One of the most well known evangelists of the Twentieth century, Asa Alonso Allen was known as ‘God’s man of faith and power’. He was incredibly gifted, dramatic and controversial. Brother Allen was born in Sulphur Rock, Arkansas, March 27th 1911. His childhood was one of growing up in poverty and plain hard work as was common in those days. His father was known to be a chronic alcoholic, and his mother was said to be living in sin with other men.
In 1934 Brother Allen was converted in a Holy Ghost filled Methodist church. He was ordained in 1936 as an AOG minister and launched out in his life of preaching.
Revivalism during those times of depression was tough on an evangelist. A driving spirit and God’s grace empowered Brother Allen to continue on…
In 1947 he settled into pastoring a small church in Corpus Christi, Texas and left the field. Two years later Allen attended an Oral Roberts tent meeting in Dallas. Brother Allen was touched at the results of Robert’s Revival meeting and was convinced that a great revival was ahead. That meeting exposed Brother Allen to miracle after miracle and he was convinced that the Spirit of God was moving across the land with displays of great power.
Asa Allen left that meeting with such a conviction for the lost to receive God’s miracle working power that he asked his church board to allow him to start a radio program. They refused. This seemed to damper Brother Allen’s spirit immensely, although he had inside of him a great overpowering urge and determination that pushed him beyond the barriers imposed by man and he resigned from pastoring to hit the gospel road again. It was at this point that Allen started his Healing Revival Campaigns.
Asa was desperate to sum up what people were hungering after. He came to a realisation after witnessing the great crowds being drawn to the gigantic tent of Oral Roberts. In 1955 Brother Allen made a bold move of faith and purchased a tent for $8,700 that was way beyond his natural abilities to pay for, although he knew that God was the giver. With God’s blessing he entered the golden era of tent evangelism with a healing/salvation theme. This was the turning point for this determined man of God. Allen was know as a man that the poor and desperate responded to. Like David of old, who drew those in debt, in distress and discontentment. There was something about his ability to relate to their needs and give them the gospel hope, and they responded to him by the thousands. During his crusades he was known as the revivalist who never ran from the hard cases. More to the point – he thrived on them! If there was someone blind, no problem. Brother Allen would pray. On one occasion, a man came to his meetings who was an ex-mine worker. This man had his eyes blown right out of their sockets in a terrible explosion. When prayed for, God instantly replaced those empty sockets of flesh with brand new brown eyes in front of the people! If there were the lame, no problem. Asa would pray. He would grab the afflicted person’s crutches and throw these at the alter. The person was healed. Even the retarded would come with their faces all deformed. God would heal them instantly, their faces ‘popping’ back to normal! Many of the travelling evangelist had their own styles and Brother Allen was no different.
A.A.Allen had an incredible ability to set the stage of a service through music like no other of his day. Brother Allen was one of the first, along with Oral Roberts, to open his revival meetings up to an interracial crowd. This created a different kind of persecution, but he would use it as a platform to stand on and preach. He was a powerful preacher and was not fearful of prophetic declarations that had a spiritual punch to them. While in London he preached a dynamic message entitled, “God is a Killer.” On another occasion he delivered a prophecy declaring a vision that he had of the “Destruction of America.”
Brother Allen was apostolic in the sense that he thrived when under pressure. He felt that he was one of the most persecuted men in the ministry because he believed God for miracles. Allen, like many of his fellow revivalists, had religious enemies. Attacks of all sorts were railed at him. One of the most severe of those attacks started after an alleged arrest in 1955 for drunk driving in Knoxville, Tennessee. He never stood trial and forfeited his bail. Even today, regarding the whole incident, it is still unclear as to exactly what happened. Although well known evangelist R.W. Schambach said that he knew that Brother Allen was not drunk because he was with him that night in the car. In Allen’s ministry publication, Miracle Magazine, he printed his response to the accusations for his ministry supporters. “Brother Allen declares that all this is but a trick of the devil to try to kill his ministry and his influence among his friends, at a time when God has granted him greater miracles in his ministry than ever before.”
