Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The prophetic vision for the UCCF and IFES

Norman Grubb (1895-1993):
"Before I left, near the end of that term, the Spirit distinctly came on me to go and speak in no uncertain terms to all I knew personally who had not accepted Christ, or who at least showed no sign of spiritual life - men whom I never expected to see again in this life. I went and pulled no punches, and a number came out for Christ, about sixteen of them. This caused a stir like a touch of revival and the C.I.C.C.U. men asked me to come and tell them about it. As I did so, it came like a vision to me that every university and college in Britain and the world should have its evangelical and witnessing union, as we had. So I suggested to two of my friends that we take a hall in London and invite some from Oxford and London and other colleges, and hold an intervarsity conference. About sixty of us attended. Little did I then realise that this was the start of what has since grown to become the world-wide InterVarsity Fellowship, now in hundreds and probably thousands of colleges in all nations, developed under the dedicated leadership of Douglas Johnson and Oliver Barclay in Britain, Howard Guinness in Canada and Australia, and Stacey Woods in the U.S.A. and on through the world."
From Norman Grubb's book - YES I AM which is an exploration of the reality of Romans 6-8 and Galatians 2:20, of the baptism of the Spirit and the inner reality of Union with Christ which was the burden of his teaching. Very tasty stuff... and something that has been on my heart for some time - at the heart of why I love to read Galatians with my team and with the students we serve.... at the heart of equipping students with the gospel too that we would know who we are in Christ....
"So don’t try any imaginings on this level, or try to make yourself think you have it. Don’t try anything, for once again that is this old "self-effort stuff" we have died to. No, I keep doing my part, which is constantly affirming that what the Scriptures have said about my union with Christ is fact. I have been and am crucified with Him.... I did not lightly move into my part of the believing. After five night-hours of battling around with it (so little did I understand the ease of faith in those days), I did finally put my finger on Galatians 2:20, or at least on the first phrase of it, and said right out, "I am crucified with Christ." Then I added a little bit of confessing with my mouth, which Paul said confirms the inner believing: I took a post card, drew a tombstone, and wrote, "Here lies N.P.G., crucified with Christ." ...did I feel different or know anything different? No. ...But for me, perhaps because I was more a "thinker-through" of a thing, and a slower believer, it wasn’t until two years later that the inner light was turned on in my consciousness... not until I was home on furlough, and speaking with Mrs. Penn-Lewis, a woman of God whose writings had first helped me into this understanding of Romans 6-8 and Galatians 2:20, was this light inwardly turned on in me... she answered by what she called her "baptism in the Spirit" - not by some outer sign, but by an inner revelation of Him in her, so great that, as she spoke that day to a group of young women, the Holy Spirit brought them all down on their faces to the ground. But the point to me was not her story but that as she spoke, I knew. How? I don’t know. But I knew, and that was a great number of years ago. And I still know. Just as certainly and clearly as I knew by the inner witness on the day I came to Christ that I was born again. That’s how I know; and you know, or will know in God’s time. He confirms what we have affirmed. That’s all. But I do know that as He thus became inwardly real to me..."
Grubb studied at Cambridge University but dropped out to work with WEC with his father-in-law CT Studd in Africa. Wikipedia describes him as having been a missionary statesman - the kind of title also given to the late Nigel Lee of OMF/UCCF.

I'd heard the above Grubb quote before (it's a defining moment for us in UCCF!) but wasn't aware of much else about him. You can find out a lot more at or just consider a little of his legacy: IFES' latest World Assembly just took place in Poland, gathering students and staff from 160 nations.


  1. I'm always so grateful to be reminded that UCCF and IFES were the results of prophetic visions from the Lord. As were, much later, UCCF's fabulous gospel projects, which were the result of a vision given in a dream.

    And always slightly amazed to find cessasionists (either theological or to-all-intents-and-purposes) in the movement. Not for nothing did Pete Lowman title his history of IFES after Howard Guiness' famous comment [where are God's people in] "The Day of His Power"

  2. Tell us the gospel project dream story?

    "always slightly amazed to find cessasionists in the movement" - so, why is that many people would find that comment to be surprising?!