Derek died in 2003 was buried in Jerusalem, his adopted home, but his world-wide
Ministry continues from offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am privileged to
maintain my contact with DPM through the Chairman of its Board, Arthur Loewy,
Sally Fesperman, and other Board members. More importantly, every time I preach,
congregations benefit from what I gained from this amazing man. He, "being dead", still speaks.
During the Second World War, as a young British medical corpsman, Derek was
stationed in a North African field hospital. One day he carefully cleansed a wound
in the shoulder of a fellow soldier and was applying the bandage when the doctor
stopped him. "Let me examine that wound more carefully," he said, and then inserted an instrument directly into the injury. The soldier let out a yell; the probe had touched something buried deep within the flesh. "Get me the forceps," the doctor requested.
Within a few minutes the foreign object–a piece of shrapnel–was removed, the wound cleansed and the dressing applied. As Derek watched the procedure he was deeply grieved by his error–one that could have cost the other soldier his life. The real injury was not on the surface as he had supposed; it was deep within.
The impact of that incident remained with Derek into his later years. In time, God
called him to preach, began speaking to him about the reality of unclean spirits that were hiding below the surface of believers’ lives. Though it was a truth emphasized by Jesus and clearly explained in the Scripture, most of Christianity did not want to hear Derek’s message about it. Derek pressed on. Not only could he prove it from the teachings of Jesus but he saw it verified in the lives of people who experienced deliverance from demonic power. Lives were changed. Homes were saved. People in the grip of addiction, depression, disease, sin, were set free. But with many Christians that was not sufficient. They wanted no part of it. Derek was severely criticized, at times castigated for his position. Thankfully he pressed on. Let me illustrate:
Before the fall of Communism, a Hungarian woman who wanted to study authentic
English, listened to a Derek Prince teaching tape. She was not a Christian and had no thought of becoming one. Her motive in listening to the cassette was solely to acquire "Cambridge" diction. Before finishing the tape, however, which was on the theme of "Deliverance From Unclean Spirits", she experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and was set free. Her husband listened and was delivered. They invited their neighbors to listen; these were delivered. From that beginning, an underground- church was born under the very gun-sights of God-hating Communism. That tiny congregation of secret believers began to grow. When it finally came to the surface it became home to more than 10,000 members and grew into the largest full-gospel church in the nation.
This story is not unusual, years ago, at an interdenominational Conference in
Brighton, England, I met numerous Pastors from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific
islands, whose ministry had been empowered by Derek Prince. New Zealand, is
virtually saturated with his ministry. But that is not surprising when we realize that
from birth Derek was an international citizen. He was born of British parents in
Bangalore, India, and as a five year old, spoke Hindustani and English. That same
year, age five, he was sent back to England to a Boarding School. At age ten, Derek
began a serious study of Greek and Latin. He would later add to that an understanding of Hebrew, Swahili, and a variety of other European languages.
At age thirteen, Derek's scholarship gained him admission to England's distinguished Eton College. Five years later he went to Cambridge as the Senior Scholar of the Year. Still hungry for knowledge, Derek was one of the youngest scholars in the history of Kings College, Cambridge, to hold a Fellowship at the University. His primary study was Philosophy. Academically, he was superior, his family background prestigious, and his future with the University secure. But God had other plans.
When World War II began, Derek left Cambridge and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps; for generations his family’s background was military. His grandfather had been a General in the British armed forces and his father was a Colonel. After enlisting and having to travel light, Derek took a single "philosophical" work with him–a book he had never read–the Bible. He had grown up in the Church of England but found it offered him no real answers. That disappointment pushed him deeper into secular philosophy for the explanations he sought. Compulsively, he wanted to know "the meaning of life". Late one night, in his army barracks, after reading much of the Old Testament and having visited a small back-street church, he was miraculously saved. In that same room two weeks later he received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The power of that encounter with God decided the all-important issue of his career:
Scripture–not philosophy–had the answers he sought. With that assurance, he gave up the opportunity to return to Cambridge and plunged himself into a pursuit of God. Thankfully, his years of intellectual training and discipline were not wasted; Derek thrust all his mental prowess into exploring the Word of God. Though he would not realize it until years later, his emphasis on Deliverance Ministry–casting out demons– actually had its beginning that day in World War II when he bandaged a soldier’s wound but left the villain within.
