Theodore Austin-Sparks

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Theodore Austin-Sparks (1888–1971), often known as "Mr. Sparks" or "TAS", was a British Christian evangelist and author.

Early life

After his birth in London in 1888, Austin-Sparks was sent at a young age to live in Scotland with his father's relatives. There, at the age of 17, he determined to become a Christian as he listened to a group of young street-preachers in Glasgow. Within a short time, he was also giving his public testimony alongside this group.[1]


Austin-Sparks was ordained as a Baptist minister at the age of 24. From 1912 to 1926, he led three congregations in Greater London. During 1923-26, he spoke at conferences with Jessie Penn-Lewis and was associated with her publication and speaking ministry, The Overcomer Testimony. In 1926, Austin-Sparks broke with this organization. [2]

Following a spiritual crisis in 1926,[3] Mr Austin-Sparks resigned his Baptist ordination. Later that year the congregation at Honor Oak all agreed to leave the Baptist denomination (see Church Notes in the 1926 A Witness and A Testimony magazines).[4] Together with like-minded Christians, he established a conference and training center at Honor Oak in southeast London. A great number of Christians participated in conferences and classes at the center while staying at available guest quarters, some living there for years at a time participating in Bible courses, practical services, and church meetings. There was a similar, but smaller center maintained during the summer at Kilcreggan House in Scotland.[citation needed]

From the Christian Fellowship Centre, Austin-Sparks and his co-workers ran a publishing operation that printed a bi-monthly magazine, A Witness and a Testimony.[5] This magazine was printed from 1923 until Austin-Sparks' death in 1971. Austin-Sparks also published books he had written or edited from transcripts of his recorded messages. He was a prolific author/speaker and published most of his messages in his bimonthly magazines.

The first page of his magazine included the following statement:

Among the many books written by Austin-Sparks, the most well-known include The School of Christ, The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ and We Beheld His Glory.

Austin-Sparks' speaking ministry took him around Europe, North America and Asia holding conferences in the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Taiwan, the Philippines, and elsewhere.[citation needed] Many of his spoken messages were recorded, and a great number of audio messages and books remain available. He was insistent that his writings and messages not be copyrighted, though he asked that they be reproduced word-for-word as originally spoken or written. [6]

His work at the Christian Fellowship Centre was international in scope. Many trained under his ministry became missionaries and Christian teachers.[citation needed] This enabled him to work closely with several well-known Christian leaders in the UK and other countries, including Bakht Singh of India, Watchman Nee of China, Roger Forster of Forest Hill, Stephen Kaung of Richmond, Virginia and Lance Lambert of Jerusalem, Israel.[citation needed]


Mr Austin-Sparks self-published many of his books from the fellowship center in Honor Oak, London. The name for their publication ministry was Witness and Testimony Publishers.

Some of his books were also published by:

Testimony Book Ministry USA (1948-1998)

Three Brothers Books USA (1980-)

Emmanuel Church USA (1980-) Book Catalog

Seedsowers USA (1997-)

Austin-Sparks.Net NZ (2001-) E-books on Austin-Sparks.Net


Theodore Austin-Sparks died April 13, 1971. He and his wife Florence, had 4 daughters and 1 son. Florence Austin-Sparks died in 1986. His son Graham Austin-Sparks died in 1964. His grandson, Steve Austin-Sparks (Graham's son), is the minister of Walton Baptist Church, Walton on Thames, Surrey.

Further reading

  • Beck, Rex G. (2005). Shaped by Vision: A Biography of T. Austin-Sparks. Greater Purpose Publishing.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gunn, Angus M. (2001). Theodore Austin-Sparks: Reflections on his Life and Work. Vancouver: Clements Publishing.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reetzke, James (2001). T. Austin-Sparks: A Brief History of the Lord's Recovery. Chicago: Chicago Bibles & Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links