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The Life of John G. Lake: The Gospel Confirmed By Signs and Wonders

“For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power” (I Cor. 4:20 NASB). Christianity is a rational faith. Christianity is an evidential faith. It is not a blind leap of faith. Jesus came in fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Jesus also performed miracles of healing in front of eyewitnesses. It should not surprise us that ministers of Christ today are used of God to perform miracles of healing.

 

Miracles of healing performed through ministers such as John G. Lake are not just happenstance or even for the practical value of curing sickness. Healings are signs and wonders that bring glory to God! “God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Heb. 2:4 NASB).

 

Jesus showed Himself to be alive after His resurrection “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). The great theologian and philosopher, Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) taught much on the reasonableness of the Christian faith. Faith and reason can be distinguished but they can’t be separated. Faith and reason are two different concepts but they work together. Jesus expects us to hear the message of salvation, view the evidence and respond in faith. Faith means to trust in Christ alone for salvation. Christ alone has died for our sins.

 

John Graham Lake, one of sixteen children, was born in Ontario Canada on March 18, 1870. He would grow up to be one of the greatest healing evangelists of the end-time church. He received Christ as Savior, at age sixteen, during a Salvation Army meeting.

 

Lake suffered from rheumatism that  twisted and distorted his legs. He traveled to Chicago to receive healing ministry at the healing home of famous healing evangelist John Alexander Dowie (1847 – 1907). One of the workers there, an older man, laid hands on Lake and he was instantly healed. Lake also brought his invalid brother and a sister who had breast cancer to Dowie’s healing home for prayer. Both received miraculous healings. His sister’s cancer actually came out or fell out a few days later. Her diseased breast was fully restored.

 

Lake married at a young age and not long afterwards, his wife was beset by a serious illness and was close to death. Lake, influenced by Dowie’s example of faith and reliance upon God, prayed for his wife, Jennie, and saw her miraculously healed. I should mention that Lake was also highly impacted by the ministry of prominent healing evangelist, Maria Woodworth Etter (1844 – 1924).

 

In 1901, Lake moved his family to Zion Illinois to study under Dowie and work for Dowie’s ministry. He suffered financially during the next few years but things turned around dramatically. John Lake apparently had a gift in the area of financial success and I don’t mean by charging money for ministry. During the depression year of 1907, he was able to acquire a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade and build a fortune of over $200,000. Back in 1907, $200,000 was a lot of money. He gave it all away before he left for South Africa to serve as a missionary.

 

When John and Jennie Lake and their seven children arrived in South Africa in 1908, their ministry really blossomed. John moved in a powerful healing anointing. Jennie had a powerful gift of the word of knowledge which is a prophetic understanding of people’s situations and needs. Associate minister, Tom Hezmalhalch, was also a supernaturally gifted evangelist. With the vast number of converts, they founded Apostolic Tabernacle in Johannesburg and started more than one hundred other churches. Their influence in South Africa reverberates even to today, over a century later.

 

John G. Lake is perhaps best known for his work in Spokane Washington. After Jennie’s untimely death in 1908, Lake returned to the U.S. in 1912. He remarried and traveled across America on a free railroad pass given to him by a friend from his Chicago Board of Trade days. Lake and family settled in Spokane in 1914 and established the famous healing rooms there.

 

Lake and his team prayed for thousands of sick people in the healing rooms. Healings of cancer, paralysis and rheumatoid arthritis occurred miraculously. There were so many phenomenal healings that the local papers published testimonies of many of the healings. I have a picture of a boy standing next to a full leg brace he wore before his healing. The boy appears healthy and straight. A woman was dramatically healed of a broken kneecap. These are among literally thousands of miraculous healings.

 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) decided to investigate the healings in Spokane. Lake offered to produce a hundred people to testify of their healings. He also requested the BBB gather a panel of doctors and lawyers. The BBB decided not to follow through on Lake’s request and notified Lake that the BBB investigation had by then verified enough healings to satisfy them. Even the mayor of Spokane publicly honored John Lake.  The city of Spokane was highly impacted by the flood of undeniable miracles which transformed the health of the city for the better according to government statistics. Lake and his family left for Portland Oregon in 1920, and he served as pastor and did itinerant evangelism from there.

 

Lake traveled throughout the U.S. during the twenties and early thirties as a healing evangelist being greatly used of God. Gordon Lindsay, a prominent figure in the Voice of Healing revivals which would start decades later, beginning in 1948, was converted at a Lake meeting in Portland Oregon. When Lindsay later suffered deadly ptomaine poisoning, he was healed under Lake’s ministry. Gordon Lindsay is the father of Shira Lindsay Sorko-Ram of Maoz Ministries, Tel Aviv, Israel.

 

The lesson of the life of John G. Lake is that God continues to use supernatural power to witness to the truth of the Gospel during modern times. Christianity is not a dry academic argument though I will say the Christian worldview and Christian morals are far superior to the ever changing musings of secular humankind. Christianity is alive and vibrant. God’s compassion on the sick is revealed through the faithful ministries of John G. Lake and those who went before him and the many healing evangelists at work today.

 

God revealed His love for humankind in that He sent Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament Bible prophecies. Christ and His apostles worked miracles of healing which confirmed the truth of the Christian message. The prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the penalty we deserved for our sins, thus making atonement. On the basis of Christ’s atonement we repent and ask for forgiveness of sins. Turn to Christ today to receive your forgiveness!

 

(Much of the information contained in this article was obtained from the book God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon, Whitaker House 1996.)

 

 

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