Yes, John G Lake was a Con Man: A Response to Marius Nel

Barry Morton

Abstract


This response to Marius Nel’s 2016 article (in Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae no. 42, 1, 62-85) uses primary source material to refute his claims that John G Lake, the initiator of Pentecostalism in southern Africa, was an upstanding man of God. A wide array of American and South African sources show that Lake invented an extensive but fictitious life story, while also creating a similarly dubious divine calling that obscured his involvement in gruesome killings in America. Once in South Africa, he used invented “miracles” to raise funds abroad for the Apostolic Faith Mission. Before long, he faced many accusations of duplicity from inside his own church.


Keywords


John G Lake; Apostolic Faith Mission; Charles Parham; Parhamite; John Alexander Dowie; Marius Nel

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References


Anderson, W. C. Adventures in Religion: Messages of John G Lake. Meridian, ID: Standsure Ministries, 2002.

Blake, C., Ed., John G Lake’s Writings from Africa. Xulon Press, 2005.

Burger, I., and M. Nel. A Fire Falls in Africa: A History of the Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa, 1908-2008. Pretoria: Christian Art Publishers, 2008.

Burpeau, K. God’s Showman: A Historical Study of John G Lake and South Africa/American Pentecostalism. Oslo: Refleks, 2004.

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Lindsay, G. John G Lake: Apostle to Africa. Dallas: Christ for the Nations, 1972.

Morton, B. “’The Devil Who Heals’: Fraud and Falsification in the Career of John G Lake, Missionary to South Africa.” African Historical Review no. 44, 2 (2012): 98-118.

Morton, B. “John Alexander Dowie and the Invention of Modern Faith Healing, 1882-89.” 2015.

Morton, B. “John G Lake’s Formative Years: The Making of a Con Man.” 2014. https://www.academia.edu/7005594/John_G_Lake_s_Formative_Years_1870-1908_The_Making_of_A_Con_Man.

Morton, B. “Shembe and the early Zionists: A Reappraisal.” New Contree no. 69 (2014): 73-92.

Nel, M. “John G Lake as a Fraud, Con Man, and False Prophet: A Critical Assessment of a Historical Evaluation of Lake’s Ministry.” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, no. 42, 1 (2016): 62-85.

Perkins, E. Joybringer Bosworth: His Life Story. Dayton: J.J. Scruby, 1921.

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Articles from Pentecostal newspapers and journals – not citing authors

“God Has Visited Africa.” Apostolic Faith, no. 11 (Nov-Dec 1909): 1.

“Indiana Missionary Convention.” Apostolic Faith, no. 1, 12 (Jan 1908): 2.

“Letter from Bro. J. G. Lake.” Confidence, no. 2, 8 (1909): 185-6.

“Missionaries for Africa.” Pentecost (August 1908): 2-3, 6-7.

“South Africa,” Confidence no. 11, 12 (December 1909): 281.

“South Africa.” Confidence no. 11, 9 (September 1909): 209.

“The Latter Rain in Zion City, Ill.” Apostolic Faith, no. 1, 9 (June-Sept 1907): 1. https://www.academia.edu/12444505/John_Alexander_Dowie_and_the_Invention_of_Modern_Faith_Healing_1882-89.

Our History, 1890-1968. Harvey, IL: First United Methodist Church, 1968.


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