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Evangelist of Pentecostalism: The Rufus Moseley Story

Significantly, one of Prof. Clark’s last completed works was entitled The Holy Spirit.[16] The story of its writing reveals much about the CFO in the 1950s. At the time, due largely to Rufus Moseley’s influence, many members were praying in tongues before and after their sessions. This distressed Star Daily, one of the pillars of the CFO, who did not understand the phenomenon, and he threatened to quit the CFO unless it stopped. On the other hand, Frank Laubach, the world-renowned missionary, teacher of prayer, and frequent CFO speaker, recognized tongues as a legitimate expression of the Holy Spirit and encouraged their practice.[17] Clark, always the diplomat, mediated the problem. He soothed Daily by promising to write on the gifts and to explain their rightful use to CFO members.[18]

Influenced by Rufus Moseley, Clark’s The Holy Spirit contained much that was based on Clark’s own experience, and revealed his command of the classics of Christian spirituality. He shared with the reader that he received the gift of tongues decades back, before beginning his classic work on prayer, The Soul’s Sincere Desire. Examining the gifts of the Holy Spirit as defined in 1 Cor. 12 (the focus of Pentecostal theology), he also considered the gifts enumerated in Rm. 12: 6-8 as equally important.

Two aspects of Clark’s theology placed him closer to the traditional Catholic understanding of the gifts than to that of more modern Spirit-filled Christians. First, he believed that the gifts are received by the believer only after much seeking after God. Second, like much of Catholic mystical theology, Clark stressed subordinating the gifts of the Spirit to the fruits of the Spirit. Clark believed that using the gifts draws spiritual energy from the fruits much like an old fashioned steam boat slows down after it blows its huge whistle, its steam wasted.[19]

From the perspective of Pentecostal/charismatic theology we can see that Professor Clark was mistaken on both of these assumptions. The fruits of the Spirit are indeed more important than the gifts, but they do not compete. Indeed, the gifts empower the workings of the fruits of the Spirit. In spite of this, the most significant thing is that Clark’s The Holy Spirit allowed for the continued manifestations of the gifts, including tongues within the CFO, bridging classical Christian spirituality and the newer, more accurate, Pentecostal-charismatic understanding of the gifts.

The Spirit-filled speakers and members of the CFOs in the 1950s trained the leadership of the 1960s Charismatic Renewal.[20] Thus Moseley may be considered a pivotal figure of the Charismatic renewal although he passed away a few years before it broke out.


The growing literature on Rufus Moseley

Back in the 1980s, when I researched Glenn Clark, the CFO and Rufus Moseley’s role in its Pentecostal transformation, there were no biographies, neither articles nor books on Moseley. In fact, I learned of Moseley’s prominent role in preparing the Charismatic Renewal from interviewing the Rev. Tommy Tyson, a Methodist evangelists and frequent CFO speaker. The Rev. Tyson was a close associate and disciple of Moseley for over three decades. At that point, no biography of Moseley had been published, and the memory his important role in the formation of the Charismatic Renewal was fading. Thankfully, right after I published an article on the CFO in PNEUMA, the academic journal of Pentecostalism, Dr. Wayne McLain published a fine biography of Moseley, A Resurrection Encounter: The Rufus Moseley Story.[21] Wayne, a close friend of the Rev. Tyson, met Moseley in 1945 and was deeply impacted by him, and from that time frequently traveled with both Tyson and Moseley to CFO camps and other engagements until Moseley’s death in 1954.

Several years before publishing his Resurrection Encounter, in 1993, McLain had published an anthology of Moseley’s articles and talks. Mosley himself wrote only two books and a few pamphlets, but He spent decades as columnist to the Macon Telegraph so there was much material to glean through. Dr. McLain passed away in 2007 before he could publish further material on Moseley.

Gregory Camp

Thankfully, another Christian scholar has stepped to the fore as a Moseley publicist, Dr. Gregory Camp. Dr. Camp earned a Doctorate in American history with a specialty in Native American studies from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. He is now retired and dedicates his time to Moseley research. In his academic career, he taught at both Lee University (Church of God) and The University of Mary (Catholic). Camp first read Moseley’s autobiography, Manifest Victory, in 1974. In 2013, he was reintroduced to the book and was ushered into a deeper walk with the Lord. He determined to share what he had received from Moseley’s wisdom and spirituality with others.

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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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