Louis L. King

AboutHistory › Louis L. King

Regarded as one of the foremost missionary statesmen of the modern missions era, Louis L. King (1915-2004) served The Alliance for more than four decades, filling roles as pastor, missionary, vice president of the C&MA’s Division of Overseas Missions (now International Ministries), president of the C&MA, and as a key catalyst in the forward momentum of the indigenous church planting movement.

Louis L KingAlthough King had long cherished the ambition to be a medical doctor, he answered God’s call to ministry and attended the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack [N.Y.] College). In 1939, Louis married Esther Lillian Martz, a devout Christian who had been brought into the C&MA through reading borrowed copies of Alliance Weekly (now Alliance Life). His first pastorate was the Alliance church in Tonawonda, N.Y., and in 1947, the King family began service as C&MA missionaries to India. There they served until 1953, when A. W. Tozer recommended King, his “young protégé,” as the Area Secretary for India and the Far East.

King was a strong advocate of the self-governing indigenous church model proposed by Anglican missionary Henry Venn in the mid-nineteenth century but largely unheeded by most worldwide missions groups. Under King’s leadership in International Ministries, The Alliance empowered national churches by training leaders to plant churches and send their own missionaries to spread the gospel around the world. King felt that funding for missionary endeavor should be “as close to the grassroots as possible,” thereby assuring the accountability and responsibility of the local church for the Great Commission task.

As Alliance president, King saw the need to plant churches in urban centers worldwide, and during his tenure, cities in the Middle East witnessed a resurgence of spiritual growth. He also helped the Canadian and U.S. offices to part amicably as the Canadian C&MA became an autonomous, missionary-sending denomination.

King retired from the ministry in 1987, shortly after turning over the presidency to his own “protégé,” David Rambo. King was one of the most influential Alliance leaders since A. B. Simpson, and when he died on November 11, 2004, at his retirement home in Florida, King left a lasting legacy of C&MA commitment to missions and the Fourfold Gospel. This commitment is profoundly captured in his description of the cause he so faithfully served: “The Alliance is a unique missionary denomination, a maverick movement into whose soul the Head of the Church breathed “Go!” from the very start.”

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