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Monday, 29 December 2008

Thomas Wyatt's multi-faceted ministry

Thomas Wyatt
In his book, All Things Are Possible: the Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America, David Harrell Jr. wrote that in 1948 Thomas Wyatt "predicted the coming of a great revival."

No small thing that prediction, because Wyatt was, of course, aware that there was already revival underway in America. The healing revival, seen in the ministries of William Branham and others, was already making a significant impact.

But, Wyatt was correct, another revival - that would run parallel to the healing revival - was about to make its own impact. In February of 1948, the initial explosion and refreshing from that revival happened in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Next was Edmonton in October, then Vancouver in November. Pastor Myrtle Beall was in the meetings in Vancouver, and when she returned to her church in Detroit, the revival detonated there in December.

The church Wyatt pastored in Portland, Oregon - Wings of Healing Temple - would also experience the refreshing of the Latter Rain Revival (as it came to be known) when the leadership from North Battleford ministered there in 1949.

George Hawtin
"When [George Hawtin and others from North Battleford] arrived on February twenty four, they found awaiting them some ninety ministers, who had come from Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, California, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Washington, and Canada," Bill Faupel writes. "They had planned to stay four days but found themselves still there three weeks later. Wyatt had a radio program that went out on a network of 64 stations. From that vantage point, word of the revival began to saturate the country" (from D. William Faupel's dissertation, The Everlasting Gospel: The Significance of Eschatology in the Development of Pentecostal Thought, 1989).

Wyatt (1891 - 1964) served the Church in many capacities in the course of his decades-long ministry - radio broadcaster, pastor, evangelist, head of a Bible institute, and international missionary. The radio broadcast, like his church, was called Wings of Healing and it grew to the point that he was able to get on the Mutual Radio Network in 1953, which gave him coast-to-coast coverage of the nation.

The Voice of Healing website says, "Thomas Wyatt may well be regarded as the unsung hero of the healing movement as he remains to this day one of the least known and least documented healing evangelists.

"In truth his ministry preceded all of the major healing ministries and outlasted all but a few. He received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the 1930s and immediately launched a ministry of pioneer evangelism."

The March 1948 issue of The Foursquare Magazine gave this report concerning recent events at the Stockton (California) Foursquare Church, "Following the dedication services of December 18 a week revival with Dr. Thomas Wyatt of Portland, Oregon was launched. Miracles of apostolic days were the order of the week. Among the scores of miraculous healings which God performed was the instantaneous healing of a Stockton man who had not walked for two years. The man - a Roman Catholic - had spent $20,000 in the last two years to hospitals and doctors. He was carried into the building and when prayed for immediately stood up and walked. Well known in the city[,] the miracle is a tremendous testimony to the healing power of God. Two girls who were deaf and dumb were delivered and many other wonderful healings of internal diseases were manifested. A real revival spirit is sweeping the church and greater are anticipated in the future."

Hugh and Audrey Layzell, in their book, Sons of His Purpose, add, "He was known as an Apostle of Faith, and his message of faith and healing stirred everyone's faith for the signs, which Jesus promised would follow the preaching of the gospel."

Despite that emphasis in his ministry, when Wyatt experienced the Latter Rain Revival he decided to join forces with M. D. Beall, Stanley Frodsham, Fred Poole, and others who had experienced the revival (see the list of contributing editors to the Latter Rain Evangel, displayed on the right).

Faupel points out that Wyatt was asked to give the concluding message in 1950 at the first national Latter Rain convention in St. Louis.

"He disclosed that God had revealed to him it was His desire to bring this Latter Rain outpouring, not only to the North American continent, but to the ends of the earth. Wyatt's message deeply stirred the audience. By the end of the convention, teams of the revival's leaders made plans for missionary crusades to the Holy Land, India, Japan, and Latin America" (from Faupel's dissertation).

Paul Cannon, who graduated from Wyatt's Bethesda Bible Institute in 1953, went on to minister in Ghana and Nigeria. He says this about Wyatt's mission strategy in Africa,

"Dr. Wyatt's vision was to send out 'Invasion Teams' to be as shock troops, demonstrating the power of the gospel with signs, wonders, and miracles. This was to form a beachhead and get the attention of the nation. We would war a war of amazing kindness, demonstrating our love and concern for each member of the body of Christ.This would be done by sending out people two by two just as the Lord Jesus did in the Bible. To start, each team would be made up of one young minister and one older and seasoned minister with a proven record for a while then the young ones were to be put together to carry it on a month later. We believed that this is what the Apostle Paul did" (Paul Cannon in To Redeem a Land: the Story of How the Gospel Came to West Africa).

It's all well and good, of course, to adhere to scriptures and to have strategies. But, in the end, we must consider outcomes. In Thomas Wyatt's case, there were, praise the Lord, great outcomes.

Fred Poole, who pastored a church in Philadelphia, traveled with Wyatt to Nigeria in 1953 and the following is part of the account he wrote,

"On Monday morning we left for Lagos, Nigeria. We drove into the city of Accra, from which point we took our plane for Lagos. We were hailed with a great shout of praise. There were some of the African Pastors who had seen our car and they began to shout and praise God at the top of their voices...The day before, that was just a week after we had left Accra, God had moved as these Africans took up the message of deliverance, and they said that 250 people had been saved in the Sunday morning service, and on the same night there were 30 cases of definite miracles that were reported by the newspapers. Oh how we praised God. The revival still goes on.

"When we arrived in Lagos, we were met by a grand company of missionaries and African pastors and workers. Their expectation was high and they believed God for a mighty visitation. We only had one night there and both Dr. Wyatt and I were almost too tired to do anything. However, we both ministered and then as Dr. Wyatt prayed the prayer of faith, a young Mohammedan man, who had been injured falling from a high building three years previously, was instantly healed. His testimony was that he had been under the care of many specialists in the hospitals but they had failed to help him. They had sent him out eventually with braces around him and he walked with the aid of crutches. Never in all my life have I witnessed anything like it. The young man had never been in a Protestant meeting in his life. He had never seen anyone shaken by the power of God; but as he received the word of faith, he was made to stand on his feet. The Holy Spirit literally shook him from head to foot. He trembled all over; then with a look of amazement and wonder, he started to walk and shout and jump. He took off his braces and began to bend over and touch his toes, shouting and praising God. He was also saved and filled with the Holy Spirit" (Fred Poole in "Signs and Wonders" in Latter Rain Evangel, Volume 2, Number 7, May 1953).

Max Wyatt
His son, Max Wyatt, was also a pastor and missionary.

"Max was a teacher in the Bethesda Bible Institute [in Portland]; an auxiliary speaker on the Wings of Healing broadcast and was the founder and pastor of Faith Tabernacle in Salem, Oregon," Paul Cannon wrote. "He was one of the finest preachers that I have ever known and a tremendous man of God with a marvelous prophetic mantle. He was easy to get along with and found great joy in seeing young ministers excel" (Cannon in To Redeem a Land).

In 1956, Max took over his father's pastorate at Wings of Healing Temple in Portland.

Thomas Wyatt died April 19, 1964 at the age of 72. His grandson, Thomas R. Wyatt, has a ministry of his own called Wings of Healing.

1952 - Wyatt, Grubb, Frodsham1952 - Wyatt, Grubb, Frodsham · Sat, Aug 30, 1952 – Page 4 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

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