Hyman Appelman – little jew with a big Jesus

This is the day that … Hyman Jedediah Appelman was ordained, in 1930.

This remarkable evangelist began life in White Russia on 7 January, 1902, born to an Orthodox Jewish family.  He was reared in the Jewish faith, emigrated with his family to America in 1914, became an outstanding scholar at various schools and universities and eventually (in 1921) was licensed to practise law.

During a holiday in Kansas City a newspaper reporter named Daly witnessed to him concerning the claims of Christ.  The next morning a Mr Garrett invited him to church – the first Protestant service he had ever attended.

It was later that year – now in Denver, Colorado – that Appelman was directed to Dr James Davis of the Central Christian Church.  There the 23 year-old Jew found his Messiah, was baptised the following Sunday, and sent a wire home to his family telling them the news.  His family disowned him, the Jewish law firm dismissed him, and his fiancée broke off their engagement. His father said to him, “When your sides come together from hunger, and you come crawling to my door, I will throw you a crust of bread as I would any other dog.”

But Hyman Appelman never faltered in his new-found faith.  He joined the United States Army, joined the Baptist denomination, and began preaching.

Shortly after his ordination by the Southern Baptists, he married Verna Cook (on 4 September, 1930), and commenced a remarkable evangelistic ministry that took him around the world, including Australia … in 1948. Just as the highly educated Apostle Paul laboured ‘more abundantly’, so too did this modern Jewish convert. It was hard to find a day when he was not ministering. He averaged two weeks at home out of a year.

Appelman looked directly to the Holy Spirit for his enabling. “The all-pervading, all-controlling, all-achieving Holy Spirit is the only Source of power. It is not in our schools, not in our churches, not in our organizations. It is not in our separation, not in our busyness, not in our attractions. It is not in our programs. It is solely the Holy Spirit who gives this power to do exploits for God, to promote the interests of God’s kingdom, to overcome Satan, to win the lost. There is no separating of spiritual power from the Holy Spirit. It is not power; it is the Holy Spirit. You cannot have power without the Holy Spirit. You cannot have the Holy Spirit without being flooded by Heaven’s power.”

Time Magazine once reported: Overflow crowds jammed Detroit’s Convention Hall to hear a sensational evangelist, Dr. Hyman Appelman, who calls himself “the little Jew with a big Jesus.”

This Russian-born Jewish American Baptist died in 1983.

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