October 27

Vavsor Powell was born into one of the leading families in North Wales.  He was given an excellent education, graduating from Jesus College, Oxford.  As an unsaved man he was ordained an Anglican minister.  Then one day a Puritan found him breaking the Sabbath by playing in some sort of sport and he soundly condemned him.  This lead to two years of mental agony over his sins.  By reading Puritan books and listening to their sermons the Lord gave Powell a new heart.  He left the Church of England, becoming an Independent and preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1642 Brother Powell joined the parliamentary army as a chaplain.  Following the war he returned to Wales with papers accrediting him as a Presbyterian minister.  For fourteen years there was scarcely a church, chapel, market place or field where he did not preach Christ.
But then in 1656 he came to understand that the Bible taught Baptist doctrine, and he was immersed.  This brought about almost instant persecution.  On one occasion he along with fifty or sixty of his hearers were locked inside a church building at Brecknockshire, confined there for the night.  At midnight he preached from the text “Fear not them who kill the body.”  Not only were his friends stirred by the message, but so were their captors.  The next morning he was taken to the house of justice where a crowd gathered to condemn him.  But the judge was delayed.  While waiting for his arrival, Powell preached again.  The justice was indignant to find his house turned into a church, and even more so to find that two of his daughters were deeply moved by the truth which had been preached.
By 1660 Powell had started more than twenty churches with an incredible membership of more than 20,000.  It is little wonder that Vavsor Powell has been called the Baptist Whitefield of Wales.
When Cromwell dissolved Parliament and declared himself the Protector of England, Powell openly denounced him.  Cromwell was so concerned about Powell’s influence that he arrested him.  For the next eight years Brother Powell spent time in thirteen prisons.  He was in Fleet Jail in London, when he died on this day in 1671.
The influence of Vavsor Powell was seen in Wales for years after his death.  And many of his Baptist descendants crossed the Atlantic to build Baptist churches in America.