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Fight

for the Faith and Freedom


George Jeffreys, The Revivalist and Reformer of Today.

Founder of the Elim Movement and former Principal of


its Bible College.

by

Noel Brooks

Pentecostal Pioneers Series

No. 42

Published by The Revival Library

www.revival-library.org

email: librarian@revival-library.org
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Copyright
The original was undated and therefore failed to comply with British copyright
laws. The book is in the public domain.
Contents
Introduction

Chapter 1. The Making of an Apostle

Chapter 2. The Crowd-Compeller

Chapter 3. Penning His Sheep

Chapter 4. Clericalism

Chapter 5. The New Ideal

Chapter 6. Stormy Winds

Chapter 7. Renunciation

Chapter 8. Issues

Chapter 9. Blinding Expedients

Conclusion
Table of Contents
Fight for the Faith and Freedom
Copyright
Contents
Introduction
Chapter I. The Making Of An Apostle
Chapter II. The Crowd-Compeller
Chapter III. Penning His Sheep
CHapter IV. Clericalism
Chapter V. The New Ideal
Chapter VI. Stormy Winds
Chapter VII. Renunciation
Chapter VIII. Issues
Chapter IX. Blinding Expedients
The Revival Library
Introduction
It is doubtful if history can furnish us with a record of one who, in his own
lifetime, filled the role both of Founder of a religious movement and of
Reformer of it. Usually the Founder of such a community has gone the way of
all flesh long before the Reformer of it has arisen. My story, therefore, of a man
who is both Founder and Reformer of the same religious body has perhaps some
claim to uniqueness.

George Jeffreys, Revivalist, between the two greatest wars of history


undoubtedly scaled the highest peaks in the realm of evangelism. Beginning in
obscurity, he was not only unsponsored by the religious denominations of his
day but opposed by them. Yet he pioneered with the utmost courage the full New
Testament message until the largest auditoriums of this and other lands were
crowded to capacity with men and women who were being moved Godward by
his powerful ministry. In those twenty-five years tens of thousands were
converted to Jesus Christ in his services, astonishing miracles of physical healing
were wrought, hundreds of churches were established, many of them housed in
stately buildings, and a Bible College, printing and publishing works were
founded to sustain the virile Elim Movement which his genius, under God, had
created.

Clearly such achievements are sufficient to win him lasting fame in the annals of
evangelical enterprise. My story, however, does not end with the record of his
triumphs. George Jeffreys, Revivalist, was destined to play yet another role. He
was to become George Jeffreys, Reformer. At the very height of his success the
conviction came upon him that the religious organisation which he and his
followers had, in all sincerity, established, and by which they hoped to conserve
the phenomenal results of his untiring service, was out of harmony with God’s
revealed order in the New Testament. He discovered that this system, as all such
systems, lent itself to tyranny and stood in great danger of exploitation in the
interests of a narrow clerical caste. Thenceforward, with the same dauntless
courage with which he had pioneered his message and built up his movement, he
flung himself into the work of reform and, eventually, renounced the Elim
Movement entirely rather than sear his enlightened conscience.
LEGAL BONDS

The nature of George Jeffreys’ evangelistic work compelled him to provide


buildings where his converts could meet for worship and instruction. Entering a
town he would create, without assistance and often in the midst of opposition, a
large Foursquare Gospel assembly, apparently out of nothing. His ministry, and
that of his

Revival Party, did not end with the benediction at the close of a Gospel
campaign. They would search for a disused church building or hall that might be
purchased as a permanent home for the newly-formed church and, having found
it, would spare no pains to secure and prepare it for the worshippers.

By 1934 the Revival Movement had. acquired a vast amount of church and
house property throughout the British Isles, and this had been taken over chiefly
by a few Elim ministers, including the Revivalist and the Secretary-General,
under what is known as Undisclosed Trusts. Since taking his stand for reforms
George Jeffreys has openly condemned this practice in religion. As he himself
has said, “It should be made illegal. It is decidedly wrong for individuals, though
they be ministers of the Gospel, to appeal to the people for funds towards church
property and then to deprive them of any say in its control. Such a practice can
be a menace to church and nation.”

In 1934 the Deed Poll of the Elim Movement came into existence and this
legally swallowed up all the undisclosed trust church and house property that
had previously been held by individuals. This, to most of the leaders of the
Movement, including the Revivalist, seemed to be a step in the right direction.
But there was a great blunder. The Deed Poll was signed by nine Elim ministers
without consulting the churches as to the nature of the Trust. By signing the
Deed Poll the nine ministers made themselves the legal governors over all Elim
Alliance churches, pastors, properties and finances throughout the British Isles.

The nine ministers of Elim who signed the Deed Poll were George Jeffreys (the
Founder), E. J. Phillips (the Secretary-General), R. E. Darragh, James
McWhirter, R. Gordon Tweed, E. C. W. Boulton, W. G. Hathaway, Joseph Smith
and P. N. Corry. It is worthy of record that when the nine were gathered together
in the Elim Bible College, Clapham, London, for the purpose of signing this
important legal document, George Jeffreys hesitated before appending his
signature and inquired of the Secretary-General, in whom he had implicit trust, if
there were anything in the Deed Poll to prevent the Elim people having control
of their local churches. It was only after being assured on this point that he
signed. George Jeffreys never thought that anyone on that Executive Council
would in future days oppose the just rights of the people to secure for themselves
the church buildings they had paid for.

In 1939, George Jeffreys and three of the nine, namely, R. E. Darragh, James
McWhirter and R. Gordon Tweed, with eyes open to the need of reforms, were
determined to present each church throughout the country with Trust Deeds that
would for ever safeguard the just rights of the congregations that had paid for the
churches, chiefly out of hard-earned incomes, or resign from the Movement.

As long as George Jeffreys, by his pioneer campaigns, continued to bring new


congregations, pastors, properties and finances under their control his fellow-
govemors lost no opportunity, by word and in script, to eulogise him to the full.
There was none like their “beloved Principal.” But when he showed
determination to stand for the just rights of his many churches and pastors,
including the people’s right to own and control the church property they had paid
for, he was condemned by his opponents as a disturber of churches, whose only
aim in life now was to divide the work !

It was, of course, inevitable that the Reformer should suffer misunderstanding


and misrepresentation. The core of the dispute that has arisen between George
Jeffreys and his fellow-governors who signed the Elim Deed Poll of 1934 is the
clerical central control of pastors, people, properties and finances of the Elim
churches throughout the British Isles. In such a centrally controlled organisation
communities of Christian believers are governed, in the final analysis, by a
group of ministers whom they have not appointed and over whom they can
exercise no control. What such a totalitarian system would mean in the political
world I need not tarry to describe. In religion, as Thomas Goodwin, Puritan
Divine, put it : “Such government may possibly issue in the greatest tyranny.”
(Footnote: “The Constitution, Right Order and Government of the Churches of
Christ,” p. 5, Thomas Goodwin, D.D.)

It could be demonstrated that such systems of ecclesiastical administration have


been taken over into the Christian church from Pagan Babylon (see Hislop’s The
Two Babylons, chapter six, and Mystery Babylon the Great, by G. H. Pember; G.
H. Lang’s edition). Wherever central religious control of worshipping
communities is found—in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Protestant
denominations, or in the modern Pentecostal, Foursquare, Apostolic and
Holiness movements—its hierarchy and implicit tyranny are the very antithesis
of the letter and spirit of the New Testament. The solemn fact which forced itself
upon George Jeffreys’ attention was that clerical central control, whether it be by
Popes, Cardinals, Executive Councils.

or under the guise of General Presbyteries and Annual Conferences, is a most


effective instrument for their tyrannous rule over the members of Christ’s Body
in Christian communities.

THE BIBLICAL PATTERN

The Apostles of the New Testament themselves treated their churches as free
self-governing communities. In spite of his tremendous moral authority Paul
himself denied that he had any dominion over the Corinthians: “Not for that we
have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24);
neither did he, when all that were in Asia turned away from him, hold legal
weapons over their heads to compel submission or punish dissent. Not until the
death of the Apostles is there any indication of spiritual despotism. Gradually
“what had been the prerogative of the local community or church passed into the
hands of officials. In place of the educated and responsible self-government
which Jesus sought to establish in his followers (guided by the Word of God and
the common Christian mind), the joyful obedience of free men to Himself alone,
men found themselves confronted by a human despotism exercised by all grades
of a clerical caste from the Pope downwards, and resting only on self-assertion
and force.” (Footnote: “Romanism and the Gospel,” p. 222. C. Anderson Scott,
D.D.)

THE ROOT PROBLEM OF INSTITUTIONAL CHRISTIANITY

A Scottish gentleman once expostulated with me for making such a fuss about
church government. “We in Scotland,” he said, “have ceased to worry about the
matter.” I could not but marvel that a Scot, whose forbears had shed their blood
for religious liberty, should hold so cheaply the gains which they had purchased
at so great cost. Yet his apathy is typical of the English speaking world to-day.
“Church government doesn’t matter.” We say it does matter! It matters
profoundly. It is the root of the problem in institutional Christianity. The great
religious struggles of the Christian era were, at bottom, matters of church
government. All reformation has been revolt against the authority of clerical
central control. Luther, Calvin and Knox resisted the authority of Rome. The
early Puritans suffered poverty, exile and death at the hands of the State-backed
English Church. Wesley and Whitefield clashed with the Bishops, William
Booth with Methodism, others with the Salvation Army, and latterly George
Jeffreys with his fellow-governors in the Elim Movement which he had founded.

It would seem that each new revolt from despotism became itself a new
despotism. Of course, the saintly men who founded these movements never
intended them to become despotic. They had not seen that it is of the very nature
of central control to become tyrannous, that despotism is implicit in it.

The New Testament Pattern of Free Self-governing churches shatters the power
of the priest and presbyter over the people. Now it would be absurd to imagine
that all priests, pastors and presbyters are bad. I argue against the system, not
against individuals who operate it. Administrative independence puts the
sovereignty into the hands of the Christian people, of the God-indwelt
community. And that, quite simply and radically, stifles; tyranny at its roots.

WEAPONS OF RELIGIOUS TYRANNY

For hundreds of years centrally controlled religious bodies systematically used


the civil power to enforce obedience to themselves and to punish dissent. The
particular organisation that happened to be “established by law” used its State-
backed authority against dissenters of every kind. One does not need much
imagination to perceive that whoever holds legal control over pastors, churches,
properties, and finance wields an effective weapon against dissenters and
reformers. They control all and have final power over all. And the
incontrovertible fact remains that just as in other days religious organisations had
legal power to put dissenters to the rack and to the flame, or to force unwanted
ministers upon churches by the aid of troops with muskets, so to-day centrally
controlled bodies of religion have legal power to impose an unwanted minister
upon a congregation which that congregation must support or to expel a
dissenting congregation from a building which it has purchased. The penalty for
dissent to-day is forfeiture of the church building which one has helped to buy.
The dissenter must build anew while the clerical governors utilise the property
for the benefit of their organisation, which, in the final analysis, means the
benefit of the governors themselves. Compare with this the remarks of D. R.
Davies, in Divine Judgment in Human History: “The reality of power is being
concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. This reality consists not in mere
ownership, but in actual control of the whole apparatus of the productive and
distributive process. This is where real power resides in any society. This is
where real power has always resided in every society throughout history. And it
is the locus of power to-day. Power is passing from the hands of mere ownership
into the hands of controllers, managers, whose wealth may be much less than
that of the mere owners.” This is profoundly true of centrally controlled
ecclesiastical societies. The clerical managers own nothing but control
everything. Thus they have all-power and are responsible only to themselves as a
class.

AN ASTONISHING STORY

I have a story to tell in the following pages which will powerfully illustrate this
fact. The rise of the Elim Movement which George Jeffreys, Under God, created
is itself a remarkable story. The history of the building up, in the British Isles, of
a virile Christian movement of such appeal and such proportions by a young
Welshman without influential backing, in these twentieth-century days of
religious decline, forms entrancing reading. But it is surely without precedent
that the Founder and Leader of such an organisation should, at the height of his
fame and influence, be compelled for conscience’ sake to sever his connection
with it after a protracted struggle to reform it. The movement had developed on
central government lines. Discovering, in his prime, the essentially despotic
character of such a system he endeavoured to change its form. The full New
Testament Pattern had been revealed to him—viz., that local churches are God-
indwelt communities and should, therefore, be free and self-governing. As he
followed the logic of that principle he was inevitably thrown into the crucible of
suffering. Finding reform hopeless he was compelled to make the sacrifice of
resignation.

Clerical central control of pastors, people, and property “may possibly issue in
the greatest tyranny.” That is the burden of these pages. The system is
inconsistent with fundamental scriptural and moral principles. There is only one
radical way of dealing with it. Democratise the Church! Vest the sovereignty in
the local God-indwelt communities. Make the people themselves the guardians
of their God-given freedom.
Chapter I. The Making Of An
Apostle
“My hope and heart is with thee—thou wilt be
A latter Luther and a soldier priest
To scare church-harpies from their master’s feast.
Our dusted velvets have much need of thee.
Thou art no Sabbath-drawler of old saws,
Distill’d from some worm-cankered homily;
But spurred at heart with fieriest energy
To embattail and to wail about thy cause
With iron-worded proof, hating to hark
The droning of the drowsy pulpit drone
Half God’s good sabbath, while the worn-out clerk
Browbeats his desk below. Thou from a throne
Mounted in heaven wilt shoot into the dark
Arrows of lightnings. I will stand and mark.”

—Sonnet to J. M.K. (Tennyson).

IT is patent to all who have made contact with George Jeffreys and his work that
he is an outstanding personality. His very face, always strong and earnest, and
now lined by suffering, reveals a heart mastered by the “heavenly vision,” and
resolute in obedience to it. Those who know something of his struggle (I say
“something” because there are agonies in every soul’s struggle of which others
can know nothing) marvel at the courage and patience with which he has “borne
and not fainted.”

To say the least he, more than many, has had what one has called “the power to
see it through.” Once “the heavenly vision” had come to him he gave himself to
it without reserve. Companions and followers may have tired in the way, but no
obstacle, no opponent, could daunt George Jeffreys.

A MODERN APOSTLE
For this reason I do not hesitate to call him an apostle. St. Paul, speaking in his
own defence, says Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all
patience, and signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” (2 Corinthians 12:12).
There may not be design in Paul’s order of signs. I like to think that there is, and
that Paul looked upon “patience” or“endurance” (to give it a more robust
rendering) as the sign par excellence of apostolic power. In any case the ministry
of George Jeffreys has been marked by “signs and wonders and mighty deeds,”
while “endurance” in the midst of “honour and dishonour,” “evil report and good
report,” has ever been, even as with Paul himself, his most characteristic virtue.

In that spirit, as E. C. W. Boulton says in the preface to his book George


Jeffreys: A Ministry of the Miraculous (Official publication of the Elim
Movement), “he has dared to breast the waves of popular religious opinion,
thereby exposing himself to a fierce cross-fire of criticism from most sections of
the Christian church. In the very face of this fusillade of resistance God has
enabled him to achieve triumphs which must for all time adorn the annals of
evangelical enterprise.” (Footnote: “George Jeffreys : A Ministry of the
Miraculous,” pp. v., vi. E. C. W. Boulton.) Finding his message unwanted by the
ecclesiastical world, like Wesley he pioneered it in the unlikeliest of places until,
from inauspicious beginnings, he was able to fill the largest public halls that
Britain could supply with eager Foursquare Gospellers whose sin-marred lives
and pain-racked bodies had been transformed and healed through his ministry.
The Royal Albert Hall, Crystal Palace, Alexandra Palace, Queen’s Hall
(London), Bingley Hall (Birmingham), Free Trade Hall (Manchester), Caird Hall
(Dundee), St. Andrew’s Hall (Glasgow), Usher Hall (Edinburgh), King’s Hall,
Balmoral (Belfast), Music Hall (Aberdeen), Cambridge Hall (Southport),
Victoria Hall (Halifax), Olympia (Bradford), Coliseum (Leeds), Royal Dome
(Brighton), Winter Garden, Devonshire Park (Eastbourne), Guildhall
(Southampton), Guildhall (Portsmouth), Cory Hall (Cardiff), St. George’s Hall
(Guernsey,, Channel Islands), Exhibition Buildings (York), Civic Hall (Exeter),
Guildhall (Plymouth), Military Riding School (Carlisle), Albert Hall
(Nottingham), City Hall (Sheffield)* —to mention some of the largest and most
famous halls in the British Isles, as well as churches, cinemas, theatres, boxing
stadia, skating rinks, drill halls and marquees—all in their turn have been
crowded to capacity with men and women in the grip of revival. The youth of
the country, confessedly unreachable by traditional forms of Christianity, has
been made to feel the appeal and challenge of Christ, and tens of thousands have
been converted through the ministry of this mighty evangelist. Startling cures
have been witnessed in his revival services—the blind have been made to see,
the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, cancers have been healed, and people with
crutches, irons and bed-chairs have completely discarded them. Hundreds of
churches have been established—churches that thrive on prayer meetings, Bible
study and evangelism, and pay their way without recourse to whist-drives and
bazaars.

GEORGE JEFFREYS’ SECRET

One might well ask the secret of such a phenomenal ministry, so clearly after the
apostolic pattern, in this century of declension. Rom Landau, in God is My
Adventure, gives lucid descriptions of modern religious pioneers, both eastern
and western. George Jeffreys is the only Britisher to be given a place in the
book. From the penetrating analysis of the Revivalist’s great meetings in the
Royal Albert Hall and the Crystal Palace I cull the following: “It seemed as
though the presence of God really filled the hall. The people who had assembled
had always known that God is everywhere, but it had been a problem for them
how to find Him. What Jeffreys did was to compress their consciousness of God,
to vitalise it, to force it into a concentration that was far more powerful than any
state they were able to achieve by themselves. The faces of the people suggested
that they were living at this moment with God and in God. The one great miracle
of all religions seemed to have happened: God had descended into man and had
become part of his consciousness.” (Footnote: "God is My Adventure,” pp. 177-
8. Rom Landau.) It would seem that Mr. Landau finds George Jeffreys’ secret in
the possession of a remarkable power of making the invisible God seem
immediate and real to the masses.

Others have found his secret elsewhere. “An Elim minister of early days,”
writing in the Coming-of-Age Souvenir of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance,
declares: “The secret of his life of humble power lies in this. From the beginning
he literally gave up his right to himself, and gave himself uncompromisingly and
voluntarily to the service, not of a movement, but of God.”

George Jeffreys himself would declare in simple Bible language that his secret
lay in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, that in his youth God had given him an
experience similar to that which the primitive disciples had received on the day
of Pentecost.

There can be little doubt, I think, that the real secret is far more complex than
any one of these answers suggests. Whether the man be Old Testament Prophet,
New Testament Apostle, or more modem Reformer or Revivalist, a whole host
of things combine in the Providence of God to make him the power that he is. As
for George Jeffreys, his great heritage as a Welshman and a “child of the
Revival,” his own peculiar and subtle genius to which Rom Landau refers, his
purposiveness, abandonment and enduring power, the special endowment of
spiritual grace and power to which he himself bears witness—all this, and more
no doubt, woven by the Hand of God into the very texture of his personality,
made him such a decisive spiritual force between the two greatest wars of
history. .

INFLUENCE OF THE WELSH REVIVAL

I referred above to George Jeffreys’ great heritage as a Welshman and “a Child


of the Revival.” Wales is the land of religious revivals. Her sons seem to possess
to a striking degree the capacity for religious experience of the intensely
emotional kind. The great revival of 1904-5, associated with the name of young
Evan Roberts, was perhaps the high-water mark of Welsh religious history. Any
attempt to assess the formative influences in George Jeffreys’ personality must
give an important place to that revival. The future Revivalist was but a lad when
the power of God swept through the Welsh valleys, renewing the Life of God in
the souls of countless multitudes and heightening the moral standards of whole
communities. He himself dates his own new birth to those remarkable days. One
certainly cannot be long in George Jeffreys’ company, whether privately or in the
great public meetings which he conducts, without realising that he is indebted to
the Welsh revival not merely for his conversion but also for his dominating
vision and passion for religious revival. The scenes which his boyish eyes
witnessed have ever burned within his memory as a pattern towards which he
must work-Albert Einstein’s biographer says that “at twenty-one Einstein’s mind
gave off sparks which would set other minds on fire.” (Footnote: "Albert
Einstein,” p. 30. H. G. Garbedian.) Most certainly that is what the Welsh revival
did for George Jeffreys. And the fire that was kindled within him has burned
ever since with inextinguishable flame.

George Jeffreys’ early activities were connected with the Welsh Congregational
Church, “Siloh,” Maesteg, and the significant witness of its minister, the Rev. W.
Glasnant Jones, is preserved for us by Mr. Boulton: “At the open-air revival
services I always found George Jeffreys at my side. Superior to other lads there
was character in his face. I knew he was a ‘ chosen vessel.’” (Footnote: “George
Jeffreys : A(Ministry of the Miraculous,” p. 11. E. C. Boulton.)
A MODERN PENTECOST

Another movement of God, however, was steadily gathering force, not in Wales
merely, but in various parts of the world; a movement from which the young
Jeffreys was destined to receive a mighty impress and the character of which, at
least in Britain, he was decidedly to shape. Almost simultaneously an outpouring
of the Holy Spirit was granted to companies of Christian believers in both old
world and new. In addition to the more familiar accompaniments of Divine
visitation, such as quickened spirituality and conversions, the newer outpouring
was certified by an outbreak of glossolalia and miracles of healing as in the days
of the Apostles. The British outpouring had come to the Rev. Alexander A.
Boddy’s Anglican Church, Sunderland, in the diocese of saintly Bishop Handley
Moule, and Christian leaders from all over the country visited Sunderland to
prove the matter for themselves. As ever, judgment was divided: some adjudged
the new thing as a fresh act of the Holy Spirit; others denounced it as a Satanic
snare; whole groups welcomed the phenomenal manifestations to a permanent
place in church life. Henceforth there were to be communities of believers
meeting together in the Name of Jesus Christ not only to sing and pray, and
preach, but also to prophesy, speak in tongues, interpret, and heal the sick and
maimed. After nearly forty years the Pentecostal movement, as it came to be
called, continues without abate and it is estimated that in its many organisations
in various lands there are several million adherents, while hundreds of thousands
claim to have received its characteristic experience of the Baptism in the Holy
Spirit.

A REMARKABLE FAMILY

That such a Divine visitation would be joyously received in the “land of


revivals” goes without saying, and amongst the many Welsh families who were
influenced, none were more fully caught up in it than the Jeffreys brothers, who
became singularly endowed with evangelistic and healing “gifts.” Only eternity
will measure the triumphs of their united influence.

As we have already implied, the new way became subjected to violent


opposition and the convictions of young George Jeffreys were speedily tested!
“Pentecostalists,” as they were derisively termed, were generally outlawed from
ministerial training and service in the accepted denominations. George himself
was more than once hindered from entering a theological college. “Only the
judgment seat of Christ,” writes Mr. Boulton, “will reveal the depth of holy
determination which has carried him over the tremendous obstacles which barred
the way to the realisation of the God-given call.” (Footnote: “George Jeffreys: A
Ministry of the Miraculous,” p. 12. E. C. W. Boulton)

However in 1912, due to the personal assistance of Mr. Cecil Polhill, one of the
famous Cambridge Seven, he was enabled to pursue a course of study under the
auspices of the Pentecostal Missionary Union of Great Britain, at Preston, where
the late Thomas Myerscough was training the future leaders of the movement.

PERVERTED POWER

The soul of the young worker, however, was terribly dissatisfied with the early
Pentecostal movement in some respects. Outlawed, as the Pentecostal people
were, from the wider Christian world, they tended to form themselves into
secluded groups, intent at the best upon their own spiritual culture, at the worst
upon an orgiastic pursuit of phenomena in back-street upper rooms. “As the
young prophet-to-be,” says Mr. Boulton, “looked out upon the conditions
described earlier in this chapter (i.e., the first chapter of George Jeffreys: A
Ministry of the Miraculous) he was conscious of a great cry being borne within
him for something to be done that would transform things. He saw that if this
heaven-given movement was to serve the Divine purpose it must be freed from
fanaticism and purged of many of its extravagancies.” (Footnote: “George
Jeffreys: A Ministry of the Miraculous,” p. 14. E. C. W. Boulton.) He conceived
that the powers and gifts of the Holy Spirit were not to be dissipated within the
seclusion of upper rooms but utilised in evangelistic enterprise. He burned to
make an impact upon the Christless masses. The new discovery of Apostolic
gifts was already wedded within him to the older flaming vision of mass revival
which he had inherited from Evan Roberts.

