Source: Smith Wigglesworth
Who is Smith Wigglesworth ? – Biography , Wife and Children – His ministry was founded on four guiding ideas. ” First, read God’s Word. Second, consume God’s Word until it consumes you. Third, believe God’s Word. Fourth, put the Word into action.”
Smith Wigglesworth, known as the “Apostle of Faith,” was a British preacher who had a significant impact on the early history of Pentecostalism.
Smith Wigglesworth was born in an impoverished household in 1859. His father did manual labor for a pittance. Smith began working at the age of six to supplement the family’s finances. At six, he was pulling turnips, and at seven, he was working twelve hours a day at a woolen mill. His parents did not know God, but Smith yearned to know Him. He used to pray in the fields as a child. His grandmother was a crucial Christian figure in his life. She was a Wesleyan Methodist and would accompany Smith to meetings. At one of these gatherings, a song about Jesus as the lamb was being sung, and Smith saw God’s love for him, and his decision to believe Christ for his salvation was made that day. He was immediately moved to evangelize and led his own mother to Christ.
Smith had a variety of church experiences as a child. He originally attended an Episcopal church, then, at the age of thirteen, a Wesleyan Methodist church. He joined the Salvation Army when he was sixteen years old. He felt strongly impelled to fast and pray for the salvation of lost souls. He seen many people come to faith in Christ. When he was seventeen, a mentor told him about water baptism, and he decided to be baptized. In those days, the Salvation Army was experiencing a huge amount of God’s might. “Many would be prostrated under the might of the Spirit, sometimes for as long as twenty-four hours at a period,” he says of meetings. They would pray, fast, and cry out for the salvation of fifty or a hundred people for the week, and then they would see the results of their efforts.
Smith left the industry at the age of eighteen to become a plumber. When he was twenty, he relocated to Liverpool and continued to work during the day and minister in his spare time. He felt compelled to minister to youth and brought them to gatherings. He would frequently feed and care for these destitute and disheveled children. Hundreds of people were saved. Smith was frequently requested to speak at Salvation gatherings, and he would often break down and weep as a result of God’s influence. Many people would come to repentance at those meetings as a result of this unskilled man. At the age of twenty-three, he returned to Bradford and resumed his job with the Salvation Army.
Smith met Polly Featherstone, the daughter of a temperance lecturer, in Bradford. She left home and moved to Bradford to work as a maid. She was drawn to a Salvation Army meeting one night. She listened to Gipsy Tillie Smith, a female evangelist, and dedicated her heart to Christ. Smith was present at the gathering and witnessed her love for God. Polly became a fervent Salvationist and was given a commission by General Booth. They became friends, then Polly moved to Scotland to assist with a new Salvationist mission. She soon returned to Bradford and married Smith, who was head over heels in love with her.
The couple collaborated to reach out to the lost. They established a little church in a low-income neighborhood. Polly would give the sermon, and Smith would make the altar calls. For a time, though, Smith was so preoccupied with his plumbing business that his evangelical zeal began to wane. Polly persisted, resulting in Smith’s conviction. Smith heard of a miraculous healing meeting one day while working in the town of Leeds. He informed Polly about it. Polly needed healing, so they went to a meeting, and Polly was healed.
Smith struggled with the reality of healing while while being ill. He made the decision to discontinue the medication he was taking and place his faith in God. He was cured. They had five children, four males and one girl. Two of the lads were unwell one morning. God’s power appeared, and they prayed for the boys, who were instantaneously healed. Smith was troubled by the prospect of God using him to heal the ill in general. He would collect a group of folks and drive them to Leeds for prayer. The meeting’s leaders were leaving for a convention, leaving Smith in charge. He was astounded. How could he preside over a gathering on divine healing? He attempted but failed to pass it on to someone else. Finally, he took the lead in the meeting, and numerous individuals were healed. That was the final straw. Smith then began to pray for people’s healing.
Smith needed to make another leap. He’d heard of Pentecostals being baptized in the Holy Spirit. He attended meetings and was so eager for God that he caused a commotion, and church members requested him to quit. He went to pray and stayed there for four days. Finally, when he was about to leave for home, the vicar’s wife prayed for him, and he came under God’s power and spoke in tongues. After that, everything changed. He would pass by individuals, and they would be saved as a result of the Holy Spirit’s conviction. When he prayed and preached, he began to see miracles and healings, and the glory of God would fall.
