Billy Graham Center
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Papers of Armin Richard Gesswein - Collection 517


[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

Table of Contents

Title Page and Restrictions

Brief Description of This Collection

Biography

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes and Photographs in This Collection (Location Record)
    Audio Tapes
    Photographs
*******

Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3



Collection 517

[May 30, 2006]

Gesswein, Armin Richard; 1907-2001

Papers; 1995-1998

Audio tapes, photograph (0.06 cubic feet)



Brief Description: Papers and oral history interview with Rev. Gesswein in which he discusses his childhood as the son of a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor, the characteristics of that denomination, his education, his conversion, the influence of Paul Rader upon him, his work at Concordia Seminary, his work with Walter Maier, his first pastorate and first experience of revival, his involvement in revival in Norway 1937-1938, friendship with Billy Graham, Charles Fuller, and J. Edwin Orr, discussion of importance of revival and prayer in the church.


Restrictions: None




Biography


Full name

Armin Richard Gesswein

Birth

November 28, 1907, Corning, Missouri on Thanksgiving Day

Death

March 10, 2001, San Juan Capistrano ,California

Family

 

Parents

Theodore and Lydia (Hilgendorf) Gesswein

 

Siblings

Ada (older sister), Ilma (younger sister, died at 4 years), younger brothers Herbert, Paul (missionary to Dutch New Guinea) and Myrta (youngest sister)

 

Marital Status

Married Reidun Gabrielsen, August 6, 1938 in Norway

 

Children

Armin Richard, Jr. “Dick” Gesswein, Sonja R. (Gesswein) Goodson, Carol Joy (Gesswein) Dye

Conversion

As a young man

Ordination

August 2, 1931, in St. John’s Lutheran Church, LaPorte, Indiana

Education

 

ca. 1920-1924

Concordia Collegiate Institute, Bronxville, New York (a Lutheran high school and junior college)

 

ca. 1926

Graduated from Concordia College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

1931

Graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri

Career

 

1931

Pastored Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Long Island, New York

 

1932- ca, 1935

Pastored Garden City Park Church, Long Island, New York

 

1937-1938

Ministered in Norway’s spiritual revival (1-1/2 years)

 

Ca. 1938-ca. 1955

Conducted evangelistic crusades

 

1940

Founded the Revival Prayer Fellowship

 

1943-1946

On faculty of Gordon College and Divinity School

 

1945

Moved to Pasadena, California and begins to work for Charles Fuller

 

1949-1969

Participated in several Billy Graham Crusades: Los Angeles, 1949 & 1963 (associated evangelist); New York, 1957 (associated evangelist in charge of international prayer ministry); Anaheim, 1969 (associated evangelist)

 

1956

Director of Commission on the Spiritual Life of the National Association of Evangelicals

 

 

Revival editor of Christian Life magazine

Other significant information

 

 

Armin was a Missouri-Synod Lutheran pastor and later was associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church

 

1956

Authored Is Revival the Normal?

 

1991

Authored How to Overcome Discouragement




Scope and Content


Armin Richard Gesswein was interviewed by Robert D. Shuster on April 19, 1995 and April 24, 1998, at Gesswein’s home in San Juan Capistrano, California. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1907-1997.


T1 (80 minutes). Childhood, affect of sister’s death, description of his father (a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor), his father’s death, gifts (writer, Bible teacher, conversationalist), and interaction with non-Lutheran pastors, attitudes of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to other denominations, mother’s influence on him and others, parents’ encouragement in his ministry, growing up poor, childhood activities, realization of the presence of God, love of playing baseball and meeting Babe Ruth, attends Concordia Collegiate Institute in Bronxville, New York, conversion, interest in sermons of F. W. Walther (Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, founding father of the Lutheran Missouri Synod), Synod’s emphasis on doctrinal and objective orientation rather than experience orientation and subjective in hymns and preaching (revivalistic and experience oriented frowned upon), questions his conversion, influence of Paul Rader after hearing him on radio, receives assurance of salvation and call to preach, reaction of parent, education at Concordia Theological Seminary, Dr. Walter A. Maier (first speaker on the Lutheran Hour radio program), Maier’s character and preaching style, Armin’s call as missionary-at-large for the Lutheran Church, he’s labeled as one who “mingled with others” (called “Unionism”) and was out of graces with the Lutheran Church for awhile, sings in the Lutheran Hour choir, strengths and weaknesses of seminary training.


T2 (90 minutes). Ordination, starts Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Long Island, New York, his strengths and weaknesses, call to service, importance of listening to the scripture only, Lutherans against “free praying,” holds a prayer meetings for the first time which later grows numerically, revival breaks out, called to revival, fellowship with other Christians, Lutheran Synod asks him to leave the Synod and church because of his contact with other Christians, becomes pastor of Garden City Park Church, father’s reaction to him leaving the Synod, importance of the church congregation, friendship with Billy Graham, importance of follow-up, Dawson Trotman, revivals in Norway, describes first meeting he attended in Bergen, repentance, prays for full revival renewal in his life and ministry, importance of revival and prayer in the church, impact of revival on communities in Norway, important of unity of Christians, conducts a revival in Finsnes, Norway, where he met his future wife, returns to the USA and holds evangelistic meetings, teaches at Gordon College and Divinity School, courses taught, meets and works for Charles Fuller, Fullers vision for a training school for evangelists, Dr. Harold Ockenga, helps start a college of prayer, early beginnings of what later would be know as Revival Prayer Fellowship, holds revival meetings in Los Angeles, meetings with pastors in Los Angeles area, conducts city-wide evangelistic meetings for fifteen years, example of a method of personal evangelism, first meeting with Billy Graham, definition of revival, memories of J. Edwin Orr.


T3 (10 minutes). Description of J. Edwin Orr, living the Christian life by faith, Gesswein closes in prayer.




Provenance


The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Armin Richard Gesswein in April 1995 and April 1998.


Accession: 95-70, 98-20

May 30, 2006

Wayne D. Weber






LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 95-70, 98-20

Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE file.


Item# - Reel or cassette, speed, length, number of sides, contents (title of session, participants) according to the program, date.


 #

R/C

speed

length

Sides

Contents

Dates

T1

R

3-3/4

80 min

1

Interview with Armin R. Gesswein by Robert D. Shuster

April 19, 1995

T2

R

3-3/4

90 min

1

Interview with Armin R. Gesswein by Robert D. Shuster. Continued on tape T3

April 24, 1998

T3

R

3-3/4

10 min

1

Continuation of interview with Armin R. Gesswein by Robert D. Shuster

April 24, 1998




LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 98-20

Type of material: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.



GESSWEIN, ARMIN RICHARD. Photograph of Gesswein and Billy Graham. 1 color, October 1997.




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