Jack Coe

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Jack Coe
Born Jack Coe
(1918-03-11)March 11, 1918
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. U.S.
Died December 16, 1956(1956-12-16) (aged 38)
Dallas, Texas, US
Cause of death Bulbar polio
Occupation Evangelist/faith healer
Title Head of Dallas Revival Center
Spouse(s) Juanita Geneva Scott Coe
Children Six

Jack Coe (March 11, 1918 – December 16, 1956) was one of the first faith healers in the United States with a touring tent ministry after World War II. Coe was ordained in the Assemblies of God in 1944, and began to preach while still serving in World War II. In the following twelve years, he travelled the U.S. organizing tent revivals to spread his message. Coe was hospitalized and died from bulbar polio in December 1956.[1]

According to his obituary in the Charleston Gazette, "Coe was frequently the center of controversy" and "preached extensively through the South and employed some 80 persons."[2]

Early life[edit]

Jack Coe was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the seventh child of George Henry and Blanche Zoe (Mays) Coe of Pleasantville, Venango County, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma City.[citation needed] His parents later placed him in an orphanage. He left there at the age of 17, in about 1935. A heavy drinker, he joined the Army after World War II began. He later claimed to have experienced a miracle during his time in the military that caused him to become a Christian minister. Coe had close ties with the Assemblies of God, and preached several meetings while he was in the Army. He was ordained in 1944 and then began his career as an itinerant preacher.[3]

Tent evangelist and ministries[edit]

Coe was dynamic and enthusiastic in his beliefs.[3] He knew Oral Roberts and was impressed by the size of Robert’s revival tent. One day Coe went to tent meeting of Roberts's and measured the tent; he then ordered a larger one.[4] Coe was not bashful about announcing that his tent was the largest in the world–bigger, he claimed, than the one Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus used.[5]

Coe was co-editor of fellow evangelist Gordon Lindsay's Voice of Healing magazine until 1950, when he began his own magazine, the Herald of Healing. By 1956 its circulation was approximately 250,000.[5] Coe also opened a children's orphanage[6] and built a large church building known as the Dallas Revival Center.[7]

Conflict with denomination and controversy[edit]

Coe’s revival messages centered upon healing, and he was adamant about not taking medicines and not visiting doctors.[8] In 1953, the Assemblies of God expelled him on the grounds that he was "misleading the public" and "antagonizing Dallas Civil Authorities". He was also accused of having an extravagant lifestyle and home. Upon hearing that, Coe printed pictures of four large homes owned by some top officials in the Assemblies of God and the smaller homes of himself and three other revivalists. Coe also charged that the Assemblies of God were "fighting divine healing". Other revivalists soon came into conflict with Pentecostal denominations as well.[9]

Coe's arrest and case dismissed[edit]

Coe taught and preached fervently on divine healing, claiming to have healed visitors to his revivals. In a 1955 revival service in Miami, Florida, Coe told the parents of a three-year-old boy that he had healed their son of polio.[10] Coe then told the parents to remove the boy's leg braces.[10] However, the boy was not cured, and removing the braces left him in constant pain.[10] As a result, Coe was arrested and on February 6, 1956, was charged with practicing medicine without a license, a felony in the state of Florida. A judge dismissed the case on grounds that Florida exempts divine healing from the law.[11][12][13]

Death[edit]

In November, a few months after the charges were dismissed, Coe became sick while in Hot Springs, Arkansas.[14] He returned to Texas and underwent a tracheotomy to help his breathing after his muscles became paralyzed.[14] He was diagnosed with bulbar polio, and died a few weeks later at Dallas' Parkland Hospital on December 16, 1956.[15][16][17]

After his death, A. A. Allen bought his tent and continued to hold large tent meetings.[18] The Dallas Revival Center was later led by W. V. Grant.[19]

Coe's wife, Rev. Juanita Geneva Scott of Lancaster, Texas, died on September 27, 1996, and was buried in Laurel Land Memorial Park in Dallas.[20] Jack Coe's son, Jack Coe, Jr., also became a preacher with a healing ministry.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Faith healer Dies- Victim of Bulbar Polio". Oakland Tribune. December 17, 1956. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  2. ^ "Faith Healer Dies of Polio". Charleston Gazette. December 17, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  3. ^ a b Harrell 1975, p. 58
  4. ^ Harrell 1975, p. 59
  5. ^ a b Harrell 1975, p. 60
  6. ^ Harrell 1975, p. 175
  7. ^ Harrell 1975, p. 61
  8. ^ Harrell 1975, p. 62
  9. ^ Harrell 1975, p. 111–112
  10. ^ a b c "Faith healer Dies- Victim of Bulbar Polio". Daily Courier. December 18, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  11. ^ "The Week In Religion". Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. July 1, 1956. 
  12. ^ "Charges Against Texas Faith Healer Dismissed". St. Petersburg Times. February 21, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  13. ^ "'Faith Healer' Cleared Of Illegal Practice". Washington Post. February 21, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  14. ^ a b "Faith Healer Ill". Reno Evening Gazette. November 27, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  15. ^ "Faith Healer Jack Coe Dies". Corpus Christi Times. December 17, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Jack Coe, Evangelist, Dies of Polio". Washington Post. December 17, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  17. ^ "JACK COE IS DEAD AT 38; Texas Evangelist Succumbs to Bulbar Polio". New York Times. December 17, 1956. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  18. ^ Robbins 2010, p.85
  19. ^ Harrell 1975, p. 172
  20. ^ "Services held for evangelist Juanita Geneva Scott Coe, 76". Dallas Morning News. October 3, 1996. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  21. ^ Kennedy, Allison (May 14, 2009). "Jack Coe Jr. to lead area revivals next week". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Harrell, David Edwin (1975), All things are possible: the healing & charismatic revivals in modern America, Indiana University Press, ISBN 978-0-253-10090-0 
  • Robins, R. G. (2010), Pentecostalism in America, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-0-313-35294-2