Lake, John Graham (1870-1935)

Missionary to South Africa, faith healer, and pastor

John-G.-Lake-186x300Called to preach, and prompted by several healings in his immediate family under the ministry of John Alexander Dowie, Lake left Methodism to join Dowie’s Christian Catholic Apostolic Church at Zion City (present-day Zion), Illinois, in 1901. During services held in the city by Charles F. Parham in 1906, he became a Pentecostal.

In 1908, Lake and Thomas Hezmalhalch and their families sailed as independent missionaries to South Africa, where the Dowie Movement, or “Zionists,” had already gained a foothold. Reports of miraculous healings at Lake’s services in Doornfontein and later in Johannesburg attracted widespread attention and contributed to the advancement of the Pentecostal movement. In the same year, he and other missionaries established the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (registered with the government in 1913), currently the largest organized Pentecostal denomination in the country. Though paternalistic in his attitude toward blacks, the Coloured, and Indians, Lake denounced segregated worship. He left South Africa permanently in 1913 and continued in evangelistic, faith healing, and pastoral work, centering his activities in Portland, Oregon.

Gary B. McGee, “Lake, John Graham,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 380.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.



Lake, John G. Adventures in God. Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1991.

_____. Adventures in God: Incidents from the Ministry of Dr. John G. Lake, with his Radio Sermons. Compiled and edited by Wilford H. Reidt. Kennewick, WA: W.H. Reidt, [between 1965 and 1973].

_____. The Astounding Diary of John G. Lake. Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations, 1987.

_____. “The Commandments of Jesus.” In The Commandments and Promises of Jesus by John G. Lake and A.C. Grier. Spokane, WA: The Church of the Truth, [19??].

_____. John G. Lake: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings. Compiled and edited by Roberts Liardon. Tulsa, OK: Albury Pub., 1999.

_____. The John G. Lake Sermons on Dominion over Demons, Disease and Death. Edited by Gordon Lindsay. Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations, 1980. Orig. 1949.

_____. The New John G. Lake Sermons. Edited by Gordon Lindsay. Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations, 1971.


Anderson, Allan. An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

_____. Spreading Fires: The Missionary Nature of Early Pentecostalism. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007.

De Wet, C. R. “The Apostolic Faith Movement in Africa: 1908-1980. A Case Study in Church Growth in a Segregated Society.” Ph.D. diss. University of Cape Town, 1989.

Horn, J. Nico. “South African Pentecostals and Apartheid: A Short Case Study of the Apostolic Faith Mission.” In Pentecost, Mission, and Ecumenism: Studies in Intercultural Theology: Festschrift in Honour of Professor Walter J. Hollenweger, edited by Jan A. B. Jongeneel. Frankfurt am Main; New York: Peter Lang, 1992.

Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. “Pentecostal Theology of Mission in the Making.” Journal of Beliefs and Values 25 no. 2 (2004): 167-176.

Lindsay, Gordon. John G. Lake: Apostle to Africa. Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations, 1981. Orig. 1972.

Reidt, Wilford H. John G. Lake: A Man without Compromise. Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1989.

Wyatt, B. Alan. The 1924 Healing Revival in Spokane. Spokane, WA: B. Alan Wyatt, 1990. [in the Spokane Public Library]


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