Evangelist T.L. Osborn was one of my Pentecostal heroes in the early years of my Christian life. We young leaders in the church also looked up to him as someone we wanted to emulate for reasons right or wrong. We read his books and gave out tracts written by him on Saturdays as we walked from Queen Street to the esplanade. We prayed for the gifts of healing for we saw it so evident in his ministry. Over the years though, we have seen so many Pentecostal heroes falter through immorality or financial improprieties that we begin to believe the only safe Pentecostal hero to talk about is a dead one. It was heartening though to read J. Lee Grady’s interview with this humble man of faith, T.L. Osborn, now 88 and still active. Even more heartening is that he has kept his integrity (Lord I believe, help my unbelief). Grady wrote about the interview:
“I once had a vision of the Lord,” Osborn told me, leaning over in his chair to look into my eyes. “But in the vision, God didn’t have any hands. Then He looked at me and said, ‘You are my hands.’” Throughout his worldwide ministry—which has never been well-known in the United States—he reminds Christians that God is waiting on us to obey the Great Commission.
Read the rest of the article from Charisma Magazine here, “Why T.L. Osborn Is My Hero”
The session of the Pastors’ Conference organized by Tung Ling had ended. Pastors and leaders stood up to stretch, look for the restroom, or just stand around and chat. A grey haired man went about with a carton of packet drinks to serve the pastors. He dressed simply and looked ordinary, though he was a very wealthy businessman and notable church leader. He was a great influence in the local and wider church and in the marketplace. He was one of many pioneers who unknowingly could be modelling a bi-vocational church and marketplace leadership that will increasingly needed in the decades ahead. He is Goh Ewe Kheng, one of my favourite sermon illustrations of humble and faithful servanthood. So when I read an article about him by Edmond Chua in the Christian Post, I just had to link it. He wrote:
Elder Goh Ewe Kheng is the quintessential minister in the marketplace. He started church ministries, preached, co-founded a denomination and participated in the governance and activities of over 30 committees, all while running a business. The passion of the 87-year-old Founding Elder of the 7,640-member Church of Singapore passion to serve God began at an early age.
Continue reading about the personal and family life of this inspiring marketplace and church leader HERE.
I read Dennis Bennett’s bestseller, “Nine O’Clock in the Morning” in the late 1970’s and enjoyed the story of the Episcopalian priest and how he encountered the Holy Spirit’s power in his conservative parish and got thrown out. He was one of the few men of faith instrumental in spreading the message of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the mainline denominations, giving impetus to the growth of the charismatic renewal.
The beginning of the charismatic movement is thus appropriately and meaningfully dated as 3rd April 1960, the date when this Episcopalian(Anglican) priest announced to his church that he had experienced a “personal Pentecost” and spoke in other tongues. It took courage to do that, and as a result he lost his job, and the message spread beyond one congregation. His story even got into the newspapers, Newsweek and Times magazine. The charismatic renewal went across America, and around the globe:
Charismatic renewal has since swept the globe, though Pentecostal scholars say its growth has slowed in the U.S. “The movement began to wane in America by the mid-1990s, but it continued to grow all over the world tremendously, especially Africa, Asia and South America,” said Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan, dean emeritus of the Regent University School of Divinity. “Today there are 640 million Pentecostals and charismatics. It’s still the fastest-growing part of Christianity.”
Stanley M. Burgess, a professor of Christian history at Regent University and editor of The Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, says one-third of the world’s 2 billion Christians are charismatic or Pentecostal. “The greatest explosion is now occurring in China,” Burgess said. “It’s a combination of Pentecostal and charismatic. Within 10 years, we expect that China will be the most Christian nation on Earth, and that’s just stunning.”