THE ELIM MOVEMENT

The International Pentecostal Convention in Sunderland, in 1913, with George


Jeffreys as one of the speakers paved the way to several evangelistic campaigns
in England and Ireland, during the next two years, notably at Plymouth,
Coulsdon and Monaghan, until, at the latter town in Northern Ireland, in January,
1914, the young evangelist founded the Elim Movement pledged to challenge
Ireland with the Foursquare Gospel of Jesus Christ as Saviour, Healer, Baptiser
in the Holy Spirit, and Coming King. During 1915 several other full-time helpers
became associated with the evangelist and in the summer of 1916, when Mr.
John Leech, M.A., LL.B., K.C., and the Rev. Thomas Hacket, M.A., were
invited to become advisory members of the Evangelistic Council* the title of
“Elim Evangelistic Band” was chosen for the little group of pioneers.

The struggles and triumphs of these early days brought some choice and abiding
friendships to George

Jeffreys. Mr. J. Leech, a tower of strength and a mine of wisdom, retained until
his death in 1942 his unflinching loyalty to the Revivalist whom he had
sponsored. William Henderson, the Good, Frederick Farlow (both now “with the
Lord ”), Robert G. Tweed, Robert E. Darragh, James McWhirter, Robert Mercer,
Miss M. Streight (now Mrs. R. Mercer), Miss N. Adams (now Mrs. H. D. T.
Stoneham)—to mention but a few members of the Band—have ever remained
steadfast and true.

Particularly rich and striking has been the Evangelist’s partnership with R. E.
Darragh, inimitable leader of song and indispensable companion in travel, who
was the first member of the Elim Evangelistic Band, with James McWhirter,
whose organising gift went far towards the success of the great campaigns later
to be conducted, and with Albert W. Edsor, a later addition to the Revival Party,
whose musical gifts gave a lilt to the revival services that captured the hearts of
the young everywhere. After many years of incessant labour together in many
lands, both in triumph and in trial, the attachment of the four members of the
Revival Party remains unimpaired—a striking model of friendship, loyalty and
efficiency.

By the end of 1920 the Elim Evangelistic Band numbered over twenty members
and many Ulster towns and villages had been entered. George Jeffreys was
becoming famed in the land. Many halls in Northern Ireland had been packed to
suffocation and striking revival scenes had been witnessed. Converts! Cures!
Crowds!—everywhere. And several Foursquare Gospel churches had been
established with full-time resident pastors. Truly the “signs of an Apostle” were
upon the rising Revivalist.
Chapter II. The Crowd-Compeller
“They belong to that class of natural leaders who are capable of infecting the
herd with their own ideals, leading it to new feeding grounds, improving the
common level. It is indeed the main social function of the man or woman of the
Spirit to be such a crowd-compeller in the highest sense; and, as the artist reveals
new beauty to his fellow men, to stimulate in their neighbours the latent human
capacity for God. In every great surge forward to new life we can trace back the
radiance to such a single point of light; the transfiguration of an indivdual soul.”

—“The life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day,” p. 56 (Evelyn Underhill).

P^S we have already observed, George Jeffreys imbibed from the great Welsh
revival a passion to win the crowd for Christ. He could not be content to shut
himself away with a coterie of elite souls—“an aerodrome of high-flyers” in
Baring Gould’s biting phrase—intent upon their own spiritual culture. He must
descend from the upper rooms to the broad highways and busy marketplaces to
meet other souls—“for whom Christ died.” From the very first it has been
evident that he is peculiarly fitted for crowd-compelling. Wherever he has gone
—Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, America, Scandinavia, the Continent,
Palestine—he has moulded the multitudes by his touch. Rom Landau, as we
have previously noted, suggests that the secret of the Revivalist’s almost
uncanny power over the masses lies in the fact that they find in him a vehicle of
the Divine Presence, a means of grasping that Eternal Reality Whom they seek
and cannot find, or at any rate cannot find in satisfying intensity. George Jeffreys
himself would say, simply, that God has anointed him with the Holy Spirit, that
the power is God’s alone.

THROUGH THE EYES OF THE PRESS

It would be as well, perhaps, to consider George Jeffreys the Crowd-Compeller


through the eyes of the Press, bearing in mind, nevertheless, that the language is
necessarily “reporter’s style,” not that of George Jeffreys himself. I cull several
reports at random from a larger collection in the Foursquare Revival Mirror.
(Footnote: “The Foursquare Revival Mirror.” Compiled by A. W. Edsor.)
First, a report from the Daily Express March 24th, 1927, on the Evangelist’s
great meetings in St. Andrew’s Hall, Glasgow: “Scenes in Glasgow and the
surrounding towns during the last four weeks rival the most emotional incidents
in Scottish history. Vast crowds, moved by the passionate pleading of Principal
Jeffreys, have risen in a body in a reply to the evangelist’s request to ‘ stand up
for God.’ Scores of people, blind, paralysed, deaf, suffering all forms of
incurable maladies have been brought to the meetings to join in prayer for
healing. Crowds have been lining up at the doors to the hall each night, and
hundreds have been turned away when the place was filled.”

In reporting the Royal Albert Hall (London) services the Morning Post put out
the placard: LONDON AUDIENCE MESMERISED ! and said, on April 19th,
1927: “Hours before the doors were opened thousands of people queued up
seeking admission. They stormed the great hall and soon every seat from the top
of the Albert Hall to the bottom was occupied. Independent observers must have
been struck by the extraordinary hold which this young revivalist exercised over
his monster congregation. There was none of that sheepish half-attention; for an
hour and a half the young revivalist held his audience enthralled.”

Edinburgh, the Usher Hall, 1932: the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch reported:
“The air was electric. It was an overwhelming feeling of vital joy. It permeated
the great hall and was given expression in the wholly magnificent singing of
cheerful hymns and sacred songs. There was unanimity of enthusiasm for
everything that Mr. Jeffreys said. Every person in the audience responded to the
distant figure on the platform with extraordinary precision. Jeffreys was
obviously the channel of the electrical impulse throbbing throughout the hall.
The sheer magnetism of the man dominates. He is no roaring tub-thumper. His is
a quiet, cultured voice, soft and musical. He speaks in elegant phrases,
sometimes speaking above the heads of the people, at other times curiously
elementary. All classes were represented. The humble poor, the well-off, the fur-
coated and jewelled, the young and the aged. Finally in a great paean of praise
the gathering sang a bright hymn about the Cross with organ booming out and
the congregation waving leaflets.”

The Daily News and Westminster Gazette for November 7th, 1929, wrote of the
great Cardiff campaign: “Converts flock to services. Fervour unequalled since
1905 revival. A hundred and fifty thousand people from all parts of South Wales
and the West of England have attended the services. Not since the famous
religious revival of 1904-5 have such remarkable scenes been witnessed. So
great was the crowd outside Splott Road Church last night that police control
was necessary. Thousands were unable to gain admittance.”

MARKET TOWN TO METROPOLIS

From a little room in an inconspicuous Irish town to the Royal Albert Hall in the
heart of the Empire in little more than a decade is a very long way in a
remarkably short time. George Jeffreys, untrained by the professors, unheralded
by the religious organisations, was doing what the trained and the heralded
seemed unable to do. He was compelling the crowds to think of God and to
respond to Him. He was making an ancient Book throb with significance for to-
day. He was demonstrating that the twentieth century, rational, cynical,
mechanised, could also be an Age of Faith. He was gripping the interest of
modern youth and redirecting its energies, commonly dissipated in useless
revelries, into spiritual and socially-redemptive activities.

He was a Crowd-Compeller! The light that was shining in him was transforming
the lives of countless others. The ideas and ideals that elevated his own life were
beginning to lift others. The fire that burned in his heart was setting other hearts
on fire.

Let there be no mistake about it, the monster congregations who sat spellbound
under George Jeffreys’ ministry were not just impelled by the morbid curiosity
of the idle. Men and women were really finding Jesus Christ in these services.
The distant God was demonstrably present before their very eyes, and they were
caught up into a new life of joy and power. Everywhere it was the same as the
records of those astonishing pre-Munich years show. Ten thousand decisions for
Christ in ten weeks in industrial Birmingham! Fourteen hundred conversions in
venerable York! Fifteen hundred in Brighton, in Dundee, in Glasgow! Twelve
hundred in Nottingham! Two thousand in Leeds! Three thousand in Cardiff!
Twelve thousand in Switzerland during a five weeks’ tour in 1935!

MIRACLES!

Undoubtedly a tremendous attraction in all these campaigns, even as in the early


days of Christianity, was the practice of praying for the sick and infirm. Space
forbids detailed descriptions of authenticated miracles. I shall let the following
captions speak for themselves: “Young woman walks after fourteen years!”
“Eyesight restored in a moment!” “Doomed man delivered!” “Cancer uprooted!”
“Raised from spinal carriage!” Cripple healed!” “Healed of rupture!” “Healed of
growth!” Such testimonies could be multiplied. The Daily Express, April 14th,
1936, reporting the Royal Albert Hall services said: “There testified to cures
forty cripples, forty-four sufferers from tumours, fourteen who had been blind,
and a large number could not be counted —some thousands—with various
ailments.”

We might well conclude this short review of George Jeffreys’ impact upon the
Christless masses by a quotation from Mr. Donald Gee, well-known Bible
teacher and historian of the Pentecostal Movement: “It would be foolish,” writes
Mr. Gee, “not to attribute the secret of the appeal of those great gatherings,
always under the blessing of God, chiefly to the personality and gifts of George
Jeffreys himself as the founder and central figure of the Elim Alliance. By 1926
his gifted ministry had come to a maturity that enabled him to grip and sway
huge audiences not only by a musical voice, and that indefinable quality of
personality that marks every great preacher and leader, but also by the sheer
force of a simple and logical presentation of his theme, that always, clothed it
with an air of quiet authority. He thrilled with a new confidence any who might
be tempted to feel apologetic concerning the Full Gospel Testimony. His entry
on to a platform produced an effect that could be felt throughout the audience.”
(Footnote: “The Pentecostal Movement.” pp. 158-8. Donald Gee.)
Chapter III. Penning His Sheep
“I have preached and seen thousands converted, but Wesley has been wiser than
I, he has penned his sheep as he has caught them.” —George Whitfield.

Some evangelists seem never to have been embarrassed over the future of their
converts. Moody and Gypsy Smith, for example, have been able to work within
the established ecclesiastical order. They have been supported by existing
churches and their converts have been absorbed into those churches. Other
evangelists, however, like Wesley and Booth, because their message and
methods contained elements that clashed with accepted standards, have been
practically outlawed from the ecclesiastical world and, in consequence, their
very successes have created an acute problem: What to do with the converts?

George Jeffreys, as we have seen, belonged to the latter category. Two, if not
three, of his four cardinal truths of the Foursquare Gospel shut many
denominational doors in his face from the very first. His “Jesus the Saviour,”
with its clear, crisp emphasis on the new birth, was welcomed in all evangelical
circles, and his “Jesus the Coming King,” if not given as general a welcome,
found, nevertheless, a growing circle of sympathisers amongst Fundamentalists.
But his other points of emphasis, “Jesus the Healer of the body” and “Jesus the
Baptiser in the Holy Spirit,” with their logical insistence on apostolic signs and
wonders in the twentieth century, alienated him from almost the entire Christian
world, Liberal, Evangelical and Fundamentalist alike.

THE EVANGELIST’S PROBLEM

Outlawed though he was, George Jeffreys triumphed, as our previous chapter so


abundantly shows. Yet his very triumph created an acute problem: Where could
he send his converts? Clearly he could not send them to the average parish
church, nor for that matter to any of the average nonconformist churches; some
who did go found themselves, in measure as they had imbibed the spirit and
views of George Jeffreys, treated with an exceedingly embarrassing suspicion.
Moreover, after the freedom, originality and spontaneity of the revival services,
few wanted the dullness and fixity of the average church. From the very first,
therefore, unless he were to leave them to the mercy of the ecclesiastical
elements, George Jeffreys had to pen his sheep. And so, in true apostolic fashion,
he became not only winner of souls but founder of churches also.

That the penning of his sheep would ultimately involve him in struggle and grief
the Revivalist could not then know. The hymn-writer uttered a profound truth
when he said “I know not what awaits me, God kindly veils mine eyes.” There
is, as Oswald Chambers reminds us, a “Graciousness in Uncertainty.” George
Jeffreys could walk only in whatsoever light he and his followers had, but, had
he known it, he was laying the foundation for the scene of his own martyrdom.
We shall, however, have need to discuss that in later chapters. For the present we
are concerned with the evangelist’s measures to shelter and sustain the sheep he
had found.

CENTRES OF REVIVAL

Wherever he went George Jeffreys organised his converts into churches. And
what churches! All who had the privilege of fellowship in one of those new-born
communities know what centres of life and power they were. As the Revivalist
founded them they were brimful of spontaneous and infectious gladness. The
great campaigns not infrequently yielded a church membership of several
hundred born-again men and women whose sole interests in the church were
spiritual. To take one’s place in a regular prayer-meeting of two hundred and
fifty or more in such a church, after the almost defunct prayer gatherings of other
communions, was a constant thrill. The Lord’s Day communion services, where
the simplest heart had freedom to praise and pray, were, in happy if hackneyed
phrase, “times of heaven upon earth.” The preaching services, if lacking some
degree of depth and culture, to say the least were effective and brought a steady
inflow of souls into the Kingdom. A striking feature of all these churches was
the enthusiasm of the crowds of young people who really were captivated by
Jesus Christ. Their own weekly meeting, at which they sang, or testified, or
preached, proved to be a splendid kindergarten for many a future minister, while
their presence en masse at open-air services guaranteed an almost irresistible
attractiveness and appeal.

CHURCH PROPERTY

Sooner or later churches involve properties. Just as young George Jeffreys


longed to thrust forth Pentecostal testimony from upper-room seclusion into the
wide spaces of the world’s need, so also he longed to rescue Pentecostal
communities from back-street derelict properties and provide them with
adequate, up-to-date buildings. The measure of his success is obvious to those
who are able to compare the first Elim Church building, an ex-laundry in Hunter
Street, Belfast, with the many fine spacious “Temples” in Kensington, Brighton,
Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Blackpool, etc.

The rapid purchasing of properties all over the country by the Elim Foursquare
Gospel Alliance, from the religious bodies which could no longer keep them
open, provoked many an inquiry. Typical is the following extract from a report
by “R. H.” in the Methodist Recorder, September 10th, 1936: “I went to the
Crystal Palace on Saturday to criticise. I came away with impressions very
different from what I had expected. Union has resulted in the closing and sale of
Methodist Churches all over the country, and many of them have been taken up
by the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance. This Alliance was celebrating its
coming-of-age anniversary at the Crystal Palace last Saturday; and I went to find
out for myself what this movement is that is picking up the premises which
Methodism is letting fall from its table.”

“Picking up premises!” But those crumbs from the great Methodist table were
not bestowed gratuitously; and it was just here that the happy Elim people, many
of them poor, were able to express their gratitude and love.

Money poured in not only for the purchasing of properties but also for the
general sustenance and advancement of the work. Only “the Father Who seeth in
secret” can know the depths of sacrifice of many an earnest soul during that dark
period of economic depression in Britain between the wars. Premises were
picked up!—but not without the common people’s sacrifice!

DOORS INTO THE MINISTRY

Churches involve not only properties but pastors— i.e., shepherds to care for the
sheep. We touch here another strong sentiment in the character of the Revivalist.
In the previous chapter we have made reference to the difficulty he himself
experienced in finding an open door into regular Christian ministry. His struggle
and repeated disappointments developed a fellow-feeling for others in similar
plight. “In the furnace of trial and testing,” writes Mr. Boulton, “George Jeffreys
had within him an undying purpose to see doors opened into the regular ministry
for other lads who were similarly placed as he himself had been.” (Footnote:
“George Jeffreys : A Ministry of the Miraculous,” facing p, 77. E. C. W.
Boulton.) His triumphs as an evangelist gave him his opportunity to fling widely
open those doors. In fact, the need for workers became, if anything, greater than
the supply, and it has to be admitted that more than one pastor was appointed to a
charge who had by-passed the finishing school in theology and homiletics —or
in English grammar for that matter! Usually,, however, what was lost in culture
was amply made up in sincerity and unction. Always the emphasis was upon
Divine “gift” not upon mere natural ability or academic training. Where the
ordination of the Lord Jesus was discerned in a life, opportunity was provided
for ministry. Many of the young labourers for Christ thus thrust forth have
wonderfully developed in the hard school of experience and are to-day
exercising a definite influence for their Lord either in Elim itself or in some
other communion. Not a few have entered pioneer missionary service.

A BIBLE, COLLEGE AND A PRINTING WORKS

In 1925 adequate premises in beautiful grounds were purchased for use as a


Bible College, of which George Jeffreys became Principal, and thenceforward
some attempt was made to overcome deficiencies of training in ministerial
candidates. Also the comprehensive Christian Workers’ Bible Correspondence
Course, compiled by Percy G. Parker, was taken over and adapted for use
amongst Elim people. Thus in a variety of ways was George Jeffreys seeking to
meet the needs of the sheep he had penned.

Not the least amongst the influences that contributed to that end was the Elim
Publishing Company, Ltd., (now functioning under the alternative name of the
“Victory Press ”) with its steady stream of devotional literature. The weekly
Elim Evangel with its Bible studies, meditations and reports of the great
campaigns, became an eagerly-awaited event in thousands of homes, while
George Jeffreys’ own books—The Miraculous Foursquare Gospel (in two
volumes), Healing Rays, and Pentecostal Rays—epitomising his distinctive
teaching, were welcomed as authoritative handbooks by Pentecostal people
everywhere.
CHapter IV. Clericalism
“But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are
brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father,
which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even
Christ.” (Matthew 23:8-10.)

“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the
greatest. And he said unto them, the kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over
them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye
shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and
he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:24-26.)

The view of the blessings and triumphs that everywhere attended the ministry of
George Jeffreys, is it to be wondered at that his people loved and honoured him?
Thousands of souls had found peace with God; hundreds had been healed of
sicknesses and infirmities; scores had found an open door into the Christian
ministry; it is not surprising, therefore, that at the Elim Coming-of-Age
Celebrations in 1936 he should receive some definite expression of their
appreciation. Accordingly the Revivalist was presented with illuminated
addresses, appropriately worded, one on behalf of the Headquarters’ Staff and
Ministers of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, the other on behalf of the
Elim Foursquare

Gospel Churches in the British Isles. I could not do better, I think, than give the
text of the addresses in full, together with the names of the signatories:

EXPRESSIONS OF GRATITUDE

PRINCIPAL GEORGE JEFFREYS Beloved Principal,

We, the undersigned, on behalf of the Headquarters’ Staff and Ministers of the
Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, wish to place on record our deep appreciation
and heartfelt gratitude to God for the great work He has enabled you to
accomplish in the Foundation and Leadership of this Movement from its
inception unto this, its Coming-of-Age year.
We have attended with joy the great demonstrations He has privileged you to
conduct in the Royal Albert Hall, London, and other the largest auditoriums
throughout the British Isles, and have viewed with praiseful hearts the ever-
growing streams of converts to Christ and the mighty miracles performed
through your ministry.

We pray that you may be spared for many years still to continue as Leader of this
God-blessed work, should the Lord tarry, and be yet more mightily used in the
extension of God’s Kingdom.

Great grace and peace be upon you.

ERNEST J. PHILLIPS, Secretary-General.

W. G. HATHAWAY, Field Superintendent.

ERNEST C. W. BOULTON, Editor of Elim Evangel.

PERCY N. CORRY, Dean of Elim Bible College.

JOSEPH SMITH, Member of the Executive Council.

February 28th, 1936.

To PRINCIPAL GEORGE JEFFREYS

We, beloved Principal, the undersigned, on behalf of the Elim Foursquare


Gospel Churches in the British Isles, wish to place on record our deep
appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to God for the great service you have,
through His grace, rendered to the people of these lands, Twenty-one years ago
you were led to the shores of Ireland, and gave that island the honour of being
the cradle of what is to-day one of the greatest religious awakenings of modern
times. We have viewed with thankfulness the establishment of the Elim Bible
College and the great company of preachers you have ordained to the ministry of
Christ. We have watched with joy the extension and progress of the work in our
own and in other lands, and have seen the answer to our prayers in the multitude
of lives and homes which have been transformed under your ministry.

As an Apostle, you have pioneered the Full gospel message and established
churches in the largest cities and towns of the British Isles.
As an evangelist, your ministry has been signally owned and blessed of God.
Through your faithful proclamation of the old-fashioned gospel you have led
countless thousands to Christ.

As a preacher and teacher,'you have stood uncompromisingly for the Word of


God, your expositions of the Sacred Scriptures have enriched our minds and
hearts.

As a leader, you have stood like a bulwark in the midst of back-sliding and
departure from the faith.

Kindly receive this Address at the Coming-of-Age Celebrations in the Royal


Albert Hall, London, as a token of our sincere regard for your past and as an
assurance of our prayerful interest and loyal support for the future, as you
continue to follow our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee,

The Lord* make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee ;

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.—Numbers
6:24-26.

JOHN LEECH, M.A., K.C., President of first Elim Council.

GEO. W. GILLESPIE, JAMES HETHERINGTON, EDWARD RIDGE,


MATTHEW McGlBNEY, Elders of first Elim Church in Ireland.

GEO. E. COOPER, Elim Tabernacle, Clapham.

E. J. OSMAN, Elim Tabernacle, Swansea.

H. F. MACKENZIE, Elim Tabernacle, Birmingham. ROBT. WAUGH, Elim


Tabernacle, Edinburgh.

E. R. REDWOOD, City Temple, Cardiff.

WM. MURRAY, City Temple, Glasgow.

Representatives of English, Scottish and Welsh Elim Churches.


Whit-Monday, June 1st, 1936.

SIGNS OF DISSATISFACTION

The Elim twenty-first birthday celebrations at the Crystal Palace were a splendid
demonstration of the achievements and phenomenal growth of the revival
movement. The impressive variety of the programme, the efficient organisation
behind it, the many thousands of happy Foursquare Gospellers who made it
throb with life and fellowship—all seemed to indicate that a mighty 'thing had
been born for which God had a glorious future.

Yet beneath this outward show of greatness, to those with sufficient insight and
foresight to discern it, all was not well. Those whose ears were attuned could
catch already the faint -subterranean rumblings of dispute and possible disaster.
For even before the 1936 celebrations George Jeffreys himself and a minority
group of ministers, together with a number of inquiring laymen and practically
the whole of the Irish churches, had begun to feel increasing dissatisfaction with
the system of clerical central control in the Elim Movement.

THE ELIM SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

At this juncture it would be well to outline this system of government as briefly


as possible. For nineteen years from its inception George Jeffreys, as Founder
and Leader, guided the affairs of the movement personally. This does not mean,
of course, that he personally supervised everything. Such a task became
progressively impossible. Under his leadership authority was delegated to others
and, though he was finally responsible, they had a good deal of freedom in
shaping the general polity of the movement, and in running their own particular
departments.

In 1934, however, a Deed Poll was drawn up by which ultimate legal power was
invested in an Executive Council of nine members. George Jeffreys, in virtue of
his unique position as Founder and Leader, was made President of the Executive
Council for life, with power to nominate three other members upon it; the
Secretary-General was also made a permanent member of the Council subject to
the will of the Council itself; the remaining four members were to be elected by
the Ministers’ Conference.

By signing that Deed Poll without consulting the people these nine ministers
made themselves the Governing Body of the whole Elim Foursquare Gospel
Alliance with complete control of the property and income. They had power to
decide what properties to buy out of the moneys subscribed by the people, and
what to sell or lease in order to augment the general fund. They had power over
all finances and control of all income from church offerings, gifts, legacies,
rentals and investments, and they had power to decide not only the salaries of all
ministers and servants of the Alliance, including the caretakers of the church
buildings, but their own salaries also. They had power to appoint, suspend and
dismiss all officers and servants of the Alliance, all ministers, probationers and
students, and all church officers. They had power to make binding rules and
regulations for all Alliance churches and all Alliance members. They had control
of the Elim Publishing Company and its publications, in particular of the official
organ, The Elim Evangel.

Thus the properties, finances, propaganda, paid personnel, and even the people
themselves, as church members, were entirely in the hands of this small
governing body.

It will be seen, therefore, that the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, in its 1934
form, was an extremely narrow clerical oligarchy without a shadow of
democratic influence in it. Every phase of its development had taken place
without consultation with the people. Those who, in all sincerity, had created this
system could not have weighed the verdict of history, otherwise they might have
realised that they were making an effective instrument for possible tyranny. Such
a use of it may never have entered the minds of the original personnel of the
Executive Council, but who could predict the future?

