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Evangelist of Pentecostalism: The Rufus Moseley Story

But by 1908, he was uneasy about the cult that arose around Mary Baker Eddy and, prompted of the Holy Spirit, resigned from Christian Science. Moseley continued his healing prayers among Christian Scientists and independent Christian churches, including the newer Pentecostal congregations, where he learned about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Moseley preached racial tolerance and reconciliation. On one occasion in the 1920s, he personally confronted a lynch mob and stopped the murder.

He earned a living by tending a ten-acre Pecan grove. After the First World War ended in 1918, he also received a small income from his columns in the Macon Daily Telegraph. Although never ordained, he had an extremely active ministry towards the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and especially condemned prisoners. Moseley became an activist against capital punishment and had some successes in having death sentences commuted. He also preached racial tolerance and reconciliation. On one occasion in the 1920s, he personally confronted a lynch mob and stopped the murder.[11]

The year after he cut all ties to Christian Science he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit increasing in his life. By then there were several Pentecostal churches in Macon. Visiting one, he was told by its minister, “‘You will have to become more orthodox before God will baptize you [in the Spirit].’” [Moseley] replied, “‘The promise is not to the orthodox, but those who hunger and thirst and ask.’”[12]

In March of 1910, Moseley was seeking for the baptism of the Spirit with single mindedness. One night, alone in a house he was staying, he was awakened early in the morning by the Lord. This began a profound experience of Jesus in his ascended glory. His experience with Christ resembled that of the famous 19th Century revivalist, Charles Finney, had with Jesus at the beginning of his Christian life.[13] Moseley recalls:

I became aware of a glorious Presence standing immediately before me in the tangible form of a man, imparting the sense of barely concealed powers and immense sanctity. He made Himself known as Jesus and infused Himself within me. … I fell upon my face at His feet, as one dead and yet more alive than I dreamed it possible ever to be. I knew at once that He was in me and I in Him, and the Father was in Him and He in the Father.[14]

This experience was so profound, and resulting in such unalloyed joy and exuberance, that his family committed him to the local mental hospital to have him checked out. It took him a week to convince the staff he was not crazy – or at least not dangerous. He began manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including a much strengthened ability to witness to others, healing and proclaiming the Gospel. He knew of tongues, but resisted that gift for eight months.

Tommy Tyson

Moseley became teacher and spiritual director to many, including Tommy Tyson, the most effective charismatic evangelist of the Methodist Church. Most importantly, he was constant and itinerant witness to the power of the Holy Spirit. He preached at churches large and small, all over North America and beyond. Moseley particularly influenced the para-church organizations we mentioned above, but especially the CFO. He and Professor Clark became close friends, and Moseley regularly spoke at CFO camps and traveled with Prof. Clark on his trips to Europe and around the globe. Mosley was known at the CFOs for his rumpled suits, and wonderful talks and ministry. Prof. Clark called Moseley’s Perfect Everything “the greatest book on the Holy Spirit ever written.”[15] Wherever Moseley witnessed or taught, some in his audience received the gifts of the Spirit. Many others were prepared for the idea of a personal Pentecostal experience, and when the charismatic renewal began in the 1960s, were able to accept it.

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Category: Church History, Fall 2017

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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