Erickson was born on February 24, 1915 to Christian and Martha (Hanson) Erickson in Chelan, Washington. His parents had a Norwegian heritage with a strong Christian background. His mother
dedicated him to God upon his birth. His mother recalled that at five
years old Erickson told her "Mother, when I grow up I'm going to
be a preacher". He had a conversion experience, when he was eighteen,
at a revival meeting held by a converted logger in Wenatchee, Washington.
His uncle was a pastor and he would help out in the meetings and lead
Erickson was seeking
a deeper experience with God. He cried out for more of the Holy Spirit.
God told him that if he would fast and pray for three days he would receive
the baptism at ten o'clock on the third evening. He began to fast and
pray for a greater outpouring. On the third evening of the fast the family
was having a prayer meeting in their home when the presence of God fell.
In Erickson's book "Supernatural Deliverance" he relates
what happened next.
and when ten o'clock arrived, the power of God came and swept me across
the room, leaving me prostrate on the floor. Then, an angel was seen by
my father as it appeared in the room and hovered over me, reaching forward
to clasp my hands as they rested on my bosom. As I was lying there, with
the power of God mightily upon me, I felt the hands of the angel. My father
saw a tongue of fire appear in the room, rest on my head, and disappear
as it entered my body. At this moment I felt a burning, cleansing flame
enter, and surge through me, in wave after wave, increasing in intensity
until it seemed that my whole being was being purged. Then I felt a power
begin to move within, and increase until I could restrain myself no longer,
I opened my mouth and began to speak in a heavenly language, extolling
and praising God for His marvelous power and glory. I had received the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The message spoken to me three days before
had come to pass.
glorious experience, others began to prophesy in this manner: 'If thou
wilt prove thyself faithful and obey my call, I will place my power upon
thee, and thou shalt go forth in a ministry of deliverance. If thou wilt
stay humble, I will show thee my will, and thou shalt minister to great
congregations. I will confirm the preaching of my word with signs and
wonders, and many shall be saved. 'After this experience, I walked in
heavenly places for days. As I walked and talked with God, the joy I experienced
with the call to ministry. He felt he was "just a farm boy"
and had been a trucker and a driller's helper, with only two years of
high school education behind him. That was hardly his idea of preparation
for an evangelistic ministry. He married a girl named Vivian Gardner in
1937. She was the sister of another future healing evangelist named Velmer
Gardner. She became severely ill with stomach ulcers which developed
to the point she could no longer even hold water down. Erickson prayed
for her and felt to pray against an afflicting spirit. She was healed
instantly and got up from her bed. Still he did not respond to God's call
to preach. One day while working on the farm a piece of steel flew off
and struck him in the eye. It pierced his pupil. By the time he went to
see the doctor infection had set in and he was facing losing both eyes.
He again sought the Lord. He felt assured that if he responded to God's
call to preach that he would be healed. His wife also heard the same message.
They were faithful and packed up and went to a small town to preach. Within
two weeks his eyes were perfectly well.
In 1945 Erickson
became licensed with the Assembly of God denomination. In 1948 he became
an ordained minister. He was invited to the first Voice of Healing Convention
in Dallas in 1949. Speakers included William Branham,
F.F. Bosworth, Raymond T. Richey, Oral
Roberts and others. Erickson was seeing some success
before the convention, but it took off took off after Oral Roberts prayed
for him there. He felt the power of God come on him in a new way, and
he began to see more miraculous healings. He had a tent evangelism ministry.
The tent was smaller than many of his contemporaries, holding 3-4,000
people. Still he was seeing healings and miracles occur on a regular basis.
became international and he went to Chile in 1952 and spoke to crowds
that reached 75,000. In 1954 he went to Manila in the Philippines with
Lester Sumrall. Sumrall later wrote a book
about the revival called "Modern Manila Miracles". Erickson
produced his own publication called "Deliverance Magazine"
from 1956 to 1962. Then in 1962 Erickson and Sumrall teamed up to create
the World Harvest magazine. Facing family struggles Erickson and his wife
divorced around 1967. He left the ministry for a while, letting his ordination
lapse. He reinstated it in 1978 when Vivian, his first wife, died. Erickson
was remarried to a woman named Edith. He eventually retired to Florida.
He died on December 5, 1998 in Orlando, Florida, a few months after the
death of his second wife. Clifton and Vivian had two children, Janice
Vivian and Karen Erickson.
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