With gossip flying around, and newspaper reporters never seeming to stop, Allen found himself on the road without much denominational support. Even his fellowship, the Assembly of God, asked him to withdraw from public ministry until this matter was resolved. Brother Allen was very hurt feeling that he had been abandoned in a great time of personal need even though he had been with them for eighteen years. Asa felt that to withdraw, he would ruin his ministry and give the appearance of guilt. He surrendered his ordination papers and was on his own.
By the mid-1950s Brother Allen began to urge the Pentecostal ministers to establish independent churches that would be free of denominational controls. He felt that the denominations were limiting what the Spirit of God was trying to do. He felt that programs had replaced the old wooden altars. “With few exceptions, the churches today are leaning more and more toward dependence upon organisational strength, and natural ability, and denominational methods. They no longer expect to get their increase through the old fashioned revival altar bench, or through the miracle working power of God, but rather through the Sunday School”. Sadly, the situation doesn’t appear to have changed much even now.
In 1958 Jack Coe went to be with the Lord, so Brother Allen purchased his great tent. Coe’s tent had seated well over 22,000 and Allen had obviously been blessed with the largest tent in the world. During a time when the revivalists of the Voice of Healing movement began to disappear, Allen was bestowed the ability to raise the support that he needed to keep this ministry going. He was one of the first to call poverty a spirit and believed in God’s ability to perform miracles financially. His teaching on prosperity were a major theme in his meetings during the 60’s.
Brother Allen’s style was bold and outgoing. He sometimes wore lavender suits with white patent leather boots. His television commercials declared, “See! Hear! Actual miracles happening before your very eyes! Cancer, tumours, goiters disappear. Crutches, braces, wheelchairs, stretchers discarded. Crossed eyes straightened. Caught by the camera as they actually occur in the healing line before thousands of witnesses.”
At the height of his ministry, Allen had over 340,000 subscribers to Miracle Magazine. He was preaching in all the major cities and auditoriums across the country, was heard on radio, and had written many cutting edge books. There are still thousands of people today that were touched by the power of God working through Brother Allen. He was one of the first to birth a national television ministry and the first to broadcast prophecies and deliverances from demons over the airwaves. His Holy Ghost rallies were shown on the television. Up to twelve hundred received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in a single service. Brother Allen helped pioneer revival in the Philippines where he preached repeatedly to over fifty thousand people in each service. He founded a Bible School in Miracle Valley, to fulfil his vision; ‘a place where thousands could be trained up to deliver the Word of God to the multitudes in need’. He also started over four hundred churches.
Brother Allen said his earliest recollection of moving the public was when he was a mere child singing on the street corner for pennies. The first song that he ever sang was when he was 3 years-old, titled “It Never Runs Dry.” The title of that song can be said to be symbolic of his effervescent spirit, that reminds one of that scripture in John 4:14, which says “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” In Asa A Allen’s case – It never ran dry!
Asa Alonso Allen went to be with his Saviour on June 11th, 1970. He was fifty-nine years of age.
“Since 1951, under the A. A. Allen Miracle Revival tent in every campaign across the nation and in distant places around the globe, special help has always been offered those attending the meetings who were addicted to tobacco, alcohol and dope. In so many instances, these are the most neglected. No one seems to care if they struggle along alone and are lost. So many Christian ministers and workers pass them by, considering them too difficult, offensive or impossible.”
“But not Jesus! He came to save that which is lost!”
“From these deliverance services where special prayer and help is given to these precious addicted souls, have come thrilling testimonies of complete deliverance. Many who were once bound are now active in a Miracle Ministry of their own. They’re among Christ’s most ardent workers today!”
“With such a great crowd of witnesses to God’s mighty deliverance power over tobacco, alcohol and dope, is it any wonder the devil fights this ministry?!!! Is it any wonder the devil tries to make my own deliverance testimony of none effect?!!! Thank God the Word says the devil is a liar! And my deliverance from tobacco and alcohol is as real today as it was in the days immediately following my conversion thirty years ago.”
