Lake, John Graham

South Africa

John Graham Lake was a missionary to South Africa, faith healer, and pastor. Called to preach, and prompted by several healings in his immediate family under the ministry of John Alexander Dowie, Lake left Methodism to join Dowie’s Christian Catholic Apostolic Church at Zion City (present-day Zion), Illinois, in 1901. During services held in the city by Charles F. Parham in 1906, he became a Pentecostal.

In 1908, Lake and Thomas Hezmalhalch and their families sailed as independent missionaries to South Africa, where the Dowie Movement, or the “Zionists,” had already gained a foothold. Reports of miraculous healings at Lake’s services in Doornfontein and later in Johannesburg attracted widespread attention and contributed to the advancement of the Pentecostal movement. In the same year. he and other missionaries established the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (registered with the government in 1913), currently the largest organized Pentecostal denomination in the country. Though paternalistic in his attitude toward blacks, the Coloured, and Indians, Lake denounced segregated worship. He left South Africa permanently in 1913 and continued in evangelistic, faith healing, and pastoral work, centering his activities in Portland, Oregon.

Gary B. McGee


John G. Lake, The Astounding Diary of John G. Lake (1987); C. R. De Wet, “The Apostolic Faith Movement in Africa: 1908-1980. A Case Study in Church Growth in a Segregated Society” (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Cape Town, 1989); J. Nico Horn, “South African Pentecostals and Apartheid: A Short Case Study of the Apostolic Faith Mission,” in Pentecost, Mission, and Ecumenism: Studies in Intercultural Theology, Jan A. B. Jongeneel, ed. (1992); Gordon Lindsay, John G. Lake-Apostle to Africa (n.d.).

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.