1843–1919
portrait

De­cem­ber 15, 1843, Bay­view, Prince Ed­ward Is­land, Can­a­da.

Oc­to­ber 29, 1919, Ny­ack, New York.

Ny­ack Col­lege, New York.

portrait

Albert was the third son and fourth child of James Simp­son, Jr., and Ja­net Clark.

His fam­i­ly’s strict Cal­vin­istic Scot­tish Pres­by­ter­ian and Pur­i­tan back­ground formed Al­bert’s view of his spir­it­u­al stand­ing. It sent him search­ing un­til he ap­par­ent­ly had to seek his doc­tor’s ad­vice as a youth. Al­bert was al­so un­doub­ted­ly ex­posed to sol­id Chris­tian clas­sics, as were ma­ny in the spir­it­u­al tra­di­tions of the time. It is known that he read Mar­shall’s Gos­pel Mys­te­ry of Sal­va­tion (1692), which brought the 15-year-old youth to a bal­anced un­der­stand­ing of sal­va­tion and Chris­tian ho­li­ness.

One in­flu­ence on Simp­son’s mis­sion­a­ry fer­vor may have been Rev. John Ged­die. In 1847, Ged­die went to the New He­bri­des [now Va­nu­a­tu] in the South Pa­ci­fic as a mis­sion­a­ry; re­port­ed­ly a whole is­land turned to Christ un­der his min­is­try. The Ged­die mem­or­i­al on Prince Ed­ward Is­land says, When he ar­rived in 1848, there were no Chris­tians; when he left in 1872, there were no hea­then.

After fin­ish­ing high school, Al­bert taught for a while to earn mo­ney to enter Knox Col­lege at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of To­ron­to. At age 21, he grad­u­at­ed and re­ceived calls to two church­es. One was a small rur­al con­gre­ga­tion, the oth­er the large Knox Pres­by­ter­ian Church in Ham­il­ton, On­tar­io. He wres­tled be­tween these calls, fin­al­ly choos­ing Knox Pres­by­ter­i­an so God could use him as wid­ely as pos­si­ble. Af­ter eight years of high­ly suc­cess­ful min­is­try and the ad­di­tion of 750 new church mem­bers, it was said He was se­cond to none in el­o­quence and abil­i­ty and suc­cess in his min­is­try (A. E. Thomp­son, A. B. Simp­son, His Life and Work, Chris­tian Pub­li­ca­tions).

In De­cember 1873, Simp­son was called to the pul­pit of the larg­est Pres­by­ter­ian church in Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky, the Chest­nut Street Pres­by­ter­i­an Church. There he joined ci­ty wide evan­gel­is­tic en­dea­vors which opened his eyes to a more ac­tive evan­gel­is­tic min­is­try of his own. A let­ter writ­ten by Simp­son’s fa­ther in 1877 to a ne­phew speaks of his two sons, How­ard and Al­bert:

In re­sponse to your re­quest I will give you a brief ac­count of our fam­i­ly. My two old­est sons as you are aware are Min­is­ters of the Gos­pel. How­ard is in the City of Ma­di­son, In­di­a­na and Al­bert is in Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky. Both are well pro­vid­ed for with re­gard to the things of this world…I trust they are both la­bor­ing faith­ful­ly and suc­cess­ful­ly. Al­bert in­deed is kill­ing him­self with hard la­bor hav­ing es­tab­lished mis­sion sta­tions through the whole Ci­ty which has a pop­u­la­tion of 150,000 and 30,000 of who go to no place of wor­ship. His own Con­gre­ga­tion has dou­bled since he went to it three years ago.

After five years and reach­ing a pla­teau of min­is­try in Lou­is­ville, Al­bert was called to New York Ci­ty to pas­tor the Thir­teenth Street Pres­by­ter­i­an Church. There he was drawn to the mass­es of im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion; in­deed, he found a mis­sion field at his door. Af­ter leadi­ng 100 or so Ital­i­an im­mi­grants to Christ, his con­gre­ga­tion sug­gest­ed that they might find an­oth­er church to at­tend. Simp­son de­cid­ed then that God was call­ing him to a dif­fer­ent work and he left to be­gin his min­is­try to the mass­es in New York.

