Charles Allen (1913-2005)

Charles Allen was a prominent United Methodist minister who served as pastor of Grace Methodist Church in Atlanta from 1948 to 1960 and as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, from 1960 to 1983. His columns in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and the Houston Chronicle, his radio and television ministry, and his numerous books brought him national recognition.
Charles Livingstone Allen was born in Newborn in 1913, the sixth of eight children, to Lulu Franklin and John Robert Allen. Brought up in a devout Methodist home, he followed his father into the ministry and was educated at Young Harris College (1930-32), Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina (1932-34), and Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta (1933-37). Admitted on a trial basis to the North Georgia Conference in 1933, he was ordained a deacon in 1935 and an elder in 1937. From 1933 to 1948 he served appointments in Douglasville and Thomson, among others. Leila Jane Haynes of Clermont became his wife in 1934. They had three children: Charles, Franklin, and Mary Jane.
The hallmark of Allen's ministry was "pastoral preaching" in a lucid and transparent style. In 1947 he founded Pulpit Preaching, a homiletical journal. It merged with Pulpit Digest in 1972 to form The New Pulpit Digest (renamed Pulpit Digest in 1978). Allen remained a contributor until 1989. His items, which began in Georgia's Wesleyan Christian Advocate in 1947, were a prelude to the column he wrote for the Atlanta Journal, beginning in 1949, and for the Atlanta Constitution, beginning in 1952. At Grace Methodist Church in Atlanta, a radio broadcast was initiated on WAGA in 1949, and WSB started televising his Sunday services in 1951. At First United Methodist Church in Houston, his radio ministry continued until 1983 and his television appearances into the 1990s. "Radiant Living" was the title of his column in the Houston Chronicle. Roads to Radiant Living (1951), his first book, was followed by God's Psychiatry (1953), which became a best-seller. The Touch of the Master's Hand (1956), All Things Are Possible through Prayer (1958), The Miracle of Love (1972), and Meet the Methodists (1986) are other examples of his writings. By 1995 Allen had written or edited more than fifty books, which have sold well over 8 million copies.
In Houston Allen added guided tours to Israel to his activities. By 1983 the Houston church had become the largest integrated congregation in Methodism. Several institutions, including Emory University; John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas; Piedmont College; and Wofford College, have awarded him honorary doctorates. After Allen retired from First United Methodist Church, he became a counselor to the employees of Transco Energy Corporation in Houston.
Allen died in Houston on August 30, 2005.


Further Reading
Charles L. Allen, What I Have Lived By: An Autobiography (Old Tappen, N.J.: F. H. Revell, 1976).

Ronald T. Meeks, "A Critical Analysis of the Preaching of Charles Livingstone Allen" (Ph.D. diss., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996).

Charles L. Wallis, ed., The Charles L. Allen Treasury (Old Tappen, N.J.: Revell, 1970).
Cite This Article
Mills, Frederick V. "Charles Allen (1913-2005)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 09 August 2013. Web. 11 November 2019.
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