John G. Lake
- For other people called John Lake, see John Lake (disambiguation).
|John Graham Lake|
Early photo of John G. Lake
March 18, 1870|
St. Mary's, Ontario, Canada
|Died||September 16, 1935
|Religion||Christian Pentecostal, Methodist|
|Spouse(s)||Jennie Stevens (1893-1908); Florence Switzer (1913-1935)|
|Church(es)||The Church of Truth, Spokane, WA (1914-1920)|
|Offices held||Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, co-founder, president (c. 1909-1913)|
John Graham Lake (March 18, 1870 – September 16, 1935), usually known as John G. Lake, was a Canadian–American leader in the Pentecostal movement that began in the early 20th century, and is known as a faith healer, missionary, and with Thomas Hezmalhalch, co-founder of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa. Through his 1908–13 African missionary work, Lake played a decisive role in the spread of Pentecostalism in southern Africa, the most successful southern African religious movement of the 20th century.:98:34 After completing his missionary work in Africa, Lake evangelized for 20 years, primarily along the west coast of the United States setting up "healing rooms" and healing campaigns, and establishing churches. Lake was influenced by the healing ministry of John Alexander Dowie and the ministry of Charles Parham.
Early life and career
Lake was born in St. Mary's, Ontario, Canada into a large family, 16 siblings, which was continually affected with illness, and his memory of childhood was that there was always someone in the house either sick, dying or dead. In 1891, at the age of twenty-one, he was ordained into Methodist ministry; however, but chose to enter the business world instead of accepting a church ministry.
According to Lake, he became an industrious businessman and started two newspapers, the Harvey Citizen in Harvey, Illinois and the Soo Times in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, before beginning a successful career in real estate, and later, becoming a millionaire in life insurance dealings. Historian Barry Morton found no evidence that Lake ever owned the two newspapers, citing sources which indicate the Harvey Citizen was founded by the Harvey township, and the Soo Times was started by George A. Ferris and owned by Ferris & Scott Publishers:394:103. Morton further alleges that Lake exaggerated his business career, and that "clear evidence" shows Lake instead worked as a small-scale contractor, roofer and "house-flipper".:103
In February 1893, Lake married Jennie Stevens of Newberry, Michigan. c. 1897-98, Jennie became mortally ill with an incurable disease. By this time Lake had been bereaved of eight of his 16 siblings, so he became determined to save his wife's life. Lake reports that his wife was miraculously healed through the prayers of John Alexander Dowie. In 1901 he relocated his family to Zion, Illinois, for the purpose of studying divine healing under Dowie.
Lake claims he maintained relationships with many of the leading figures of his day including railroad tycoon James Jerome Hill, Cecil Rhodes, Mahatma Gandhi, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others. By the time he left for the mission field he walked away from a $50,000 year salary (around $1.25 million in 2007 US dollars), as well as his seat on the Chicago Board of Trade. Lake's biographer, Burpeau, reported no evidence outside of Lake's own assertions that Lake was connected to these wealthy financiers and industrialists. According to Morton, contemporary records show Lake never left Zion City at the time Lake was said to be making his name in Chicago; he instead worked in nearby Waukegan as an "ordinary, small-town insurance salesman". Lake does not appear in contemporary newspapers until 1907 where he gave an account of his experience of speaking in tongues.:105
Missionary work in Africa
With Thomas Hezmalhalch, Lake founded the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (AFM) in 1908 and carried on missionary work from 1908-13. According to the AFM:14, Lake and Hezmalhalch did not introduce Pentecostalism to South Africa, but united those who did have a "Pentecostal experience" or baptism of the Holy Spirit. Morton writes :98, "Lake was instrumental in spreading this fusion of Zionism/Pentecotalism that is unique to southern Africa... about half of southern African Christians today  are adherents of it... Lake played a decisive role in the spreading of this 'second evangelization'." Lake's movement attracted many of the early Zionists led by Pieter L. Le Roux of Wakkerstroom:15. Le Roux took over the leadership of the Apostolic Faith Mission when Lake returned to America, and Le Roux led it for 30 years.
Just six months after Lake's arrival in South Africa, his first wife, Jennie, died on December 22, 1908. Lake recorded that she died of a stroke. He continued his work in Africa for another four years, raising his seven children with the help of his sister Irene.
Lake's ministry in South Africa was not without controversy. Morton writes:114–15 that Lake was accused of: misappropriating the AFM's funds, particularly that funds did not flow to poor rural areas but were concentrated with Lake and his party; acting dictatorially; exaggerating the effectiveness of the revival movement he led; and staging miraculous healings through audience plants.
