heathen abroad." In May 1918 Simpson retired after more than 50 years of service to the cause of Christ. He died October 29, 1919.

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