DANGERS OF CLERICALISM

Jesus Christ gave his disciples solemn warning about Clericalism. Obviously
with the central administrative system of the Roman Empire in His mind He
said: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them—but ye shall not be
so.” Is it not a strict command that the Christian family must not be modelled on
the Pagan civil administrative system of the Caesars? Yet the root evil of the
Roman Catholic Church (so frequently followed, alas! by Protestant causes) is
this very thing.

Mr. G. H. Lang, who has done so much to show the unscripturalness of clerical
central control (see for example his Antony Norris Groves, Saint and Pioneer),
quotes, in the preface to Pember’s Mystery Babylon the Great, Dr. Hatch and
James Bryce, D.C.L., both eminent authorities, in confirmation of the fact that
the Roman Catholic Church was modelled on the administrative system of the
Pagan Roman Empire, and says: “It has been one of Satan’s subtlest deceits to
lead godly people to be indifferent as to the external ordering of the assemblies
of God. For the apostolic simplicity was an absolute and designed barrier to the
corrupting of the church of God and the changing it into a vast world-system of
religion which a priesthood could dominate to their own glory and enrichment.
The most essential feature of the first days was the administrative independence
of each local church; the most essential feature of world empire, secular and
religious, is the welding of all its regions into one co-ordinated governmental
system.” (Footnote: “Mystery Babylon the Great,” page vii. G. H. Pember, M.A.
Edited by G. H. Lang.)

Over and over in the Christian era, as we have pointed out in our introduction,
godly leaders have fallen into this snare, and sooner or later the essentially
despotic tendencies of their clerical central system has been made manifest.
What a tragedy that the mighty Elim revival movement, with its vast promise for
the future, had been caught in the same snare. How long would it be ere its
tendencies to tyranny would be revealed?

How long indeed! Even in the midst of the Coming-of-Age Celebrations there
were significant signs. The eyes of George Jeffreys himself were opening. Here
and there an Elim minister was beginning to sense the injustice of things, laymen
were probing into the question of Elim administration, while almost the whole of
the Irish section of the work was making its voice heard in claim of democratic
reform.

A SIGNIFICANT ACTION

It seems opportune, just here, to make reference to one significant matter that
provoked many minds to inquiry. For many years there had been a number of
Elim ministers who accepted the central tenet of the British-Israel movement—
viz., that the ten lost tribes of Israel are to be found to-day in the peoples of the
Celto-Anglo-Saxon world. Their loyalty to the Elim Fundamental Truths was
absolutely unimpaired by their embracing this aspect of prophetic teaching. The
particular fundamental which deals with prophetic teaching reads: “THE
COMING KING: we believe in the personal and pre-millennial return of our
Lord Jesus Christ to receive unto Himself the Church, and afterwards to set up
His throne as King.” Within this broad framework there was ample room for all
schools of prophetic thought—Futurist, Historicist, and National-Historicist. For
twenty years Elim got along without imposing a ban upon any particular
prophetic school. There was a good deal of friendly rivalry and discussion
amongst the ministers and students which tended to a healthy ventilation of the
subject and, of course, it was inevitable that one’s prophetic colour should
sometimes be exhibited in the pulpit. However, in 1935 the subject of British-
Israel teaching was debated by the Ministers in Conference and the following
resolution was passed:

“That this Conference desires to place on record that while it has never imposed
any definite ban on the teaching of British-Israel in any Elim church, its
ministers mutually agree that for the purpose of preserving unity it shall treat the
teaching of British-Israel in the same way as it is the custom with other matters
on which there is acute difference of opinion —namely, neither to propagate it
nor to attack it in any direct government church. It further puts on record that for
the same reason it considers it inadvisable for any Elim minister under direct
government to appear on B. I. platforms.”

To a casual reader that seems like a happy gentleman’s agreement, but to those
who have inquired into all the circumstances it is apparent that not only did it
aim at stifling the convictions of a minority group of ministers but, also, that it
was unfair for the simple reason that the positive teaching of other schools of
prophecy itself constituted an attack upon the British-Israel position. For
example, any man who declared that only the Jews were God’s chosen people
was attacking, even if unintentionally, the view that God’s chosen people are
extant to-day in the Celto-Anglo-Saxons. This resolution, that aimed at stopping
the mouth of the National-Historicist exponent, left wide open the mouths of all
others. It is obvious, therefore, that the men whose mouths were stopped should
feel that the position was grossly unjust, especially in view of the fact that the
Elim people, not a few of whom were believers in British-Israel identity, had not
been consulted in the matter.

It seems quite obvious that in the interests of fair play and logic the Conference
should have decided either to prohibit the exposition of prophecy entirely or else
to give liberty of expression. It could not do the former without cancelling out
the Elim Fundamental (quoted above). Therefore it should have granted liberty
of expression.

GEORGE JEFFREYS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS BIBLE PROPHECY


This was George Jeffreys’ own plea. Over and over in private letter, in pamphlet
and in public speech he has pleaded for liberty of expression for all schools of
prophetic thought. The following extract from a letter to the Elim Executive
Council well expresses his view: “The term ‘ British-Israel ’ is as elastic as the
term ‘ Pentecostal ’ and can mean many things I don’t believe. As regards
prophecy my attitude is the same to-day as it always was. Realising that there
can be an element of uncertainty and doubt in all schools of prophecy I pray that
I might continue to manifest Christian tolerance towards all as long as the
Fundamentals are intact. I have true friends in the main schools whose views I
respect though they differ from me. I respect their views because I know that
many who hold them might be more capable than I am of judging such matters,
and I am sure that they are just as honest and sincere.”

However, Conference had decided, and there was now a group of Elim ministers
who felt keenly that their brother ministers had placed them in an unfair position.

The ripples of concern, moreover, were felt in a much wider circle than that of
the Elim ministers who thus were hurt. It was evident to many that a principle
was involved and a precedent set that could have far-reaching consequences.
Such a thing could happen in respect of any one of the Fundamentals. In fact
there were already widely divergent opinions upon several of the Fundamentals.
Upon “the Baptiser,” for example, there were those who taught that speaking in
tongues was the sole initial sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, while others
denied that point of view and taught that any “gift” was a sign. Both were safe
within the broad Fundamental. But the day might dawn when any one party
might be called in question. The same plea of “confusion in the minds of the
people” could be made and a resolution passed in Conference by which the
convictions of the minority would be stifled and the utterances of the ministers
strictly regimented. It was not merely a case of advising the ministers not to
teach this or that. There was effective machinery to compel submission to the
rule. A rebel could be penalised or dismissed and there was no body to which he
could appeal other than his governors. Is it to be wondered at, therefore, that
many Elim ministers, not least amongst them George Jeffreys himself, were
alarmed at this incipient tyranny and were examining the very foundations of
their system of government?

AN INFINITELY GREATER MENACE

Furthermore, some gradually became aware of an infinitely greater menace. We


have already observed what tremendous power lay in the hands of the Executive
Council. What if, in future years, unspiritual men wormed their way into these
strong positions? Having full control of College, Pastors* churches and finances
they would be able to ordain men to the ministry after their own stamp and
refuse others; they had effective machinery for the stopping of the mouths of all
opponents, and thus they could shape the whole movement after their own will.
“There is the danger,” wrote George Jeffreys to the Executive Council, “of
unspiritual, modernistic and ritualistic men getting into some of these entrenched
and sheltered positions at Headquarters. If the majority of the Executive became
unspiritual, the whole movement would go the same way; if modernistic, it
would go modernistic; if ritualistic, it would not be long before the movement
became ritualistic. It would be an easy matter for any Headquarters’ Committee
to rid themselves of any minister, church officer or church member who would
not go their way, by making it unbearable for him to remain in the movement or
even by dismissal.” Again, “the perpetuation of the present system of
government could easily result in a Governing Body at Headquarters that might
be unspiritual, modernistic, or ritualistic, and yet they could carry on
independent of the financial support of the people in the churches, their salaries
being secured out of the General Fund derived from property and investments.”

It would be easy to scoff at this as the product of a morbid imagination. But he


who thus scoffs is incapable of serious reflection. At any rate that was the burden
upon George Jeffreys’ spirit. And he was not alone. Furthermore, the inescapable
logic of such thought forced this solemn question: What would happen if men of
Jesuitical spirit became legally entrenched in Elim Headquarters’ positions?

Those who think this altogether too fantastic should ponder the following words
of P. W. Petter, the Director of the National Union of Protestants, in The
Protestant People and the National Church. (Footnote: “The Protestant People
and the National Church,” p. 6. P. W. Petter.) Speaking of the English Church
Mr. Petter declares: “It has, to a large extent, been captured by a foreign clique
or sect which has taken possession of its property and its income and is
ministering a form of religion known as ‘Anglo-Catholicism ’ which is not the
religion of the English Church and not, according to the judgment of many who
know their Bibles, Christianity at all.”

If this can happen in the Church of England could it not happen in the
Nonconformist bodies? George Jeffreys was beginning to feel that, at least, it
could happen to the Elim Movement which he had founded and, moreover, that
the Elim Movement as legalised by the 1934 Deed Poll opened the door to it.
The Elim people, whom he had led to Christ and whom he loved, were happily
worshipping in Elim churches throughout the British Isles, but they had not a
shred of power in the movement which their offerings maintained, and no
adequate protection against such a possible future calamity.
Chapter V. The New Ideal
“Few persons, we believe, hold important truth firmly who have not experienced
some, it may be very considerable, alterations of opinion. Light has broken
gradually upon them, errors have been for a time tenaciously held; but the day of
their knowledge has often been the brighter for the mists of the early morning.
All minds indeed are not thus, or similarly, constituted; but we must make
allowance for those that are, and gain this general instruction from their history,
to look well and often to the foundations, that we may secure the stability of our
faith.”— F. A. Cox, D.D., upon C. M. Veil, D.D., in his “Historical Introduction”
to the latter’s "Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles." Hanserd Knollys
Society’s Edition, 1851. Quoted by G. H. Lang in “Antony Norris Groves, Saint
and Pioneer” p. 16.

THE Spirit of the Lord through Jeremiah declared: “Is not my Word like as a
fire? saith the Lord, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
(Jeremiah 23:29). And that is just as true of all revelation, of all truth. The light
of a new ideal may be devastating in its consequences. Demetrius the silversmith
was shrewd enough to discern that unless the Christian Way was stifled their
very lucrative industry in shrines and images would perish. Wherever the
Apostles of Christ triumphed similar consequences followed and in one city they
were branded as “these that have turned the world upside down.”

THE VERGE OF A NEW REVELATION

From one point of view all reformation is “turning the world upside down,” and
there will always be those who lament the upheaval, but it is the inevitable issue
of a new ideal. As the Elim Movement approached its majority George Jeffreys
was on the verge of discovering a new ideal which was to be like the fiery Word
that destroys and like the hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces. The truth did
not come to him in the blinding flash of a moment. Truth rarely does. Even Saul
of Tarsus had been troubled by sundry pricks of conscience before he was
smitten to the earth in that moment of insight that revolutionised his whole
outlook. So it was with George Jeffreys. For years he had penned his sheep in all
sincerity, but in recent times various matters had arisen that challenged his
foundations and pricked his conscience. The processes of thought thus set in
motion, even though “kicked at,” were leading him to his Damascus Road and to
a new conception of church polity which was to have tremendous consequences
both for Elim and for himself.

In the previous chapter we have seen how his eyes, and the eyes of others, were
opened to the possibilities of clerical despotism in the Elim Movement. The
prophetical controversy (comparatively unimportant though it would be to many
modern Christians) was providential. It served to bring home the lesson of all
history, that clerical central control tends towards tyranny. Not a few Elim
ministers, some of whom were completely disinterested in British-Israel
teachings either pro or anti, began to see that they served Christ in a system
which could at any moment put them in chains, that they were completely at the
mercy of ecclesiastical machinery with legal power which might at any moment
be set in motion against helpless minorities.

THE TREND OF THE ELIM MOVEMENT

Not for a moment did they question the sincerity and goodwill of the present
governing body. But they looked into the future, they discerned what might be if
unspiritual •or unscrupulous men gained office, and they trembled at the
possibilities not only for themselves as ministers but •also for the people and the
properties. It became evident to them that the Elim people en masse, whose
loving gifts were supporting the ministers and purchasing valuable properties all
over the country, had absolutely no control over properties and finance, no voice
in shaping the affairs of the movement, and not a shred of protection against the
impositions of the small governing body. There were no lay members of the
Conference, no elders, deacons or officers in the churches appointed by popular
vote, and the title deeds to the church buildings were held by the Headquarters
Governors for the movement as a whole.

None saw the logic of this more clearly than the Founder and Leader. And none
felt the burden of it more acutely. To add to his stress of soul his first-born
churches in Northern Ireland were beginning to clamour for Democratic
Reforms. The day was not far hence when that gathering storm would break
forth with such public denunciations as “You have captured our property,” “Elim
is a secret society,” “The Ministerial Conference is a mystery conference,” “We
demand our rights,” and the churches would claim at least the right to elect their
own elders.
A SERIOUS ILLNESS AND A SPIRITUAL CRISIS

In 1937 Pastor E. J. Phillips, the Secretary-General, was taken seriously ill and
George Jeffreys had to put in full-time at the Headquarters’ Offices. The strain of
things following upon his twenty-three years of intensive pioneering campaigns
began to tell the tale, and this added burden completed the work and his health,
too, gave way. The weight of responsibility that rested upon him and his fellow-
Executive members in the absence of the Secretary-General is best described by
Pastors W. G. Hathaway and E. C. W. Boulton in a circular letter sent to the Elim
ministers and probationers: “We have just recently concluded our Executive
Council meeting which? lasted for two weeks, with sessions each day often from
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. During these discussions every avenue: was explored, and
every suggestion to rectify this situation! examined. As a result the Council have
arrived at certain unanimous conclusions which will, we are convinced, place the
work which we love so much on a better footing, and enable us to go forward
with the Foursquare Gospel Message.” This one quotation shows clearly that at
that time the members of the Executive Council worked loyally with their leader
during those strenuous weeks, seeking to place the work “on a better footing.”

In the ensuing illness the Revivalist went down into the valley of the shadow of
death. A call to prayer went throughout the churches and a few months later the
Revivalist himself was able to write in the Elim Evangel:

“The wave of prayer that swept over our churches in response to the S.O.S. call
to intercession in the form of those telegrams sent forth on New Year’s day
brought me back from the gates of death, and here I am feeling as fit as ever,
penning these lines for the Elim Evangel.”

But George Jeffreys’ illness was more than a physical breakdown. It was a
spiritual crisis of the first magnitude. In the dark valley he heard a Voice and
reached a decision that had drastic consequences. Let him tell the story in his
own words:

“Nothing less than the sudden illness of Pastor E. J. Phillips, the Secretary-
General of the Elim Movement, followed so soon by my own sudden illness in
1937 could have given the shock that was necessary to stop the machinery of the
Elim organisation.

“Out in the evangelistic field God was certainly blessing my ministry with the
Revival Party, and we were experiencing one long trail of revival triumph.
Wherever we went cities and towns were falling before our Foursquare Gospel
Message; multitudes were weeping their way to the Cross; regular church
congregations were being established; students were continually entering the
College, to be trained for the ministry; abundant literature was coming forth
from the printing and publishing works; church buildings and manses were being
acquired throughout the country; and new sources of finance were being opened
up for the Movement as a result of our campaigns.

“In the Elim Headquarters’ Offices Pastor E. J. Phillips was giving full time and
much energy to the multifarious duties of the ever-expanding organisation, and
one felt that as long as he was there all was well.

“Though one was on the evangelistic field and the other in the Offices, it seemed
that as long as we two were united in purpose nothing could stand against us. No
one inside the Headquarters’ Offices or on the campaign field could offer
effective resistance to our plans.

“Then came the sudden illness of the Secretary-General followed closely by


mine, and I believe that under the circumstances it had to be, in order to bring
about the opportunity for an exacting examination of ourselves and the rapidly
growing organisation.

“In my illness I had an experience which revealed the things I would have to
suffer in the oncoming struggle to free the churches from the legal system that
had bound them and which had made it impossible for them to obey the Word of
God. There was the cunning misrepresentation, the half-truth propaganda, and
the delusive reasonings of those who would seek to undermine my influence and
even try to blot out my name as founder and builder of Elim. The dangers of the
system were many, and what I saw made me determined, regardless of cost, to
reform it or to renounce it and to deliver as many churches as possible from its
Babylonish bondage.

“To fully explain the experience I had would be difficult; all I can say is, ‘
whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell.’ It seemed as if the Elim
organisation was judged before the bar of God and condemned. That experience
showed me how very wrong it was to be a leading governor in a legal clique of
clerical governors over Elim pastors, people and property. I was only too glad to
get back to the Bible for church government, in which there were no legal
central governors!

“Nine years have passed since that remarkable experience, and strange though it
may seem to some, many of the things and much of the suffering that was
foreshadowed in it for my future have actually come to pass.

“Within the secret constitutional walls of the Elim Executive Council, the
Governing Body, I had also heard the command, ‘ Set your house in order,’ and
regardless of consequences, my one desire was to live to reform the Movement.
God, I believe, raised me up from the gates of death to witness against all such
systems, and to warn students, pastors and churches of their subtle dangers.

“If, after our illnesses, the Secretary-General had stood with me for the reform
policy things would have been different. We would have been as powerful a
combination in reforming the system as we were in building it up. But Pastor E.
J. Phillips came back determined to fight with legal weapons for a continuation
of the system, whereas I could do no other than return to fight with the Word of
God against the system.”

After his miraculous recovery George Jeffreys returned to the Elim Executive
Council and threw himself heart and soul into reforming the Elim he had
founded. He was determined to free all Elim Churches of their debts—-to aim at
a Jubilee for the Movement. He pooled all mortgages on Elim church buildings,
with all debts which the Movement owed as a whole, a sum of £44,000, and
launched an Elim Debt Fund, for which he appealed to the Elim people through
the pages of the official organ, The Elim Evangel. The Elim people prayed and
responded in such a way that the pooled debt was reduced as by a miracle in a
very short time, all of which George Jeffreys revealed in the reports which he
regularly published in The Elim Evangel.

“Set thy house in order!” Elim’s Founder and Leader came back from the valley
of the shadow with that command ineffaceably impressed upon his
consciousness. However others would appraise it, to him it was a Divine
Imperative. It was a new “heavenly vision” and he vowed to obey it as implicitly
as he did his vision of former years. Henceforth he was not only to be a
Revivalist, but a Reformer also.

It must not be assumed that George Jeffreys fathomed the full significance of his
new vision all at once, and that he came back to health with a comprehensive
plan of campaign. In his spirit he knew that the command meant Democratic
Reform, but how radical God wished it to be he had not yet perceived. Paul was
to spend three years in the solitudes of Arabia learning the full implications of
the Vision he had seen and the Voice he had heard. But he did not tarry until all
was clear before he went to work: “Straightway he preached Christ in the
synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” George Jeffreys, Reformer, likewise
went to work “straightway,” obediently seeking to “set his house in order and
amidst the heats of dispute and the ruptures of friendship that ensued, his vision
gradually took shape, and God’s real plan became evident in all its radical
simplicity.

A DECISIVE EVENT

The really decisive event that set his mind in the right direction was his study of
the Pentecostal work in Sweden. Eventually, in 1939, he was invited to minister
at the European Pentecostal Convention, in Stockholm. While there he had the
opportunity of seeing at first hand this remarkable work and, in particular, the
world-famous church at “Filadelfia,” Stockholm, of which Lewi Pethrus is
pastor.

Filadelfia, with its present mammoth membership of seven thousand believers


housed in one of Sweden’s finest auditoriums, its vigorous and many-sided
witness for Christ—evangelical, musical, literary, social, and educational—is the
mother of hundreds of other such churches both in Sweden and other lands. The
most impressive of all the impressive characteristics of Filadelfia and her
daughters is the administrative independence of each local church. There is, as
Donald Gee says, “an almost fierce sentiment against all central organisation”
combined with “a system of local church organisation which functions with a
high degree of efficiency.” (Footnote; “The Pentecostal Movement” p. 192.
Donald Gee.) The sovereignty lies with the body of believing people and
receives its practical expression in a weekly church-meeting for members only.
Mr. Gee significantly comments “in this lies its greatest strength.” (Footnote;
“The Pentecostal Movement” p. 193. Donald Gee.)

The Swedish Pentecostal missionaries to other lands, of whom there are about
230, have endeavoured to produce churches “after their kind.” This they have
done with remarkable success, especially in Brazil, where there are now about
500 Pentecostal churches with an aggregate membership of 50,000. Of Brazil
Mr. Gee writes: “The strong sentiment in the Swedish Pentecostal movement
against any central organisation is reflected in this large work in Brazil. One
benefit has been a sturdy development of the indigenous principle, and the
Brazilian leaders occupy a place of full equality alongside the few remaining
Swedish missionaries.” (Footnote; “The Pentecostal Movement” p. 196. Donald
Gee.)

SUGGESTIONS FROM SWEDEN

Even before his visit to Sweden George Jeffreys began to feel that the Swedish
simplicity—administrative independence with strong spiritual links of
fellowship and co-operation—was God’s order. In April, 1939, he had offered a
choice of schemes to the Elim Executive Council, one of which was akin to the
Swedish system: “I am prepared to agree to grant each church in the Alliance,
including sole trustee churches, absolute liberty to govern itself, and to hold its
own property, under elders who are appointed by a show of hands in each
church.” Two months later he saw with his own eyes the simplicity, efficiency
and power of Filadelfia and her daughters, and he returned to England with a
burning conviction that Lewi Pethrus and his brethren had conformed as nearly
as possible to the Scriptural pattern for church organisation.

In November the same year George Jeffreys published his first Pattern pamphlet,
in which he made known to the public the burden upon his spirit. “We have
frequently said ‘ Back to the Bible ’ for the plan of salvation, for holiness of life,
for endowment for service, for the spiritual gifts,” he wrote, “but I am afraid we
have not sufficiently emphasised ‘ Back to the Bible ’ for the pattern concerning
Church order and procedure. There is undoubtedly a dearth of spiritual nurses
and a lack of spiritual training in the assemblies, therefore it behoves each one to
face up to the question: Have we built our churches more on expediency than
according to the revealed pattern given in the Scriptures?”

A few weeks prior to the European Pentecostal Convention in Sweden a


significant event had taken place in Britain. The Pentecostal movement in these
islands had developed throughout the years in several sections; in particular, the
Assemblies of God, the Apostolic Church, and the Elim Alliance. In the main
they were isolated from each other, and sometimes not a little competitive.
Several movements towards unity had been made but all had broken down over
questions of doctrine and church procedure. Eventually, in May, 1939, due to the
indefatigable energies of Mr. L. Naumann, the leaders of the several sections
were brought together for discussion at the London Unity Conference. The
conference had a considerable measure of success. It augured well for the future.

Now George Jeffreys returned from Sweden with the conviction not only that a
return to the Apostolic simplicity could solve the pressing problems of Elim, but
that it could sweep away the narrow sectarian walls of the British Pentecostal
movement. Eliminate every form of central religious control, make every
Pentecostal church administratively independent and thus, he perceived, the
major hindrances to unity would be abolished.

“The longing for unity,” he wrote, in his first Pattern, “has been intensified a
thousandfold in my heart as a result of the Stockholm European Conference.
Sweden, with its 650 Pentecostal churches, including the great Filadelfia church
having a membership of 5,800, all Foursquare on the Word, Scriptural in church
procedure, and united in brotherly love from one end of the country to the other,
presented to me a model of Christian unity. I put the following question to a
most responsible minister: ‘ To what do you attribute the success and unity of the
Swedish Pentecostal work? ’ He replied: ‘ Conformity to the revealed New
Testament pattern for local church government and procedure. You can have a
praying people in a movement, you can have people who give their money to the
work, you can have good preachers, writers, organisers and make many converts,
but if you do not conform to the ‘ Pattern ’ for the local church in the New
Testament, you put your gleanings into a bag with holes! ’ ”

A PATTERN FOR PENTECOST

Then George Jeffreys opens his own heart: “You can imagine with what
eagerness and longing I re-examined the familiar Scriptures relating to church
order and procedure. Truly they have quivered with fresh fervour and burned
with a brighter light than ever. Undoubtedly we in this country have missed
something that is in the plan, our different movements have grown up separately,
we have made rules and regulations according to what we believed to be
necessary from time to time; we have acquired church property and held it under
different trusts and various arrangements as our limited knowledge at the time
led us to believe to be the best; we have been spreading the Gospel with amazing
success; we have founded and established hundreds of local churches all over the
land and countless multitudes have been blessed. Yet there must be something
missing! The great Pentecostal work in Sweden has evidently been more
successful because it has held tenaciously to what is revealed in the New
Testament concerning the procedure of assembly life .... Here in the British Isles
it seems that we have to face up to the following important questions:

“(1) The order and procedure in each church.

