The Apostle of Faith
Smith Wigglesworth always gave this famous quote: "Never compare this Book with other books. This Book is from heaven. It does not contain the Word of God; it is the Word of God. It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration and value, infinite in scope and Divine in authorship. Read it through! Pray it in! Write it down." This refering to the Bible.
Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947) is often referred to as the Apostle of Faith and was one of those credited for shaping the Pentecostal Movement in the early twentieth century. It was said that he was responsible for introducing the Movement in Australia and New Zealand. His unflinching faith and belief in God and His Word put him in a class all by himself so much so that today, books are still being written and stories being told about this great man of God and the miracles God wrought through him.
Smith Wigglesworth was born in a little village called Menston in Yorkshire, England. He was one of four children born to John and Martha Wigglesworth. They were poor as John Wigglesworth made very little money from digging ditches. In order to supplement the family income, Smith Wigglesworth began working at the tender age of six pulling and cleaning turnips for a farmer. At the age of seven he started to work in the mill. He worked six days a week from 6am to 6 pm. With his full working day, there was little or no time for schooling and it was not until later in his life that he learnt to read and write. Smith Wiggleworth stammered and very often had difficulties expressing himself. It was reported that in the initial part of his life, this caused him great embarrassment and on occasions ended in tears of frustration.
Though his parents were not professing Christians, Smith Wigglesworth and his siblings were brought up to reverence God and from an early age he had a desire to be close to God. There were a number of experiences in his life that helped to lay the foundation for his faith in God. At the age of eight, his grandmother, who was a Methodist, took him to a Wesleyan Methodist Revival meeting where for the first time, he witnessed people worshipping and praising the Lord. At about the age of thirteen, he met a gentleman who introduced him to the plumbing trade. This gentleman was a member of the Christian Brethren. The Brethren were known for their emphasis on the second coming of Jesus and Bible Study. Smith Wigglesworth was later introduced to the Salvation Army and it was with this organization that he started his Christian service and soon met the woman who was to become his wife. He and his wife were complete opposites for while she was bright and intelligent, he was awkward and uneducated. However, they made a great pair, for while she preached, he took care of things behind the scenes. They were blessed with five children but one son died at a young age. Smith Wigglesworth was a family man who was very devoted to his wife.
Smith Wigglesworth’s life changed dramatically after he received the Holy Ghost. The most noticeable effect of this experience was that he was immediately healed of his stammering. He also acquired a boldness that only God could have given to him. It was at this time that his preaching ministry began. His messages were said to be profound and full of revelation as if from the throne of God Himself.
He was later to become acquainted with the healing ministry and was so enthusiastic about healing that he would go out into the streets and bring the sick to the healing meetings. God soon began to use him to heal although his methods were said to be unconventional and unorthodox. Smith Wigglesworth considered every type of sickness the work of the enemy. Once he identified which part of the body was hurting, he would punch the patient in that area of the body. When asked why he hit the sick, he would reply “I don’t hit people; I hit the devil the people just get in the way.” Through his ministry, people regained their hearing and sight, new limbs were created, cancerous growths disappeared and the demon possessed were delivered. He is also credited for raising twenty-three people from the dead.
Smith Wigglesworth operated in a realm that was unique and this was because he possessed complete and unshakeable faith in God and His Word. He took God at His Word and admonished everyone to do the same. The words “only believe” became his trade mark. His only passion was to stir up an ever increasing faith God which he did. According to him, to live a life of faith required feeding on the Word of God because it is the Word of God that enables faith to spring up in us. He never prayed for the same person twice because according to him, that was unbelief.
Books and Materials of Smith Wigglesworth
One story about Smith Wigglesworth describes a meetings he held in Ireland. It was said that many sick and helpless people were brought to the meeting to receive healing. There were also many people seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit and many others who had never been saved. It was reported that the breath of God spread through the meeting and within ten minutes, every sinner was saved, everyone seeking the Holy Spirit had received and every sick person was healed.
The power of God so flowed through this man of God that people were never the same after having been in his presence. There have been interesting accounts by individuals who have been privileged to spend time in his company. One such account is given by Dr. Lester Sumrall in a video recording on the life of Smith Wigglesworth prepared by Roberts Lairdon Ministries.
Smith Wigglesworth was described as a man of compassion which explains why he was a soul winner. It is reported that thousands of people came to Christ through his ministry His first convert was his own mother, Martha Wigglesworth. His ministry was not only confined to England. His was a worldwide ministry. Within Europe, he ministered in Denmark, France, Sweden and Switzerland. He also visited Canada and the United States several times and also ministered in Australia and New Zealand.
Many books have been written about this great man of faith. One book that is highly recommended is “Smith Wigglesworth Devotional” by Whitaker House. This book contains many stories and testimonies of this great man of God and is a book that will encourage you, edify you and build your faith. It is certainly worth investing in.
Conclusion: Jesus called the uneducated fishermen and filled them with such power that they turned the world upside down. It is the same God that made a legend out of Smith Wigglesworth, an unpolished, uneducated, stammering plumber. The Bible says “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” (1 Corinthians1:27-29).
Unlike man, God does not need to see your credentials or your resume to use you. He only needs a humble and yielding heart like this great apostle. May we yield to God so that we too may be used to change this world. Amen.