The results of Derek’s "exploration of the Word" have been sent around the world in millions of books, cassette tapes, and videos. Hundreds of his radio broadcasts
reached all parts of the globe. These included translations into four Chinese dialects: Amoy, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Swatow. Millions of Chinese who knew Derek as Ye Guang-Ming (Clear Light) assumed him to be Oriental. Other broadcasts went out in Mongolian, Arabic, Malagasy, Russian, Samoan, Tongan, Spanish, and English.
More than 100 Spanish-language radio stations in Spain and Latin America dispatched his message to 15 nations. Millions of Derek's teaching cassettes, books, videos, were given away free of charge to spiritually-hungry people around the world. In the U.S., his broadcast was carried by some 115 stations. It was this same wonderful man whose example and in-depth Bible teaching blew my theological-life apart.
In 1995, when I sent word to Derek that I would be unable to be part of his Ministry
Team at the Pastors Conference in Turkey, he faxed a message to me saying, "I don’t want you to disobey God but please pray again!" I did and soon joined
representatives from some 23 nations at an undisclosed site for the Conference. This was followed by a second Conference for Turkish pastors in a different location. Pastors came from Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, and numerous other areas. Messages delivered in English were translated into six other languages. Worship songs varied from Turkish to Albanian, Hebrew to Romanian, English, etc. Though the languages were different, everyone knew the songs and each sang in his own tongue. It was beautiful.
Turkey–being an Islamic country–it was necessary to carefully protect the identity of
the pastors attending and photographs were not permitted. With its’ population of
65,000,000, Turkey is the world's largest Moslem nation and has less than 1,000
Christians in the entire country. Many Pastors were former Moslems who had been
converted. An Albanian Pastor and his wife had been instrumental in establishing 27 churches in four years. One of the most stirring moments was a feet-washing service in which former-Moslem Arabs washed the feet of Jews, Serbs washed the feet of Croatians, and others from warring nations knelt before one another. This was a scene of weeping, some breaking into wailing, as God healed wounds from their warring past. We all watched with joy as a Pastor from Iraq baptized his eight year old son in the Aegean Sea. Tragically, this father had been warned by our Government that he was targeted for Moslem destruction. Since the two Iraq Wars I have often wondered about him and his precious family.
At Derek's request, I ministered the first night to all the Evangelists in the meeting,
laying on hands, and praying for the Holy Spirit's imparting of specific gifts. This was a beautiful event with numerous ministers receiving the Spirit's power in a way that crashed them to the floor. One Turkish pastor, a former Moslem, received such an impacting of power that his body arched from the floor, vibrating him for some forty-five minutes. When Derek began preaching two men carried him to the only spot available–a hallway–where waiters going from the kitchen to the dinning room had to step over him. These stopped, staring incredulously, knowing they were witnessing the power of God. The Holy Spirit displayed a "sign and wonder" in him that will never be forgotten. One of the waiters got saved.
Being a Christian here in the U.S. is so easy that it has lost much of its meaning. This is not true in other parts of the world. One young Turkish man whom I had met the previous year at Derek’s Conference in Kazakhstan is an example. He was twenty- eight years old, had become a Christian ten years before, and never wavered in his love for Christ. When he renounced the Moslem religion his family disowned him, declared him to be dead, and refused to see him ever again. At the Conference in Turkey when he saw me, he came running across the room, hugged me, lifted me from the floor, yelling "Dad! Dad"! Such a transformation from Mohammad to Christ would be impossible without the Holy Spirit’s radical empowering.
Thankfully, he had experienced more than "bandage" Christianity.
God only knows how many times in my former ministry I made that horrendous
mistake of applying spiritual bandages. God's accusation against me, as against
ancient Israel’s priests, was that I had "healed the hurt of the daughter of God’s
people slightly." Jeremiah 6:14. I had cleansed and dressed the exterior wounds but had not probed into their injuries and removed the real culprits. Let me explain: There were numerous instances in my former ministry when church members came to me for help with sin-problems ranging from alcohol to anger, adultery to blasphemy.
