Serving the King [ePub]

by Albert Benjamin Simpson

Albert Benjamin "A.B." Simpson (December 15, 1843 – October 29, 1919) was a Canadian preacher, theologian, author, and founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), an evangelical Protestant denomination with an emphasis on global evangelism.

Simpson was born in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada as the third son and fourth child of James Simpson, Jr. and Janet Clark. Author Harold H. Simpson has gathered an extensive genealogy of Cavendish families in Cavendish: Its History, Its People. His research establishes the Clark family (A.B. Simpson's mother’s side) as one of the founding families of Cavendish in 1790, along with the Simpson family, and he traces common ancestors between Albert B. Simpson and Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables.

The young Albert was raised in a strict Calvinistic Scottish Presbyterian and Puritan tradition. His conversion of faith began under the ministry of Henry Grattan Guinness, a visiting evangelist from Ireland during the revival of 1859. Simpson spent some time in the Chatham, Ontario area, and received his theological training in Toronto at Knox College, University of Toronto. After graduating in 1865, Simpson was subsequently ordained in the Canada Presbyterian Church, the largest of the Presbyterian groups in Canada that merged after his departure for the United States. At age 21, he accepted a call to the large Knox Presbyterian Church (closed in 1971) in nearby Hamilton, Ontario.

In December 1873, at age 30, Simpson left Canada and assumed the pulpit of the largest Presbyterian church in Louisville, Kentucky, the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church. It was in Louisville that he first conceived of preaching the gospel to the common man by building a simple tabernacle structure for that purpose. Despite his success at the Chestnut Street Church, Simpson was frustrated by their reluctance to embrace this burden for wider evangelistic endeavor.

In 1880, Simpson was called to the Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church in New York City where he immediately began reaching out to the world with the gospel. Beside active evangelistic work in the church, he published a missionary journal, The Gospel in All Lands, the first missionary journal with pictures. Simpson also founded and began publishing an illustrated magazine entitled The Word, Work, and World. By 1911, this magazine became known as The Alliance Weekly, then Alliance Life, and is now called a.life. It is the official publication of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, in the USA and Canada.

By 1881, after only two fruitful years at Thirteenth Presbyterian, he resigned in order to begin an independent gospel ministry to the many new immigrants and the neglected masses of New York City. Simpson began informal training classes in 1882 in order to reach "the neglected peoples of the world with the neglected resources of the church". By 1883, a formal program was in place and ministers and missionaries were being trained in a multi-cultural context (This school was the beginning of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary). In 1889, Simpson and his church family moved into their new home at the corner of 44th St. and 8th Av. called the New York Tabernacle. This became the base not only of his ministry of evangelism in the city but also of his growing work of worldwide missions.

12.10.2011

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