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Selwyn Hughes: ‘My Story’

Selwyn Hughes: ‘My Story’.

Selwyn Hughes is one of the best-known names in the Christian world, due largely to the huge readership of his daily devotional notes, ‘Every Day with Jesus’. (The Crusade for World Revival website says it’s half a million people in 150 countries.)

There’s not a simple, undifferentiated genre of ‘Christian autobiography’. Some writers invite us on a journey which maps their developing philosophical or theological ideas. This is not one of those. Others are ‘confessional’: there’s some of that here. (Like misleading a church council and then having to resign from that Pentecostal denomination; one of his sons – who called himself the ‘black sheep’ of the family – died from the effects of alcoholic poisoning). Others are ‘memoirs’ – what the author did, and where, and the results. There’s a lot of that. Principally, however, this story is Selwyn’s opportunity for tribute-sharing: he dedicated this book ‘to the partners of Crusade for World Revival.’ So be prepared: there’s a lot of detail about people you didn’t think you needed to know, but those people are key players in a quite amazing worldwide ministry.

I had the privilege a decade ago of attending one of Selwyn’s Counselling Seminars with our two youngest daughters, in Sydney. It was a good experience. (A distinct memory is singing for the first time a Vineyard song – ‘Faithful One’ – which has become a favourite.)

The main impression you get from this book is about one man’s amazing energy and integrity, and his passion for evangelism and equipping Christians to be effective in following the Lord. I spend my life asking how people get to be like that. One clue here: when a boy walks down the street in Wales, and hears from the chapel his father praying fervently for his son’s salvation, an experience like that is life-changing, eh? It’s one of those moments in childhood, as Graham Greene put it, ‘when the door opens and lets the future in.’

Selwyn Hughes is best described theologically as a ‘charismatic, conservative evangelical Christian’. Here’s the ‘Statement of Belief’ on his website: ‘We believe the Bible to be the only infallible authoritative Word of God … that there is one God … eternally existent in Three Persons: Son of Holy Spirit (sic.) … in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin Birth, His Sinless Life, His Miracles, His Vicarious Death and His Bodily Resurrection, His Ascension to the Right Hand of the Father, His Personal Return in Power and Glory … in the ministry of the Holy Spirit … His Gifts and Graces and in the spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Selwyn’s story is another testimony to the strategic contribution an entrepreneurial leader can make to the Christian church worldwide, when he or she is not tied down with the minutiae associated with a local church or denominational appointment. Parachurch organizations like his – and Scripture Union, and YWAM and the InterVarsity Fellowship and hundreds of others – have sometimes been perceived as a threat to the work of parish churches. They should rather be viewed as an important adjunct to the ministry of the local church.

Selwyn seized opportunities; or seemed to create them out of nowhere. He ‘scratched where people itched’. He was a ‘thinker out of the box’, and many visits to the U.S. encouraged this creativity. For example he attended some Bill Gotthard seminars, and knew something like that would work in the U.K. It certainly did. He seems to have been a British pioneer also in the use of Overhead Projectors! (And CWR today runs its own online bookstore). With his background in the Assemblies of God, he brought some needed wisdom to the burgeoning charismatic renewal movement in the mainline churches. And of course his ‘Every Day with Jesus’ notes gave him a wonderful medium for publicity for his other ministries.

The best two pages are 312-3: ‘I happened to remark [to a seminar-group]

that my wife was lying in St. Thomas’s Hospital. with a terminal illness and that I was feeling somewhat sad and disconsolate. “Imagine you are sitting with me. what would you do?” People began to shout Scripture texts, but I said “No, I don’t want those now.” There was a hushed silence. “Anyone can give Scriptures to people. [but] what I need at this moment is. the knowledge that someone cares.” They quickly got the point. Some in the audience started shouting out things like “We love you, Selwyn.” And “Come down from the platform and let us give you a hug”.’

If you wanted to be picky, there are some stylistic errors, surprising for such a gifted writer, and an ‘older man’s idiosyncracies’ – like repeating ‘my wife Enid.’ when we’ve already been told many times that she’s his wife! And Selwyn and his colleagues should know the term ‘Crusade’ is problematical in our times. But they’re relatively minor blemishes. More seriously, I’d look forward to a second volume outlining more fully the development of his theological and pastoral-psychological thinking. After all, a Christian leader who moves from being a revivalist/ rapture-believing ‘soul-winning’ open-air preacher to commending the notion of ordinary Christians being ‘people-helpers’, and who likes the traditional Catholic concept of Spiritual Direction, has something going for him!

Rowland Croucher December 2004.


Selwyn Hughes: My Story, CWR, 2004



Selwyn Hughes died on 9 January 2006 ending a ministry that spanned more than six decades, in which he uniquely combined the roles of writer, pastor, counsellor and teacher. He also founded CWR (Crusade for World Revival), an international organisation that has spearheaded the training of Christian counsellors, leaders and workers in this country and abroad and that continues to produce Christian resources, including the bestselling dated devotional Every Day with Jesus.

Born on April 27, 1928, Selwyn Hughes was inspired by the faith of his family. Many of his relatives had been influenced by the great Welsh Revival of 1904 and, at the age of 16, he professed his own Christian faith.

Following ministerial training and ordination as an Assemblies of God minister, he served in a number of churches.

In 1965 he initiated a series of short daily Bible-reading guides, written on blank postcards, for the benefit of friends and church members. Demand rapidly exceeded supply and soon these guides became a bimonthly publication. Now Every Day with Jesus is read daily by nearly a million people in 130 countries around the world.Remarkably, he personally wrote every issue of Every Day with Jesus, only occasionally assisted by other writers. He continued to write prolifically for over 40 years, during which time he weathered the vicissitudes of life, including the death in 1986 of his wife, the tragically premature death of their two sons in more recent years, and his own serious illness.

The writing of Every Day with Jesus had always been the first call of God on Selwyn’s life and, in more recent months, when no longer able to travel, it gave him great pleasure and satisfaction to continue writing Every Day with Jesus and thus continue to reach the world and minister to nearly one million people every day. He was therefore able to be well in advance in his writing schedule. In agreement with Selwyn, plans are in place for his ministry through Every Day with Jesus to continue into the future.

Source: Crusade for World Revival

January 2006


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