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Summer 2006, Vol. 3, No. 1

Book Review

Elijah L. Hill, Women Come Alive.
(Arlington, Texas: Perfecting the Kingdom International, 2005). 223 pages.

Reviewed by James H. Railey, Jr., D.Th.,
professor of Theology, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

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Women Come Alive is the biography of Mother Lizzie Robinson (1860-1945) whom Bishop Charles H. Mason tapped in 1911 to assist in the formation of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). In the era before women in the United States were granted suffrage, Mother Robinson organized and promoted the women’s auxiliary ministries of the fledging denomination and was instrumental in aiding Bishop Mason in thrusting the church onto the world stage.

Elijah L. Hill, the author of Women Come Alive , is the CEO and Founder of Perfecting the Kingdom International COGIC, based in Arlington, Texas. His four previous books, Angels, Who Was Satan in Heaven and His Earthly Works, Who Was Christ Before He Came to Earth, and The Unsealing of the Last Things, dealt with biblical themes. In this volume, Hill turns his attention to the historical contributions of women in ministry and the challenges they faced.

In Women Come Alive, Hill traces the remarkable story of Mother Lizzie Robinson, born Lizzie Smith as a slave on April 5, 1860 in Philips County, Arkansas. From those humble beginnings through opposition and persecution, she rose to a ministry position of great influence in the Church of God in Christ. Hill uses the biblical imagery of Deborah and Barak (Judg. 4:1-5:31) to depict the relationship between Robinson and Mason, the founder of COGIC.

As Hill reports the story, Robinson was given a good deal of latitude in the development of the ministry of women’s groups and other ministries in COGIC, but was always subject to the oversight of Mason and other male leaders in the denomination. In addition to her other duties, Robinson established and led women’s prayer bands across the denomination. Through this prayer ministry, she made a major contribution to the “digging out” of church plants in various cites throughout the nation. Robinson and other dedicated women preceded the establishment of new churches with months of praying for the effort, undoubtedly enabling the successful planting of churches.

In 1916 Robinson and her husband, Elder Edward D. Robinson, responded to the Lord’s leading to establish a church in Omaha, Nebraska. Hill weaves an instructive tale of the founding of what became a “mother” church and the influence that congregation had on the spread of the Pentecostal message around the world.

The story of Mother Lizzie Robinson serves well to challenge both women and men to express full commitment and faith to God’s call upon their lives. The God who provided and protected Mother Robinson will do the same for others. The depiction of male leadership willing to give place to the ministry of God-called women serves as a model for the ongoing ministry of the church.

As Hill presents the story, there are times when the flow of the historical narrative gets lost in the inclusion of extraneous data and preaching points. However, Women Come Alive accomplishes its intended purpose of presenting the tale of a fearless woman who refused to be limited in her response to God’s call. Mother Robinson’s story is worthy of being told among those who are interested in seeing God’s work expand to the entire world.

Updated: Friday, July 14, 2006 2:41 PM