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AB Simpson Portrait

It was a November afternoon in 1881. Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson—just resigned from his prestigious New York City pastorate weeks before—had called a meeting, inviting all Christians who supported “an aggressive spiritual movement” to reach New York City’s overlooked nonbelievers. Seven showed up.

The 30-something pastor had spent long hours on the city’s docks, evangelizing to the immigrants arriving by the boatload at that time. Scores had put their faith in Christ; however, Simpson’s wealthy parishioners didn’t want the unrefined new believers attending their church. Grieved, the husband and father of five sensed God calling him to leave his high-paying position and start a world missions society to make his beloved Jesus known to the “neglected masses.”

Within just a few years of that humble gathering, the energetic pastor and his small band of followers planted the Gospel Tabernacle in the heart of the city, a church home for people of all ethnicities and social classes who were coming to Christ through Simpson’s evangelistic campaigns.

Gospel Tabernacle outreach to the city’s ostracized—including soup kitchens, orphanages, rescue missions, language classes, and healing homes—ignited within Simpson and the growing fellowship a passion to take Jesus’ loving message to distant lands where “Christ’s name has not been named.” To prepare those called to overseas ministry, A. B., as his peers called him, opened the Missionary Training Institute—the first North American Bible college.

A. B. never intended to start another Protestant denomination. His vision is evident in two organizations he formed in 1887: The Christian Alliance—a society of believers devoted to experiencing the “deeper life” in Christ and fulfilling His Great Commission—which became the parent body for the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, focused on mobilizing Spirit-empowered Christians to serve in overseas missions. The two groups merged in 1887 to become the International Missionary Alliance.

Through his deep encounters with Jesus, including a miraculous physical healing, A. B. wrote The Fourfold Gospel—a summary of the depths of grace and love Jesus provides us as our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. This work ran like “a rich vein of gold” throughout his preaching and teaching. It is the foundation for the “deeper life” Simpson was passionate for every believer to experience—greater intimacy with Jesus that overflows in daily and Holy Spirit empowerment to overcome personal sin and fulfill God’s plans and purposes.

Members of early Alliance congregations, called “branches,” were from mainline Protestant denominations. Together, they pursued the deeper life, ministered in their local communities, and sacrificially gave to Alliance foreign missions. By the late 1800s, the fledgling missions society had sent 180 workers overseas—two-thirds of them women—and opened 12 new foreign fields to gospel access.

Before his death in 1919, our “poet-preacher” founder had penned 101 books as well as countless periodicals, articles, and curricular. He also wrote 172 hymns in which The Fourfold Gospel theme was woven throughout the lyrics—Alliance people of the day were known for singing their theology.

The below is an excerpt obtained directly from