Later life and religious work
Lake returned to America on February 1, 1913, and married Florence Switzer by September 1913. Lake's comment on this second marriage was, "Men in these days consider themselves to be happily married once. I have been especially blessed in that I have been happily married twice." From this marriage five children were born.
After a year of itinerant preaching, Lake relocated to Spokane, WA by September 1914 and began ministering in "The Church of Truth". He started an organization called The Divine Healing Institute and opened what he called "Lake's Divine Healing Rooms". Lake ran the "healing rooms" from 1915 until May 1920, at which time he moved to Portland, Oregon, for a similar ministry that lasted for another five years. He continued to found churches and "healing rooms" down the California coast and eventually to Houston, TX in 1927, before finally returning to Spokane in 1931. Upon his return to Spokane he purchased an old church and began his final church and healing room.
Several books have been written recording Lake's experiences and the miracles attributed to Lake.
Lake's history has served as a guide to other ministries, such as Curry R. Blake's "John G. Lake Ministries," based in Dallas, TX, (www.jglm.org) and Healing Rooms Ministries, led by Cal Pierce, headquartered in Spokane, Washington.
In 1987, Wilford Reidt (the son-in-law of Lake) and his wife, Gertrude (Lake's daughter) passed the leadership of their ministry to Curry R. Blake. Blake was named the General Overseer of the International Apostolic Council, an organization founded by John G. Lake in 1914. Today, the ministry establishes "John G. Lake Healing Rooms" and trains Christians in divine healing.
In 1999, the Healing Rooms in Spokane, Washington were opened, which are not affiliated with John G. Lake Ministries. The Healing Rooms place an emphasis on not only serving the city of Spokane, but in duplicating the ministry of healing globally, with currently 2,002 Healing Rooms in 58 nations.
Skeptics[who?] claim that new "scientific analysis" of John Lake's life and work could prove that his real motives were questionable. Barry Morton states: "An analysis of the missionary career of John G Lake shows that the initial spread of Pentecostalism and Zionism in southern Africa was facilitated by the systematic use of fraud and deception." :98
At the same time, there is medically documented evidence of thousands of people healed during Lake's ministry.
Notes and references
- Morton, Barry (2012). "‘The Devil Who Heals’: Fraud and Falsification in the Evangelical Career of John G Lake, Missionary to South Africa 1908–1913". African Historical Review 44 (2): 98–118. doi:10.1080/17532523.2012.739752.
- Miller, Denzil R. (2005). From Azusa to Africa to the Nations. Springfield, MO: Assemblies of God World Missions: Africa Office, Acts in Africa Initiative. ISBN 1-8911-1034-9.
- "Who Was John G. Lake". John G. Lake Ministries. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- Lindsay, Gordon, ed. (1997). John G. Lake–Apostle to Africa. Christ for the Nations, Inc. ISBN 978-0899850115.
- The Town of Harvey, Illinois: Manufacturing Suburb of Chicago aged two years. Harvey, Illinois: Harvey Land Association. 1892.
- N. W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual: containing a Catalogue of American Newspapers, a List of All Newspapers of the United States and Canada, 1898, Volume 1. N. W. Ayer & Son. 1898.
- Sault Ste Marie News. 6 March 1896.
- Sources provide conflicting reports of consumption, tuberculosis and heart disease.
- Officer, Lawrence H. and Williamson, Samuel H. (2013). "Purchasing Power of Money in the United States from 1774 to Present". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- Burpeau, Kemp Pendleton (2004). God’s Showman: A Historical Study of John G Lake and South Africa/American Pentecostalism. Oslo: Refleks Publishing. ISBN 978-82-996599-2-5.
- Chandomba, Lyton (2007). The History of Apostolic Faith Mission and Other Pentecostal Missions in South Africa. Authorhouse. ISBN 978-1425997397.
- Lake, John G. (2005). Liardon, Roberts, ed. John G. Lake Anthology: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings. Whitaker House. p. 992. ISBN 978-0-88368-568-6.
- Lindsay, Gordon (1952). Sketches from the Life and Ministry of John G. Lake. Shreveport, LA: Voice of Healing Publishing Company. p. 116.
- Lake, John G. (1995). Copeland, Kenneth, ed. John G. Lake: His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith. Kenneth Copeland Publications. ISBN 9780881149623.