“(2) The way in which the property of each church is held.”

George Jeffreys ended the first Pattern pamphlet with an appeal which, more
than all argument, revealed the new ideal and vision that was laying hold of his
spirit. “Churches that are conformed to the New Testament plan for the whole
church are less likely to be troubled by the spirit of dictatorship, whether it be
found in a central governing body, a pastor, elder, deacon or member. Surely we
should be willing to give up everything if only we could lay the foundation for a
Christian Commonwealth of Churches! Each church conforming to the
Scriptural pattern, working under its own peculiar organisation, holding its own
property, and each minister on an (equal footing sharing alike privileges and
responsibilities, all united not by the outward tie of an organisation that is to pass
away but by the inward tie of Christian fellowship that is to abide for ever.

“If the Throne of Britain can claim loyalty from millions of hearts in a great
Commonwealth of earthly nations how much more loyalty the Throne of Heaven
claims from a greater commonwealth of spiritual churches! When the names of
earthly leaders are blotted out the Name around which we gather, the precious
Name of Jesus, will remain for ever! ”
Chapter VI. Stormy Winds
“From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,


From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary
O Lamb of God, deliver me.”

—Amy Carmichael.

COMMONPLACE sayings have a way of proving themselves vital when they


touch us personally. The Master Himself declared, “A man’s foes shall be they of
his own household.” Most people accept that as commonplace— until they taste
its bitterness for themselves. When those to whom we are attached by ties of
blood or of long friendship, with whom we have intimately communed, have
worked, have risked, have prayed—when these become our foes, we know its
profound and bitter reality.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF A CALL

The call of God is almost sure to involve us in such experience. To us the Divine
Voice is thunderous, imperative, unmistakable. Surely, we think, all who are with
me have heard It too. Like Moses we “suppose our brethren to have understood.”
But we are mistaken. Whatever the reason, they do not see, they do not hear; and
not having had our preparation of heart, they are not ready to accompany us in
the way.

But we must go on! We must be about the Father’s business! Our mentality may
be questioned, our motives may be doubted, our programme may be assailed,
and we may be left to pursue our vision in utter loneliness of spirit —yet,
because God has spoken, we must go on!

Such, in some measure at least, was to be George Jeffreys’ experience. To him


the call of God was loud and insistent. He could hear it everywhere—in the
revelation of Elim’s incipient tyranny, in the Irish unrest, in the Visions and
Voices of the valley of the shadow, and certainly not least in the original
Apostolical pattern of administratively independent communities with its
modern Swedish example. If, however, he “supposed that his brethren would
have understood” he was doomed to disappointment. Some there were who also
caught the Divine Vision, but in the main the would-be Reformer was to plough
a lonely furrow.

RADICAL DISUNITY

There was so little affinity between George Jeffreys and most of his brethren that
one of them declared that the steps he wished to take “to set his house in order”
would certainly “set it in disorder.” It is apparent, therefore, that there was a
deep cleavage of opinion that might easily disrupt long and faithful friendships
and wreck the entire Elim organisation.

To assess motives is not my object. Suffice it for our present purpose that George
Jeffreys’ burden was not shared by the majority of the Elim governors. They did
not feel the injustice of things, nor sense the trend of the Elim system.
Apparently they had not perceived the Divine Pattern in the New Testament.
Consequently they did not desire change. Reform? What stood in need of
reform?

We have stated in the previous chapter that George Jeffreys’ new ideal did not
break upon his spirit in one blinding flash of revelation. This needs to be
emphasised, for some will wonder why he did not at the first present as clear-cut
and complete a scheme for the administrative independence of the local churches
as he did later. The fundamental principle of freedom of government for the local
church was clear to him, and he had stood uncompromisingly for it from the
moment when it first laid hold of his spirit. The actual outworking of that
principle, particularly in matters of property and finance, could only become
clear in the light of experience. The way of experience is often a circuitous
route; there are many bypaths of pain and bewilderment. Like many another
Reformer, George Jeffreys had to go this way. If at the first he had been enabled
to see what he only discovered by bitter experience, that the root of the whole
matter lies in the control of property and finance, he might have gone boldly and
directly to his goal.

INTO REFORMING ACTION

There was a good deal of discussion and correspondence between George


Jeffreys and the Executive Council over a period of two years before the Elim
ministers and churches were informed of the cleavage. During this whole period
the urge to reform within him was growing in insistency and the Divine Pattern
was taking more definite shape. Correspondingly the gulf between the Executive
Council and himself was widening. We might refer to two definite points of
reform for which he asked in these months: Firstly, he decided to renounce his
constitutional right to be life-long President of the Executive Council and also
his right to appoint three nominees upon it, so that these positions could be filled
by ministerial vote upon the basis of merit; thereby he was deliberately
renouncing his legal power. Secondly, he appealed for lay-representation upon
the governing body of the Alliance and upon the Property Board.

Eventually it was decided that the controversy should be referred to the


Ministerial Conference. Prior to this Conference and only a few weeks before he
visited Sweden he made a strong appeal to each member of the Executive
Council. “During the last few months,” he wrote, “I have been analysing our
system of government and have been more convinced than ever that my desire
during the last few years to reach out a brotherly hand to the laymen of our
churches was born of God. I trust you will examine what I have found in the
spirit in which I write and that you will correct me where correction is necessary.
I would not be happy if I did not emphasise what appears to me to be unfairness
towards the ministers, church officers and people of our movement. The fact that
I am entrenched more than any of you by the rights of the Deed Poll of 1934
proves conclusively that I am not dealing with personalities, but with a system.
At least four of the signatories, including myself, to-day feel that we made a
mistake of vital importance when we signed the Deed Poll of 1934 without
consulting the people whose property and interests were so seriously involved.
Personally, I did not realise the far-reaching consequences of the Deed Poll.
What I do remember is, that before I signed, I held my pen aloft and asked the
question: Is there anything in this document to prevent local government in our
churches? The answer given by the Secretary-General was in the negative.
Furthermore I can see clearly that a representative body of ministers and laymen
should have had the pros and cons of the Deed Poll in writing with sufficient
time for prayer, consideration and mutual agreement, before the Deed Poll was
signed. To-day the people of our churches as well as some ministers are asking
for proper lay representation on the governing body and on the property board of
the movement. According to the Deed Poll of 1934 the power to go a long way
towards granting the people their demands is with us, the Executive Council of
nine members. Out of the nine votes on the Executive I have the constitutional
right to cast four votes in favour of the claim for lay representation. The people
are getting to know the framework of our organisation and are quite justified in
holding us individually accountable if we at this critical time fail to exercise our
constitutional rights in support of their claim for a more balanced government in
Elim.”

Meanwhile the unrest in the Irish churches, to which reference has several times
been made, was becoming critical and the ministers were informed that the
question of lay representation which had been turned down at the

1938 Conference, might need, in the light of new conditions in Ireland, to be


reconsidered. A large number of ministers forthwith requested that a scheme be
prepared for consideration. Accordingly the Executive Council agreed that
George Jeffreys should prepare a scheme outlining his own proposals and the
Council itself should prepare a scheme, for submission to the ministers.

A SCHEME FOR REFORM

In the letter which accompanied his proposals George Jeffreys declared: “It must
be evident that our attitude towards this important question of lay representation
is going to determine whether we shall go ahead spreading the Gospel or be
crippled by serious repercussions for the rest of our lives. Unlike opposite
doctrinal viewpoints where we can afford to say ‘ We can be .united in spirit if
not in mind,’ we are up against something this time which saddles each one of us
with individual responsibilities towards the just rights of our people. We cannot
agree to differ on lay representation and go on as usual, for we are faced with the
practical results of our decisions.

“The Irish Churches and ministers have already made a public demand for
representation in the government of their work, and it would be the height of
folly if we underestimated the extent of their claims or the consequences of not
granting them.
“My desire to withdraw from the entrenchments of the Deed Poll has been born
of a longing to be on the same level as the youngest minister in the movement, to
work with you as a brother, and not as one who has certain legal rights and
dictatorial powers over you Furthermore, I have been deeply convinced that the
government of this extensive movement, with its valuable property, should not
be confined to a few men, however honourable they may be. The Executive
Council should be what its designation implies: a Council to carry into effect the
laws and decrees made by a superior governing body. A casual glance at the
almost unlimited power we as an Executive hold over the movement should be
enough to convince any fair-minded person that the governing power ought to be
invested in a much larger governing body. The Executive Council is the supreme
governing body. At a special Executive meeting six of its nine members,
unknown to anybody else outside, can pass ‘ Special Resolutions ’ of tremendous
import, and five, the majority of nine, practically control the ministers, people,
and property of the movement.”

Having described the powers of the Executive Council of which we have made
mention in chapter four, he goes on to say: “In outlining my proposals I have
endeavoured to keep near to the revealed Scriptural principle of putting all
ministers of Christ on an equal footing. I have also kept in mind another
Scriptural principle which makes every member of the Church of Christ a ‘
believer-priest ’ whether he be minister or layman, the only difference between
them being that one is called a minister and earns his living in the ministry while
the other is called a layman and earns his living in secular employment.
Adherence to these two Scriptural principles has led me to maintain a proper
balance of ministers and laymen in my proposals for church government, right
through from the local church to the governing body of the movement.”

Then follows a number of scriptures as a basis for his belief that laymen should
share equally with ministers in the government of Christian churches, (Footnote:
See Acts 14 : 23, James 5 : 14, I. Tim. 3 : 8, Acts 6 : 5. I. Tim. 5 : 17. Acts 15 : 4,
12, 22, Matt. 18 : 17.) after which comes another revealing reference to Sweden:
“In Sweden they have strictly observed the Scriptural pattern for the local
church, and for twenty-eight years the best of Christian fellowship and
brotherhood has been experienced. There are over 650 churches in that country,
some exceedingly large and one with a membership of 5,300, with ministers and
people working together in a great spiritual brotherhood. They have sent out 220
missionaries and support them on the field. All this without a scrap of
organisation except what is in each separate church. ONE MINISTER CANNOT
BECOME A DICTATOR OVER ANOTHER, for all believe that the highest
permanent office in the Church of Christ is a presbyter-bishop and that,
according to the Scriptures, the scope of his office is limited to the oversight of
one congregation. The work in Sweden is admitted by all leaders who have
visited that country to be the most powerful and united Pentecostal work in the
world to-day.”

His scheme advocated some radical changes in the Elim Movement. Amongst
other things he suggested that deacons and elders be appointed in all churches,
that each church be allowed a vote on the retention of its minister, and be given a
proper Model Trust Deed to safeguard its property. Most radical of all was his
suggestion that the final authority in the movement should be a General
Assembly of ministers and laymen on a fifty-fifty basis, with power to elect and
control the chief officers of the movement and the whole of the Executive
Council.

If not altogether according to the pattern which was increasingly laying hold of
his mind, a fact to which his frequent references to the Swedish work bears
witness, his proposals, nevertheless, made for far-reaching reforms. What would
be the reactions of the ministers?

TESTING THE MINISTERS

To try to assess their feelings and in order to receive suggestions by which he


could modify, if necessary, his proposals George Jeffreys enclosed a
questionnaire for the ministers to fill in.

Three months later, feeling that sufficient time had been given for all to consider
this scheme and reply to his questions, he compiled statistics of their replies and
forwarded a copy to each minister. The larger number of his correspondents
either filled in his questionnaire or else wrote him about it, though a fairly large
percentage either did not acknowledge his letter or else wrote letters which were
entirely non-committal. In respect of his most radical reform, the formation of a
larger governing body, the majority expressed themselves in favour of it though
nearly two-thirds of those who did so preferred a governing body of ministers
only rather than one which included laymen.

In his letter accompanying the statistics George Jeffreys presented the following
facts:
“(a) A majority of ministers in the Conference favour a larger governing body.

“(b) The whole of the Irish work, ministers and churches, are calling for a
representative governing body and property board for the Irish work.

“(c) The Founder who by the grace of God brought nearly all the churches into
existence is deeply convinced that the time is overdue for a broader constitution
and for a movement more in keeping with the revealed New Testament Pattern.”

THE BRITISH-ISRAEL BOGEY

It was, perhaps, inevitable that the deep cleavage of opinion amongst Elim
governors and ministers upon these fundamental matters should be accompanied
by a certain amount of emotion. When so much is at stake and minds are wearied
with argument it is asking too much of most men that they discuss matters in
cold reason unadulterated by warmth of feeling. Then, too, it must be recorded
that some few Elim ministers distrusted George Jeffreys’ real intentions and
suspected his motives. We have observed previously that the prophetical
controversy was providential as it opened the eyes of some to the possibilities of
tyranny in the Elim Movement. From another point of view it had been better if
that controversy had never arisen, as it produced the proverbial “red herring”
which was to divert the attentions of many, both ministers and laity, from the real
issues of the struggle.

If George Jeffreys had not himself accepted the identity of Israel with the Anglo-
Saxon peoples the suspicions of some could not have arisen to cloud their
judgment upon his reform policy. He certainly would have had a better chance of
success. As it was, being a believer in British-Israel identity (though this must be
qualified by saying that he was not committed to all the teachings that have
gathered around the theory), he was identified with those against whom the
ambiguous resolution of the 1935 Conference was directed (see chapter four).
Consequently when he began to push for democratic reforms some began to
think and to say that his real motive was not a pure desire to get back to God’s
Pattern, but a determination to impose British-Israel teaching upon the Elim
churches.

Now is this assertion true or is it not? Clearly we must examine this opinion,
inasmuch as it is the popular view that has governed the attitude of many Elim
ministers and churches towards their Leader’s reform policy, and as it is an idea
that has gone wider than the Elim Movement.

Writing as one who was, and still is, almost totally .disinterested in the British-
Israel theory, I would say that "unless the repeated public denials of George
Jeffreys himself, together with his explicit and emphatic written statements, are
to be ignored, unless his goodwill and general trustworthiness are to be
questioned, the assertion is not true. In proof I shall quote from his
correspondence with the Executive Council. In February, 1937, he wrote: “I do
not see the necessity to refer to B.I. again, except to say that your attitude
towards the subject does not change my decision to be released from the present
leadership. You might be neutral, for, against, or you may give liberty of
conscience, yet my desire to be released from the present leadership is the same.
I am not happy to think that I am Leader by some kind of Divine Right now that
the work has reached its majority.”

Nearly two years later, in January, 1939, he sent an important letter to the
Executive Council, in which he made an offer which should finally have
disposed of the “B.I. bogey.” At the Irish Presbytery meeting a few days before,
the Irish brethren asked why the 1938 Conference had turned down the proposal
to include lay representatives at future Conferences. They were told that the
main reason was that the ministers felt that they were in a stronger position,
without laymen, to resist erroneous doctrine, which was afterwards stated to be
“British-Israelism.” “Singularly enough,” wrote George Jeffreys, “some of the
Irish elders are more determined than ever to press for lay representation because
they believe laymen will strengthen the hands of the ministers against erroneous
doctrine! Therefore this eternal question of British-Israelism has cropped up
again, and it seems to me that unless we can deal effectively with it there will not
be a chance of real unity among us. . . . We must face the fact that while there is
a large majority of ministers in Elim who reject British-Israel teaching, there is a
strong minority who accept the identity of the Celto-Anglo-Saxon races with the
restored Israel of Bible prophecy. The question I have asked myself a thousand
times is: What can be done to remove this bone of contention? Something
concrete must be done or else we shall all arrive at a place where we will begin
to doubt one another’s sincerity, harbour a wrong spirit against one another, and
life-long friendships be broken beyond repair, with disastrous results to the
work. I have never once asked that Elim should become a British-Israel
movement, for that is exactly what I do not want. Neither have I hinted that Elim
should officially adopt the view that the British Commonwealth of Nations is the
restored Israel, for such a thought has never been allowed to lodge in my mind.
All I have contended for is liberty for all ministers to interpret Bible prophecy as
they think right before God, in a spirit of Christian charity, as long as they do not
tamper with our Fundamentals. Seeing that we as a movement cannot grant
liberty for all ministers to interpret Bible prophecy as they think right before
God, I am going as far as any human leader of a work can go in an endeavour to
grasp the coveted prize of unity, as follows:

“On condition that proper lay representation be brought in on the governing


body of the Alliance to meet the expressed wishes of the people, I am willing to
make the position of the ministers who reject British-Israelism secure by legal
safeguards, making it impossible for any minister to ever preach British-
Israelism in any Alliance church. This will safeguard the Alliance against the
one thing that is said to be threatening it and lay representation will be brought
in to make a united family.”

If words mean anything, and if the man be speaking the simple truth, it seems,
therefore, beyond doubt that George Jeffreys’ implicit desire was to democratise
the Elim Movement and thus conform more perfectly to the New Testament
pattern, and that his supposed baser motive to impose British-Israel teaching on
the movement was a “bogey” begotten of fear and distrust. (Footnote: The final
Irony of the British-Israel controversy was added in 1941 when the Elim
Alliance rescinded its 1935 resolution and gave liberty of expression on Bible
prophecy, including British-Israel teaching).

In any case the “bogey” did its work well. The minds of both ministers and
laymen were diverted from the real issues and George Jeffreys’ reform policy
never had a chance to win through on its own merits. This is, of course, to
anticipate our next chapters. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to believe that the
people in the churches, being British and rooted in democratic institutions,
would not have followed George Jeffreys’ democratic reform policy if he had
been allowed to present it in its unadulterated simplicity.

DEMOCRACY OR DICTATORSHIP?

Some weighty words by Canon Peter Green seem appropriate just here. “Just as
most men would rather make complete wreck of their own affairs than have their
lives managed for them by the Commissioners in Lunacy, so educationally and
morally, ‘ government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ even at
the cost of much material loss, is preferable to perfect government by any kind
of arbitrary tyrant. No material wealth nor any national power and prosperity can
compensate for the surrender of the ‘uses of one’s soul.’” (Footnote: “The
Problem of Right Conduct.” p. 124. Canon Peter Green.)

Though written, obviously, of national democracy, the principle applies equally


to the church. The average Britisher, if asked to choose, would decide for
democratic freedom with all its risks rather than the most benevolent tyranny. As
in nation, so in church—yet the Elim people, in the main, did not follow a
beloved Founder and Leader who was offering them democratic freedom! Why?
Because the Elim Headquarters had scared them by the British-Israel bogey!

It is obvious that the soul of George Jeffreys, now a sick man, could not be left
unscarred by the turmoil into which his obedience was now leading him. A lesser
man might have chosen an easier way. He might easily have found excuses for
doing so—the opposition of fellow-governors, the misunderstanding amongst
ministers and churches, the possibilities of disruption with all its consequences
for the rank and file of the movement. There was much to encourage “easy
choices.” But he had seen a Vision. He had heard a Voice. And he had the power
to see it through!
Chapter VII. Renunciation
“All must die; but it is in the power of every one of us to be the martyr of ideals
instead of appetites.”—“The Path of the Eternal Wisdom,” p. 127, John
Cordelier.

DEMOCRACY implies, among other things, an open policy. Secrecy, except in


very exceptional circumstances, such as naval or military operations during a
state of war, is foreign to it. On the other hand systems, political or ecclesiastical,
which are opposed to democracy are driven, in the nature of the case, to the
calculated practice of secrecy. Business is conducted, not in the open, where the
winds of criticism may blow upon it or new light may possibly shine upon it, but
in the curtained recesses of some inner chamber. Of course, it is easy to justify
such procedure. “Are the people really capable of grappling with complicated
problems? Are they not happy to be well-governed by a select few of capable
minds?”

DANGERS OF SECRECY

Such argument, however, contains at least two fallacies. First, it assumes that the
select few are really

capable and really honest. But that can never be guaranteed. And if you have a
select few who are incapable or dishonest (or both) governing in secret, what
may not be the consequences? Second, it ignores the fact that though a secret
decision or action may avoid some immediate unpleasantness, it invariably
engenders distrust, suspicion and fear, which obviously may have all kinds of
tragic issues.

With all its risks, democratic freedom and openness is to be preferred to any kind
of dictatorship. At least, it makes for frankness and by it the people can protect
themselves against inefficiency and insincerity in high places.

The reader of the New Testament cannot but observe that the primitive
Christians had no secret conclaves. Their church business, no less than their
gospel witness, “was not done in a corner.” Decisions were taken by “the whole
church” or by “the whole multitude” in an atmosphere of equality, brotherliness
and trust.

CLERICAL SECRECY IN ELIM

Well had it been for Elim if this simple open New Testament policy had been
followed. Almost from the earliest days the false division between clergy and
laity had been adopted and the people had been excluded not only from effective
control of the growing work, but often from adequate knowledge of its internal
affairs. Up to the Coming-of-Age Celebrations scores of ministers had been
appointed, much valuable property had been acquired, and a Deed Poll had been
carried through to legalise the work—-all without consultation with the people
for whose persons all was supposedly done, and by whose loving gifts all was
sustained.

George Jeffreys, in obedience to his inmost urgings, was determined to break


this clerical ring of secrecy. It seems apparent that his fellow-governors were
striving to maintain it. They were even loath to allow him to break the innermost
ring of all by opening his heart to the ministers generally. We have seen in our
last chapter that this innermost ring was eventually broken and all the ministers
became informed of their Leader’s reform policy.

INFORMING THE PEOPLE

Prior to the 1939 Ministers’ Conference George Jeffreys sent a circular letter to
the Elim churches in order to solicit prayer for the coming Conference. In the
letter he informed the churches: “At the next Ministerial Conference—I believe
it is God’s will for me to take proper steps to relinquish my legal rights as
President, and also my legal right to appoint nominees on the Executive Council,
in order that I may take my place in the movement like any other minister. It will
be a happier position for me to stand for election on merit and policy, on the
same footing as every other minister, than to hold the position under legal rights.
Besides, this will release me from a responsibility that is overtaxing my strength
and thus give me a better opportunity of continuing the great work of soul-
saving and revival in these momentous days. In view of my moral
responsibilities to all in Elim, I feel it is my duty to acquaint you of my
intentions.” He went on to say that he would be submitting proposals to the
Conference that would consolidate the work and furnish them with greater
facilities to spread the truth. “I believe,” he wrote, “that my proposals will mean
the broadening of our constitution so that ministers and people can co-operate
more fully in the work of consolidation and extension. Your prayers are needed
on behalf of every member of the Executive Council, and every minister of the
Conference, that each one shall be given grace, wisdom and foresight to
appreciate the need of the work at this time.”

As we have noticed, it was the policy of the Executive Council to divulge as


little as possible to the public. Consequently they sent an urgent letter to each
minister advising him not to read George Jeffreys’ letter to the church. Should
the letter be read, they argued, “if the Principal’s many proposals are defeated
you will have to tell the church so ... Let us try to settle amongst ourselves at the
Conference the present unfortunate situation. Only harm can be done by advising
our churches of the position at this juncture. If, unfortunately, it becomes
necessary after the Conference to acquaint the churches with the situation, then
let us consider at the Conference how best it should be done. To acquaint the
churches now with the situation or to suggest to them in any way that this
Conference is a critical one can only do harm to the work.”

No two letters could reveal more clearly the deep cleavage between George
Jeffreys and his colleagues. They prefer secrecy under the plea that to keep the
people in ignorance is safer for the work. He, trustful of the people, coveting
their prayerful interest and co-operation, is anxious to enlighten them of the
approaching crisis.

ELIM’S CRISIS

The Elim Ministerial Conference, November, 1939, whether it went Left or


Right, was destined to bring momentous changes. George Jeffreys, in his
opening address to the ministers, made it quite clear that, to his

mind, Elim’s crisis had come. “At this time in the history of Elim,” he said, “I
am sorry to say that you are called once more to face a divided Executive. My
correspondence, which you have all had ample time to consider, has revealed a
few disturbing facts that must be faced, if we are to terminate the friction that
has been in the governing body for some years. It is true we have tried to settle
the differences, but so far it has only been a patched-up settlement, and the
trouble breaks out again and again until there is no peace left for any of us and
no hope for the future of the work.
“My correspondence has brought to light the following :

“(1) That the Executive Council is divided on policy into two sections, seven
members on one side and two on the other.

“(2) That the Ministerial Conference is divided into two sections; on one side
there is a majority of ministers in favour of an amended Deed Poll which will
wipe out all entrenchments and put us all on the same level, by making this
Ministerial Conference the supreme governing body of the movement. On the
other side there is a strong minority that is non-committal.