These were not hardened sinners but genuinely repentant, weeping people who
desperately wanted to be free from their own sin and the mutilation it brought.
I prayed with the guilty parties and exhorted them not to sin again. I sterilized their
wounds and used the best denominational-bandages I had. What more could I do?
Like the young medical corpsman, I did not know that I was sending them away with the real cause of destruction still buried in their flesh. All I could do was to say,
"Depart in peace, be warmed, and filled"–but without giving them basic Christian
My worst example of failure is this one: My ministry began in Atlanta in 1949 and in
1962, shortly after leaving that congregation, I read in the newspaper where one of
my former members, a quiet, lovely young woman and the daughter of a well-known pastor, had murdered her husband, her three children, and committed suicide. I was numb with grief–grieving for her horrendous crime–but also for my failure to recognize the deadly potential within her. That was years before my baptism in the Spirit or learning about spiritual gifts. What am I saying? I am confessing that as a pastor, trying to operate intellectually, without the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit, I could not meet my congregation’s needs. I rejected the Holy Spirit’s baptism and gifts as I had been taught. The "discerning of spirits" gift might have identified the demon within her.
I am not alone in my failure. There are many more pastors–preaching in posh pulpits whose ministries are utter failures in the area of genuine spiritual power. Skill, performance, oratory, have replaced the miraculous presence of God. Like them, my band-aid ministry was an undeniable loss for everyone. During that time I attempted to help a church member with a major drinking problem. I took him from one alcohol-detox center to another. On one occasion, I drove off and left him standing on the steps of a state-operated facility that had refused to admit him. Fortunately, God later took that brother from my congregation and placed him in the care of another pastor who operated in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was miraculously delivered when the spirit of addiction was cast out. The buried shrapnel was removed. From that day forward he remained a clean, active Christian with a lay-ministry that sent thousands of Derek Prince teaching-cassettes around the world. Today, that brother would not have to go unaided. I have been able to "teach others also", 2 Timothy 2:2, who are continuing the ministry. Here is an example from a reader in the U.S:
Dear Charles, You ministered and taught us at Belmont Church, Nashville, and at a
small church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Your ministry and anointing have caused
the Holy Spirit to rise up in me and my wife so that we now minister emotional
healing and deliverance in our church. In one year we saw over 400 people set free by the great power of the Spirit. Charles, it is so amazing! All we have to do is listen to what the Spirit is saying and then say that to the person. We sit back and watch Him work! What an awesome God!!! Charles, what is happening in our lives and the lives of 400 others is all because you taught us the power of the Holy Spirit and how to use it. I am grateful to God for you and your ministry. Thank you for your newsletter, Gentle Conquest. It has been a valuable tool in our ministry and our own personal walk with the Lord ... For the next generation, Charles, may God give you the strength of Caleb in your faithfulness to Him. Your servant in Jesus ...
Before my Baptism in the Spirit, such a letter was impossible. Thank God!, that has
changed. Since my ministerial-renewal and Derek’s teaching, I have seen drug
addicts, suicidals, homosexuals, depressives, and people who have been abandoned as hopeless, be set free by the power of God. In every case, removing spiritual shrapnel was necessary for their rescue. Interestingly, the language used in New Testament Greek to identify the charismatic gift of "discerning" of spirits was used anciently as a medical term. It meant to "cut and look below the surface." Through this wonderful gift, I Corinthians 12:10, a believer is able to see beyond symptoms and identify the underlying cause. The Spirit’s miraculous gifts are indispensable in this type of ministry. The greatest disappointment I now encounter is with church leaders who close their eyes and deny the plain, straight-forward message of Scripture. When they say, "Charles, those verses no longer apply. That power passed away in the first century. They won't work ..." I reply, "It's too late to tell me that! I am seeing them work!" Though I am now in my 73rd year of ministry, I am still eager to learn, to be changed, to increase in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, and to see the Kingdom come in authority.
With God’s help, I am through with bandage-religion forever!