A. B. Simpson
Born: December 15, 1843, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Died: October 29, 1919, Nyack, New York (buried at Nyack College in New York)
Albert Benjamin Simpson was born on Prince Edward Island on December 15th, 1843 to James and Janet (Clark) Simpson. His parents were of Scottish descent, his father also an elder in the Presbyterian church. A depression hit Canada in the 1840's and the family moved to Ontario where Albert accepted Christ as his Saviour when he was 15 years old.
After graduating from Knox College in Toronto at 22 years of age, Simpson accepted his first pastorate at Knox Church in Hamilton, the second largest church in Canada with 1,200 members. Under Simpson’s ministry the church added another 750 people to its congregation.
After eight years at the Knox Church, God led Simpson to the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The Civil War had left this city and its churches with heavy financial and spiritual problems. Simpson called for reconciliation and prayer. He set up missions all over the city for those who did not go to church. At the end of five years he felt he'd done all he could do there and was called to New York City to pastor the Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church in 1879.
Simpson drove himself beyond his physical strength and 1881 became a turning point in his beliefs about divine healing. That summer he and his family went to Old Orchard Beach, Maine for some rest. While there he heard several testimonies of people being healed by believing the Word of God. He sought God’s direction and became convinced that it was true. He made a commitment about three things:
- healing was in the Word of God and he would never doubt it
- he committed his physical well-being to Christ and would depend on him (he was healed of his heart disorder)
- he would speak about healing and minister in any way God called him
Simpson felt a great burden for the poor and those who had never heard the Gospel, especially among the large immigrant population. He led approximately 100 Italian immigrants to Christ and wanted them to become members of his church. Unfortunately, his congregation did not agree.
Simpson's heart was broken, and he began a work that would accept people from all walks of life. He established the Gospel Tabernacle in New York City as an independent church. He held evangelistic services, ran rescue missions, preached in prisons, held meetings for sailors, opened an orphanage and a home for unwed mothers, provided a dispensary for the poor, and started the Missionary Training School. He helped to form and lead two evangelization societies—The Christian Alliance for pursuing the higher Christian life, and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance for foreign missions. In 1897 these two groups were joined together, becoming The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
In May 1918 Simpson retired after more than 50 years of service to the cause of Christ. He died October 29, 1919. Family members recall his final words were a prayer for all the missionaries he had helped to send throughout the world.
Simpson published over 70 books, edited a weekly magazine for nearly 40 years and wrote many gospel songs and poems.