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A. A. Allen

A. A. Allen (March 27, 1911 - June 11, 1970) was born Asa A. Allen at Sulphur Rock, Arkansas into the Methodist church. His middle name, given only as "A." on his birth certificate, was changed to "Alonso" at around age four.

A later Pentecostal convert, Allen’s life and methods were not without controversy and as with many of the other tent evangelists, he was the recipient of much criticism and personal scrutiny. At age 59, in June of 1970, he died from liver failure brought on by acute alcoholism in San Francisco, and was buried at his evangelistic headquarters in Miracle Valley, Arizona.

Early life

Asa A. Allen's father was an alcoholic and his mother a full blood Cherokee Native was said to be cavorting with other men. At age 23, Allen was converted at the Onward Methodist Church in Miller, Missouri in a revival where two women were preaching. Later, he learned of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost from a Pentecostal preacher who was conducting meetings in his home. He soon felt the call to preach and allied himself with the Assemblies of God and subsequently obtained ordination from them in 1936. In 1947, Allen was pastoring a large A/G church in Corpus Christi, Texas.

While attending an Oral Roberts tent meeting in Dallas (1949), Allen was convinced that a great revival was ahead and that God was moving across the land with displays of great power. Allen later testified that as he left that meeting, he was filled with such conviction for the lost to receive God's miracle-working power that he asked his church board to allow him to start a radio program. They refused. Allen soon resigned from his church and began to hold revivals, and it would be during this point that Allen started his Healing Revival Campaigns.

Revivalist

In 1955 Allen purchased a tent for $8,700 that would seat over ten thousand people, and Allen was soon one of the major healing evangelists on the revival circuit. Allen’s revival meetings were similar to the other leading evangelists of the time (such as Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, and William Branham) where there would be an extended time for music and testifying, then a sermon, then an appeal for those in need to come forward and be prayed for.

Allen was arrested in 1955 for suspicion of drunk driving in Knoxville, Tennessee and was defrocked by the Assemblies of God. After he "jumped bail" he re-ordained himself and set up the "Miracle Revival Fellowship".

Allen continued on the revival circuit, and in 1958 he purchased a tent that could seat over 22,000 (the tent was the one used by evangelist Jack Coe up until his death in 1956). Allen became one of the first evangelists to call poverty a spirit and believed in God's ability to perform miracles financially. At the height of his ministry, Allen had over 350,000 subscribers to his ministry’s magazine-Miracle Magazine. The magazine retold stories sent in by admirers claiming Allen cured the sick, but gave a disclaimer that the magazine does not "assume legal responsibility" of its accuracy.

Few of his supposed miracles ever underwent "scrutiny of physicians" and at his revivals in small print his disclaimer read"A. A. Allen Revivals, Inc. assumes no legal responsibility for the veracity of any such report."

At a revival meeting on January 1, 1958, at Phoenix, Arizona Urbane Leiendecker, a recent convert, approached Allen and offered him 1280 acres (5.2 km²) of the finest land in Arizona.." Within days a deed was recorded in the name of A.A.Allen Revivals, Inc. at the Cochise County Courthouse. Using this property, Allen founded a Bible School in Miracle Valley.

His teachings on prosperity were a major theme in his meetings during the 1960s. He began selling "prosperity cloths" for $100 and $1000 dollar donations. Furthermore, he claimed to have "visions, divine voices, and prophecies."

He also "claimed to communicate with the demon world.

Death

Allen died at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco, California on June 11, 1970 at the age of 59. The coroner's report concluded Allen died from liver failure brought on by acute alcoholism. Police found his body in a "room strewn with pills and empty liquor bottles." Allen was buried at Miracle Valley, Arizona.

After death and memory

After Allen’s death in 1970, Reverend Don Stewart became head of the association, changing the name to The Don Stewart Evangelistic Association. The activities of the association were then moved to Phoenix and the Bible college continued to operate in Miracle Valley until 1975. Rev. Stewart had been trying to sell the school since 1970, but seemed to have no success. Later he was approached by the Hispanic Assemblies of God who obtained the campus by a 20-year lease agreement for one dollar a year, in which they opened a Spanish-speaking Bible college known as the Southern Arizona Bible College.

In 1979 Miracle Valley came to a close after bankruptcy hearings. Rioting on the property from some immigrants Chicago and part of Mississippi took place in this era and culminated in the death of Therial Davis, a six year old.

Legal problems occurred when in 1982, A. A. Allen's main administration building and his vast warehouse were set fire by an arsonist(s), which resulted in the total destruction of the facilities. The insurance company paid 1.5 million dollars for the reconstruction of the large building, or one million dollars for a 'cash-out.' Don Stewart wanted to take the cash-out; however, the Spanish Assemblies of God (Central Latin American District Council of the Assemblies of God) wanted the facilities to be rebuilt.

It was agreed upon by all that the Don Stewart Evangelistic Association (later known as Don Stewart Ministries, Inc.) would accept the insurance money of one million dollars for Miracle Valley, and the Assemblies of God would receive the Miracle Valley campus consisting of 15 buildings and nearly eighty acres of land for six dollars which equated into the one dollar per year for the previous six years. However, Don Stewart forced the Assemblies of God to maintain a Bible College for a minimum of twenty years, or the property would revert back to his ministry. In 1995, exactly twenty years later, the Assemblies of God closed Southern Arizona Bible College and put the campus up for sale. It appeared they incurred the same problem that faced Don Stewart from 1970-1975, there were no takers on the property.

In 1998, a group of ten people from the Melvin Harter Ministries, Inc. came from Ohio to view the campus. The next year, Miracle Valley Bible College was purchased by Melvin Harter Ministries, in August 1999 and the school continues under the administration of Melvin Harter as the Miracle Valley Bible College & Seminary where students are taught in classical Pentecostal theology.

Allen's influence

Allen became one of the first to develop a national television ministry and broadcast prophecies and deliverances from demons over the airwaves. At his peak, he appeared on fifty-eight radio stations daily, forty-three TV stations, and even owned an airfield with 150 aircraft.

References

External links

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