by Franklin Ferguson
In April, 1907, Mr. W. J. McClure arrived in Wellington, New Zealand from a visit to South Africa in time for a large Easter Conference. Afterward he gave a series of lectures on prophecy, illustrated with charts. The hall was filled nightly, a good proportion of the attenders being Christians from the various denominations. The blessing of God was upon these lectures, and many received much help and clearer understanding of the Word.
Leaving Wellington, Napier and Hastings were visited. He opened the new Gospel Hall in Carlyle Street, Napier, speaking from his chart, the ministry proving decidedly helpful.
Palmerston North and Wanganui were given a course of meetings and the saints were thankful for his profitable teaching.
In New Plymouth, meetings were held in the Chamber of Commerce rooms on Gospel and Prophetic subjects, with increasing interest for six weeks—attendances reaching two hundred. Never before had there been the same opportunity of hearing such helpful teaching. A number came under exercise of soul regarding baptism and church position.
Some weeks were spent in Auckland in the Howe Street and Parnell Halls. Subjects taken up were the Tabernacle, the Lord’s Coming, the Great Tribulation, the Millennium, and the Epistles to the Seven Churches. All were opened up in a masterly way, proving most interesting and constructive. Attendances were large and many people professed to receive blessing. The gathering together for worship and breaking bread was taught with power and in a way that was new to many.
Early in 1907 meetings were held in Dunedin, chiefly on the Seven Churches, and were largely attended. Afternoon meetings of a conversational nature were conducted in a private dwelling and many difficult points were elucidated.
Invercargill was the next call. The large Temperance Hall was packed and rapt attention was manifest throughout. For four weeks he ministered to believers on precious portions from the Gospel of John which refreshed and stirred up the hearts of saints, exalting God’s beloved Son and seeking to lead His people into truer and more real separation to Christ alone. Addresses on the Seven Churches occupied a fortnight, the interest deepening each evening. Many never heard this line of things before and there was fruit seen from the faithful and uncompromising preaching. The truth was felt to be needed, seasonable and calculated to lead the assembly to more definite testimony to our Lord. On Sunday afternoons in the back hall, Mr. McClure addressed young believers upon truths set forth in the Epistles of Peter and the Parables of Matthew 13, proving most edifying. At this time, Invercargill was the largest single meeting in New Zealand.
Afterward, meetings were held in Timaru and Oamaru, with an apparent ear for the truth. Numbers increased and extra seats had to be obtained. Though the ministry was mainly for believers, a number of soul professed at Oamaru and some were baptized and added to the assembly, one being a man 85 years old. There had been no such stir in this town for thirty years, so it was said.
A few other places received short visits that were in deed welcome.
New Zealand has been highly privileged by visits from such servants of Christ as W. J. McClure, James and Murdoch Campbell, William McLean, John Blair, Frank May, Robert Miller, etc., besides other good brethren raised up of God. The assemblies now number about 190, of varying sizes. Good foundations have been laid, and much pioneering Gospel Work has been and is being done.
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Early in 1908 Mr. McClure left New Zealand for Australia.
After about ten days in Melbourne (Victoria), he proceeded to Adelaide (South Australia), remaining four weeks. Here a considerable interest was awakened, with not a little blessing. Writing of it, he said, “We have no attactions — not even a fiddle. We have two hymns at the beginning and as a rule, speak right till the close, 9:00 P.M.”
He returned to Melbourne for the Easter Conference and some meetings and then went up to Queensland. At Maryborough, large crowds from the places around came nightly to hear him; some believers were led into fellowship and others were seeking.
At the November conference in Brisbane, there gathered from 450 to 500 believers. His ministry was very acceptable. Afterward, he gave a course of addresses on “The Tabernacle and Its Teachings,” very timely and listened to with much attention.
In Sydney (New South Wales) his meetings were larger than anywhere else in Australia and New Zealand, accompanied with a good deal of blessing. Newcastle was also visited and a few more places.
Completing a very successful and greatly appreciated visitation of New Zealand and Australia, Mr. McClure left for San Francisco on October 25th 1909, fully intending to return again, if the Lord permitted, but his steps were never again directed thitherward; not that his desire to return had weakened, but he felt the claims of America outweighed the other. Though he came not again, his ministry has not lost its effect unto this day.