“(3) If my three nominees on the Executive Council had been put in on policy,
and if the other four members had been elected on policy, we would have at least
eight members of the Executive Council working with the majority of the
ministers.

“In addition, the Irish section of the movement has been waiting for two years to
know if they are going to

have lay representation on the governing body of their work. And their annual
presbytery has to be faced at Christmas-time.

“There is also a strong undercurrent of opposition to our present system of


government in the churches in Great Britain, which will not be held in check
another year. We have come to the place where our churches must know exactly
where we are. As I have said before, we are suffering from a secrecy which we
have all been a party to, but it should end now.

“In my pamphlet, ‘ The Pattern,’ which represents the basis for my future
ministry, you will see that I have destroyed all bridges behind me and there can
be no going back. If at this Conference we could really forgive and forget the
past and concentrate on a constructive policy which could bring more interest to
the members of our churches, there is no reason why we should not work
together as brethren to bring revival to our land. If this is not done, I cannot see
anything before us but the drying up of the work, for it is impossible to go ahead
if the people, who are the mainstay of the movement, are not with us.” '

EIGHT POINTS OF REFORM

Weakness of body compelled the President to retire from the Conference after
giving his opening address and the ministers forthwith debated the eight points
of his policy. His opinion upon vital matters was gained by contacting him at his
home nearby.

It is evident that the eight points did not represent the full New Testament pattern
which had laid hold so strongly of George Jeffreys’ mind. A pattern so radical
would only have succeeded in driving almost the entire Conference to a fixed
opposition. He had to seek for whatever reforms were possible at this juncture,
and thereby pave the way for more adequate reforms.

I shall refer only to those points which are more immediately connected with our
present purpose. These, together with the Conference decisions, were as follows:

(1) The Governing Body of the Alliance to consist of all accredited ministers.
This body to elect an Executive Council at its yearly conference. The Executive
Council to carry out the behests of the-Governing Body and to exercise the
power delegated to it from time to time by the Governing Body.

This, though certainly not a democratic ideal, was: nevertheless a distinct


advance upon the previous method of government by an extremely narrow
clerical oligarchy. This point was granted.

(2) District Presbyteries to be set up throughout the British Isles. These to consist
of all ministers and an equal number of Lay Representatives from the churches
in each district, to advise the Governing Body.

It was decided not to grant this until a two-thirds majority of the Ministerial
Conference voted for it.

(3) A clause to be inserted in the Amended Deed Poll so that Lay


Representatives from the churches on a fifty-fifty basis could be brought into the
Governing Body by a majority vote.

This also, it was decided, would not be granted until a two-thirds majority of the
Ministerial Conference voted for it.

(4) Each church to be conformed to the revealed New Testament pattern, with
elders or deacons or both to look after the interests of each church.

Conference granted this only in part. The elders already in the churches in
Ireland were to remain, but deacons only were to be appointed in the churches in
Great Britain.

Even from the attitude of Conference to these points alone it is apparent that the
majority of the ministers were out of harmony with their Leader’s outlook. They
■were eager to take power from the narrow oligarchy of nine, but they were just
as eager to keep that power within the boundaries of a narrow clerical caste.
They were not ready, as yet, to honour the Christian principle <of the equality of
all believers, and end the false division between clergy and laymen. Neither were
they prepared to make it easy for such action to be taken in the future. Rather
were they determined to hinder it.

CLERICAL INTOLERANCE

This was obvious when Conference began to discuss the eighth point relating to
the Model Trust Deed for each church whereby the building would be held
jointly by the church and the Governing Body of the movement. A deadlock was
reached when the actual clauses that were to be put into the Trust Deed were
discussed. George Jeffreys requested sufficient time to meet a responsible body
of laymen from the Elim churches to consider the clauses of the Deed.
Conference, however, refused this and passed a resolution to the effect that they
had reached the limit in their attempts to meet his demands and that the
concessions already granted would be withdrawn within seven days unless
George Jeffreys would sign an agreement embodying the terms agreed at the
Conference, would limit the number of laymen to six, and undertake not to
contend against the Elim Constitution by means of circular letter, printed matter,
or organised effort.

Clearly this was an undisguised attempt to stop all effort for democratic reform
in Elim. Moreover, it was a denial of the fundamental moral right of man to
reformation. If the Apostles and Reformers of Christian history had not
exercised that right there would have been neither Protestantism nor Christianity.
“Moral progress,”' declares Dean Rashdall, “has, in point of fact, only been
brought about by the acts of individual men and women’ who have had the
courage to condemn, to go beyond, to defy the existing code of public opinion at
a given time: and place.” (“Conscience and Christ,” p. 10. Hastings Rashdall,
D.Litt., LL.D., D.C.L.) In any case, what true man would thus have signed away
his freedom? “I felt the terms: intolerable,” said George Jeffreys, “for I could not
honourably submit to being rushed into signing away the right to make an
effective protest concerning the work. With a heavy heart I pondered the only
alternative left to me if I were to remain a free man. I decided to resign.”

RESIGNATION

Accordingly, on December 1st, he went to the Ministerial Conference and said:


“To-day I feel led of God to resign my position as your Leader, both in the Elim
Foursquare Gospel Alliance and also in the Elim Church Incorporated. I do so
because I can no longer subscribe to the policy you are following in the work.
The leader of any movement should be one with the policy of the movement he
leads.”

“After tendering my resignation,” he records, “I knelt down and prayed with our
ministers and then withdrew from the Conference Hall.”

The simplicity of that statement only serves to reveal the pathos of the moment.
In the deepest spiritual sense Elim was his creation, born out of the travail of his
soul and the power of his ministry. These men—“our ministers ”—were, for the
most part, his own children in the Lord. For a quarter of a century, the best years
of his life, he had poured himself out for God and Elim. Who really could share
with him the agony of his rending from it? True, there was not a man, scarcely,
at that Conference, sympathiser or opponent, who did not taste the bitterness of
the hour. But, peculiarly this was George Jeffreys’ crucifixion.

His fortitude throughout the whole of those critical days was amazing. “It was
my privilege,” writes Principal P. G. Parker, “to be in closest consultation with
Principal Jeffreys during the whole trying period of the 1939 Conference. The
circumstances were extraordinarily difficult, but not once did I hear him utter a
word of personal bitterness against anyone. His constant attitude was that we
must maintain a Christlike spirit whatever happens—that we must fight for
policy but have no personal bitterness.”

NOTEWORTHY RESOLUTIONS

It is to the lasting credit of the Elim ministers that they immediately adopted the
following resolutions:

“Resolved: that this Ministerial Conference of the Elim Foursquare Gospel


Alliance, on learning of the resignation of its President, Principal George
Jeffreys, wishes to place on record its deep and heartfelt gratitude, to him, under
God, for his untiring and loyal service the cause of Christ during the twenty-five
years of labours as Founder and Leader of the Alliance. had

“Resolved: that this Ministerial Conference wishes to record its earnest desire
that Principal George Jeffreys should forthwith accept office as Moderator or
Spiritual Leader of the Alliance and remain Principal of the Elim Bible College.”

Truly, those resolutions express Elim’s profound appreciation, despite radical


difference of outlook and aim, of George Jeffreys’ character and ministry. They
may have felt that his vision was a delusion, but the fact that they still valued his
person and coveted his ministry is eloquent testimony that the ministers had
implicit faith in his sincerity and trustworthiness.

George Jeffreys, however, found their invitation impossible of acceptance if


there were to be no change in the situation. Replying to the Secretary-General,
who had added a personal appeal to that of Conference, he wrote: “Will you
kindly convey my deep appreciation to the ministers of the Ministerial
Conference for their excellent tribute to my service to Elim during the past
twenty-five years. Their gracious and earnest appeal for me to accept office as
Moderator or Spiritual Leader of the Alliance and remain Principal of the Elim
Bible College without any Executive work, touched my heart. But, as you know,
this is impossible in view of my deep conviction that the Movement will not
hold together much longer unless the members of our churches are consulted on
church procedure, and both ministers and people go on together with mutual
understanding.”

Notwithstanding, at the same time he intimated that he would keep open the door
to re-union with Elim should steps be taken to bring the Movement into line
will! his innermost convictions.

WHY GEORGE JEFFREYS RESIGNED

It would be as well, perhaps, in concluding our analysis of this painful episode to


summarise the reasons for George Jeffreys’ resignation in his own words (from
his pamphlet “Why I resigned from the Elim Movement ”).

“I resigned from the Elim Movement:

“(1) Because the Ministerial Conference had made the possibility of the local
churches electing lay representatives on the Governing Body and on the District
Presbyteries, on a fifty-fifty basis, with ministers, so remote.

“(2) Because the local churches have no Title Deeds or Model Trust Deeds to
give them control over the church property they have paid for, over assembly
procedure in the churches, or over the finance that is handled in the churches.

“(3) Because the churches in Ireland are to be allowed Elders or Deacons or both
in each church, while the churches in England, Scotland and Wales are to be
allowed Deacons only.

“(4) Because I could not be bound by a resolution which prohibited me from


writing a circular letter to the

Elim churches, or printing anything that would make an effective protest against
the Elim Alliance Constitution, should I ever consider such to be necessary.”

He ended the explanation by saying: “God had graciously blessed the Elim work
throughout the years, but the time is overdue for a more democratic Elim. My
one regret is that from the commencement of the work I did not establish
churches more in keeping with the revealed New Testament pattern, under a
more balanced oversight of ministers and qualified lay brethren from the
churches.”
Chapter VIII. Issues
“Reform seems always to run along much the same lines. Some grave moral evil
continues for generations unchecked, uncensured. Then some clear-sighted man
recognises its true wickedness. He denounces it, and is himself denounced as a
knave, a fool, an enemy of society. He is persecuted, his persecution taking
various forms from burning and crucifixion to black-balling at the club and
social ostracism, according to the manners of the place and age. But the reformer
persists and gathers a following. Defenders of the abuse change their tone. They
admit the evil but deny that it is as bad as it is described. Regulation, reform
rather than total abolition, are, they declare, the right thing. The time for any
drastic change is not ripe. But the reform party, steadily gathering strength, will
not be denied. Victory comes, often with startling suddenness. Then the
opponents of reform declare that no sane man ever doubted the evil or denied the
abuse, and that reform would have come much sooner than it did if it had not
been for the intemperate language and rash violence of a few hot-headed cranks.
But the reformers do not trouble, for they are already at work on the next stage
of moral progress.”—“The Problem of Right Conduct,” pp. 167-168, Canon
Peter Green.

On December 1st, 1939, George Jeffreys resigned from the Elim Movement.
Naturally, such a calamity shook Elim to its foundations and compelled the
Executive Council to make some move towards rapprochement.

Their report of the critical Conference, sent to the ministers, with a covering
letter, is indicative both of their panic and of the policy of secrecy to which they
had become habituated. It read: “Principal George Jeffreys, who for some time
has intimated his desire along these lines, has resigned from the Executive
Council and is thus released from the business side of the work. This will free
him more fully for his spiritual ministry in the work of the Lord which God has
so signally blessed in the past.”

In his covering letter the Secretary-General asked the ministers to read the report
to the churches on the following Sunday, and said: “If you are asked about the
Principal’s position, it will be best for you to say that he hopes to be free for
meetings in our churches, but that it is not yet decided what office he will take.
Please do not enter into any discussion with anybody in the matter.”

Is it to be wondered at that some ministers refused to read that report to their


churches, knowing that it conveyed a complete distortion of the truth? George
Jeffreys had resigned, not only from the Executive Council, and not merely that
he might be free from the business side of the work, but from the entire Elim
Movement, because the Conference had sought to block his efforts to reform the
Movement in accordance with the new ideal which had been revealed to him.

It was true, as we have pointed out, that he had kept the door open for re-union,
but this is no excuse for the sending out of a Conference Report which distorted
the truth, especially in view of the fact that George Jeffreys had made it clear
that there could be no re-union without radical reform.

As the light was thus hidden from the people, and as many began to cry out for
it, George Jeffreys was compelled to inform them of the facts. For this he has
been dubbed a disturber of churches and a breaker of pledges. But how could he
who had created these churches and who was now suffering so much to reform
them, slip away quietly into retirement and leave his people in the dark about the
reason for his resignation and the grave danger of exploitation in which they
stood?

Within two months Elim Headquarters had issued a pamphlet giving “A Basis
for Unity in Elim.” It amounted to a reversal of judgment on the fundamental
point in George Jeffreys’ reform policy—viz., that the Governing Body of the
Elim Movement should be the General Conference of ministers and laymen on a
fifty-fifty basis.

A PROPOSED BASIS FOR UNITY

A discussion between the Executive Council and George Jeffreys’ Advisory


Committee raised hopes of unity and “Mutual Recommendations” were drawn
up for presentation to a Conference of ministers and laymen to be held in 1940.
At that Conference, George Jeffreys, assured that adequate steps would now be
taken to make these democratic gains secure, accepted the Presidency of the
Elim Church Incorporated, a nominal position only. It should be pointed out that
for some years provision had been made for a few churches outside the Elim
Alliance, of various sorts of government, to bear the Elim name by inclusion in a
larger body of which the Alliance was part. This larger body was known as the
Elim Church Incorporated. George Jeffreys was not returning to the Elim
Alliance but to the Elim Church Incorporated.

CONVICTION OR EXPEDIENT?

Unfortunately, this attempt at unity was virtually doomed beforehand, for the
simple reason that the “Mutual Recommendations” were not inspired by any real
affinity of spirit and aim between George Jeffreys and the Elim Executive
Council. The Executive Council’s reversal of judgment about lay representation
was not due to conviction that it was Scripturally and morally right, but only to
expediency. This is evident from the explanation which they gave of their
changed attitude. “It should be clearly stated,” read the explanation, “that the
main point on which there was acute division (i.e., at the 1939 Conference) was
lay representation from the churches on a larger Governing Body of the Alliance.
There were two reasons why the Ministerial Conference did not accept this
proposal.

“(1) There was no general demand for it in our churches.

“(2) It was considered to be another method, of which there had been a number
in recent years, whereby the Principal hoped to introduce British-Israel teaching
into the work.

“The above arguments no longer apply, for:

“As regards the first point, there is now evidence that a very strong demand has
been created by the publication of the Principal’s pamphlet.

“As regards the second point, the reference to British-Israel situation in our
pamphlet has revealed a strong opposition amongst our laymen to the
introduction of British-Israel teaching into our churches.”

In that explanation the members of the Council gave no indication that they
themselves had undergone a radical change of belief about lay representation.
The motive was not a new-born conviction that lay representation was
Scripturally and morally right, but that now it was expedient. Before and at the
1939 Conference, because it was considered that the Elim churches were
unenlightened and unconcerned about lay representation, and that the inclusion
of lay brethren upon the Governing Body would strengthen the hands of British-
Israel believers, it was expedient to resist lay representation. After that
Conference when it was discovered that the people favoured lay representation
but disfavoured British-Israelism, it was expedient to allow it.

It is evident that a similar attitude prevailed at the 1939 Conference itself, for
after they had agreed to some of George Jeffreys’ points the ministers threatened
to withdraw their agreement unless George Jeffreys met their demands. Clearly
they had agreed only because it was expedient to do so, not because they were
convinced it was right. Otherwise they would not have found it so easy to
rescind their previous resolutions.

From their own statement, therefore, it is beyond doubt that the Executive
Council’s changed attitude towards lay representation was not born of
conviction. It was only that the logic of events had forced their hand. Whereas it
was once expedient to oppose lay representation it was now expedient to espouse
it.

UNSATISFACTORINESS OF EXPEDIENCY

From one point of view it may be allowed that their expediency was not morally
blameworthy. They were not convinced that George Jeffreys’ avowed belief was
right, but to save a toppling organisation they swallowed their pride and
surrendered. Yet two things need to be said. First, a policy dictated by
expediency is, in the nature of the case, unreliable. It moves always with a
favourable current. It has no fixed, declared purpose that battles forward in all
weathers. The Executive Council had swung towards lay representation because
it seemed favourable, even necessary, to do so. But it might swing backwards
when convenient! Second, how could there be real unity between one whose
heart was fixed in a democratic direction and those who were motivated by
expediency? The iron and the clay would never mingle.

This impossibility speedily became apparent. George Jeffreys was moving under
a conviction that “government of the people, by the people, for the people”
under God, was the Divine Will for the church. The Executive Council had no
such conviction. They were moving under the compulsion of circumstances and,
in consequence, they moved slowly and grudgingly. Such an unequal partnership
could only have one climax. It came before the end of 1940.

INEVITABLE CLIMAX

On November 12th George Jeffreys formally resigned from the Elim Church
Incorporated. “It is nearly six months,” he said, “since I accepted the
overwhelming invitation at the May Conference to become President and I have
conscientiously worked hard to bring about unity in the Elim Alliance, as the
churches that are in touch with me will testify, but the task is becoming
increasingly difficult under present conditions.

“It is nearly twelve months since I resigned from the largest and most powerful
section in the Elim Church Incorporated—namely, the Elim Foursquare Gospel

Alliance, and conditions are practically the same in the Alliance to-day as they
were then . . .

“There is no safeguard against a small Governing Body exercising powerful


legal control over the Ministers, Churches, Diaconates, District Presbyteries,
Church Buildings, House Properties, Publishing Company, Bible College,
Finance and Propaganda of the Alliance throughout the British Isles.

“There is no freedom of expression on Church Government or Church Reform


without running the risk of being regarded as an agitator or a disturber of the
peace.”

AN UNDEMOCRATIC “DEMOCRACY ”

He was not alone in his doubts about the intentions of Elim Headquarters. A
number of ministers and diaconates had carefully examined the framework of a
new Constitution which had been presented to the 1940 Conference and they
reached the conclusion that if that was to be the foundation of the new Elim
there would be very little difference between the old regime and the new. It was
true that the Deed Poll was to be amended to make the General Conference of
ministers and laymen the Governing Body, but in actual practice the laymen
would be utterly helpless. The whole Constitution, in fact, would have a
democratic name to live but would be dead.

When the Revised Constitution of the Elim Alliance was published in 1942,
giving particulars of the amended Deed Poll and complete rules and regulations
for the running of the organisation, many acclaimed its democratic fairness.
Several Elim ministers have commended it to me with the remark: “Elim is not
what it was when you were in it.” I am not a little comforted by this implicit
acknowledgment that reform was necessary in Elim, but I am moved to ask:
“Who advocated these reforms? Who pushed for changes? Who laboured in this
cause?” The answer is plain. If any injustices have been eliminated from the
Elim system, if any democratic measures have been introduced into it, George
Jeffreys, the man whose genius, under God, created Elim and who suffered to
reform it, is to be thanked.

The Revivalist and Reformer himself, however, was far from satisfied with
Elim’s Revised Constitution. Labelling it “A Make-Believe Constitution,” he
declared: “While it is true that the Elim Alliance Constitution was amended in
1942, it is equally true that Elim Governors outside the Elim churches still have
just as much power over the pastors, people, property and finance of the
Movement as the Governors had when I was the leading Governor amongst
them.” Further, “If anything, this amended Constitution is worse than the
original, because it can lead so many to believe that they have many assured
rights in the government of the Movement, whereas in reality they have few, if
any.”

George Jeffreys strips the Elim Constitution of 1942 of its make-believe in


answering the question:

“WHO ARE THE REAL ELIM GOVERNORS? ”

“The Governing Body, according to the Elim Constitution of 1942, is the half
ministerial and half laymen Conference, which meets for a few days each year.
But inquiring minds are justified in questioning the matter, for the following
reasons:

“(1) The ministerial half of the Conference is a separate Governing Body,


holding the legal right to meet to decide, among other things, the admission of
ministers into the Elim Movement and consequently into their own Governing
Body; the discipline of ministers; the dismissal of ministers; and the appointing
of the Stationing Committee to place ministers in their churches. All this,
without having to consult the laymen half of the Conference!

“On the other hand, the laymen half of the Conference is not a separate
Governing Body and has no legal right whatsoever to meet as such to decide
anything.

“It would be easy for the ministerial half to be welded together to render a pre-
arranged block vote at the Conference. Those ministers at Headquarters, who are
in constant touch with their fellow-ministers throughout the year, have every
facility for doing so. But it would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for
any layman to muster anything like a pre-arranged block vote of the laymen half,
for there are no such means of cohesion for doing so. (See Elim Foursquare
Gospel Alliance Constitution, page 7, under “Ministerial Session.”)

“(2) The ministers themselves are not governed by their Churches, nor by their
Elders, nor by their Diaconates, nor by their District Presbyteries, nor by the
Laymen half of the Yearly Conference. Any Elim minister can be dismissed
from his church, be thrust out of the Movement, and be shut out from the Yearly
Conference, without his Church, or his Elders, or his Deacons, or his District
Presbytery, or the Laymen half of the Conference having a say in so important a
matter.

“(3) The Elim Executive Council, which consists of nine ministers, some of
whom occupy the permanent Offices at Elim Headquarters, have far-reaching
legal powers in the Constitution. They are also the nine Directors of the Elim
Trust Corporation, holding all Elim Alliance Church and house property
throughout the British Isles. In addition to the stated powers that can be
exercised by the Elim Executive Council, they can do things between the Yearly
Conferences that the so-called ‘ Governing Body ’ of Ministers and Laymen
could not undo. Yet no layman can legally be a member of the Elim Executive
Council. (See Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance Constitution, page 23, par. (b).)

“In view of these facts no honest person can maintain that the ministers,
congregations and properties of the Elim Movement throughout the British Isles
are governed by a joint Conference of Ministers and Laymen on a fifty-fifty
basis.”

CLERICAL DOMINANCE

On the very face of it the Elim ministers have legalised advantages over the
laymen which make the supposed democracy a farce. No layman can be a
member of the Executive Council. Laymen are excluded from the Ministerial
Session, which is not merely a fraternal but a legal body empowered to make
final decisions upon such matters as the admission, ordination, discipline and
continuance of ministers, and the appointment of the Stationing Committee,
which arranges pastoral changes. Moreover, not only do the ministers share
equal power with the laymen on the Yearly Conference but, inasmuch as the
entire machinery of the Movement—College, Finances, Propaganda—is in
ministerial hands, they are at an advantage even there. Added to this is the fact
that, should they desire to do so, the ministers can exercise a block-vote in the
Yearly Conference against which the lay representatives are helpless.

THE IRISH WORK

Similarly with the Irish work, which, under the Revised Constitution, was given
some measure of independent function with its own Executive and
Superintendent. “The Elim Alliance churches and their Elders in Ireland,” wrote
George Jeffreys, “are in just the same helpless position as the churches and
diaconates in Great Britain. They do not own and they do not control. The
following taken from Senior Counsel’s Opinion in Ulster sums up the restricted
powers of the Irish Executive and the Irish Conference:

“‘The Irish branch of the above organisation reminds me of a child that has been
given certain liberties by the parent—but these are on sufferance—the control
remains with the parent. Thus in all ways that matter the London authorities
retain control and have the last word in the concern of the Irish branch of this
movement.’

“This, in effect, was also the opinion of our late and revered friend, Mr. John
Leech, K.C.”

OLD ELIM WRIT LARGE

Is it any wonder, therefore, that George Jeffreys and those who shared his
conviction found it just as morally impossible to submit to the new Elim as to
the old? John Milton, confronted with the despotic presbyterianism of his day,
declared that “New presbyter is but old priest writ large.” Precisely the same
might be said of the Revised Elim Constitution. It is but the old clerical
oligarchy writ large. It is essentially undemocratic. It preserves the unscriptural
and unfair distinction between a privileged clerical caste and the Christian rank
and file. Though on paper it vests sovereignty in a conference of ministers and
laymen, in practice it makes a few ministers —unappointed, uncontrolled, but
financially supported by the people—all-powerful. It is still a possible effective
instrument for tyranny over Christian communities. The organisation could still
be captured and exploited by unspiritual and unscrupulous men, if such “crept in
unawares.” None of this is said in judgment upon personalities, but rather for
enlightenment and warning as to the system. George Jeffreys and his associates
are deeply concerned over the implicit dangers of all clerical central control.
They love and admire many who work in such systems, but they are profoundly
convinced that those systems are a stumbling block to God’s purposes for man
and a tool in the strategy of Satan.

Roland Allen has declared, “The besetting sin of European missionaries is love
of administration.”(Footnote: “Missionary Methods—St. Paul’s or Ours?”
Roland Alien. M.A.) That is a charge that could be laid at the door of a
considerable number of ministers in the homeland too. Human nature delights to
lord it over God’s heritage, to become boss over others, to control property and
finance. A religious society, especially if it be hyper-spiritual and otherworldly,
is easy prey for that particular appetite. If men of such aptitudes gain control of a
movement how easily they could bend it to their will by the use of bribe or by
threat against less experienced fellow-ministers! Imagine the power of a few
such men should the voting system be faulty; by its skilful manipulation they
could keep themselves or their like in office for life. Once men find themselves
in a position of authority over hundreds of ministers, over hundreds of thousands
of pounds of church property, over an increasing accumulation of wealth, it calls
for great grace to resist the temptation to do evil in order to retain that authority.