God’s call on Simp­son’s life re­sult­ed in a two­fold vi­sion. First, the mes­sage of the full­ness of Christ and its cen­tral­i­ty of Christ in doc­trine was his Bib­li­cal mes­sage. This be­came what he called the Four­fold Gos­pel: Jesus Christ our Sav­ior, Sanc­ti­fied, Heal­er, and Com­ing King. Simp­son at­trib­ut­ed the term, Four­fold Gos­pel, to a sug­ges­tion of the Ho­ly Spir­it at the op­en­ing of the 1890 con­ven­tion at the New York Gos­pel Ta­ber­na­cle. This for­mu­la­tion has been used by the As­sem­blies of God as well as the Four Square church­es. Se­cond, a vi­sion of a lost and per­ish­ing world com­pelled Simp­son to send his first mis­sion­a­ry evan­gel­is­tic teams to the Con­go. Simp­son’s be­lief and str­at­egy were that Spir­it filled peo­ple liv­ing a Christ like life be­come ac­tive ser­vants. The out­come of these twin vi­sions was the de­vel­op­ment his Christ cen­tered mes­sage and the ex­ten­sion of his lo­cal church’s min­is­try in­to what has be­come to­day the Chris­tian and Mis­sion­a­ry Al­li­ance (CAMA).

For Simp­son, the min­is­try was all en­com­pass­ing. He wrote once about how he was be­ing di­vine­ly led in de­vel­op­ment of his lo­cal church min­is­try:

He is show­ing us the plan for a Chris­tian church that is much more than an as­so­ci­a­tion of con­gen­ial friends to list­en once a week to an in­tel­lec­tu­al dis­course and mu­sic­al en­ter­tain­ment and ca­rry on by proxy a mech­a­nism of Chris­tian work; but ra­ther a church that can be at once the mo­ther and home of ev­ery form of help and bles­sing which Je­sus came to give to lost and suf­fer­ing men, the birth­place and the home of souls, the foun­tain of heal­ing and cleans­ing, the shel­tering home for the or­phan and dis­tressed, the school for the cul­ture and train­ing of God’s child­ren, the ar­mory where they are equipped for the bat­tle of the Lord and the ar­my which fights those bat­tles in His name. Such a cen­ter of pop­u­la­tion in this sad and sin­ful world!

A Larg­er Chris­tian Life, Al­bert Simp­son

On an­oth­er occasion, in a quite sim­i­lar tone, Simp­son wrote:

We should aim to bring all the work of God with­in the sphere of the church of Christ. There is room not on­ly for the wor­ship of God, the teach­ing of sac­red truth and the evan­gel­iz­a­tion of the lost, but al­so for ev­ery phase of prac­ti­cal phil­an­thro­py and use­ful­ness. There may be, in per­fect keep­ing with the sim­ple or­der and dign­i­ty of the church of God, the most ag­gres­sive work for the mas­ses and the wid­est wel­come for ev­ery class of sin­ful men; the min­is­try of heal­ing for the sick and suf­fer­ing ad­min­is­tered in the name of Je­sus; the most com­plete pr­ovi­sion for char­it­a­ble re­lief; in­dus­tri­al train­ing and so­cial el­e­va­tion for the de­grad­ed class­es; work­shops for the un­emp­loyed; homes for the or­phaned; shel­ter for the home­less; mis­sions for the hea­then; and ev­ery agen­cy need­ed to make the church of God the light of the world and mo­ther of the suf­fer­ing and lost. And there is no work that will be more glor­i­fy­ing to God than a church that will em­brace just such fea­tures and com­plete­ness. May the Lord help us yet to real­ize the vi­sion, and pre­sent at His own bless­ed com­ing His own fair bride and her mul­ti­tudes of chil­dren.

But as so­cial­ly mind­ed as these stat­ements sound, Simp­son nur­tured a deep pas­sion for the evang­el­iz­a­tion of earth in his ear­ly fol­lowers. He said:

living men; so that ev­ery­one may have the op­por­tun­i­ty of sal­va­tion, and the Bride of Christ may be ga­thered in from all na­tions, tribes and tongues, the full­ness of the Gen­tiles brought in, and the way ful­ly pre­pared for the Lord’s re­turn.

In his pow­er­ful hymn, The Mis­sion­ary Cry, he wrote:

The Master’s coming draweth near.
The Son of Man will soon appear,
His Kingdom is at hand.
But ere that glorious day can be,
The Gospel of the Kingdom, we
Must preach in every land.

In bring­ing about the birth of the CAMA, Simp­son was not seeking a de­nom­in­a­tion, but a tool for world evan­gel­iz­a­tion. He saw his mis­sion’s or­gan­iz­a­tion as the Lord’s way of hast­en­ing His own speedy re­turn. Hence his cry to equal­ly, fair­ly and speed­i­ly take the Gos­pel to all the peo­ples of the earth. Then the end would come and the King would re­ceive his own. The oft­en re­port­ed an­ec­dote in­volv­ing a re­por­ter from the New York Jour­nal clear­ly shows his an­ti­ci­pa­tion of the Se­cond Com­ing and how to hast­en it.

The re­por­ter asked Dr. Simp­son, Do you know when the Lord is com­ing?

