A. A. Allen
A. A. Allen (March 27, 1911 – June 11, 1970) was born Asa A. Allen at Sulphur Rock, Arkansas. His middle name, given only as "A." on his birth certificate, was changed to "Alonso" at around age four. Allen's early life was filled with poverty, but in 1934 he was converted during a Methodist revival meeting, and began ministering with the Assemblies of God (AG or AofG) in 1936. While attending an Oral Roberts Tent revival in 1949, Allen felt a burden to reach the lost with the miracle-working power of God and he soon hit the revival trail. Allen would be part of the "Golden Era of Tent Evangelism," that flourished between the end of World War Two and the mid-1960s. Allens 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. Allen died in June of 1970 in San Francisco, and was buried at his evangelistic headquarters, at Miracle Valley, Arizona.
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Asa A. Allen's father was an alcoholic and his mother was said to be cavorting with other men. At age 23, Allen was converted in a Holy Ghost filled Methodist church. He soon felt the call to preach and allied himself with the Assemblies of God and subsequently obtained ordaination from them in 1936. In 1947, Allen began pastoring a small church in Corpus Christi, Texas. While attending an Oral Robert's 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.
Early Tent 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. Allens revival meetings were similar to the other leading evangelists of the time (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 (as did Jack Coe) opened his revival meetings to all races, and his interracial meetings drew criticism, but Allen used the criticism as a platform to preach upon. Allen often felt that he was heavily persecuted because he believed God could work miracles, but it would be an incident in 1955 that would have a dramatic impact upon his work and his affiliation with the Assemblies of God.
Arrested and Withdrawal from the Assemblies of God
Allen was arrested in 1955 for suspicion of drunk driving in Knoxville, Tennessee. Allen never stood trial (but forfeited his bail), and he maintained his innocence up to the time of his death, but it is still unclear as to exactly what happened. His close advisor, confidant, and fellow evangelist R.W. Schambach said that he knew Allen was not drunk that night because he was with him that night in the car. Schambach suggested that the evidence collected from Allen at the hospital was tampered with, as a means to destroy Allens ministry. Allen's ministry publication, Miracle Magazine, printed his response to the accusations:
"Brother Allen declares that all this is but a trick of the devil to try to kill his ministry and his influence among his friends, at a time when God has granted him greater miracles in his ministry than ever before.
However, Paul Cunningham, a personal friend and confident of A.A. Allen tells the story of his arrest in Knoxville, Tennessee-as told to him by Allen and H. Kent Rogers, (his vice-president and crusade song leader) on separate occasions:
The Allen party was in revival in the Auditorium at Knoxville, Tennessee. in the mid 1950s . . . There was no church large enough to accommodate the crowds, so the auditorium was chosen. The local pastors of the denomination he belonged to at that time were clamoring for the "headquarters" to force Allen to "come back into the churches, where he belonged". . . When Allen refused to "return to the churches", because the crowds attending the meetings were too big for any church to accommodate, the "preachers" decided to "rule or ruin" the Allen ministry Bro. Allen drove from the motel in Knoxville, to the auditorium each night, accompanied by Bro. Rogers, Bro. Schambach, and one or two others of the team. Since Allen did not eat before the service, he stopped at a local cafe on the way, to have a glass of milk.
This particular evening in question, he remarked to Rogers, "Rog, that milk tasted funny". . . Rogers responded, "perhaps it was blinky," meaning about to sour. . . They then left the cafe for the meeting, and after driving a couple of blocks, Bro. Allen told Rogers, "I feel really dizzy, and think I'd better let someone else drive." He pulled over, and when he stopped, the media were there, accompanied by several denominational pastors, and the police.
Allen was then "ticketed" for DUI, and given a citation and allowed to proceed. He went to the auditorium, conducted the meetings, and in the following days newspaper, the headlines screamed, "Evangelist Allen arrested for drunk driving". . .Allen and Rogers both told me this story. . . and that Allen simply "paid the ticket" and went on, rather than interrupt the schedule of meetings. They both felt that the goal of the "vendetta" was to "stop the Allen meetings." When the denomination demanded that Allen "stop his ministry", he refused, and "went independent." That meant an end to the large "tithe" they had been receiving, so they continued to attempt to "blackball" the Allen ministry. Again, according to Paul Cunningham, Allen said that, "All the criticism directed against this ministry can be summed up in three words, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!" At the height of his popularity, the Allen ministry and his Miracle Magazine were being read by five million readers each month, but Allen soon found himself without much denominational support and the Assemblies of God asked him to withdraw from public ministry until this matter was resolved. Allen felt abandoned during this time of personal need (he had been with the Assemblies of God for eighteen years). Allen surrendered his ordination papers rather than withdraw from the public arena and his ministry.