“The old crowd saw it, doubted it could last, and in time had to admit that Allen really did get religion!”
“Like so many children who grow up in tobacco country, as far as I can remember, tobacco was plentiful in my home. Mama and Papa used strong homegrown tobacco that had dried in our own barn. I smoked before I was old enough to start school.”
“My father was a talented musician who not only played for dances, but also directed the church choir. It was a formal, denominational church that did not preach against sin nor teach a life of holiness. My mother left my father when I was four, and the years that followed were hard and unhappy ones. I tried running away at the age of eleven, but when it began to rain, I got cold and hungry and went back home. Then at fourteen, I decided it was time for me to launch out on my own.”
“Like most boys who leave home, I soon became attached to other unattached young friends, and traveled through much of the South. I dug ditches, picked cotton, worked in the cotton gins, waited tables and worked whatever possible, but I knew what it was to be cold, and me, hungry. From experience, I know what poverty and despair really are!”
“For seven long years I lived a life of sin, a wretched life that doesn’t satisfy. It gives pleasure for a season, but it never lasts. For every night lived in sin, there’s always the morning after. Many a night, after being the life of the party, I slipped out into the woods and wept bitterly. My life had no purpose; it seemed hardly worth living.”
“Again and again, when my head was splitting and my frayed nerves let me shake visibly with a hang over, I promised myself I would never go on another again. But when night came, I was right back there…the life of the party! A confirmed drunkard! When the boys opened a new bottle, someone would say, “Don’t let Ace drink first. If you do, there won’t be any left for the rest of us!” Sometimes I wondered if changing my way of life might help. At twenty-one, I was sick. Tobacco, bad liquor and a life of sin were taking a serious toll on my body. I tried one brand of cigarettes after another, hoping to relieve the deep hacking cough. When I failed to find any less irritating, I tried to quit smoking. But every fiber of my being cried out for nicotine! I could hardly get a cigarette to my lips with one hand. And when I struck the match, I held my wrist with the other hand to control the shaking while I lit up. Broken in health and in spirit, the decision was finally made to return to my mother’s house. Perhaps with Mama’s good regular meals and with outdoor work on the farm, my health would return. This was a momentous decision that led to my conversion…a real step in the right direction, but not until my mother’s heart was almost broken.”
“Change my life! Plan as I did…I was bound by sin! Although I found myself at home, the lustful appetites of nicotine and alcohol still cried out to be satisfied. They had almost destroyed my health, yet the craving drove me on. I could not quit. My poor old mother would weep and beg me not to drink. “You’re worrying your old mother to death“, she pleaded. I was her only boy and her favorite child. She must have been even more deeply hurt as I laughed and joked back with her.”
“Soon after I returned home, I tried a new venture that proved quite successful. I opened my own dance hall on the highway. Customers came to dance and satisfy their thirst for drink at the Allen Saturday night dances. This exclusive dance hall had good music, good dancing and spirits, and the young people gathered from far and near. But the fame and fortune of this enterprise was to prove short-lived. Only a quarter of a mile down the highway, a precious farmer who was filled with the Holy Ghost and who loved lost souls had opened his home for prayer meetings and services. He invited friends, neighbors and everyone to attend. However, progress was slow. Several months passed and he was not pleased with the success he had hoped for. The Allen dance hall was holding the young people’s interest and keeping them from church. Brother Hunter finally decided if he was ever going to win his community for God, that dance hall would have to be closed!”
“A prayer group was called together to pray specifically for that purpose. Their example would be a good one for some of us to follow today. They prayed like this: “One way or another, God, close down that Allen dance hall. Save him if you can, but if he refuses to be saved, move him out of this community or take him!“. God answered their fervent prayer!”
