Albert Benjamin Simpson (December 15, 1843 – October 29, 1919) (A.B. Simpson) was a Canadian preacher, theologian, author, and founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), an evangelical protestant denomination with an emphasis on global evangelism.
Simpson’s disciplined upbringing and his natural genius made him a most effective communicator of the Word of God. His preaching brought great blessing and converts wherever he preached and his unique gospel of Jesus became known as the FourFold Gospel: “Jesus our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King”. The Four Fold Gospel is symbolized in the logo of the C&MA : the Cross, the Laver, the Pitcher & the Crown. He came to his special emphasis in ministry through his absolute Christ-centeredness in doctrine and experience.
Plagued by illness for much of his life since childhood, Simpson experienced divine healing after understanding it to be part of the blessing of abiding in Christ as Life and healing. He emphasized healing in his Four Fold Gospel and usually devoted one meeting a week for teaching, testimonies and prayer on these lines. Although such teaching isolated him, and the C&MA, from the mainline churches that did not emphasize it, or rejected healing outright, Simpson’s uncompromising trust in the Word and power of God kept him steadily forging ahead of his times without criticism or rancor with those who disagreed.
Simpson’s heart for evangelism was to become the driving force behind the creation of the C&MA. Initially, the Christian and Missionary Alliance was not founded as a denomination, but as an organized movement of world evangelism. Today, the C&MA plays a leadership role in global evangelism.
In his 1890 book, A Larger Christian Life, Simpson discussed his vision for the church: “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.B. Simpson, A Larger Christian Life.)
During the beginning of the twentieth century, Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal movement, an offshoot of the Holiness movement. It was common for Pentecostal pastors and missionaries to receive their training at the Missionary Training Institute–now Nyack College, Nyack NY–that Simpson founded. Because of this, Simpson and the C&MA had a great influence on Pentecostalism, in particular the Assemblies of God and the FourSquare Church. This influence included evangelistic emphasis, C&MA doctrine, Simpson’s hymns, and books, and the use of the term ‘Gospel Tabernacle,’ which evolved into Pentecostal churches being known as ‘Full Gospel Tabernacles.’ There eventually developed a severe division within the C&MA organization over “the initial evidence doctrine” within Pentecostalism. While Simpson and the C&MA wholeheartedly embraced the Filling of the Holy Spirit and all the spiritual gifts, including tongues, they could not embrace the position that only tongues would be the initial evidence for that Baptism experience. This brought about the eventual emergence of the C&MA as a distinct denomination.