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Arthur Wallis (1922–1988) was an itinerant Bible teacher and author. Through his teaching and writing, most notably his book The Radical Christian (1981), Wallis gained the reputation of ‘architect’ of that expression of UK evangelicalism initially dubbed ‘the house church movement’, more recently labeled British New Church Movement.
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Arthur Wallis was born the son of ‘Captain’ Reginald and Mary Wallis. He attended Monkton Combe School, near Bath, Somerset, before going on to Sandhurst and wartime service in the Royal Tank Regiment. He was wounded at the Anzio Bridgehead, an event that led him to question the compatibility of his army service with his sense of calling to Christian ministry.
After the war, Wallis married Eileen Hemingway in 1946, and the couple had one son; Jonathan. From a Brethren background, Wallis came into the experience of the “baptism with the Holy Spirit” in 1951, within a few weeks of his lifelong friend, the former Southampton City Missioner, Oscar Penhearow.
Following in his fathers footsteps, Wallis then embarked on an itinerant preaching and teaching ministry, with a particular emphasis on revival, prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the ‘restoration’ of the church. He had deeply impacted by accounts of the Revival that took place on the Isle of Lewis in 1949 which he visited. His book In the Day of Thy Power (Christian Literature Crusade: 1956) was the fruit of this visit and his subsequent studies. He wrote some eleven books on themes promoting the Christian life, and travelled widely (in particular to the USA, Australia and New Zealand).
For much of his life Wallis lived in Talaton in Devon, moving in the last decade of his life, first to Yorkshire to join Bryn Jones’ Covenant Ministries, and later in 1981 to Southampton to be part of the leadership of the Community Church.
Shortly before his death, he asked for no other memorial than “fruit in people’s lives”. His book, God’s Chosen Fast (Kingsway: 1968) is the acknowledged classic on the topic of fasting, whilst his book The Radical Christian (Kingsway: 1981) which was his most difficult to write continues to call the Christian to live the dynamic life of Jesus.
Wallis' book on revival entitled In the Day of Thy Power is regarded by many as a classic on the topic of revival and was influential to many at the beginning of the charismatic movement in the early 1960s. He later produced an abridged and updated version called Rain from Heaven.
Stanley Jebb records in Arthur Wallis: A Tribute, that when asked, 'Why is there no exhortation in the epistles to get baptised in the Holy Spirit?' he replied, 'For the same reason there is no exhortation to get baptised in water: the recipients of the letters had received both water and Holy Spirit baptism already.' Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones reportedly took delight in a cogent article authored by Wallis in Theological Renewal arguing that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct and separate experience.
In an article in Restoration magazine entitles Women in the Plan of God he wrote "The church and the world has yet to feel the impact of modern Priscillas and Phoebes, moving under the heavenly anointing and yet within the divine order."
For a time Wallis's itinerant ministry was restricted as he cared for his ailing mother. In Arthur Wallis: A Tribute (edited by Dave Matthews), Mike Stevens states: "For five years he and his brother, Peter, cared for her in their homes, and he steadfastly refused to release himself by putting her into nursing care."