A NEW FELLOWSHIP OF FREE CHURCHES

These, then, were the issues for the Elim Alliance. What of George Jeffreys
himself and those who shared his convictions? In response to requests from a
number of Elim ministers, diaconates and churches the Reformer called a
conference of ministers and deacons at Nottingham on November 28th and 29th,
1940. During those days of discussion it was decided, in view of the obvious
trend of the Elim Alliance, t0 form a fellowship of free churches to be known as
the Bible-Pattem Church Fellowship. The name expressed the aims of its
creators. They had discovered for themselves the Scriptural principles for the
administration of Christian churches and they were determined to put those
principles into practice. They had been gripped by the Bible-Pattern, not only for
personal character, but for the order and functioning of Christian communities
also, and they were dedicating themselves to conform to it.

Certain working arrangements for the new fellowship were decided upon but, in
the nature of the case, these were but tentative. It was recognised from the start
that such must be fluid and capable of revision in the light of experience. What
mattered, and what must be preserved at all costs, were the basic principles: the
equality of all believers, ministers and laymen alike; the sufficiency of the local
church as a God-indwelt community; respect for the individual conscience;
open-mindedness; frankness; freedom; in short, democracy for the work in
general and administrative independence for the local church in particular.

Throughout the difficult war-time years the ministers and churches of the Bible-
Pattern Church Fellowship have been feeling their way into the significance of
these principles. It has been a revolutionary process and one that has tested
individual character to the utmost. In this as in all else, “time, the world and
God,” to quote Oswald Chambers, “fire out the fools.” The full import of the
basic principles (e.g., of the local church as a God-indwelt community) has not
been grasped all at once. The responsibilities of freedom have not always been
appreciated. Moreover, there has been the inevitable “mixed multitude.” But in
spite of misunderstanding and opposition, in the midst of various sorts of
“growing pains” the Fellowship has moved steadily forward, fluid as far as
working arrangements are concerned, but with a heart fixed on its basic
principles.

THE REWARD OF OBEDIENCE

George Jeffreys himself has found a serenity and a purposefulness of soul


“outside the camp” that amply repay his sacrifices. “Life’s wounds,” declares
John Cordelier, “are plaited close with life’s ecstasies.” (Footnote: “The Path of
the Eternal Wisdom,” p. 117. John Cordelier.) Such has been George Jeffreys’
experience as the following testimony (from his pamphlets, “Babylon in
Organised Religion” and “Fight for the Faith and Freedom ”) reveals: “God
bestowed the greater honour upon me, not

when He called me to preach to crowded congregations in the Royal Albert Hall,


London, and in other large halls at home and abroad, or before Royalty at
Stockholm, but when He called me to renounce and denounce Babylonianism in
organised religion and suffer for the sake of free, self-governing churches
according to the New Testament.” “Notwithstanding the half-truths that have
been circulated against me, and all I have suffered, not one day has passed since
December 1st, 1939, without thanksgiving rising from my full heart to God for
the courage He gave me to renounce the wrong that day, and for the abiding
peace that has settled in my soul.”

SIGNING OVER
One of the most unwelcome tasks which the Reformer had to face was the
relinquishing of his Trusteeship of Elim church properties, unwelcome because
he was not allowed to sign over the properties to the local communities
themselves, and because as long as he was trustee there seemed to be some
chance of exercising an influence for the safety of the properties. On July 1st.
1942, he gave twelve months’ notice to every Alliance church that “with the
exception of any church whose congregation passes a resolution requesting me
not to sign over their property, I will relinquish my Trusteeship of Elim church
and house property at the expiration of that period in favour of the Elim Trust
Corporation.” When the time for signing over came round he wrote: “The
signing over will be done with mixed feelings of gladness and sadness. Gladness
because I shall be released from a legal position I have disliked intensely: that of
being a Trustee of many Elim churches and houses so completely under the legal
control of the Elim Governors. Sadness because the Elim people who have paid
for the church buildings out of hard-earned incomes are not to have any assured
rights to worship God freely in those buildings.”

Before George Jeffreys and his fellow-trustees and directors of the reform school
relinquished their hold of the property, whether it was the church buildings,
houses, College, printing and publishing works, lands, effects or investments,
they spared no trouble or expense in getting all the many tens of thousands of
pounds’ worth of property under the control of the Yearly Conference of
ministers and laymen. If the ministers and laymen allow a few central governors
again to capture control of it throughout the land they will have only themselves
to blame.

Concerning the signing over of the long list of valuable properties, Pastor
Gwilym I. Francis, Secretary of the Bible-Pattem Church Fellowship, writes: “It
is doubtful whether anything like this has ever been known before in Church
history. As a Revivalist George Jeffreys, entered towns without any guaranteed
salary, started revival, took over many church buildings, and even shouldered
heavy financial responsibilities for those buildings, and was then shut out of
them, not by the people, but by the Elim Governors, not because he wanted
anything for himself, but because he wanted to protect the interests of the people
he had converted to the truth.”

A MODERN WEAPON AGAINST DISSENT

Intimately related to this matter of signing over church properties was the
unhappy position in which the secessional churches found themselves. These
communities were now in illegal possession of the church buildings they had
paid for.

The first deplorable incident took place on the infamous “Pearl Harbour”
Sunday, December 7th, 1941, when three Elim Alliance Governors from
Headquarters accompanied by a detective took possession of the Portsmouth
church building, forcing the congregation to the road after freezing its
considerable balances at the local bank. Subsequently, the congregations at
Southampton, Nottingham and Barking (London) were also forced out of their
church buildings.

It is grievous that Christian men and women should be compelled to leave the
place of cherished memories and sacred associations, purchased by their own
love-gifts, and be made to search for “rooms” in a blitzed city and to save once
more in order to build anew. The claim that, because an invitation was extended
to the people to stay under Elim auspices, the church was not forced out, is
puerile. How could people honestly be driven out as a community and welcomed
back as individuals? Was not the conviction of the community the sum of the
consciences of the individuals?

Moreover, these churches were not heretical, neither from the Christian faith nor
from the Elim Fundamentals. They were evangelical Christians giving allegiance
to exactly the same creed as the Elim Alliance. This one thing only they claimed
—the right to a voice in the control of their own church affairs. For this one
thing they must suffer loss of property.

If we put the best possible construction upon the matter by admitting that the
Elim Governors had no choice but to act thus because of their Trust obligations,
it only confirms what we have been saying continually in this book—viz., that
despotism is implicit in all clerical central control. If a system is such that the
sincere men who rule it have no option but to perform actions so out of harmony
with the gracious spirit and principles of the New Testament, what a menacing
thing that system must be! If insincere men should rule it what depths of tyranny
may not be the issue? At any rate the incidents serve to show that systems of
clerical central control in Great Britain still possess at least one effective weapon
with which to punish dissent—they have the legal power to make dissenting
pastors and congregations forfeit church property.
A JUST SETTLEMENT

The secessional churches were prepared for the following just settlement of the
controversy, an attempted solution of the problem which, however, proved
unacceptable to the Elim Governors:

“The Elim Governors to give our church a Model Trust Deed, with four
safeguards for the Movement as a whole and four safeguards for our church.

“The four safeguards for the Movement as a whole:

“(1) Our church to abide by the Elim Fundamentals-

“(2) Our church to send a percentage of its income towards Elim Headquarters’
administration as decided by the Yearly Conference.

“(3) Our church to keep its property insured and in good repair.

“(4) Our church to pay a proportion of the pooled debt of the whole movement
in order to have a Jubilee.

“The four safeguards for our church:

“(1) Our church to enjoy freedom of worship and to manage its own church
affairs in its own church building, as long as the church observes the clauses in
the Model Trust Deed.

“(2) Our church to choose its own pastor, so that the pastor is responsible to God
and his church, not to any governor or governors outside the church.

“(3) Our church to control its own finance, so that no governor or body of
governors outside the church could freeze or interfere in any way with the funds
of the church at the local bank.

“(4) Our church, with its elders and deacons, to have the right to reject erroneous
doctrine and any objectionable rule, so that no governor or governors outside the
church could force these things upon the church.”

George Jeffreys has kept open the door on behalf of all the dissenting pastors
and churches for a settlement with the Elim Governors on this just eight-point
basis, but, alas! the Governors have not responded.

MORE PROPERTY

One other matter needs to be referred to in connection with property trusts—viz.,


the peculiar position of the four secessional churches at Glasgow, Blackpool,
Kensington and Brighton. Those who went responsible for about £25,000 for the
purchasing of these properties were George Jeffreys, R. E. Darragh and James
McWhirter. According to a legal agreement made without consulting the
congregations in 1935, the Elim Governors have a reversionary interest in these
properties. Though they never went responsible for a penny, upon the death of
the trustees the Elim Governors will become legal controllers of the buildings.

The congregations strongly desire and have frequently requested that a Trust
Deed be drawn up similar to that asked for by the other secessional churches.
The Trustees, who are most anxious to do this, are helpless in the matter until the
Elim Governors consent —which so far they have not done. Unless this is done
it looks as if the Elim Alliance will be compelled, upon the death of the trustees,
to make more communities of evangelical Christians forfeit their church
properties!

THE FUTURE

However rough and thorny the way, George Jeffreys and those who share his
vision face the future in the spirit of Browning's lines:

“One who never turned aside but marched breast forward,


Never doubted clouds would break,
Never thought though right were worsted wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, Sleep to wake.”

They too will march breast forward. They have no thought of retreat. They are
persuaded that the ideal which has gripped them is a cherished purpose of the
Divine Heart. The new heaven and the new earth will be the perfect realisation
of all the significance of the

God-indwelt community. If, as James says, “we should be a kind of first-fruits of


His creatures,” then it is God’s Will that every community of Christians should
foreshadow that ultimate destiny of the universe.
A local church is a God-indwelt community! And only in freedom, only as the
principles of equality and liberty are fully respected, can the full significance of
that fact be realised. Clerical oligarchy and all forms of clerical central control
frustrate this realisation.

These, explicitly or implicitly, are the convictions of George Jeffreys and his
associates. And, inasmuch as beliefs tend to issue in action, they are
endeavouring to provide homes for Christian communities in accordance with
their convictions.

A CHALLENGE TO EVANGELISTS AND MISSIONARIES

A constant burden upon George Jeffreys’ spirit, a burden which he believes is


God’s challenge to him, is the thought: “If God gave me a hundred thousand
souls to-morrow, what church would I place them in? ”

It would be well if every modern evangelist, and every missionary to other lands
and peoples, would ponder that thought. At a very successful London
evangelistic campaign which ended in the Albert Hall a girl in the queue was
heard to say: “Whatever shall I do next week without these meetings? I dread
going back to our dull church with a minister who is not even evangelical.”

Her need is indicative of a widespread problem. Surely the future of his converts
is the concern of the evangelist! God’s interest in souls is not exhausted by an
evangelistic effort and the gaining of converts. Christians cannot live in
isolation. They need to be associated in communities, in churches.

The kind of church in which the evangelist or the missionary puts his converts
should be his serious concern. And not merely is it his duty that they should be
given an evangelical church with a spiritual atmosphere. Something profounder
than that is involved. It is his duty to see that they are placed in churches where
the fullest scope is given for the development and exercise of their spiritual
potentialities as functioning members of the body of Christ.

REVIVALIST AND REFORMER

George Jeffreys, at least, has made up his mind. Too long, in his estimation, and
ours too, have successful evangelistic campaigns been exploited in the interests
of centrally controlled religious bodies ruled by a narrow clerical caste. Too long
has the cherished purpose of God for local communities of Christians and
individual members in particular been frustrated. Too long has scope been given
for despotism.

George Jeffreys the Reformer is still George Jeffreys the Revivalist. His passion
for mass revival still burns with white-hot intensity and he is determined to
provide homes for his converts “according to the pattern which he has seen” in
the Scripture of Truth*
Chapter IX. Blinding Expedients
Perish policy and cunning,
Perish all that fears the light;
Whether losing, whether winning,
Trust in God and do the right.”

—Norman MacLeod.

George Jeffreys took his stand for reforms the Governors at Elim Headquarters
have grasped every opportunity to blind the Pentecostal people as to the
significance of his Reforming Movement. An accumulation of facts, some of
them small and apparently insignificant in themselves but others weighty, point
in this direction. It is necessary for us to deal with the publication of the
biography, Stephen Jeffreys, The Beloved Evangelist, written by his son Edward
Jeffreys, and made and printed by the Elim Publishing Co., Ltd. Though it is a
vivid account of the career of a mighty evangelist, the brother of George
Jeffreys, the story is astonishingly incomplete, for the author omits facts of vital
importance to the Pentecostal people whom Stephen Jeffreys loved and served.
Furthermore, it is patent that this incomplete story is utilised by the Elim
Governors, because it lends itself so conveniently to their fixed purpose to
frustrate George Jeffreys’ Reform Policy.

Stephen Jeffreys throughout his ministry had very little room for central
governors of any kind. His association with Elim as a salaried evangelist under
Headquarters’ rules and regulations was of very short duration. He conducted
only a few campaigns under this arrangement before he rebelled against the
system and commenced his great pioneering work for the Assemblies of God.

Edward Jeffreys, in recording his father’s breach with Elim Headquarters in


1925, gives the impression that thereafter the Brothers Jeffreys went their
devious ways without further association, whereas in later years Stephen Jeffreys
was a tower of strength behind his brother George for reforms in Elim. He
condemned the actions of Elim Governors in forcing Godly pastors and their
congregations out of Elim church buildings and in freezing the funds of churches
at their local banks, and he was appalled at the half-truth propaganda sent out
from Elim Headquarters to blind the Elim people. All these facts have been
omitted in Edward Jeffreys’ story of his father’s life.

The “Stephen Jeffreys’ Memorial Number” of The Pattern (December, 1943)


contained a short article by George Jeffreys which shows how closely united the
brothers had latterly been for the freedom of the churches.

“AN INSPIRING VISION”

By Principal George Jeffreys

“In our heart-to-heart talks during latter years, my beloved brother, Pastor
Stephen Jeffreys, and I often expressed mutual regret that we had not seen the
full Scriptural vision of free self-governing churches right from the beginning of
our God-given ministries. Had we, and others, who were called of God to serve
as pioneers and leaders in the Pentecostal Movement, seen the vision of the one
body, with its members gathered together in free self-governing churches as our
dear Pastor Lewi Pethrus, of Sweden, had seen it, the history of the Pentecostal
Movement in the British Isles would have been vastly different. There would
have been one great Pentecostal Movement instead of the various sections.

“Pentecost has demonstrated that it is far too big for sectarian frontiers, and that
its leaders, clothed with power and graced with gifts, are called to fields of
service far beyond the narrow confines of any one particular sect.

“Desires expressed in those heart-to-heart talks were laid before our Lord in
prayer. Had it been our Heavenly Father’s Will to miraculously restore my dear
brother to health, how it would have rejoiced my heart to have had him at my
side, boldly declaring this full Scriptural vision of freedom for God’s people!
But it has pleased God to take him, and we can only say, ‘ Thy will be done.’

“It is the privilege of those who remain to go on winning souls for Christ, and
after winning them, to teach them to conform to the Scriptural Pattern of Holy
Ghost Churches, free from the bondage of organised religion.

“What should we not be willing to sacrifice to see the sectarian walls disappear
in Pentecost and the greater Pentecostal Revival come!”

No reference to this inspiring vision is to be found in the book.


A REGRETTABLE FEATURE

There is a further regrettable feature about Edward Jeffreys’ book. Elim people
everywhere will be astounded at the obvious attempt to blot out the fact that
George Jeffreys was the creative genius of the Elim Revival Movement. It is
clear that the book is intended to sow the idea in the mind of the reader that not
George Jeffreys, but Stephen Jeffreys, was the pioneer of this revival movement
which stirred the towns .and cities of Britain and Ireland in the pre-Munich
years. It will come as a shock to Elim people to learn that, after all the tributes
and eulogies which the Elim Governors have put forth concerning George
Jeffreys as the dynamic Founder and Leader of the Elim Movement for a quarter
of a century, they have now identified themselves with ,a book which sets forth
their “beloved Principal” merely as a prudent organiser and exploiter of his
brother’s successes. For instance, on page 42 Edward Jeffreys writes: “George
Jeffreys was undoubtedly gifted as an organiser . . .” and “also gifted as a Bible
teacher.” Then on page 47: “. . . the Elim Movement could justly claim in 1922
to have at their disposal a man (Stephen Jeffreys) who has been chosen of God
with evangelistic gifts of outstanding ability. I well remember my father telling
me of his decision to join Elim as their evangelist ... In the year 1922 the Elim
Movement began to blaze through the amazing campaigns conducted by my
father.” On page 51: “... when my father’s brother, George Jeffreys, took the East
Ham Town Hall he found a ready-made crowd of anxious and expectant people
waiting for him ... It was very easy to run a campaign in any part of London at
that time.”

Can it be doubted that these passages were purposely intended to convey to the
uninformed that Stephen Jeffreys was Elim’s pioneer, opening up the Elim work
which his brother George merely organised? These blinding expedients
conveniently serve the purpose of the Elim Governors who find it increasingly
inconvenient to face the truth that George Jeffreys, who founded the Elim
Movement in 1914 and who for twenty-five years constantly pioneered its
message throughout the British Isles, is now the reformer, openly denouncing the
evils of central dictatorship and championing the cause of freedom in the
hundreds of churches he has founded.

In George Jeffreys: A Ministry of the Miraculous, official publication of the


Elim Movement, Mr. E. C. W. Boulton, the author, gives 352 pages of reading
matter, profusely illustrated, to describe the phenomenal Elim pioneering
evangelistic campaigns conducted by George Jeffreys throughout the British
Isles. Furthermore, the Elim Evangel, official organ of the Elim Movement, for
years week after week glowingly eulogised the man and his missions. And now
Mr. Boulton and his fellow-governors associate themselves so intimately with a
book that has omitted so much and which puts George Jeffreys and his work in a
quite different light.

WHO CREATED ELIM?

Both Edward Jeffreys and E. C. W. Boulton (who writes a tribute to Stephen


Jeffreys in Edward Jeffreys’ book) imply that up to 1925 Elim was but a
struggling cause and that at his Barking Campaign in 1925 Stephen Jeffreys set
Elim ablaze with revival fire which was carefully fostered and exploited by his
brother George.

Edward Jeffreys writes on page 51 of his book: “It was the Barking Campaign
which laid the foundation for the great Elim churches all over London.” On page
66 of the book Mr. Boulton also seeks to emphasise this. These passages ignore
the fact that the first Elim Church in London, which laid the foundation for the
Elim churches in London, was established at Clapham as a result of the
pioneering evangelistic campaign of George Jeffreys and his Irish workers. The
Clapham Campaign was in 1921-22, whereas the Barking Campaign was not
until 1925.

Under the leadership of George Jeffreys, the Elim Tabernacle at Clapham with
hundreds of members, had been established as a live centre, and the printing and
publishing works had come into existence between the Clapham and Barking
Campaigns, and in the latter part of 1925 George Jeffreys acquired the extensive
premises, now known as the Elim Bible College, for the Movement.

Mr. Boulton in George Jeffreys: A Ministry of the Miraculous, devotes twelve


whole pages to describe the marvels of this first London Elim pioneering
campaign at Clapham, and on page 91 he writes: “Ever since it (Elim
Tabernacle, Clapham) was opened it has been a centre of blessing from which
lasting good has streamed to Other needy districts, until to-day it proudly claims
the honour of being the parent of many another Elim church in London and its
environs.”

Pastor P. N. Corry, when an Elim Executive Council member and Dean of the
Elim Bible College, wrote concerning Clapham in the Elim Coming-of-Age
Souvenir, page 35: “To this city of so many broken hearts and in which it is so
easy to be buried alive, came Principal Jeffreys and the Elim Alliance in 1922.
The building taken was unpretentious, the street more or less a backwater, and
far from central, yet within a month one report .said that the old church had been
converted into a real apostolic centre. The work captured the hearts of Cockneys
just as firmly as it did the loyal Orangemen of Ulster, and soon the news of
blessing was blazed abroad. Clapham became the Mecca of hungry hearts, the
birthplace of precious souls, and the pioneer house of prayer for a mighty move
throughout the County of London. Towards the end of the year the church was
renovated, the outside as well as the inside being transformed, and with much
joy it became the first-fruits of many other places of worship throughout the
capital.”

Seeing it was formerly the custom of the Elim Governors to pile up eulogies
concerning George Jeffreys, to describe his Clapham Campaign of 1921-22 as
the fountain-source of the London revival, and to speak of the Clapham church
thus founded as “the parent of many another Elim church in London and its
environs,” as “a real apostolic centre,” “the Mecca of hungry hearts,” “the
pioneer house of prayer for a mighty move throughout the County of London,”
and “the first-fruits of many other places of worship throughout the capital” —
how in all honesty can they now identify themselves with a book which, in
effect, substitutes Stephen for George and Barking for Clapham ?

In 1925 Stephen Jeffreys left the Elim Movement and never again associated
himself with it.

In 1939 George Jeffreys resigned from the Elim Movement, because his reform
policy was rejected by his fellow-governors.

In 1940 he founded the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship of free self-governing


churches, and he had the joy of seeing Pastors Stephen Jeffreys, W. J. Jeffreys,
Edward Jeffreys, and himself all standing together for the principles of the
Christian democratic church within the Fellowship.

In 1943 Stephen Jeffreys died and Edward Jeffreys decided to write his father’s
life-story. His fellow-ministers in the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship looked
forward to the publication of this book, for it would surely be a medium for
spreading the truth concerning his father’s stand for free self-governing
churches.
In 1945 George Jeffreys, who had been negotiating with his nephew, Edward, for
the purchase of the Evangel Temple, Southport, for the congregation
worshipping in it, was shocked to learn that Edward Jeffreys had secretly sold
the property to Elim and had given Elim the publication of his father’s life-story.

WHY?

The questions may be asked: Why did Edward Jeffreys react so drastically from
the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship, of which he had been a minister, and sell
the

Evangel Temple, Southport, to Elim? And why did his book omit such
significant facts and lend itself so conveniently to bolster up the centrally-
controlled Elim Movement, the principles of which were poles apart from those
held by his deceased father? It would be futile for one mortal to attempt to
plumb the depths of another mortal’s soul, or to assess the motives that govern
his behaviour. Edward Jeffreys has himself revealed that prior to the publication
of his father’s life-story he had an interview of several hours’ duration with Mr.
E. J. Phillips, Secretary-General of the Elim Alliance. What effect that long
interview had upon Edward Jeffreys can best be told by himself. One thing is
certain, it was held in secret, George Jeffreys knew nothing of these transactions
until some time after they had been settled.

The big blunders in connection with the Elim organisation have been done in
secret, as George Jeffreys himself has shown with great candour. There would
have been no undisclosed trusts to Elim Church property all over the land, and
no binding Deed Poll of 1934, if the leaders at Elim Headquarters had allowed
Elim Church people their God-given right to be consulted. Such secrecy would
not have been possible if the churches had been self-governing under elected
Elders and Deacons, after the Biblical Pattern.

The candid inquirer is bound to ask the reason for all this. Is it because George
Jeffreys has placed his finger upon the one thing that guarantees the dominance
of a clerical caste in the Elim Movement and that ensures their Babylonish
control over the people? In Protestantism as in Rome, in Nonconformity as in
Establishment, the final bulwark of a priestly hierarchy is clerical central control.
Destroy that control and you put the axe to the root of the Babylonish tree. That
is what George Jeffreys’ Reform Policy does.
FALSE REPORTS

Not only at home but abroad also the dissemination of false reports has done its
deadly work. As a result people hold the strangest ideas about George Jeffreys. A
medical missionary, returning on furlough from China, was asked by a group of
indigenous churches in the land of his adoption to form a link of fellowship
between themselves and a similar group of churches in Britain. In the course of
his inquiries he asked about Elim and learned about George Jeffreys’ resignation.
When he asked why, his informant told him it was over British-Israelism! Only
later did he hear the whole story and, to his abounding delight, discover that in
the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship he had found the link that his Chinese
brethren longed for. But that misrepresentation nearly clouded the issue for him!

