THOMAS BALL BARRATT
T. B. Barratt
T. B. Barratt, though born in Cornwall, England,
became a naturalized Norwegian at four years of age when his
father emigrated to Norway in 1867. At 17 years of age he
began preaching and was ordained as a deacon in 1889 and an
elder in 1891 with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Norway.
In 1902 he founded the Oslo City Mission and in 1906 was commissioned
to tour America to raise funds for a large central mission
in the city of Christiania (now Oslo). His mission was a disappointment
financially but he received a remarkable baptism in the Holy
Spirit in his hotel room on October 7th, when the Pentecostal
Revival was in full swing hundreds of miles away in California.
He was in New York waiting for a boat home, probably reduced
to a sense of failure, when a supernatural light was seen
like a cloven tongue of was seen over his head and he received
the Spirit. He later wrote a vivid account, affirming "I
began to shout as loud as I could in a foreign language. I
must have spoken in seven or eight languages, to judge from
the various sounds and forms of speech used. I stood erect
at times, preaching in one foreign tongue after another, and
knew from the strength of my voice that 10,000 might easily
have heard all I said. The most wonderful moment was when
I burst into a beautiful baritone solo, using one of the most
pure and delightful languages that I have ever heard."
(He had formerly studied under the famous Norwegian composer,
Grieg.) He sailed for Norway on December 8th and thereafter
a Pentecostal Movement began in Scandinavia that spread like
His bold testimony was met with antagonism
in the churches, but he fought back with powerful oratory
and convincing articles. Immense crowds flocked to public
meetings at his newly formed "Filadelfia" assembly
in Oslo and the Revival spread all over Northern Europe as
far as Finland..
Alexander A. Boddy, vicar of All Saints',
Sunderland, heard of what was happening in Norway, and travelled
there to investigate. He was immediately convinced that it
was from God and persuaded the already overworked Barratt
to visit his church in northern England. He came for two exciting
weeks at the beginning of September, 1907. Thirsty souls were
soon filled with the Holy spirit and the Pentecostal Revival
had begun in England. The gift of tongues attracted the attention
of the secular press and no further advertisement was needed!
When Pastor Barratt returned to Oslo the British leadership
was left in the hands of A.A. Boddy and Cecil Polhill.
He travelled abroad carrying his Pentecostal
flame to believers in India, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia,
Iceland and Denmark. In 1909 his membership in the clergy
of The Methodist Episcopal Church was terminated and in the
same year he returned to England in 1909, where he spoke in
London at Sion College and then at the Whitsuntide Convention
in Sunderland that had become an annual event until the First
World War in 1914. He stayed with Stanley Frodsham in Bournemouth
before he emigrated to America. Then he travelled as far as
the Bible Lands and India.
He made little further contact with the British
Isles, except by his literature published by Cecil Polhill,
until 1935. In that year the Fellowship of Assemblies of God
decided invite Mr. and Mrs. Barrett to come over to their
annual Conference in Sunderland, the birthplace of the Revival,
rather than in London. They were deeply moved there, especially
as their old friend Smith Wigglesworth was also present. There
was no repetition of 1907, for God is not sentimental, but
there were some powerful meetings with mighty singing in the
Spirit for long periods.
In 1939 T.B. Barrett was unanimously chosen
as President of the Great European Pentecostal Conference
in Stockholm. He truly was a father among all the international
T.B. Barratt died on January 29th, 1940.
The church was crowded an hour before the time of the funeral
service. The sermon was preached by his lifelong friend Lewi
Pethrus of the great sister church in Stockholm. The police
computed that 20,000 people lined the streets. Norway has
honoured him with a grave among the famous and on the stone
has been chiselled an impressive granite likeness of Barratt
hugging his beloved Bible. It carries a simple inscription
— "ERECTED BY THE PENTECOSTAL FRIENDS OF NORWAY."
Bibliography: Donald Gee, 'These Men
I Knew' 1965 and 'Wind and Flame' 1941 and 1967; D.D.Bundy
art. 'International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic