David Watson (evangelist)

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David Christopher Knight Watson (1933–1984) was an English Anglican priest, evangelist and author.


Watson was educated at Bedford School (1940-1946), Wellington College (1946-1951)[1] and St. John's College, Cambridge where he converted to Christianity. He became involved with the ministry of E. J. H. Nash[2] by the invitation of David Sheppard, later to become Bishop of Liverpool.[3]:29 Watson noted: "Undoubtedly the most formative influence on my faith during the five years at Cambridge was my involvement with... 'Bash camps.' [...] It was the best possible training I could receive."[4] He became a priest in the Church of England, starting his ordained ministry among the dock workers of Gillingham, Kent.[3]:44

Watson's second curacy took him to the Round Church in Cambridge where the vicar was Mark Ruston. Around the same time, encouraged by Martyn Lloyd Jones, Watson sought the religious experience known as baptism in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues.[5]

Watson became curate-in-charge of St Cuthbert's Church, York in 1965,[3]:98 which was attended by no more than twelve at any service and was twelve months away from redundancy.[3]:98 Eight years later the congregation had out-grown St Cuthbert's and an array of annexes resulting in a move to St. Michael le Belfrey, York.[3]:129 Subsequently the congregation grew to many hundreds in only a few years.[6] As his ministry progressed, Watson was involved with missionary enterprises throughout the world and was a high profile advocate of reconciliation and ecumenism in Northern Ireland.[7] He met the Vineyard Leader John Wimber in 1980, and was one of the first people to welcome him to the UK.[8] This encouraged the connection between Wimber and Terry Virgo of Newfrontiers that ensued.[9] He left St. Michael-Le-Belfrey in 1982 for London.[3]:222

Watson was a regular contributor to Renewal magazine, a publication of the interdenominational charismatic movement which started in the 1960s.

Watson died of cancer on 18 February 1984 after recording his fight with the disease in a book, Fear No Evil.[10] John Gunstone remarked of Watson that "It is doubtful whether any other English Christian leader has had greater influence on this side of the Atlantic since the Second World War."[11] J. I. Packer called him "one of the best-known clergymen in England".[12]



  • Christian Myth and Spiritual Reality (1967)
  • My God Is Real (1971)
  • God's Freedom Fighters (US How to Win the War) (1972)
  • One in the Spirit (1973)
  • I Believe In Evangelism (1976)
  • In Search Of God (1974)
  • Live a New Life (1978)
  • I Believe in the Church (1978)
  • Is Anyone There? (1979)
  • Discipleship (in US Called and Committed) (1981)
  • Jesus, Then and Now (1983)
  • You Are My God : An Autobiography (1983)
  • Fear No Evil - A Personal Struggle with Cancer (1984)
  • Hidden Warfare (1987)

Video works

  • Jesus Then and Now - V. 1 - Beginnings and Temptation (1983)
  • Jesus Then and Now - V. 2 - Disciples and Miracles (1983)
  • Jesus Then and Now - V. 3 - Lifestyle and Prayer (1983)
  • Jesus Then and Now - V. 4 - The Man and Opposition (1983)
  • Jesus Then and Now - V. 5 - Crucifixion and Resurrection (1983)
  • Jesus Then and Now - V. 6 - The Spirit and the New Age (1983)


  • Teddy Saunders and Hugh Sansom David Watson, A Biography (Sevenoaks: Hodder, 1992)
  • Edward England (Ed) A Portrait by his Friends (Godalming: Highland, 1985)
  • Porter, Matthew. David Watson: Evangelism, Renewal, Reconciliation (Cambridge: Grove Books, 2003)


  1. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/articleHL/95618?docPos=55&anchor=match
  2. Rob Warner, Reinventing English Evangelicalism, 1966-2001 (Milton Keynes; Paternoster, 2007) p. 122.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Saunders, Teddy; Sansom, Hugh (1992). David Watson, a Biography. Hodder & Stoughton Religious. ISBN 978-0-340-39990-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. David Watson, You Are My God (London: Hodder, 1983) p. 39.
  5. David Watson, You Are My God, London: Hodder, 1983 p. 64.
  6. Randle Manwaring From Controversy to Co-Existence: Evangelicals in the Church of England 1914-1980 (Cambridge: CUP, 2002) 97
  7. David Armstrong A Road too Wide (Basingstoke: Marshall Pickering, 1985) 57
  8. John Wimber, Kevin Springer Power Evangelism, Signs and Wonders Today (London: Hodder, 1985) 7
  9. Terry Virgo No Well-Worn Paths (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2001) 149
  10. "Born c. 1934; died of cancer, February 18, 1984, in London, England. Clergyman and author. One of the best known evangelists of the Church of England, Watson was a leading figure in Britain's Charismatic Renewal movement. He was also an advocate of Christian unity, leading numerous ecumenical missions throughout the world. Among Watson's many books are Discipleship, an autobiography entitled You Are My Lord, and an account of his struggle against cancer entitled Fear No Evil." Obituary Notice, The Times, 21 February 1984
  11. John Gunstone, Signs and Wonders, The Wimber Phenomenon (Daybreak: London, 1989) p. 62
  12. J. I. Packer in the foreword to David Watson's Discipleship (London: Hodder, 1981) p. 6.

External links