Recently, while visiting Northern Ireland, I was sought out by members of an


Elim church where I had formerly ministered. In all seriousness they asked me if
it were true that George Jeffreys had become Unitarian and a believer in the
theory of ultimate reconciliation. That was their latest knowledge of their former
Leader!

A fellow-minister writes in a recent article on conditions in France: “It shocked


us to learn that a report had been circulated in France from a source in the
homeland, and by persons who surely must know the truth to be otherwise, that
George Jeffreys no longer preached the Gospel, had renounced Pentecostal
teaching, and was occupied only in preaching what our dear friends expressed as
‘ The Jewish Question ’ . . . The grievous evil of a false report, spread abroad to
cloud the Principal’s stand for free self-governing churches according to the
Scriptural Pattern, can be somewhat realised when it is known, as we learned,
that this particular one had such an effect upon a convocation of ministers that
although the services of an Evangelist were much needed for the furtherance of
Christ’s work, and it was purposed to invite Principal Jeffreys, he and his
ministry were precluded.”

A WIDER CAMPAIGN?

Still more recent happenings indicate that the anti-reform campaign is being
widened. An official announcement in the Elim Evangel of a new paper
(Pentecost), edited and published by Mr. Donald Gee and printed by Victory
Press, Clapham (another name for Elim Publishing Co., Ltd.), who have been
appointed by Mr. Gee as his distributors and agents to act on his behalf in view
of his itinerating ministry, brings Lewi Pethrus and his Scandinavian brethren
under fire. I quote the first paragraph from the announcement: “One of the most
important decisions of the World Conference of Pentecostal Churches held at
Zurich in May of this year (1947) was the publication of an international
Pentecostal magazine. A proposal for a World Fellowship having been
withdrawn in the interests of unity, owing to the opposition of our Scandinavian
brethren, it was felt that a quarterly magazine containing news of the home and
overseas activities of the various Pentecostal bodies throughout the five
continents would do much to foster world-wide fellowship.”

On the very face of it this is unutterably bad logic. How could a proposal for a
World Fellowship be withdrawn in the interests of unity? Fellowship is unity! To
say “A proposal for a World Fellowship having been withdrawn in the interests
of unity” is equivalent to saying “A proposal for a World Fellowship having been
withdrawn in the interests of fellowship,” which, of course, is the utmost
nonsense. When it is remembered that Lewi Pethrus, the man who so graciously
did the opposing, was the very one who proposed the magazine “to foster world-
wide fellowship,” the statement passes the limits of absurdity.

Apart from that, however, this construing of the Zurich Conference is utterly
false both to the Scandinavian brethren themselves and to the facts. What the
Scandinavians really opposed was the determination to set up an official central
bureau somewhere in Europe. Their conviction as to the unscripturalness and the
menace of any ecclesiastical organisation other than the local church prompted
their opposition. In Mr. Gee’s words, “it was a matter of conscience with them.”
Lewi Pethrus earnestly pleaded with the Conference to refuse the central bureau
lest it should frustrate all hope of World Fellowship. The Scandinavians refused
the central bureau because they coveted world fellowship, and pressed for the
magazine for the same reason.

The Elim Evangel announcement has thus placed the Bible-honouring free-
churchmen of Scandinavia in a false light. Is this the first act of a campaign by
the centralised organisations to undermine the influence of the beloved and
respected leaders of Biblical freedom in Scandinavia and “to foster” not, indeed,
“world-wide fellowship,” but a world organisation with an almighty central
bureau?

Moreover, the very fact that the Victory Press, the publishing establishment of
the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, the governors of which are the revealed
enemies of free churches, have become printers, distributors and acting agents of
Pentecost on behalf of Mr. Gee, is a sign of danger to those who love the biblical
freedom of churches. For central religious organisations have an insatiable lust
to acquire more and more power over more and more projects.

These facts—the widespread propagation of half-truths and falsehood about


George Jeffreys’ Reform Policy, the utilisation of a book which omits the facts
concerning Stephen Jeffreys’ association with his brother’s Free Church
Fellowship and attempts to displace George Jeffreys as the creator (under God)
of the Elim Revival Movement, and a wider campaign to acquire greater and
greater power—are significant signs of the policy to which the Elim Governors
have been driven. Our Lord’s indictment of the religious authorities of His day is
certainly relevant here: “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key
of knowledge : ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye
hindered.” (Luke 11:52).

The Elim Governors are in danger of meriting the same condemnation. Having
personally rejected the reforms which came to them through the testimony of
George Jeffreys, Founder and former Leader of Elim, they now seek to hide
those reforms from others. Such a policy, in the nature of the case, is a slippery
slope leading from one dubious action to another, and what may not be the end
of it?

CONCLUSION

THERE are many, doubtless, who though they are disturbed at the despotic
tendencies of all forms of central control in religion are, nevertheless, stumbled
by the word “Democracy” in connection with the church of Jesus Christ. Surely,
they argue, the church is at bottom, a Theocracy. Christ is its only Head. The
final authority in all matters ecclesiastical is our Lord Himself.

DEMOCRACY OR THEOCRACY?

Let us try to deal squarely with this sincere objection. We will begin by
accepting the fact that the church is a Theocracy. The New Testament uniformly
and emphatically affirms that “Christ is the Head of the church which is His
body.” The supreme Sovereignty is vested not in bishops, presbyters or
congregations, but in Jesus Christ. Now the essential question for consideration
is: How is Christ’s Sovereignty to be exercised? How does the Theocracy work?
How can we bring the truth down from the clouds into the realm of practical
church affairs?

A ready answer is, of course, forthcoming: “The Holy Scriptures! God has
revealed His Will for man in the Bible and, in particular, the mind of the great
Head of the church is disclosed in the writings of the Apostles.” Again we are
disposed to agree, but again we are compelled to murmur that though this has
brought us nearer to earth it leaves us, nevertheless, still in the clouds. We must
ask a further question: In view of almost infinite interpretations of God’s
revealed Will in Holy Scripture who is to decide the interpretation? God has
spoken, but who is to explain His exact meaning and who is to settle particular
applications of given principles? “The Holy Spirit, of course! He is sent to guide
us into all truth.”

This answer, however, has merely shot us upward into the clouds again. How are
we to know when the Holy Spirit is guiding? Who are to “try the spirits,”
dividing the false interpretations and applications from the true? You will see, I
think, that unless we are to abandon all hope of a really practical medium for the
working of a Theocracy we are driven to confess that the only medium is the
human mind. The Mind of Christ coming to us through Holy Scripture and by
the guidance of the Holy Spirit, must be interpreted and judged, ultimately, by
the human mind.

Our final question, therefore, to those who plead for Theocracy, is: “Who are the
minds who thus must judge? Who are the ones in whom, if we are to be
practical, ultimate responsibility must be vested? If we are to have a church at all
we clearly are driven to commit ourselves to some form of church government.
In the final analysis you must accept the Mind of Christ through the minds of a
group of bishops (or their equivalent), or of a class of presbyters (or their
equivalent), or of a congregation of Christian believers. If you disavow them all,
claiming that you are personally “led of the Spirit,” you must abandon all
thought of a church, all interest in fellowship, and become an individualist pure
and simple. And even then you have not dispensed with the human mind—for
the supposed leading of the Spirit has certainly come to you through your own
mind. How can it have come otherwise?

Granted that the church is a Theocracy, how does the Theocracy become
practical? There are three historic answers: the episcopal system, the
presbyterian system, and the congregational system. In the first two systems a
special group of ordained men are the presumed medium; in the latter each local
community is the presumed medium. In the first two systems the Mind of Christ
filters through to the church, and His Will is imposed upon it, from a select few
who are responsible only to God—which means in practice, responsible only to
themselves as a class; in the last-named Christ is assumed to be resident in each
local community to express His Will directly. The former are oligarchies; that is,
the sovereignty is vested in the clerical few; the latter are Christian democracies,
that is, the sovereignty is vested in the Christian people.

PUTTING THE AXE TO THE ROOT OF THE TREE

Now we have argued, and have endeavoured to illustrate by modem example,


that ecclesiastical oligarchy tends to tyranny; that clerical central control of any
kind is a menace to the fundamental rights of Christian man. If we are to
eliminate the spirit of intolerance from the Christian church we must put the axe
to the root of the tree. We must abolish clerical oligarchy, and vest the
sovereignty in the Christian communities. We must democratise the church!
Doctrine must be decided, ministers must be appointed, finances must be
controlled, not by an outside and untouchable body of priests, pastors or
presbyters, but by the local God-indwelt communities.

Furthermore, the local communities must be given Trust Deeds by which their
rights will be preserved and their control of their own church buildings for ever
secured. It should be evident from the story we have told that unless such Trust
Deeds are given, the freedom of the people is always in peril. To assure their
freedom from outside interference and tyranny they must be in possession of
proper Trust Deeds which will guarantee it.

THE CROSS-LIFE FOR MINISTERS

Such a revolution calls for a great renunciation upon the part of Christian
ministers. Under a central government system the servants of Jesus Christ
possess a legally-backed authority and, with it, a security of which there is no
trace in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. They operate a system that is
ideal for those who wish to “lord it over God’s heritage.” History shows that it
lends itself to despotism. Therefore should not good and honourable ministers of
Christ who love the Church be willing to abandon the system whatever they
themselves lose in the process? Here is a magnificent opportunity for the
minister of Christ to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow” his Lord.
The way of separation from worldly power and material security is “the way the
Master trod; should not the servant tread it still?” “Christ loved the church and
gave himself for it” to save it from sin and doom. Ought not the faithful minister
who loves the church to be ready to “give himself” also, to save it from the
menace of a system that lends itself to tyranny?

REFORM AND REVIVAL

Who can tell what influence for good a mass ministerial renunciation of their
power and securities would have upon the non-Christian public? The world is
supremely cynical of Christianity at this very point. The superior pretensions, the
intolerance, the accumulated material resources and securities of the clerical
followers of the lowly Nazarene sicken “the publican and sinner.” When civil
revolutions occur, as in Russia, it is this very thing upon which the insurgents
vent their wrath. A reform in church government might mean a religious revival.
At the least it could mean a revival of respect for the church!

A leading evangelical has declared that church government has nothing to do


with religious revival; that God has blessed all forms of government,
episcopalian, presbyterian and congregational alike. One is tempted to remark
that it is of the nature of God to “make His sun to rise on the evil and on the
good,” and “to send rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). We
cannot argue from that, however, that God is equally pleased with the evil and
the good, or with all forms of church government. If God created man in
freedom, surely He smiles approvingly upon all respect for that freedom, and is
grieved by all that menaces it?

We venture to suggest that forms of church government can become expressions


of sin. Sin is the refusal to live under God’s Sovereignty. It is saying “No” to
God’s revealed Will. It is spurning the light Once it becomes apparent to one that
a system is out of harmony with God’s order, that it frustrates the ends of
creation-in-freedom, that it serves the ends of despotism, it is impossible to
escape the conviction that to persist in it is to clash with the will of God and thus
to sin.

INDEPENDENCY NOT ISOLATION

Very real in some earnest Christian minds is the fear that independency makes
for isolation. They argue that whereas organisations that are controlled from the
centre necessarily keep together, churches that are self-governed lack co-
ordination and may perish in the wilderness of isolation. If the Body of Christ is
one Body, they say, the local churches should commune and co-operate.

Now let me say, at once, that here is a sentiment dear to my heart. The appeal to
one Holy Catholic Church always strikes a chord within me. Nevertheless we
must not be deceived. The co-ordinated efforts of a centrally governed
denomination are certainly not the united action of the one Holy Catholic
Church, but at the most of only a part of it. Just as there can be independent
congregations in sad isolation, there can be centrally controlled systems in sad
isolation likewise. There are, in point of fact, many such systems in the British
Isles alone. Whole systems are as isolated from each other as individual
churches are. One may represent a religious denomination in a large city, as
pastor of a church, and yet be utterly lonely and cut off from other churches in
the same city. Clearly the efficient co-ordination of centrally governed systems is
not the happy communion of the Body of Christ.

MATERIAL STUMBLING-BLOCKS TO FELLOWSHIP

I want to go further, however, and say that there are greater stumbling-blocks to
the realisation of Catholic Christian fellowship in centrally controlled systems
than in independent congregations. As they enlarge, such systems are driven to
think more and more in terms of property and finance. Their trusteeships compel
them to consider always the economic security of the organisation —which
really means, as we have seen, the economic security of the Governors. It does
not take much imagination to see that such an attitude develops a competitive
spirit amongst the centralised bodies. And it is this competitive spirit, I venture
to suggest, however it is camouflaged, that is the real stumbling-block to
adequate communion and co-operation. The prosperity of the movement governs
all.

The objection might be raised that the same stumbling-block exists in the
independent communities. Perhaps it does, but it is reduced to its smallest
possible point. It is easier to transcend this spirit in a local church than in a
centrally controlled incorporated body with ever-enlarging vested interests. The
real hindrance to fellowship amongst the local communities is ignorance of the
nature of the church as the body of Christ. Enlighten the people as to God’s Will
in the matter, show them that all Christians are one in Christ Jesus and that
segregated denominational camps are an unnatural schism in the body, and you
have swept away the greatest hindrance to fellowship amongst independent
communities.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

English history shows that if reform is to come at all, it must come from the
people. Neither hierarchies nor squirearchies have ever surrendered their power
gratuitously. In church and in State freedom has only been won as the people
have awakened to it and claimed it.

Democratic reforms are the offspring of a deep sense of moral responsibility. As


D. R. Davies says: “A true democratic community demands a maximum of the
spirit of personal responsibility. This is the dominating moral necessity of any
real democracy.” (Footnote: “Divine Judgment in Human History,” P. 57. D. R.
Davies.) The average church-member is woefully lacking in this “spirit of
personal responsibility.” All that he asks is that his tastes in religion shall be
adequately met. The choir must serve up the right music and the preacher must
supply the right ministry. If he cannot get it at one church there is a church round
the corner where he can. In any case he can always stay at home and listen to the
wireless. He is too indifferent, too utterly lacking in the sense of moral
responsibility, to rise up and play his part in the life of the church. And while he
sleeps injustices pile up.

Such lethargy kills the hope of reform. Despotism flourishes, exploitation goes
on, simply because there is so little of the spirit of personal responsibility
amongst Christians. Not so with our dissenting forbears “who resisted unto
blood.” “The foundation of democracy,” writes Professor Tawney in Religion
and the Rise of Capitalism, “is the sense of spiritual independence, which nerves
the individual to stand alone against the powers of this world, and in England
where squire and parson, lifting arrogant eyebrows at the insolence of the lower
orders, combined to crush popular agitation, as a menace at once to society and
to the church, it is probable that democracy owes more to Nonconformity than to
any other single movement.” (Footnote: “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism,”
p. 221. R. H. Tawney.)

THE DYNAMIC OF FREEDOM

The fathers of Nonconformity knew that they were children of God. They
themselves, and not merely the clerics, were “kings and priests unto God.” That
conviction aroused within them a consciousness of their spiritual dignity and
responsibility. They did not need a gradation of priests to mediate between
themselves and God. The commonest layman was himself a king and a priest.
The local churches were communities of such, and God Himself was in the midst
of them to receive their simple worship and bestow His grace and power.

This profound sense of personal dignity which made them feel their spiritual
independence of hierarchies, nerved them to claim their freedom, to throw off
the tyrannies that bound them.

Modern despotisms can only be met in the same spirit. Let the Christian people
be awakened to their own essential dignity and worth as God-indwelt
communities, and there will be aroused within them, correspondingly, a spirit of
personal responsibility. Then they will not keep silent! They will rise up to claim
their heritage.

OPPORTUNITY FOR TYRANNY

All tyrannies, civil and ecclesiastical, flourish on man’s dislike of responsibility.


In Dostoyevsky’s great novel The Brothers Karamasov there is a remarkable
chapter entitled “The Grand Inquisitor.” It is the substance of a poem, a fantasy,
told by Ivan to his brother Alyosha. The Grand Inquisitor is a very old man, a
cardinal, in charge of the Inquisition at Seville. One day, after a hundred heretics
had been burnt at the stake “to the glory of God,” Christ appears in Seville and is
recognised by the people. Everywhere He goes grace and power flow from Him
and people are healed and comforted. But the Inquisitor has Christ arrested, and
that night he interrogates Him in the dungeon. He reproaches Christ because He
gave to man the intolerable gift of freedom, a burden which man cannot bear. He
declares that at the temptation in the wilderness, when Christ had refused to bind
man by mystery, miracle and authority, He had made a terrible mistake. But the
Roman Catholic Church, says the old man, has reversed the decision. “We
accepted from Satan that which Thou rejectedst. We invite men, we compel men
to renounce their freedom in order to be happy. And because men are too weak
to bear the burden of responsibility, because they cannot stand freedom, they will
crawl fawning to our feet and whine to us. People will always come to us in
order to get away from Thee! ”

Beyond doubt that is the way, not only of Roman Catholicism, but of all coercive
authority. It offers men peace for submission, and, in very truth, to go that way is
to go away from Christ. God created man in freedom; Christ respects that
freedom. When ministers of Christ form ecclesiastical systems that tend towards
tyranny they are reversing the great wilderness decision, they are deserting the
way of Christ. And when Christian people passively accept such systems they
are casting away their God-given dignity, they too are renouncing the way of
Christ. Christ wants the love of free men! He wants the loyalty of free
communities! Therefore, democratise the church!

Perish all that fears the light; Whether losing, whether winning, Trust in God and
do the right.”

—Norman MacLeod.

George Jeffreys took his stand for reforms the Governors at Elim Headquarters
have grasped every opportunity to blind the Pentecostal people as to the
significance of his Reforming Movement. An accumulation of facts, some of
them small and apparently insignificant in themselves but others weighty, point
in this direction. It is necessary for us to deal with the publication of the
biography, Stephen Jeffreys, The Beloved Evangelist, written by his son Edward
Jeffreys, and made and printed by the Elim Publishing Co., Ltd. Though it is a
vivid account of the career of a mighty evangelist, the brother of George
Jeffreys, the story is astonishingly incomplete, for the author omits facts of vital
importance to the Pentecostal people whom Stephen Jeffreys loved and served.
Furthermore, it is patent that this incomplete story is utilised by the Elim
Governors, because it lends itself so conveniently to their fixed purpose to
frustrate George Jeffreys’ Reform Policy.

Stephen Jeffreys throughout his ministry had very little room for central
governors of any kind. His association with Elim as a salaried evangelist under
Headquarters’ rules and regulations was of very short duration. He conducted
only a few campaigns under this arrangement before he rebelled against the
system and commenced his great pioneering work for the Assemblies of God.

Edward Jeffreys, in recording his father’s breach with Elim Headquarters in


1925, gives the impression that thereafter the Brothers Jeffreys went their
devious ways without further association, whereas in later years Stephen Jeffreys
was a tower of strength behind his brother George for reforms in Elim. He
condemned the actions of Elim Governors in forcing Godly pastors and their
congregations out of Elim church buildings and in freezing the funds of churches
at their local banks, and he was appalled at the half-truth propaganda sent out
from Elim Headquarters to blind the Elim people. All these facts have been
omitted in Edward Jeffreys’ story of his father’s life.

The “Stephen Jeffreys’ Memorial Number” of The Pattern (December, 1943)


contained a short article by George Jeffreys which shows how closely united the
brothers had latterly been for the freedom of the churches.

“AN INSPIRING VISION”

By Principal George Jeffreys

“In our heart-to-heart talks during latter years, my beloved brother, Pastor
Stephen Jeffreys, and I often expressed mutual regret that we had not seen the
full Scriptural vision of free self-governing churches right from the beginning of
our God-given ministries. Had we, and others, who were called of God to serve
as pioneers and leaders in the Pentecostal Movement, seen the vision of the one
body, with its members gathered together in free self-governing churches as our
dear Pastor Lewi Pethrus, of Sweden, had seen it, the history of the Pentecostal
Movement in the British Isles would have been vastly different. There would
have been one great Pentecostal Movement instead of the various sections.

“Pentecost has demonstrated that it is far too big for sectarian frontiers, and that
its leaders, clothed with power and graced with gifts, are called to fields of
service far beyond the narrow confines of any one particular sect.

“Desires expressed in those heart-to-heart talks were laid before our Lord in
prayer. Had it been our Heavenly Father’s Will to miraculously restore my dear
brother to health, how it would have rejoiced my heart to have had him at my
side, boldly declaring this full Scriptural vision of freedom for God’s people!
But it has pleased God to take him, and we can only say, ‘ Thy will be done.’

“It is the privilege of those who remain to go on winning souls for Christ, and
after winning them, to teach them to conform to the Scriptural Pattern of Holy
Ghost Churches, free from the bondage of organised religion.

“What should we not be willing to sacrifice to see the sectarian walls disappear
in Pentecost and the greater Pentecostal Revival come!”

No reference to this inspiring vision is to be found in the book.


A REGRETTABLE FEATURE

There is a further regrettable feature about Edward Jeffreys’ book. Elim people
everywhere will be astounded at the obvious attempt to blot out the fact that
George Jeffreys was the creative genius of the Elim Revival Movement. It is
clear that the book is intended to sow the idea in the mind of the reader that not
George Jeffreys, but Stephen Jeffreys, was the pioneer of this revival movement
which stirred the towns .and cities of Britain and Ireland in the pre-Munich
years. It will come as a shock to Elim people to learn that, after all the tributes
and eulogies which the Elim Governors have put forth concerning George
Jeffreys as the dynamic Founder and Leader of the Elim Movement for a quarter
of a century, they have now identified themselves with ,a book which sets forth
their “beloved Principal” merely as a prudent organiser and exploiter of his
brother’s successes. For instance, on page 42 Edward Jeffreys writes: “George
Jeffreys was undoubtedly gifted as an organiser . . .” and “also gifted as a Bible
teacher.” Then on page 47: “. . . the Elim Movement could justly claim in 1922
to have at their disposal a man (Stephen Jeffreys) who has been chosen of God
with evangelistic gifts of outstanding ability. I well remember my father telling
me of his decision to join Elim as their evangelist ... In the year 1922 the Elim
Movement began to blaze through the amazing campaigns conducted by my
father.” On page 51: “... when my father’s brother, George Jeffreys, took the East
Ham Town Hall he found a ready-made crowd of anxious and expectant people
waiting for him ... It was very easy to run a campaign in any part of London at
that time.”

Can it be doubted that these passages were purposely intended to convey to the
uninformed that Stephen Jeffreys was Elim’s pioneer, opening up the Elim work
which his brother George merely organised? These blinding expedients
conveniently serve the purpose of the Elim Governors who find it increasingly
inconvenient to face the truth that George Jeffreys, who founded the Elim
Movement in 1914 and who for twenty-five years constantly pioneered its
message throughout the British Isles, is now the reformer, openly denouncing the
evils of central dictatorship and championing the cause of freedom in the
hundreds of churches he has founded.

In George Jeffreys: A Ministry of the Miraculous, official publication of the


Elim Movement, Mr. E. C. W. Boulton, the author, gives 352 pages of reading
matter, profusely illustrated, to describe the phenomenal Elim pioneering
evangelistic campaigns conducted by George Jeffreys throughout the British
Isles. Furthermore, the Elim Evangel, official organ of the Elim Movement, for
years week after week glowingly eulogised the man and his missions. And now
Mr. Boulton and his fellow-governors associate themselves so intimately with a
book that has omitted so much and which puts George Jeffreys and his work in a
quite different light.

WHO CREATED ELIM?

Both Edward Jeffreys and E. C. W. Boulton (who writes a tribute to Stephen


Jeffreys in Edward Jeffreys’ book) imply that up to 1925 Elim was but a
struggling cause and that at his Barking Campaign in 1925 Stephen Jeffreys set
Elim ablaze with revival fire which was carefully fostered and exploited by his
brother George.

Edward Jeffreys writes on page 51 of his book: “It was the Barking Campaign
which laid the foundation for the great Elim churches all over London.” On page
66 of the book Mr. Boulton also seeks to emphasise this. These passages ignore
the fact that the first Elim Church in London, which laid the foundation for the
Elim churches in London, was established at Clapham as a result of the
pioneering evangelistic campaign of George Jeffreys and his Irish workers. The
Clapham Campaign was in 1921-22, whereas the Barking Campaign was not
until 1925.

Under the leadership of George Jeffreys, the Elim Tabernacle at Clapham with
hundreds of members, had been established as a live centre, and the printing and
publishing works had come into existence between the Clapham and Barking
Campaigns, and in the latter part of 1925 George Jeffreys acquired the extensive
premises, now known as the Elim Bible College, for the Movement.

