“Incredible”: autobiography of John Nelson Parr — Contents
Chapter Nine: Incredible Bethshan
One could not expect this decade of continual revival and supernatural blessing to continue without Satanic disturbances, tribulations and trials, in fact, it has been said that the Acts of the Apostles is a record of revivals and rows. The Lord gave us wisdom and power to overcome all the attacks of the enemy and He brought us through more than conquerors.
About 1931 I was confronted with a proposal which would result in our moving to London and centralising all the Assemblies of God work in that city. Two main factors compelled me to reject the proposals. 1. It would mean all the Assemblies of God having a centralised headquarters in London; and, in my opinion, this was absolutely unscriptural and a move of this description would have an adverse effect on the assemblies in the North; and 2. Bethshan Tabernacle was in the throes of revival and I was convinced it would be disastrous for me to leave Manchester.
About 1932 the Lord laid His mighty hand upon Brother Fred Squire and commenced to use him mightily. Thousands were brought to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, Mighty signs, wonders and miracles followed the preaching of the Gospel and full Gospel churches were formed in Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering, Nuneaton, Ashton, Fleetwood and many other towns. At this time the Assemblies of God were, in my opinion in need of a successor to Pastor Stephen Jeffreys and I was sure Pastor Fred Squire was God’s man for that work and after ascertaining his willingness to work with us the proposal was brought before the executive. They rejected my proposition because he used the title “Pastor” and also wore clerical attire. Seeing we had officially sponsored Pastor Stephen Jeffreys this decision was as far as I could see very inconsistent and it created, in my view, a very tragic and unfortunate situation.
Perhaps the most trying period of all was in 1933, two years after we had opened the extension. All the members of the Assemblies of God executive made the most scandalous and infamous accusation against my character and this resulted in my resignation from all the offices held by me in Assemblies of God. My reason for resigning was this: If all the members of the Executive Board believed the accusations they made against my character were true, then I could no longer expect them to put their confidence in me as Chairman-Secretary and Editor and I had no alternative but to resign. This must have been one of the most frightful and blackest experiences of my Christian life. I was tempted to put the matter in the hands of my solicitors and sue them for defamation of character, however one day the Lord spoke to me and said “Why do ye not rather take wrong” 1 Cor. 6:7. And “He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgement as the noonday”. Psalm 37:6.
About four years after that day the instigator of those charges came to see me and said he had made a terrible blunder in making the infamous accusation against my character and asked me to forgive him. All the members of the Executive of Assemblies of God also sent letters withdrawing their accusations against me. His admission of this serious false accusation and request for forgiveness did not rectify the serious blow their action had given to the Assemblies of God. Looking back I can see how the Lord repeated in my life the experience of Joseph. His brothers treated him shamefully, nevertheless, he could at a later date say unto them “Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good”. Gen 50:20.
After resigning all my offices with Assemblies of God, it was possible for me to devote all my time, vitality, strength and God-given abilities to the work at Bethshan Tabernacle. About this time all the Bethshan Trustees resigned leaving me alone to bear the amount owing on the first Bethshan building including a first and second mortgage. They did not know I was able to obtain a mortgage on my own house in Broadstone Road to meet any demands made upon us. From 1934 until 1964 the work was continually growing and ultimately expanded beyond our wildest dreams. Notwithstanding a slump and widespread unemployment, our offerings continually increased. About this time we received a small legacy from one of our members and with this and other gifts we erected a portable building at the rear of the Tabernacle to provide accommodation for our ever-increasing Sunday school.
Chapter 11: Incredible Bethshan Revival Scenes
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