The Power of God: the Jeffreys Brothers’ Remarkable Ministry

Image: thebeausejourpulpit.wordpress.com

I had not been aware of the existence of the George Jeffreys and Stephen Jeffreys Official Website, but I’m delighted that I found it here. The founders of the Elim Pentecostal Church were certainly innovative in obeying the Great Commission to proclaim the gospel.

Their methods were bold and apostolic. In the economic depression of the 1920s and 30s, with dole queues and poverty, they would target an industrial city and rent a large hall. They were unknown, unsupported and often opposed by local churches. Meetings went on for weeks, the hall at first almost empty, but once news of the miraculous signs was out, it would be crammed. After the campaign they would buy a disused building, renovate it together, and Jeffreys would install a man he had trained up, to be pastor of the new church. In this way, several hundred new churches were planted all over Britain.

A campaign tent used by Jeffreys

Here, with due acknowledgement to the Jeffreys blog, is a contemporary report of a campaign which they held in liverpool, UK, in March 1926.

“Revival Fires are burning in Liverpool. Although the campaign only started on Sunday 14th March, by the middle of the week the church was packed out. Hundreds have been saved and there have been many remarkable healings.” It was not long before the secular press began to report what was happening in these meetings, including the Yorkshire Observer, which referred to “the extraordinary scenes being reported at a disused Liverpool Chapel.” The Daily Despatch of 18th March carried the following report: “Remarkable scenes of religious fervour are being witnessed at the little chapel in Windsor Street. Several remarkable ‘cures’ have been claimed by sick and maimed people who have been anointed with oil during the campaign. Several of the patients whom the pastor described as being under the power of God, swooned and lay trembling for some moments.”

The Daily Despatch went on to list some of the healings that had already taken place including a five year old girl suffering from Infantile Paralysis, a woman healed of deafness, a man from heart disease, and two people from paralysis. On the following day (19th March), five days after the commencement, the Daily Despatch carried the following report:

“Hundreds of people had to be turned away from yesterday’s services. Queues began to assemble outside the chapel two hours before the meeting commenced. As soon as the doors were open crowds began to clamour for admission, choking the aisles and every available inch of space. A crowd just as large could not gain admission and had to remain outside, while a few yards along the street other evangelists conducted open-air services until long after ten o’clock. So great was the pressure inside that the pastor was unable to anoint any of the people with oil and the service was terminated prematurely. Nevertheless a number of people testified to healing including a woman who had been dumb for many years, and two women healed of deafness.”

By way of example, here is a link to the testimony of one woman gloriously healed at this time.

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About Trevor Saxby

I'm a mentor, friend to many, with a PhD in church history. I love learning from the 'movers and shakers' of the past, as I want to be one today!

4 responses to “The Power of God: the Jeffreys Brothers’ Remarkable Ministry”

  1. Dyfed Wyn Roberts says :

    It fits rather well into the religious revival history that has been a part of church live since the Methodist awakening.

    Do you know of any work that has critiqued this movement in its early years?

  2. sch0larly says :

    I’m not aware of any such work, I fear. I wish I was! There’s plenty of general stuff online (and quite a bit of anti-Pentecostal vitriol), but no balanced overview and/or critique that I know of. And we’re poorer for it!

  3. sch0larly says :

    A friend of mine has supplied some useful information via Facebook. I have copied it below.

    “They are two of The Giants of The Pentecostal movement in Britain, not only held huge tent meetings, they built churches literally. The fruit of their Apostolic ministry can still be seen with many ‘Elim Pentecostal’ and ‘Bible Pattern’ churches still building on the foundations they laid.

    “I covered ministry at The Bible Pattern Church in Blackpool (The Pastor had been advised to rest due to a heart problem and he asked if I could help out for 12 months till he recovered) he told me of how he had known many people who were healed at Jeffrey Brother’s meetings, including a totally deaf person he knew being healed instantly after prayer.

    “George Jeffreys formed Bible Pattern Churches as part of Elim Churches up to George’s death (his name was on all the deeds). He had come to the conclusion that churches should be autonomous affiliated to the Elim Church which he and his brother had pioneered had become centralised. Days after his death those ministers and congregations who followed his written ‘Bible Patern’ were locked out of their buildings and ministers replaced.. many stayed together and formed ‘Bible Pattern Church’s.. It was a painful separation at the time.

    “They pitched a tent up in Blackpool in Spring and kept going till October.. and then gathered the new converts together up to the next spring.. they did this until they bought a building out of their own resources.. Nationally over 50 Elim Churches were pioneered like this (maybe more)..

    “In the early days of the Pentecostal outpouring there were many groups springing up, many formed by those who had ‘received the blessing/Baptism in The Holy Spirit’ across a wide spectrum of churches, unlike The Charismatic movement of the 60’s/70’s which has been widely accepted or tolerated there was a massive reaction and many were forced to leave their churches. This led to many thoughts on many subjects, men like John Nelson Parr (who was a firebrand Salvationist) became leaders and gathered together to form The Assemblies of God of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the worked out a Fundamental Statement of Truth around doctrine and church government.

    “There were however some who did not adhere to some of these and the Jeffry Brothers formed The Elim Churches.. these two became the largest sector of the Pentecostal movement in UK. (their were others including one very interesting group I have come across The Apostolic Pentecostal Church who actually stemmed back to the Irvinite outpouring). One of the main stumbling points that kept AOG and Elim separated was on AOG’s local congregational government, and ministerial appointment and Elim’s more centralised government and appointment. Obviously other doctrinal issues figured highly too.

    “George Jeffry had a change of heart and having pioneered the Elim Church wanted to de-centralise more, this led to a scism that was only resolved after he had died when the deeds to the buildings were taken over and the situation I mentioned before took place. In Blackpool the pastor and Congregation were locked out, a new minister appointed centrally, and the congregation were split.. shame but I have seen a lot of things in my time too… I find it fascinating.”

  4. Riccardo says :

    Good to read that. As Sunderland revival that I’ve just come to know… I’m afraid much of revival history in the U.K is fading away. Thanks for sharing.

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