“A short time later, a little Methodist Church nearby opened its doors for a revival. A friend and I passed by one evening, just as they were singing. The music and singing sounded so joyful, and the church was full. We found a vacant spot on the back bench to see what was taking place at the church house. To my amazement, a young lady was the preacher. She was dressed in white and it seemed to me that she looked and talked just like an angel. As she began to preach against sin, I didn’t want her to see me. I moved over just a little – that way I could hide my face behind the stovepipe. In a few moments, she stepped to the other side of the pulpit, looked back where we were and continued to preach the Word! For the first time in my life I came face to face with the full gospel! I was confronted with the convicting power of God! Before the altar call could be made, my friend and I slipped quietly out the door. True, I slipped away from the church and the people, but I could not get away from the Spirit of God. All night and all the next day, I could hear that joyous singing. Why, there was more joy in those songs than any I had ever heard, even more than the dance hall music! All the church music I had ever heard was slow and mournful. Over and over I recalled each happy face and the pure looking lady who had preached from God ‘s Word. Her words resounded in my ears.”
“For so long I had sought after joy and satisfaction, but life was leading me further and further from it with each step! In my heart was an overwhelming hunger for the peace I saw on the faces of these precious church people. The gentle pleading Spirit of God continued to urge me to return to the church and let these people help me find that joy.”
“The battle was on! Satan never gives up without a real fight! All the vexing, obsessing and possessing powers of the evil struggled within. But there was prayer going up before God on my behalf and the Spirit of God had began to move. When the service time came, I was there! I wouldn’t have missed a song! That night, many testified and the sermon was just for me. How the blood of Jesus would wash away every sin. Concluding her sermon, the lady minister said, “Everyone who wants to be saved, will you please raise your hand?” I had reached the decision of my life! Without any hesitation, I raised my hand high. “If you really want salvation tonight, then stand to your feet.” I eagerly obeyed. Several others were now standing too. When she looked at me, an anxious, troubled look came over her face. I learned later that when she realized who I was, she feared I had only come to the service and responded to the invitation to disrupt the prayer service and to make fun. It was with visible hesitation and anxiety that she finished the call, “If you really mean business with God tonight, it you really want to be saved please come forward.” The others who were standing nearby sank back into their seat, but I was in deadly earnest. I really meant business! Up to the front I walked very deliberately, and stood directly in front of the pulpit, looking up to await further instructions. This almost panicked the little lady preacher. Surely, she thought, he is about to cause a scene! Otherwise he would have knelt to pray at the altar. But I did not know any better. I was only following instructions with utmost sincerity. The eyes of everyone in the church were on me; the atmosphere became somewhat tense. Still questioning my motive for coming, she asked; “Do you really want to be saved?” I said, “Certainly, that’s why I came to the front!” Then, will you please kneel here at the altar, and we will pray.” To her relief and utter surprise, I did kneel and genuinely repented of my sins. The heavy load of sin rolled away. The old A. A. Allen who had been bootlegger, dancer and entertainer died that night at the altar. A new Allen stepped from the front doors of the little Onward Methodist Church. Gone were the sins and the desires that had bound me so long!”
“No more dances! No more liquor! No more cigarettes! Desire for them had vanished, and a new joy and peace had taken their place. They had no part in the life of the new Allen!”
“Old friends came by. They could not imagine what had happened. “Allen’s got religion“, some said…”But it won’t last long. He’ll be back on the dance floor in thirty days“. One went so far as to say, “If it lasts Allen thirty days, I’ll even try it myself!“
“But what they did not know was, this was not reform. This was not turning over a new leaf. This was a new creation! They were looking at the results of the mighty transforming power of God in action! Genuine deliverance in the Mighty Name of Jesus!”
“This special deliverance excerpt from Miracle Magazine, March 1964, has been especially prepared to help you or a friend who may need this same transforming power of God. Read it all. Let it’s message inspire you to believe God! Remember Jesus came to “set the captives free and to break every yoke!“
“……freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:8). Freely I have received! Can I afford not to freely give? I cannot refrain from giving forth the same message to others that saved and transformed my own life! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new!” (11 Co r. 5:17) “