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John MacMillan and the Authority of the Believer


1 D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988), 142; Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), 131-135, 257-258; John F. MacArthur, Jr., Our Sufficiency in Christ (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1991), 213-237; John F. MacArthur, Jr., Charismatic Chaos (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 360-361. The book Binding and Loosing: Exercising Authority Over the Dark Powers by K. Neill Foster with Paul L. King (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1998) addresses this particular area, providing a moderate position between the two camps.

2 Paul L. King, “A Case Study of the Authority of the Believer: The Impact of the Life and Ministry of John A. MacMillan,” D. Min. Dissertation (Tulsa, OK: Oral Roberts University, 2000).

3 Unless otherwise noted, the biographical information in this paper is taken from John MacMillan’s family and other genealogical sources including his daughter-in-law Jane MacMillan, grandson Alan MacMillan and handwritten notes of his son J. Buchanan MacMillan entitled “J. B. MacMillan: An Acct. of Family and Self,” written 1964-1965. For more detailed genealogical information and sources on the history of John MacMillan’s family, see King, “A Case Study of the Authority of the Believer,” Chapters 2-4.

4 John A. MacMillan, “The Authority of the Believer,” The Alliance Weekly, Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30; Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, 1932; The Alliance Weekly, Mar. 9, 1935, 147; John A. MacMillan, The Authority of the Believer (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1980).

5 Rev. Jay Smith (C&MA chaplain), letter to author, Sept. 24, 1998. Smith, as a student at Nyack, lived with the MacMillans 1952-1956. MacMillan later wrote out of his own proven experience about the authority of claiming divine protection from Psalm 91:

True it is that the angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, with a view to their deliverance. But the child of God is personally responsible for the definite claiming of such protection, and also for abiding within the circumscribed limits wherein it is effective.

Faith is the channel along which the grace of God flows, consequently, there is the necessity for maintaining a constantly victorious spirit over all the wiles and the attacks of the enemy. … More and more, therefore, it is vital that every true servant of God learn the secret of dwelling “in the secret place of the Most High,” thereby in all the going out and coming of life, experiencing the security of those who “abide under the shadow of Shaddai. “Raging Chariots,” The Alliance Weekly, May 15, 1937, 307; see also John A. MacMillan, The Adult Full Gospel Sunday School Quarterly, Dec. 27, 1936, 40.

6 Journal of John MacMillan, May 4, 1923; Apr. 2, 1924; May 19, 1924; Aug. 18, 1925; Mar. 31, 1926; notes from C&MA Archives.

7 MacMillan Journal, Sept. 26, 1924; Oct. 4, 1924; Nov. 6, 1924.

8 Rev. Paul Valentine (Minister-at large for the C&MA), phone interview, Oct. 23, 1998.

9 Foster and King, Binding and Loosing, 247-248.

10 MacMillan Journal, Sept. 26, 1926.

11 “Cleansed Within,” The Alliance Weekly, Jan. 14, 1939, 19; SSQ, Aug. 9, 1953, 17-18.

12 Rev. Otto Bublat, letter to author, Jan. 7, 1998. Bublat was a student of MacMillan’s at Nyack 1938-1941.

13 Rev. Richard Barker (retired C&MA pastor), phone interview, Jan. 19, 1999. Rev. Barker was a student of MacMillan’s in the early 1950s.

14 MacMillan Journal, July 24, 1928.

15 Buchanan MacMillan’s Philippine Archive Notes.

16 The Adult Full Gospel Sunday School Quarterly, Aug. 9, 1953, 18; John A. MacMillan, “Our Mohammedan Problem in the Philippines,” The Alliance Weekly, June 22, 1929, 404; John A. MacMillan, “Let Down Your Nets for a Draught,” The Alliance Weekly, Dec. 28, 1929, 833; Benjamin Y. Mendoza, The Philippine Christian Alliance: First Seventy-Eight Years. Self-published and printed in the Philippines, 1985, 46-47; Robert Ekvall, et al., After Fifty Years: A Record of God’s Working Through the Christian and Missionary Alliance (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1939), 233, 234 for more on MacMillan’s pioneering concept of “territorial spirits” and “spiritual mapping,” see “Praying Geographically,” The Alliance Weekly, Sept. 14, 1946, 579.

Also, at that time MacMillan’s friend Frank Laubach, had become a semi-invalid, submerged in deep depression and defeat. He returned a new man in 1930 to discover a breakthrough in literacy and evangelism, for which he would become world-famous. Helen M. Roberts, Champion of the Silent Billion: The Story of Frank C. Laubach “Apostle of Literacy” (St. Paul, MN: MacAlester Park Publishing Co., 1961), 68-69; Marjorie Medary, Each One Teach One: Frank Laubach, Friend to Millions (New York: David McKay Co., Inc., 1954), 28ff.

17 MacMillan, The Adult Full Gospel Sunday School Quarterly, Oct. 10, 1943, 6. Chaplain Jay Smith comments on MacMillan’s teaching, “Breaking family curses was not a concept articulated in those words in the 1950s; but John felt strongly that demonic hold on some had its roots in family history, in spiritism, occult, drugs, etc, and referenced the Old Testament Scripture that speaks to the iniquity of the fathers being visited on the children.” Letter from Rev. Jay Smith.

18 A. J. Gordon, The Ministry of Healing, quoting Trudel in Healing: The Three Great Classics on Divine Healing (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1992), 215.

19 Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1981), 136; see also 116-117, 178.

20 Ibid., 136.

21 A. T. Pierson, The Acts of the Holy Spirit (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1980), 92.

22Arthur T. Pierson, Lessons in the School of Prayer (Dixon, MO: Rare Christian Books, n.d.), 59. This was republished in Herald of His Coming under the title of “The Authority of Faith.” A. T. Pierson, “The Authority of Faith,” Herald of His Coming, July, 1953, 7.

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About the Author: Paul L. King holds a D.Min from Oral Roberts University and a D.Th. from the University of South Africa. He served for 16 years on the faculty of Oral Roberts University as Coordinator of Bible Institute programs and Adjunct Professor in the College of Theology and Ministry. Author of 12 books and more than 60 articles, he was ORU 2006 Scholar of the Year. He has also served as Scholar-at-Large for the D.Min. program at Alliance Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry Mentor for the Randy Clark Scholars program at United Theological Seminary and Global Awakening Theological Seminary, Leadership and Church Ministry Consultant and Trainer, an ordained pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Interim Consulting Pastor for the Plano (Texas) Chinese Alliance Church, and Faculty Director of Purdue Ratio Christi/Christian Faculty and Staff Network. His books include God's Healing Arsenal: A Divine Battle Plan for Overcoming Distress and Disease (2011), Anointed Women: The Rich Heritage of Women in Ministry in the Christian & Missionary Alliance (2009), Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies (2008), Genuine Gold: The Cautiously Charismatic Story of the Early Christian and Missionary Alliance (2006), Binding & Loosing: Exercising Authority over the Dark Powers (1999), and A Believer with Authority: The Life and Message of John A. MacMillan. Twitter: @PaulLKing.

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