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[For a photograph of George Jeffrey, go to "George Jeffreys: The Boy Who Overcame a Speech Impediment to Become a Prominent British Pentecostal Evangelist"]

“AS LONG AS Jesus is kept in the front, and made the center of fellowship and blessing and unity, the revival will never end.” George Jeffrey, a well-known Pentecostal evangelist was speaking of the Welsh revival of 1904. He had turned from his sin in that revival on this day, 20 November 1904, in the Shiloh Independent Chapel in Nantyfyllon, Wales. “God cannot live where sin is,” he later asserted. 

The son of a miner, Jeffreys suffered from a speech impediment as a boy. His physical debility found relief after another revival—this one with Pentecostal outpourings—came to Wales in 1908. For three years George Jeffreys and his brother Stephen opposed Pentecostal manifestations. However, when Stephen’s son Edward changed after claiming to have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, the brothers sought a similar experience. Jeffreys experienced Spirit baptism in 1911 and was healed of his speech impediment and partial facial paralysis.

Within ten years, mentored by Cecil Polhill and trained at a Pentecostal Bible school, George became a leading evangelist in Britain. Although barred from many churches because of his Pentecostalism, with his brother he held meetings throughout Northern Ireland, England, Europe (especially in Switzerland and France), and in the United States for a few months. In the United States he met Aimee Semple McPherson and employed some of her methods in his own ministry, including the Foursquare idea. The Foursquare Gospel viewed Jesus Christ as Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Ghost, and soon-coming King. Thousands were converted or healed. The brothers began to be compared with the Wesleys who had evangelized England two centuries earlier.

Out of the Jeffreys’ ministry emerged the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance in Great Britain.  George also established a college. But soon George Jeffreys became enamored of British Israel teachings—the view, utterly without foundation, that the lost tribes of Israel had migrated to Great Britain. When the majority of Elim pastors rejected this view as well as some changes in organization that Jeffreys wished to make, he withdrew from the association, taking about sixty churches with him, and formed the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship.

Jeffreys's influence declined after the split in the organization. In 1937 he collapsed with diabetes but soon recovered. Weakening health and old age continued to take a toll on his work which did not show the level of conversions he previously had experienced. He died on 26 January 1962.

Dan Graves

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For more on the 1904 Welsh revival, watch A Diary Of Revival: 1904 Welsh Awakening

or watch The Welsh Revivals of 1859 and 1904

The Diary and Welsh Revivals can both be purchased at Vision Video.

For more on Pentecostalism, read Christian History #58, The Rise of Pentecostalism


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