Yes, he re­plied, and I will tell you if you prom­ise to print just what I say, ref­er­ences and all.

The reporter’s poised note­book gave the rea­dy pr­omise.

Then put this down: This gos­pel of the king­dom shall be preached in all the world for a wi­tness un­to the na­tions and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14. Have you written the ref­er­ence?

Yes, what more?

Nothing more.

The re­por­ter low­ered his pen­cil and said, Do you mean to say that you be­lieve that when the Gos­pel is preached to all the na­tions Jesus will re­turn?

Just that.

I think I be­gin to see the day­light, an­swered the re­por­ter. I see the mo­tiv­a­tion and the mo­tive pow­er in this move­ment.

Then, Simp­son said, you see more than some of the doc­tors of di­vin­i­ty.

This spirit of seek­ing the lost pro­pelled the Al­li­ance in­to lead­er­ship in world mis­sions. The be­lief that evan­ge­liz­a­tion could hast­en the Se­cond Com­ing fired a pas­sion. In its ear­li­est days this pas­sion con­sumed its lead­er­ship at na­tion­al and lo­cal church le­vels. While Simp­son was alive, he main­tained a close hand on the pur­pos­es and ac­tions of the move­ment, his move­ment. In the years since his death in 1919, the CAMA moved from a move­ment formed in the min­is­try of a sin­gle in­di­vi­du­al to a mis­sion­a­ry de­nom­in­a­tion. Ma­ny reg­ret the pass­ing of a sin­gle vi­sion move­ment to a mul­ti­visioned or­gan­ized church bo­dy. But the roots of ma­ny de­nom­in­a­tion­al like ac­tiv­i­ties are found in Simp­son’s own mul­ti­vi­sioned ap­proach to his min­is­try in New York Ci­ty. Heal­ing homes with their fo­cus on spir­it­u­al re­new­al and pray­er for the sick re­si­dents may be viewed as per­haps a short term ver­sion of our mo­dern nurs­ing homes and re­tire­ment cen­ters. His ex­pand­ed vi­sion for an ed­u­ca­tion­al sys­tem from high school through a un­i­ver­si­ty was cer­tain­ly the pre­cur­sor of the five col­leges and two sem­in­ar­ies in the US and Ca­na­di­an church­es of the CAMA. The near­ly 25% of US mem­ber­ship in eth­nic con­gre­ga­tions, speak­ing as ma­ny as 19 lang­uag­es on a Sun­day morn­ing would make his heart leap with joy. Cer­tain­ly the de­vel­op­ment agen­cy, CAMA Ser­vic­es, serv­ing in sev­er­al coun­tries, doubt­less match­es the heart­beat of Simp­son’s vi­sion of a lo­cal church min­is­try. A mil­i­tary chap­lain­cy ef­fort well be­yond the US Armed Ser­vic­es’ ex­pec­ta­tion for a small de­nom­in­ation has been marked with re­mark­a­ble leader­ship by CAMA chap­lains. A church loan pro­gram that is near­ing $100 mil­lion in­vest­ed by CAMA peo­ple for the de­vel­op­ment of new and strong­er Al­li­ance church­es in the US. A tri­enn­ial youth con­vo­ca­tion with more than 6,000 youth that fo­cus­es on evan­gel­ism and deep­er life of youth pe­ople chal­lenges them with calls to Chris­tian min­is­tries and builds a pool of re­cruits for church min­is­tries. As he said, There is room not on­ly for the wor­ship of God, the teach­ing of sac­red truth and the evan­gel­iz­a­tion of the lost, but al­so for ev­ery phase of prac­ti­cal phil­an­thro­py and use­ful­ness.

  1. Abiding and Confiding
  2. Balm in Gilead
  3. Blessed Be the Glorious Tidings
  4. Burn On!
  5. Christ in Me
  6. Days of Heaven
  7. Down in the Valley
  8. Everlasting Arms, The
  9. God’s Best for Me
  10. Healing in Jesus
  11. Himself
  12. I TakeHe Undertakes
  13. I Will Say Yes to Jesus
  14. I’m Living in Heaven Today
  15. Jesus Only Is Our Message
  16. Living in the Glory
  17. Mercy of God Is an Ocean Divine, The
  18. Missionary Cry, A
  19. Nothing Is Too Hard for Jesus
  20. O Comforter, Gentle and Tender
  21. Oh, It Is So Sweet to Die with Christ
  22. Regions Beyond, The
  23. Search Me, O God
  24. Sinner Saved by Grace, A
  25. Some Sweet Morn
  26. Star of Hope
  27. Step by Step
  28. There Is Joy in Heaven
  29. Thy Kingdom Come
  30. Yesterday, Today, Forever
  31. What Will You Do with Jesus?
  1. Not I, but Christ