Tommy Hicks – 1909-1973
Little is known of Tommy Hicks before his meteoric rise to fame in the Argentinian Revival of 1954. As early as October 1952 his apparently small meetings were reported in the Voice of Healing. ‘Evangelist Tommy Hicks has just concluded an old-fashioned Union Camp Meeting at Artesia and Atlantic Blvds. (Los Angeles) Many were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. Numerous others were healed as Brother Hicks prayed for them. No earthly language could describe the meeting. One woman who had been seeking the Baptism for 20 years received it in five minutes’ time. Praise God for His goodness to the children of men. Mary Louise Bradshaw.’
First outstanding crusades
There are very few entries in the VOH for 1952-1953, but in July 1954 the VOH reported an outstanding crusade that Hicks held during the previous weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Clearly Tommy Hicks time had come. He had gone to Argentina to replace another evangelist who was unable to fulfil his commitment for full-gospel meetings. Hicks suggested to the local church committee the possibility of hiring a 25,000 seater stadium and employing the press and radio to advertise the meetings. This seemed absolutely absurd but Tommy Hicks, unwaivering in his faith, made arrangement to visit the Argentine dictator leader, President Juan Peron.
His visit to President Juan Peron
An armed guard interrogated Tommy as he entered and he explained that he wanted to hold a salvation-healing campaign in the city. The guard queried whether God actually healed people and the affirmative reply prompted him to request prayer. The power of God entered the room and the man was instantly freed from pain and sickness. ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll get you in to see the President,’ were his parting words.
Tommy Hicks returned the next day and was soon ushered into the presence of this feared leader. He quickly explained that he wanted to conduct a salvation-healing campaign in a large stadium, with press and radio coverage. President Peron was suffering from a persistent and disfiguring skin disease which had become so noticeable that he no longer allowed photographs to be taken. He asked Tommy Hicks if Jesus could heal him. As they clasped hands the power of God immediately flowed into Peron’s body and his skin became as clear as a baby’s!
Atlantic Stadium booked
Needless to say Peron gave Tommy everything he requested. The Atlantic Stadium with a seating capacity of 25,000 was rented. Soon overwhelming crowds forced them to relocate to the Huracane Football Stadium with a seating capacity of 110,000, which also overflowed. In two months 3 million were reported to have attended with 300,000 decisions for Christ and a massive number of outstanding healings.
Tommy Hicks claimed among his converts the vice president of Argentina, who along with his wife, came to Bro. Hicks’ hotel room where they were both saved. He reported that he healed the son of the vice president of Bolivia and met with “the richest woman in Argentina.”
A curse turns into a blessing
A year later Tommy returned to Argentina where, as reported in the November 1955 edition of the Voice of Healing, “for ten days, he preached in the Atlanta Stadium. Then suddenly the meetings were closed down, and the evangelist was forced to remain in his hotel room. Later, in a meeting with President Peron he was informed that the president had learned of a plot to kill the evangelist, and therefore he was taken into custody and given protection. Later, however, he was released and was given permission to preach in many of the cities of Argentina.
After the close of his second Argentina campaign, Hicks left for Europe, with the purpose of preaching behind the Iron Curtain, in Russia and the satellite countries. The proposed venture was so bold that those who heard it were sceptical and thought that it was an advertising stunt. They reckoned wrongly, however, for the God of these men who have been called to a ministry of deliverance in these last days, is a God with whom nothing is impossible. Through a series of miracles, God opened the door so that Tommy Hicks was not only able to preach the Gospel in the satellite countries, but in Russia itself. Thus for the first time in many years the Full Gospel message was preached within the Soviet Union, openly, and by an evangelist from the democratic nations. While on the way to Russia, Brother Hicks stopped in Jerusalem. He begins by telling of his experiences there at Calvary and the Tomb of Jesus.”
This success overseas won him support from the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and opened the door to many places for ministry back in the US. .
Bibliography: D. Harrell, Jr., All Things Are Possible (1975); Art: S. Shemeth, International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (2002); Thy God Reigneth: The Story of Revival in Argentina; Various VOH magazines