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 Who is Leonard Ravenhill?

I am curious to know what doctrine Ravenhill believes in. this is important. does ravenhill believe that if you have the Holy Ghost, one will speak in tongues? Is he a pentecostal? Every preacher whether old or bad, seems, as far as i've seen has some kind of denominational doctrine they stand by.

What is Mr. Ravenhill's? Does anyone know? I haven't listened to all of the video, but i am very curious to know which doctrines he believes in and whether there is a website with what, he quotes, is doctrine of salvation, Holy Ghost,etc.

Thank you for responding to this.

Please reply asap.

thank you,

1 john 4:1,

 2005/9/1 9:41

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4526

 Re: Who is Leonard Ravenhill?

Hi Matthew_s...!

I would venture to say that Leonard Ravenhill was quite different than many other "revivalist" or "holiness" preachers in the past 100 years. While he wrote several biographical sketches about others, he allowed very little to be written about himself. Thus, very little personal information is available online or in the form of biographical books. Even if you visit his own website that is still operated by his granddaugter (, you will find very little personal information. Brother Ravenhill was a very private man with a heart that burned for the honor of God.

He was deeply burdened with much of what he saw in today's modern Church. He was most definitely "pentecostal" -- but not in a modern or denominational sense of the word. He boldly preached repentence, yet mingled his words with undeniable love for God. He played an important personal role in the lives of many men of God, such as David Wilkerson, Keith Green, Dallas Holm, and countless others. David Wilkerson tells of how, at the height of Wilkerson's [i]The Cross and the Switchblade[/i] fame, Leonard Ravenhill still had the spiritual audacity to tell him, "Thou art the man!" He gave Brother Wilkerson the 1200+ page 17th century Puritan book, [i]The Christian in Complete Armour[/i], and told Brother Wilkerson to read it as soon as possible. The book, along with Brother Ravenhill's example, changed his life and ministry.

During his years in ministry, Leonard Ravenhill preached and fellowshipped in many churches of various denominations. However, like most men that go deep with God, Brother Ravenhill did not allow a denomination to restrict him from his constant search for truth in matters of doctrine and faith. The following was written by David Bercot, and is included on the SermonIndex link following the quote:

"Leonard Ravenhill was one of Britain’s foremost outdoor evangelists of the 20th century. God used him to help bring thousands of people to Christ throughout Britain. Unlike the case with many of today’s evangelists, the conversions that Leonard helped to bring about were generally lasting conversions. That’s because he did not water down the Gospel when he preached it. Later in life, Leonard and his family moved to the United States, where he worked with Bethany House Publishers. In the 1980s, Leonard and his family moved to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries. Leonard regularly taught classes at Last Days Ministries, and he was a mentor to the late Keith Green.

A. W. Tozer, who was a friend of Leonard, said this about Leonard: “To such men as this the church owes a debt too heavy to pay. The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him while he lives. Rather, the next generation builds his sepulcher and writes his biography—as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored.

“Those who know Leonard Ravenhill will recognize in him the religious specialist, the man sent from God not to carry on the conventional work of the church, but to beard the priests of Baal on their own mountain-top, to shame the careless priest at the altar, to face the false prophet and to warn the people who are being led astray by him.

“Such a man as this is not an easy companion. He is not the professional evangelist who leaves the wrought-up meeting as soon as it is over to hurry to the most expensive restaurant to feast and crack jokes with his retainers. Such evangelists will find this man something of an embarrassment, for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere. And again, that marks him out as different.”

I first met Leonard in 1989, when he was eighty-two years old and in frail health. At first glance, I would not have thought that God could still use this fragile, white-haired man. He walked slowly and unsteadily, and he sometimes needed help to get up and down from his chair. Yet, as soon as he opened his mouth, I immediately realized that my initial impression was wrong. At eighty-two, Leonard still spoke with fire and conviction, and it felt like his eyes were piercing right through to my soul.

During the last few years of his life, Leonard moderated a prayer meeting held once a week (later once a month), which was attended primarily by pastors and evangelists. Some of these men made a four-hour round trip to attend those prayer meetings. I attended those prayer meetings from 1989 until they ended in the summer of 1994, a few months before Leonard’s death. During the years that I attended those prayer meetings, I never once left without being deeply challenged by what Leonard had said."

As for his doctrinal beliefs, I don't think that he had a "[i]denominational doctrine[/i]" that he lived by, so to speak. He did not at all feel restricted to denominationalism. He believed in a true, broad church that is much larger than denominational walls or beliefs. I know that he did believe in tongues, but not in the ways that they are flagrantly used today by many pentecostals and charismatics (like "[i]tongues on demand[/i]"). He was not given to modern ecclesiastic or evangelical [i]gimmicks[/i]. As far as the question of salvation, it seems that he was definitely [u]not[/u] a Calvanist (as most understand calvinism). He stressed the importance of "testing everything" within the Church (I Thess. 5:21).

Perhaps the best way to "get to know" Leonard Ravenhill is by reading his books, maxims and listening to his messages. There is just something about "listening" to a man that allows you a greater understanding of who and what he believes in. Many of his messages are available here at SermonIndex, and his books can be purchased through many websites and bookstores. Interestingly, Brother Ravenhill's books and messages are listened to, read, and often quoted by people belonging to many denominations (and non-denominations).

I know that this was not much, and didn't offer a direct answer to your questions. But hopefully, it will be a good start.



 2005/9/1 14:35Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Who is ?... Ravenhill

He did not at all feel restricted to denominationalism.

Of the many, there is a line that sticks;

"[i]And all the abominations..(clears his throat) I mean, denominations...."[/i]

It's out of context a bit, certainly but...

