Pastor Ern Baxter was a key figure in post-World War II Pentecostalism and the Latter Rain Movement. Born in Canada in 1925, Baxter was raised in a Wesleyan background and was converted in a church revival in 1942. Shortly thereafter, he joined a Pentecostal church and was baptized in the Holy Spirit.
He quickly developed a strong desire to serve the Lord by preaching and teaching the gospel and eventually became a minister. In 1950, Baxter and a small group of friends moved from Vancouver to North Battleford, Saskatchewan, to become part of the emerging Latter Rain Movement.
This was a revival movement led by Pentecostal figures like Dennis Bennett, Ern Baxter, Ern Knox, and others who sought a return to the New Testament style of church life. Baxter quickly became a vocal proponent of this new movement.
He had an uncanny ability to minister to the people, drawing them into the spiritual message he was sharing. He also developed a very unique preaching style that blended both expository and topical sermons with demonstrations of what he referred to as "signs and wonders".
This included speaking in unknown tongues, faith healing, and other miraculous displays of the power of God in the lives of His people. In 1952, Baxter moved to Spokane, Washington, where he began leading a unique ministry that was focused on "restoring the five-fold ministry" (as set out in Ephesians 4:11).
He opened up a place of fellowship and ministry to provide spiritual renewal and teaching to those who came, as well as practical help to those who were hurting. His evangelistic meetings developed into large-scale conferences and conventions that drew hundreds of people.
The following year (1953), Baxter had a supernatural encounter with God during a service he was preaching that caused him to be ushered into a realm of prophetic intercession and ministry beyond what he had experienced up to that point. This marked the beginning of what is now known as the "Latter Rain Movement".
Baxter and a few other key leaders were instrumental in teaching and promoting this renewed emphasis on prophetic gifts and the restoration of the five-fold ministry. Baxter himself wrote several books on the subject and lectured extensively on it.
Over time, the Latter Rain Movement gained a large following, both across North America and internationally. It was a major force in the post-war Pentecostal revival and produced some of the most influential and beloved figures in Christian history.
Baxter eventually moved to Northern California and served as the senior pastor of Community Presbyterian Church for seventeen years before founding a new ministry in Palm Springs, California. He continued to be a leader in the Pentecostal world until his death in 1984.
His influence and legacy of the Latter Rain Movement remain strong today. It is an important part of contemporary Pentecostalism, and its message and teachings have contributed to the revival of the church around the world. Ern Baxter’s ministry and vision still have profound influence on modern Pentecostalism, inspiring many to choose to serve the Lord with greater zeal and commitment.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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