Feature

Only Believe

By Anonymous

Paul Rader with A.B. SimpsonWhen Dr. A. B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, passed away on October 29, 1919, Dr. Paul Rader became the second president of The Alliance. Rader was in many ways like Simpson—a great organizer, a compelling and dynamic speaker and possessed of missionary fervor.

After Rader’s election, he resigned his position as pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago, Ill., to give himself fully to the work of The Alliance. However, the lure of the pulpit and his roots in Chicago beckoned Rader, and he left New York for several trips to the Windy City. Through the urging of friends and family, he soon moved back to Chicago to pastor the newly constructed Gospel Tabernacle.

Rader was one of the first to make use of the growing popularity of radio for ministry in Chicago and is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of broadcast evangelism. Under his leadership, Moody Tabernacle grew rapidly, with attendance reported at around 4,500. With that growth, he organized several missions movements, such as the Maranatha Crusaders, The Gospel Missionary and The Great Commission Academy. Chicago Gospel Tabernacle also began training and sending missionaries to Alliance fields independent of the C&MA Board of Managers. Because Rader was obviously more gifted as an evangelist and pastor than as an administrator, the board accepted his resignation as president of The Alliance at its January 1924 meeting.

Although Rader’s tenure was relatively short compared with Simpson’s, his commitment to the Great Commission was unwavering. During his service as president, The Alliance entered Guinea, Burkina Faso (then Upper Volta) and Mali in West Africa and Cambodia in Southeast Asia.

In addition to being a charismatic leader, Rader, like Simpson, was a songwriter in his “spare time.” Rader’s legacy to the Christian church lives on in his well-loved hymn “Only Believe,” composed in his second year as C&MA president. The third verse and chorus aptly describe the Alliance missionary movement: “Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot; He enters all rooms, ‘the doors being shut.’ He never forsakes, He never is gone—So count on His presence in darkness and dawn. Only believe, only believe; All things ar e possible, only believe.”

—U.S. C&MA National Archives

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