Great job there Chris, think you caught the essence very well.

Mike Balog

 2005/9/1 17:18Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Who is Leonard Ravenhill?

I'd say in general that Leonard Ravenhill was Pentecostal, though he did not believe that tongues was the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He believed in speaking in tongues (though never claims to have), and he believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit being a post-conversion experience. He might not be what one would call "Classical" Pentecostal, but as he said once, the pentecostal message is the greatest message in all the world.

Ravenhill was not officially ordained in any denomation. He seems to have greatly associated himself with The Missionary Alliance and various Methodist and Pentecostal groups over the years though. At the same time though, he was a great friend of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the famous preacher of Westminster Chapel in the 60's, and he frequently preached in Baptist and Presbyterian Churchess. He did believe people could lose their salvation, and was not at all a fan of easy belivism, and a lot of garbage that came out of Dallas Theological Seminary.

Jimmy H

 2005/9/1 17:28Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


I'd say in general that Leonard Ravenhill was Pentecostal

His background and training was Second Blessing Holiness. He trained at Cliff College, a Methodist Evangelistic Training college which specialised in open air work and witness. He conducted missions as the assistant to his mission colleague Maynard James who in principle believed in the charismatic gifts but who saw Baptism in Spirit more in terms of the death of the old nature.

Maynard James was, I think, more cautious of the Pentecostals than was Ravenhill, particularly in later times when Ravenhill had moved to America. Maynard James was a key figure in British Holiness circles in the 1950-60s as a leader in the Church of the Nazarene.

Some holiness groups were strongly opposed to Pentecostal phenomena and in 1934 Maynard James, Jack Ford, Leonard Ravenhill, and Clifford Filer (all trained at Cliff College) formed the Calvary Holiness Church, with Maynard James as President. This was a dedicated Wesleyan-Holiness denomination. The Calvary Holiness Church later united with the Church of the Nazarene in 1955. The American Church of the Nazarene had previously absorbed the Pentecostal Church of Scotland, whose founder, George Sharpe, had ordained Ford, Ravenhill, and Filer.

Ron Bailey

 2005/9/1 17:48Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC



His background and training was Second Blessing Holiness.

Indeed, however, I'm not so sure he adhered to an order of "Saved->Sanctified->Filled with the Holy Ghost." Ravenhill seems like he taught "Saved->Filled with the Holy Ghost."

I remember being quite intrigued once when Ravenhill says that Wesley's "Christian Perfection" or "Second Work of Grace" or "Sanctification" was nothing more than simply teaching the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I'm no expert on Wesley, but I've read quite a bit of what he said regarding 'Christian Perfection' and I'm not sure Wesley would agree with Ravenhill's summation of his doctrine as simply the Pentecostal experience minus tongues.

Though Ravenhill does surely have some second blessing ideas about folks baptized in the Spirit, e.g. victory over sin, radical prayer life, abundant love, etc.

I'd say Ravenhill can be a little fuzzy sometimes in this area. There is no doubt in my mind though, that Ravenhill believed fully in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit being for today. Maybe because of this fuzziness he can better be described as "Charismatic" than "Pentecostal." However, "Charismatic" is more of a term associated with the acceptance of the Pentecostal experience in the more main-line churches in the 60's. So, that label might not fit him as well as Pentecostal- which was birthed out of the Weslyean/Holiness tradition of which he seems to have most strongly associated himself with. He was undoubtedly a fan of the Wesley's and their hymns.

I remember once where he basically chided Dallas Theological Seminary for simply coming up with reasons for why the Bible didn't work today- to explain why they didn't see miracles and gifts of the Spirit, etc.

Jimmy H

 2005/9/1 18:16Profile


Ravenhill speaks of Christian perfection in the very introduction of this sermon called "Be Holy in all Conversation." He also speaks of the gifts of the Spirit. Just listen to the first few minutes.

[url=]Be Holy in all Conversation[/url]

Interesting enough he was at a Southern Baptist Convention.

 2005/9/1 18:55

Joined: 2005/6/18
Posts: 1481

 Re:len ravenhill

i have often prayed with brother ravenhill in his home and in mine, and would like to add to this one thing. len ravenhill prayed. len ravenhill preached on prayer. len ravenhil was sickened by powerless, prayerless christians who where smug and haughty, yet had not shed tears for the lost and dieing church world we now have today. we are responsible for those who do not know Jesus today and we must pray and weep and wail for revival. jimp baton rouge la.len ravenhill

 2005/9/1 19:16Profile

Joined: 2004/10/12
Posts: 173

 Re: Who is Leonard Ravenhill?

If there is anything that I learned from Leonard Ravenhill when I listened to his sermons and watched the video interview on SI: he had a passion for God and for God’s children. He was sickened by, and wept for the splintered and divided Church of Jesus Christ.

He has impacted my life and confirmed in my heart that he was most definitely led by God’s Spirit, more than many other featured pastors and teachers. One of his most powerful sermons that impacted me the most is when he preached on Joel 2:17, let the Lord’s ministers weep between the porch and the altar.

I am most grateful that he never insisted that speaking in tongues is a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as so many others do. I believe that Leonard Ravenhill believed, as we all should, that our God never changes, neither does His Holy Spirit nor His gifts, but that the Holy Spirit decides what gifts He gives and to whom He gives them (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Let Us Pray and Weep that God will have mercy on His children.

God bless you,

Hans Prang

Hans Prang

 2005/9/1 20:33Profile


"There is only ONE proof of the Holy Ghost in your life, and that's a holy life." Leonard Ravenhill

 2005/9/1 21:09

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