Mr. Boulton in George Jeffreys: A Ministry of the Miraculous, devotes twelve


whole pages to describe the marvels of this first London Elim pioneering
campaign at Clapham, and on page 91 he writes: “Ever since it (Elim
Tabernacle, Clapham) was opened it has been a centre of blessing from which
lasting good has streamed to Other needy districts, until to-day it proudly claims
the honour of being the parent of many another Elim church in London and its
environs.”

Pastor P. N. Corry, when an Elim Executive Council member and Dean of the
Elim Bible College, wrote concerning Clapham in the Elim Coming-of-Age
Souvenir, page 35: “To this city of so many broken hearts and in which it is so
easy to be buried alive, came Principal Jeffreys and the Elim Alliance in 1922.
The building taken was unpretentious, the street more or less a backwater, and
far from central, yet within a month one report .said that the old church had been
converted into a real apostolic centre. The work captured the hearts of Cockneys
just as firmly as it did the loyal Orangemen of Ulster, and soon the news of
blessing was blazed abroad. Clapham became the Mecca of hungry hearts, the
birthplace of precious souls, and the pioneer house of prayer for a mighty move
throughout the County of London. Towards the end of the year the church was
renovated, the outside as well as the inside being transformed, and with much
joy it became the first-fruits of many other places of worship throughout the
capital.”

Seeing it was formerly the custom of the Elim Governors to pile up eulogies
concerning George Jeffreys, to describe his Clapham Campaign of 1921-22 as
the fountain-source of the London revival, and to speak of the Clapham church
thus founded as “the parent of many another Elim church in London and its
environs,” as “a real apostolic centre,” “the Mecca of hungry hearts,” “the
pioneer house of prayer for a mighty move throughout the County of London,”
and “the first-fruits of many other places of worship throughout the capital” —
how in all honesty can they now identify themselves with a book which, in
effect, substitutes Stephen for George and Barking for Clapham ?

In 1925 Stephen Jeffreys left the Elim Movement and never again associated
himself with it.

In 1939 George Jeffreys resigned from the Elim Movement, because his reform
policy was rejected by his fellow-governors.

In 1940 he founded the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship of free self-governing


churches, and he had the joy of seeing Pastors Stephen Jeffreys, W. J. Jeffreys,
Edward Jeffreys, and himself all standing together for the principles of the
Christian democratic church within the Fellowship.

In 1943 Stephen Jeffreys died and Edward Jeffreys decided to write his father’s
life-story. His fellow-ministers in the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship looked
forward to the publication of this book, for it would surely be a medium for
spreading the truth concerning his father’s stand for free self-governing
churches.
In 1945 George Jeffreys, who had been negotiating with his nephew, Edward, for
the purchase of the Evangel Temple, Southport, for the congregation
worshipping in it, was shocked to learn that Edward Jeffreys had secretly sold
the property to Elim and had given Elim the publication of his father’s life-story.

WHY?

The questions may be asked: Why did Edward Jeffreys react so drastically from
the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship, of which he had been a minister, and sell
the

Evangel Temple, Southport, to Elim? And why did his book omit such
significant facts and lend itself so conveniently to bolster up the centrally-
controlled Elim Movement, the principles of which were poles apart from those
held by his deceased father? It would be futile for one mortal to attempt to
plumb the depths of another mortal’s soul, or to assess the motives that govern
his behaviour. Edward Jeffreys has himself revealed that prior to the publication
of his father’s life-story he had an interview of several hours’ duration with Mr.
E. J. Phillips, Secretary-General of the Elim Alliance. What effect that long
interview had upon Edward Jeffreys can best be told by himself. One thing is
certain, it was held in secret, George Jeffreys knew nothing of these transactions
until some time after they had been settled.

The big blunders in connection with the Elim organisation have been done in
secret, as George Jeffreys himself has shown with great candour. There would
have been no undisclosed trusts to Elim Church property all over the land, and
no binding Deed Poll of 1934, if the leaders at Elim Headquarters had allowed
Elim Church people their God-given right to be consulted. Such secrecy would
not have been possible if the churches had been self-governing under elected
Elders and Deacons, after the Biblical Pattern.

The candid inquirer is bound to ask the reason for all this. Is it because George
Jeffreys has placed his finger upon the one thing that guarantees the dominance
of a clerical caste in the Elim Movement and that ensures their Babylonish
control over the people? In Protestantism as in Rome, in Nonconformity as in
Establishment, the final bulwark of a priestly hierarchy is clerical central control.
Destroy that control and you put the axe to the root of the Babylonish tree. That
is what George Jeffreys’ Reform Policy does.
FALSE REPORTS

Not only at home but abroad also the dissemination of false reports has done its
deadly work. As a result people hold the strangest ideas about George Jeffreys. A
medical missionary, returning on furlough from China, was asked by a group of
indigenous churches in the land of his adoption to form a link of fellowship
between themselves and a similar group of churches in Britain. In the course of
his inquiries he asked about Elim and learned about George Jeffreys’ resignation.
When he asked why, his informant told him it was over British-Israelism! Only
later did he hear the whole story and, to his abounding delight, discover that in
the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship he had found the link that his Chinese
brethren longed for. But that misrepresentation nearly clouded the issue for him!

Recently, while visiting Northern Ireland, I was sought out by members of an


Elim church where I had formerly ministered. In all seriousness they asked me if
it were true that George Jeffreys had become Unitarian and a believer in the
theory of ultimate reconciliation. That was their latest knowledge of their former
Leader!

A fellow-minister writes in a recent article on conditions in France: “It shocked


us to learn that a report had been circulated in France from a source in the
homeland, and by persons who surely must know the truth to be otherwise, that
George Jeffreys no longer preached the Gospel, had renounced Pentecostal
teaching, and was occupied only in preaching what our dear friends expressed as
‘ The Jewish Question ’ . . . The grievous evil of a false report, spread abroad to
cloud the Principal’s stand for free self-governing churches according to the
Scriptural Pattern, can be somewhat realised when it is known, as we learned,
that this particular one had such an effect upon a convocation of ministers that
although the services of an Evangelist were much needed for the furtherance of
Christ’s work, and it was purposed to invite Principal Jeffreys, he and his
ministry were precluded.”

A WIDER CAMPAIGN?

Still more recent happenings indicate that the anti-reform campaign is being
widened. An official announcement in the Elim Evangel of a new paper
(Pentecost), edited and published by Mr. Donald Gee and printed by Victory
Press, Clapham (another name for Elim Publishing Co., Ltd.), who have been
appointed by Mr. Gee as his distributors and agents to act on his behalf in view
of his itinerating ministry, brings Lewi Pethrus and his Scandinavian brethren
under fire. I quote the first paragraph from the announcement: “One of the most
important decisions of the World Conference of Pentecostal Churches held at
Zurich in May of this year (1947) was the publication of an international
Pentecostal magazine. A proposal for a World Fellowship having been
withdrawn in the interests of unity, owing to the opposition of our Scandinavian
brethren, it was felt that a quarterly magazine containing news of the home and
overseas activities of the various Pentecostal bodies throughout the five
continents would do much to foster world-wide fellowship.”

On the very face of it this is unutterably bad logic. How could a proposal for a
World Fellowship be withdrawn in the interests of unity? Fellowship is unity! To
say “A proposal for a World Fellowship having been withdrawn in the interests
of unity” is equivalent to saying “A proposal for a World Fellowship having been
withdrawn in the interests of fellowship,” which, of course, is the utmost
nonsense. When it is remembered that Lewi Pethrus, the man who so graciously
did the opposing, was the very one who proposed the magazine “to foster world-
wide fellowship,” the statement passes the limits of absurdity.

Apart from that, however, this construing of the Zurich Conference is utterly
false both to the Scandinavian brethren themselves and to the facts. What the
Scandinavians really opposed was the determination to set up an official central
bureau somewhere in Europe. Their conviction as to the unscripturalness and the
menace of any ecclesiastical organisation other than the local church prompted
their opposition. In Mr. Gee’s words, “it was a matter of conscience with them.”
Lewi Pethrus earnestly pleaded with the Conference to refuse the central bureau
lest it should frustrate all hope of World Fellowship. The Scandinavians refused
the central bureau because they coveted world fellowship, and pressed for the
magazine for the same reason.

The Elim Evangel announcement has thus placed the Bible-honouring free-
churchmen of Scandinavia in a false light. Is this the first act of a campaign by
the centralised organisations to undermine the influence of the beloved and
respected leaders of Biblical freedom in Scandinavia and “to foster” not, indeed,
“world-wide fellowship,” but a world organisation with an almighty central
bureau?

Moreover, the very fact that the Victory Press, the publishing establishment of
the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, the governors of which are the revealed
enemies of free churches, have become printers, distributors and acting agents of
Pentecost on behalf of Mr. Gee, is a sign of danger to those who love the biblical
freedom of churches. For central religious organisations have an insatiable lust
to acquire more and more power over more and more projects.

These facts—the widespread propagation of half-truths and falsehood about


George Jeffreys’ Reform Policy, the utilisation of a book which omits the facts
concerning Stephen Jeffreys’ association with his brother’s Free Church
Fellowship and attempts to displace George Jeffreys as the creator (under God)
of the Elim Revival Movement, and a wider campaign to acquire greater and
greater power—are significant signs of the policy to which the Elim Governors
have been driven. Our Lord’s indictment of the religious authorities of His day is
certainly relevant here: “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key
of knowledge : ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye
hindered.” (Luke 11:52).

The Elim Governors are in danger of meriting the same condemnation. Having
personally rejected the reforms which came to them through the testimony of
George Jeffreys, Founder and former Leader of Elim, they now seek to hide
those reforms from others. Such a policy, in the nature of the case, is a slippery
slope leading from one dubious action to another, and what may not be the end
of it?

CONCLUSION

THERE are many, doubtless, who though they are disturbed at the despotic
tendencies of all forms of central control in religion are, nevertheless, stumbled
by the word “Democracy” in connection with the church of Jesus Christ. Surely,
they argue, the church is at bottom, a Theocracy. Christ is its only Head. The
final authority in all matters ecclesiastical is our Lord Himself.

DEMOCRACY OR THEOCRACY?

Let us try to deal squarely with this sincere objection. We will begin by
accepting the fact that the church is a Theocracy. The New Testament uniformly
and emphatically affirms that “Christ is the Head of the church which is His
body.” The supreme Sovereignty is vested not in bishops, presbyters or
congregations, but in Jesus Christ. Now the essential question for consideration
is: How is Christ’s Sovereignty to be exercised? How does the Theocracy work?
How can we bring the truth down from the clouds into the realm of practical
church affairs?

A ready answer is, of course, forthcoming: “The Holy Scriptures! God has
revealed His Will for man in the Bible and, in particular, the mind of the great
Head of the church is disclosed in the writings of the Apostles.” Again we are
disposed to agree, but again we are compelled to murmur that though this has
brought us nearer to earth it leaves us, nevertheless, still in the clouds. We must
ask a further question: In view of almost infinite interpretations of God’s
revealed Will in Holy Scripture who is to decide the interpretation? God has
spoken, but who is to explain His exact meaning and who is to settle particular
applications of given principles? “The Holy Spirit, of course! He is sent to guide
us into all truth.”

This answer, however, has merely shot us upward into the clouds again. How are
we to know when the Holy Spirit is guiding? Who are to “try the spirits,”
dividing the false interpretations and applications from the true? You will see, I
think, that unless we are to abandon all hope of a really practical medium for the
working of a Theocracy we are driven to confess that the only medium is the
human mind. The Mind of Christ coming to us through Holy Scripture and by
the guidance of the Holy Spirit, must be interpreted and judged, ultimately, by
the human mind.

Our final question, therefore, to those who plead for Theocracy, is: “Who are the
minds who thus must judge? Who are the ones in whom, if we are to be
practical, ultimate responsibility must be vested? If we are to have a church at all
we clearly are driven to commit ourselves to some form of church government.
In the final analysis you must accept the Mind of Christ through the minds of a
group of bishops (or their equivalent), or of a class of presbyters (or their
equivalent), or of a congregation of Christian believers. If you disavow them all,
claiming that you are personally “led of the Spirit,” you must abandon all
thought of a church, all interest in fellowship, and become an individualist pure
and simple. And even then you have not dispensed with the human mind—for
the supposed leading of the Spirit has certainly come to you through your own
mind. How can it have come otherwise?

Granted that the church is a Theocracy, how does the Theocracy become
practical? There are three historic answers: the episcopal system, the
presbyterian system, and the congregational system. In the first two systems a
special group of ordained men are the presumed medium; in the latter each local
community is the presumed medium. In the first two systems the Mind of Christ
filters through to the church, and His Will is imposed upon it, from a select few
who are responsible only to God—which means in practice, responsible only to
themselves as a class; in the last-named Christ is assumed to be resident in each
local community to express His Will directly. The former are oligarchies; that is,
the sovereignty is vested in the clerical few; the latter are Christian democracies,
that is, the sovereignty is vested in the Christian people.

PUTTING THE AXE TO THE ROOT OF THE TREE

Now we have argued, and have endeavoured to illustrate by modem example,


that ecclesiastical oligarchy tends to tyranny; that clerical central control of any
kind is a menace to the fundamental rights of Christian man. If we are to
eliminate the spirit of intolerance from the Christian church we must put the axe
to the root of the tree. We must abolish clerical oligarchy, and vest the
sovereignty in the Christian communities. We must democratise the church!
Doctrine must be decided, ministers must be appointed, finances must be
controlled, not by an outside and untouchable body of priests, pastors or
presbyters, but by the local God-indwelt communities.

Furthermore, the local communities must be given Trust Deeds by which their
rights will be preserved and their control of their own church buildings for ever
secured. It should be evident from the story we have told that unless such Trust
Deeds are given, the freedom of the people is always in peril. To assure their
freedom from outside interference and tyranny they must be in possession of
proper Trust Deeds which will guarantee it.

THE CROSS-LIFE FOR MINISTERS

Such a revolution calls for a great renunciation upon the part of Christian
ministers. Under a central government system the servants of Jesus Christ
possess a legally-backed authority and, with it, a security of which there is no
trace in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. They operate a system that is
ideal for those who wish to “lord it over God’s heritage.” History shows that it
lends itself to despotism. Therefore should not good and honourable ministers of
Christ who love the Church be willing to abandon the system whatever they
themselves lose in the process? Here is a magnificent opportunity for the
minister of Christ to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow” his Lord.
The way of separation from worldly power and material security is “the way the
Master trod; should not the servant tread it still?” “Christ loved the church and
gave himself for it” to save it from sin and doom. Ought not the faithful minister
who loves the church to be ready to “give himself” also, to save it from the
menace of a system that lends itself to tyranny?

REFORM AND REVIVAL

Who can tell what influence for good a mass ministerial renunciation of their
power and securities would have upon the non-Christian public? The world is
supremely cynical of Christianity at this very point. The superior pretensions, the
intolerance, the accumulated material resources and securities of the clerical
followers of the lowly Nazarene sicken “the publican and sinner.” When civil
revolutions occur, as in Russia, it is this very thing upon which the insurgents
vent their wrath. A reform in church government might mean a religious revival.
At the least it could mean a revival of respect for the church!

A leading evangelical has declared that church government has nothing to do


with religious revival; that God has blessed all forms of government,
episcopalian, presbyterian and congregational alike. One is tempted to remark
that it is of the nature of God to “make His sun to rise on the evil and on the
good,” and “to send rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). We
cannot argue from that, however, that God is equally pleased with the evil and
the good, or with all forms of church government. If God created man in
freedom, surely He smiles approvingly upon all respect for that freedom, and is
grieved by all that menaces it?

We venture to suggest that forms of church government can become expressions


of sin. Sin is the refusal to live under God’s Sovereignty. It is saying “No” to
God’s revealed Will. It is spurning the light Once it becomes apparent to one that
a system is out of harmony with God’s order, that it frustrates the ends of
creation-in-freedom, that it serves the ends of despotism, it is impossible to
escape the conviction that to persist in it is to clash with the will of God and thus
to sin.

INDEPENDENCY NOT ISOLATION

Very real in some earnest Christian minds is the fear that independency makes
for isolation. They argue that whereas organisations that are controlled from the
centre necessarily keep together, churches that are self-governed lack co-
ordination and may perish in the wilderness of isolation. If the Body of Christ is
one Body, they say, the local churches should commune and co-operate.

Now let me say, at once, that here is a sentiment dear to my heart. The appeal to
one Holy Catholic Church always strikes a chord within me. Nevertheless we
must not be deceived. The co-ordinated efforts of a centrally governed
denomination are certainly not the united action of the one Holy Catholic
Church, but at the most of only a part of it. Just as there can be independent
congregations in sad isolation, there can be centrally controlled systems in sad
isolation likewise. There are, in point of fact, many such systems in the British
Isles alone. Whole systems are as isolated from each other as individual
churches are. One may represent a religious denomination in a large city, as
pastor of a church, and yet be utterly lonely and cut off from other churches in
the same city. Clearly the efficient co-ordination of centrally governed systems is
not the happy communion of the Body of Christ.

MATERIAL STUMBLING-BLOCKS TO FELLOWSHIP

I want to go further, however, and say that there are greater stumbling-blocks to
the realisation of Catholic Christian fellowship in centrally controlled systems
than in independent congregations. As they enlarge, such systems are driven to
think more and more in terms of property and finance. Their trusteeships compel
them to consider always the economic security of the organisation —which
really means, as we have seen, the economic security of the Governors. It does
not take much imagination to see that such an attitude develops a competitive
spirit amongst the centralised bodies. And it is this competitive spirit, I venture
to suggest, however it is camouflaged, that is the real stumbling-block to
adequate communion and co-operation. The prosperity of the movement governs
all.

The objection might be raised that the same stumbling-block exists in the
independent communities. Perhaps it does, but it is reduced to its smallest
possible point. It is easier to transcend this spirit in a local church than in a
centrally controlled incorporated body with ever-enlarging vested interests. The
real hindrance to fellowship amongst the local communities is ignorance of the
nature of the church as the body of Christ. Enlighten the people as to God’s Will
in the matter, show them that all Christians are one in Christ Jesus and that
segregated denominational camps are an unnatural schism in the body, and you
have swept away the greatest hindrance to fellowship amongst independent
communities.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

English history shows that if reform is to come at all, it must come from the
people. Neither hierarchies

nor squirearchies have ever surrendered their power gratuitously. In church and
in State freedom has only been won as the people have awakened to it and
claimed it.

Democratic reforms are the offspring of a deep sense of moral responsibility. As


D. R. Davies says: “A true democratic community demands a maximum of the
spirit of personal responsibility. This is the dominating moral necessity of any
real democracy.” (Footnote: “Divine Judgment in Human History,” P. 57. D. R.
Davies. The average church-member is woefully lacking in this “spirit of
personal responsibility.” All that he asks is that his tastes in religion shall be
adequately met. The choir must serve up the right music and the preacher must
supply the right ministry. If he cannot get it at one church there is a church round
the corner where he can. In any case he can always stay at home and listen to the
wireless. He is too indifferent, too utterly lacking in the sense of moral
responsibility, to rise up and play his part in the life of the church. And while he
sleeps injustices pile up.

Such lethargy kills the hope of reform. Despotism flourishes, exploitation goes
on, simply because there is so little of the spirit of personal responsibility
amongst Christians. Not so with our dissenting forbears “who resisted unto
blood.” “The foundation of democracy,” writes Professor Tawney in Religion
and the Rise of Capitalism, “is the sense of spiritual independence, which nerves
the individual to stand alone against the powers of this world, and in England
where squire and parson, lifting arrogant eyebrows at the insolence of the lower
orders, combined to crush popular agitation, as a menace at once to society and
to the church, it is probable that democracy owes more to Nonconformity than to
any other single movement.” (Footnote: “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism,”
p. 221. R. H. Tawney.)

THE DYNAMIC OF FREEDOM

The fathers of Nonconformity knew that they were children of God. They
themselves, and not merely the clerics, were “kings and priests unto God.” That
conviction aroused within them a consciousness of their spiritual dignity and
responsibility. They did not need a gradation of priests to mediate between
themselves and God. The commonest layman was himself a king and a priest.
The local churches were communities of such, and God Himself was in the midst
of them to receive their simple worship and bestow His grace and power.

This profound sense of personal dignity which made them feel their spiritual
independence of hierarchies, nerved them to claim their freedom, to throw off
the tyrannies that bound them.

Modern despotisms can only be met in the same spirit. Let the Christian people
be awakened to their own essential dignity and worth as God-indwelt
communities, and there will be aroused within them, correspondingly, a spirit of
personal responsibility. Then they will not keep silent! They will rise up to claim
their heritage.

OPPORTUNITY FOR TYRANNY

All tyrannies, civil and ecclesiastical, flourish on man’s dislike of responsibility.


In Dostoyevsky’s great novel The Brothers Karamasov there is a remarkable
chapter entitled “The Grand Inquisitor.” It is the substance of a poem, a fantasy,
told by Ivan to his brother Alyosha. The Grand Inquisitor is a very old man, a
cardinal, in charge of the Inquisition at Seville. One day, after a hundred heretics
had been burnt at the stake “to the glory of God,” Christ appears in Seville and is
recognised by the people. Everywhere He goes grace and power flow from Him
and people are healed and comforted. But the Inquisitor has Christ arrested, and
that night he interrogates Him in the dungeon. He reproaches Christ because He
gave to man the intolerable gift of freedom, a burden which man cannot bear. He
declares that at the temptation in the wilderness, when Christ had refused to bind
man by mystery, miracle and authority, He had made a terrible mistake. But the
Roman Catholic Church, says the old man, has reversed the decision. “We
accepted from Satan that which Thou rejectedst. We invite men, we compel men
to renounce their freedom in order to be happy. And because men are too weak
to bear the burden of responsibility, because they cannot stand freedom, they will
crawl fawning to our feet and whine to us. People will always come to us in
order to get away from Thee! ”

Beyond doubt that is the way, not only of Roman Catholicism, but of all coercive
authority. It offers men peace for submission, and, in very truth, to go that way is
to go away from Christ. God created man in freedom; Christ respects that
freedom. When ministers of Christ form ecclesiastical systems that tend towards
tyranny they are reversing the great wilderness decision, they are deserting the
way of Christ. And when Christian people passively accept such systems they
are casting away their God-given dignity, they too are renouncing the way of
Christ. Christ wants the love of free men! He wants the loyalty of free
communities! Therefore, democratise the church!
The Revival Library
The Revival Library is a British-based collection of revival and Pentecostal
source materials. Tony Cauchi, the Librarian, says ‘Our intention is to promote
passion and prayer for authentic revival by making accessible, at affordable
prices, biographies, histories and teachings about great moves of the Spirit
across the centuries.’

The Revival Library has produced over twenty CD’s and DVD’s which which
hold collections of original books, periodicals and related teaching materials for
worldwide distribution. They include materials on Evangelical Revivals and
more recent Pentecostal and Healing outpourings.

Many of these books can be found on Amazon and many more will be added in
due course. Any of the materials we publish on Amazon or elsewhere can be
easily found by searching for "Revival Library" (exclude inverted commas) in
your ebook providers website.

Alternatively, we have lots of other materials which are in other formats such as
Word.doc and .pdf, as well as collections of books and magazines on CD's or
DVD's at shop.revival-library.org or via the main website at www.revival-
library.org
The Pentecostal Pioneers Series
This series includes materials by or about Maria Woodworth-Etter, John
Alexander Dowie, Frank Bartleman, The Azusa Street Revival, Aimee Semple
McPherson, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, Alexander Boddy, Thomas Ball
Barratt, George and Stephen Jeffreys, and a host of other lesser-known, but
equally courageous and effective pioneers of this great worldwide movement of
God. We plan to include biographies and teachings that will educate and inspire
a new generation of pioneers in our day.
The Evangelical Revival Series
These are a host of materials from church history, particularly covering the six
major waves of Worldwide Revival that broke on the shores of this world from
the Reformation to the Welsh Revival. At the moment these materials number
over 80 and we will add more to them as time proceeds. They include
biographies, teachings, methodology, theology, overviews and everything
revival-related.
Voices From The Healing Revival Series
This Revival which occurred in the 1940-50's was the most powerful and fruitful
move of God in the entire history of Christendom. Despite extreme criticism and
controversy Pentecostalism was revitalised, new evangelistic initiatives circled
the globe and the multifaceted charismatic movement was brought to birth.

Today the world-wide Pentecostal/charismatic community numbers over 550


million members and is the fastest growing branch of the Christian church across
the nations.

We pay tribute to the pioneers who paid such a great price to return the church to
its New Testament foundations and who presented Jesus Christ as the same
yesterday, today and forever!

We have included biographies and teachings by William Branham, Jack Coe, A.


A. Allen, W. V. Grant, Gordon Lindsay and others.

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