Gordon was born in New Hampton, New Hampshire, on April 19, 1836. His father, Baptist deacon John Calvin Gordon, was a Calvinist named after John Calvin. His mother was Sally Robinson Gordon. A.J. Gordon was named after Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary to Burma who had recently completed a Burmese translation of the Bible.
Gordon experienced a Christian conversion at age 15 and thereafter sought to become a pastor. He graduated from Brown University (then a Baptist affiliated school) in 1860 and Newton Theological Institution in 1863. In 1863, he married Maria Hale and became pastor of Jamaica Plain Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1869, he became pastor of Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston, a fairly affluent church. Under Gordon's leadership, Clarendon Street Church was described as "one of the most spiritual and aggressive in America". The church is no longer in operation. Gordon became a favored speaker in evangelist Dwight L. Moody's Northfield conventions. Every summer Gordon returned to his hometown in New Hampshire and often preached at the Dana Meeting House.
Gordon became suddenly ill with influenza and bronchitis and died at age 59 on February 2, 1895. He is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery. A son, Ernest Barron Gordon, published a biography of his father in 1896, titled Adoniram Judson Gordon, a Biography with Letters and Illustrative Extracts Drawn from Unpublished or Uncollected Sermons and Addresses, which is still in print.
In 1889, with the help and backing of Clarendon Street Church, he founded Gordon Bible Institute and served as its first president. His wife, Maria, was secretary and treasurer until 1908. Gordon's school was founded primarily to train missionaries for work in the Congo.
Writings and teachings
Gordon edited two hymn books and wrote the hymn tunes for at least fifteen hymns, including "My Jesus, I Love Thee," a hymn that has been included in nearly every evangelical hymnal published from 1876 to the present time. In his book The Ministry of the Holy Spirit, Gordon wrote, "It seems clear from the Scriptures that it is still the duty and privilege of believers to receive the Holy Spirit by a conscious, definite act of appropriating faith, just as they received Jesus Christ" (see Baptism with the Holy Spirit).
His most remembered work is probably The Ministry of Healing, a highly revered book on divine healing—physical, mental, and spiritual. Gordon located healing in Christ's Atonement, meaning it was universally available through faith in Christ. He prayed for the sick privately, however, and did not integrate healing into his regular church ministry. The Ministry of Healing became a standard work among early Pentecostals.
One of his most often-quoted sayings still is "You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed."
Dana Meeting House in his hometown in New Hampshire, where Judson preached during the summers
- Askew, Thomas A.; Jean M. Askew (1988). "The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine Devoted to History, Biography, Literature, and State Progress, Volume 29". A. J. Gordon Heritage Project. Gordon College. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- Ernest Gordon, Adoniram J. Gordon: A Biography with Letters and Illustrative Extracts Drawn from Unpublished or Uncollected Sermons and Addresses (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1896), 17.
- Metcalf, Henry Harrison; John Norris McClintock (1990). "The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine Devoted to History, Biography, Literature, and State Progress, Volume 29". The Granite Monthly. 29. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- Ernest Gordon. Adoniram J. Gordon: A Biography... p. 386.
- Ernest Barron Gordon (1896). Adoniram Judson Gordon. Garland. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
- Alice H. Songe (1978). American universities and colleges: a dictionary of name changes. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 79.
- Gordon, A.J. (1894). "The Ministry of the Spirit". Free Web access. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
- Dr. R. A. Torrey Archived January 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Blumhofer, Edith L. (1989). The Assemblies of God: A Chapter in the Story of American Pentecostalism Volume 1—To 1941. Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-88243-457-8.
- More Than 27,000 Great Quotations To Inspire You! Archived February 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
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- Works by Adoniram Judson Gordon at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Adoniram Judson Gordon at Internet Archive
- A Short Biography of Adonirum Judson Gordon
- A Biography of A. J. Gordon with Letters and Illustrative Extracts Drawn from Unpublished or Uncollected Sermons & Addresses by his son, Ernest Barron Gordon (PDF Extract)