Allen's Popularity Soars
Probably as a result of his lack of support from the AG, Allen began to urge the Pentecostals to establish independent churches free of denominational controls so that the Spirit would be free to move. 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. His teachings on prosperity were a major theme in his meetings during the 1960s. At the height of his ministry, Allen had over 340,000 subscribers to his ministrys magazine-Miracle Magazine
Allen's Influence and Ministries
Allens influence upon the mid 20th centurys revival movement thought at first seemed to be coming to an end in 1955, was soon booming and his apparent downfall from the Assemblies of God was almost insignificant. Allen became one of the first to develop a national television ministry and broadcast prophecies and deliverances from demons over the airwaves. Allen is credited with helping to start over four hundred churches and led a revival in the Philippines. Allen also founded a Bible School in Miracle Valley, to fulfill his vision; 'a place where thousands could be trained up to deliver the Word of God to the multitudes in need'. At a revival meeting on January 1st, 1958, at Phoenix, Arizona Urbane Leiendecker, a recent convert and Spirit filled, approached Allen and offered him 1280 acres (5.2 km²) of the finest land in Arizona, free of charge and with no strings attached. Within days a deed was recorded in the name of A.A.Allen Revivals, Inc. at the Cochise County Courthouse.
Untimely Death and Conflicting Causes of Death
We now turn our attention to Allen's death in San Francisco, California on June 11, 1970. The Coroner's report suggests that alcoholism was a major cause of his death. However, Paul Cunningham, a close associate and fellow evangelist insists that Allen died of heart failure, not alcoholism. Cunningham said: I spoke with Bro. Allen by telephone, from England, just a few days prior to his death. He told me he was "going to San Francisco, with Gerald King (his brother-in-law, and executive director) to meet with Burney Schwartz, to re-do the radio contracts." (The Allen Revival Hour was then carried on approximately 186 stations daily). I returned to the U.S. and a couple of days later, he died. I spoke with Gerald King, and others; read the Medical Examiners report, and was also an "honor guard" at his funeral. Gerald King said, "We were in the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco in the late afternoon, and Bro. Allen said, 'Jerry, I feel tired, I believe I'll rest a bit, before we go to dinner.' " Jerry said, "I went to my room, and about 8:00 P.M. began to be concerned because I hadn't heard from Allen. I phoned his room, got no reply, so went up and knocked on the door, and still got no reply. I then proceeded to get the manager who opened the door, and we found Bro. Allen slumped over in an easy chair, dead. The medical Examiner issued a certificate of death, stating the cause of death as "an apparent heart attack." Many stories have been told, some stating that "the room was full of empty liquor bottles," and others, that he "died an alcoholic". . . but they are all lies, based on "narrow minded, evil surmising," by people who would rather discredit the ministry, than to "believe the truth." Believing the truth, requires one to accept the prophecies, and act upon them.
Facts surrounding A A Allen's Death
What is known is that in June 1970, Allen was in poor health and was separated from his wife Lexie (since 1967) and was in San Francisco to work on renewing radio contracts. Allen was checked into a motel room at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco, and had a doctor's appointment for the next day for his arthritic knees. His associate found him dead at the Jack Tar Hotel. A widely circulated death certificate lists as the cause of death by the medical examiners office (number 70–079608 certificate 4633) a probable heart attack, with a secondary cause of death due to acute alcoholism and fatty infiltration of the liver: alcohol blood level 0.36. Contributing to the cause of death was the ingestion of alcohol.
After A A Allen
Allen was buried at Miracle Valley, Arizona. After Allens death in 1970, Reverend Don Stewart became head of the association, changing the name to 'The Don Stewart Evangelist Association'. The activities of the association were then moved to Phoenix, Arizona. The Bible College continued to operate in Miracle Valley until 1975. Rev. Stewart was going to close the school, but soon he was approached by the Assemblies of God and granted them use of the property to open the 'Southern Arizona Bible College.' Miracle Valley Bible College was purchased by Melvin Harter Ministries, in August 1999.