|Name Gene Edwards||Role Author|
|Born July 18, 1932 (age 83) (1932-07-18) Commerce, Texas,
Occupation Protestant Christian Church Planter
Education Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Texas A&M University–Commerce
Books A tale of three kings, The divine romance, 100 Days in the Secret Pl, The prisoner in the third c, The Day I Was Crucified
Edmondutv5 channel gene edwards the organic church church life
Earl Eugene "Gene" Edwards (born July 18, 1932) is an American house church planter, a Christian author, and a former Southern Baptist pastor and evangelist. A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he is an outspoken proponent of the house church concept in the United States.
- Edmondutv5 channel gene edwards the organic church church life
- Edmondutv5 channel god s organic his church life gene edwards
- Early life
- Early ministry
- Church Planting and Writing Ministry
- Theological distinctives
Edmondutv5 channel god s organic his church life gene edwards
Gene Edwards was born the second son of J.C. "Blackie" Edwards, an oil field roughneck from Louisiana, and Gladys Brewer Edwards, a school teacher. Edwards spent the first six years of his life in Commerce, Texas, until his father was relocated to Bay City, Texas, where his family lived together until Edwards turned 13. During his elementary school years, it was discovered that he had a pronounced learning disability (later to be labeled as dyslexia). A third generation Southern Baptist, the painfully shy Edwards officially joined the First Baptist Church of Bay City at age seven, although he would not be "born again" for another ten years.
After attending the San Marcos Baptist Academy for a year, Edwards enrolled in East Texas State University at the age of 15. On July 17, 1949, during his junior year at ETSU, he experienced a dramatic conversion to faith in Christ. The following year was a formative one, because the Baptist Student Union was unexpectedly left without a leader, so that the students themselves led the activities of the group for a time. This kind of open, spontaneous, lay-led environment left a lasting impression on him.
Graduating from college in January 1951, he enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, the following Monday morning. After one semester at Southwestern, Edwards was chosen to study for a year in Switzerland at the International Baptist Seminary in Zürich (now IBTS in Prague). While there, he studied Anabaptist history with keen interest, even visiting the locations where significant leaders of the Radical Reformation lived and died. This love of history and of the stories of the Dissenting Church would become a central facet of his later ministry. Upon returning to Ft. Worth, he completed seminary and married Helen Rogers, formerly a secretary for the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tennessee. The ceremony was performed by Frank Laubach and broadcast on NBC for a segment called "Bride and Groom."
Edwards graduated from Southwestern Seminary in 1954. He then spent five years pastoring two churches: England Grove Baptist Church (1954–56) in Commerce, Texas and Tabernacle Baptist Church (1957–58) in Pickton, Texas. Although a dynamic communicator, his unconventional delivery, born out of an oilfield roughneck upbringing, made him an ill fit for the traditional pastorate. Turning to itinerant evangelism, he began holding citywide meetings to train churches in door-to-door evangelism. By 1962, he had published two books on "soul winning," one of which would become recommended reading at Southwestern Seminary. As his popularity grew, he began to receive invitations from national denominations and parachurch organizations to assist them in implementing programs for personal evangelism. In April 1961, he was invited to speak at the annual gathering of the National Association of Evangelicals.
About the same time, Edwards had begun meeting with a small group of Christians in Tyler, Texas, in order to read The Normal Christian Life , written by Watchman Nee and newly published in English. Nee's presentation of the believer's identification with Christ in death and resurrection deeply resonated with him, and in time he grew to believe that Evangelical churches in America had fundamentally strayed from the spiritual vitality of the first-century churches. In November 1961, at the height of his popularity, he ended his evangelistic ministry, canceling all future engagements.
Edwards spent a year in intensive study of early Church history, then began to seek out anyone who had known Watchman Nee and his church planting ministry in China. He first sought the company of Beta Sheirich, a former co-worker of Nee's who had returned from China to a fellowship in Louisville, Kentucky. While meeting in a conference with this group, he contracted disseminated histoplasmosis, which nearly took his life and confined him to bed for the next year. Pain and illness from this disease would haunt Edwards for the remainder of his life. In August 1965, he moved his family from Texas, to the Los Angeles area, where he soon began teaching high school (a profession he would remain in for the next 10 years).
Church Planting and Writing Ministry
In January 1969, Edwards was asked to speak impromptu at a conference at UCLA featuring a panel of former Campus Crusade directors. He delivered a message on the "Eternal Purpose of God." A few weeks later, a former Campus Crusade group from Santa Barbara invited him to come and speak to them. The group met in Isla Vista (a college community near the University of California, Santa Barbara) and numbered about 20 (in its early days), eventually growing to about 150. It had frequent visitors and was characterized by gracious hospitality.
Over the following three decades, Edwards began writing books on "the deeper Christian life," with a particular emphasis on living in Christian community. His earliest books and tapes were carried by his own publishing house, which he named Christian Books Publishing House, later changing the name to SeedSowers. Besides his own books on devotional living and Christian community, Edwards also edited and republished out-of-print works by a selection of quietist Catholic mystics including Madame Guyon, François Fénelon, Miguel de Molinos, as well as Brother Lawrence. In 1991, Tyndale Publishers began publishing several of Edwards' books, bringing him international popularity. A Tale of Three Kings, which has sold over half a million copies, became standard reading for ministerial students in seminaries and universities.
Edwards’ books and tapes laid the groundwork for his own house church movement that began in the United States in the 1970s. Groups and churches that he planted pattern their gatherings around primitive Christian practices such as meeting in homes, writing their own songs, and meeting in an open, participatory style. These groups aim for a distributed ministry model in which no one in the group possesses greater authority than any other so that all will be encouraged to function and speak in the meeting.
(Earlier publication dates indicate Seedsowers/Christian Books releases except where otherwise indicated)