Smith had to respond to the numerous calls and gave up his company to serve in the ministry. Polly died abruptly in 1913, which was a huge loss to Smith. He prayed for her and begged death to let her go. She did get up, but she remarked, “Smith – the Lord wants me.” “If the Lord wants you, I will not hold you,” he said, his devastated reaction. She had been his light and delight throughout their marriage, and he was devastated by her death. He went to his wife’s grave after she was buried, feeling like he wanted to die. When God commanded Smith to get up and depart, he said, “Give me a double share of the Spirit – my wife’s and my own – and I will go and preach the Gospel.” God was merciful to me and granted my prayer.” His daughter Alice and son-in-law James Salter began to accompany him on his business trips.
Wigglesworth believed in faith-based healing and was adaptable in his approach. When the authorities in Sweden forbade him from laying hands on audience members, he preached for “collective healing,” in which individuals placed hands on themselves. He also performed oil anointing and the distribution of “prayer handkerchiefs” (one of which was sent to King George V). Wigglesworth occasionally blamed his illness on demons.
During Wigglesworth’s ministry, there were several claims of supernatural healing. These include a woman who was healed of a tumor, a woman who was healed of tuberculosis, a wheelchair-bound woman who was able to walk, and many more. According to stories, people were raised from the dead, including his wife Polly.
Many people claimed that Jesus Christ cured them of cancer through him. Wigglesworth, a plumber by trade, defined cancer as a “living evil spirit” and claimed that many ailments were “satanic in origin.” His treatments frequently involved beating, slapping, or pounding the affected body part. On several occasions, his response to those with stomach problems was to punch them in the stomach, sometimes with such force that they flew across the room. When pressed on this, he replied, “I don’t hit them, I hit the devil.” “You could assume by the way I went about praying for the sick that I was sometimes unloving and rough, but oh, friends, you have no idea what I see behind the sickness and the one who is tormented,” Wigglesworth said in response to criticism regarding his technique of praying for the sick. I’m not dealing with the individual; I’m dealing with the demonic forces that bound the afflicted.” Wigglesworth once told the sick, “I’ll only pray for you once; praying twice is disbelief.” The next night, a man approached the altar to receive prayer, and Wigglesworth recognized him and exclaimed, “Didn’t I pray for you last night? Get off this platform, you’re full of doubt!”
Smith would pray, and the blind would see, the deaf would hear, people would get out of wheelchairs, and cancers would be eradicated. One amazing story is about how He prayed for a woman in a hospital. She died when he and a friend were praying. He dragged her out of bed, pushed her against the wall, and declared, “In the name of Jesus, I rebuke this death.” Her entire body began to shake. Then he said, “Walk in the name of Jesus,” and she did. Everywhere he went, he taught and then demonstrated God’s power. He started getting requests from all over the world. He lectured throughout Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and a variety of other places. When the crowds grew too huge, he began “wholesale healing.” He would have everyone who needed healing place their hands on themselves and then pray. Hundreds of people would be healed all at once.
14 persons were confirmed to have been raised from the dead during Smith’s ministry. Thousands of people were saved and cured, and he had an impact on entire continents for Christ.
Smith attributed much of his ministry success to his ability to talk in tongues. He stated:
“I want you to realize that whomever speaks in an alien dialect either edifies or builds himself up.” Before we can edify the church, we must first be edified. I cannot express how much I owe to the Holy Spirit’s technique of spiritual edifying. I stand before you as one of the world’s most perplexing puzzles. On the platform, there has never been a lesser man. There is no language. Inability abounds. Everything in my life seems to point in the opposite direction of my being able to stand on a stage and proclaim the gospel. The secret is that the Holy Spirit arrived and brought this tremendous spiritual enrichment. I had been reading this Word as best I could, but the Holy Spirit arrived and took hold of it, for the Holy Spirit is its breath, and He illuminated it to me.”
He continued to minister until his death on March 12, 1947.
Smith died on March 12, 1947, while attending the burial of his close friend Wilf Richardson. His ministry was founded on four guiding ideas. ” First, read God’s Word. Second, consume God’s Word until it consumes you. Third, believe God’s Word. Fourth, put the Word into action.”