Internationally recognized Bible teacher and author Derek Prince died last night in Jerusalem at the age of 88.
He had been ill for some time, according to Bob Yeo, director of the Canadian office of Derek Prince Ministries.
The organization’s Charlotte, N.C., office said Prince died in his sleep at 8:55 p.m. local time.
The author of more than 45 books had a daily radio broadcast, “Today With Derek Prince,” that reached more than half the world and included translations into Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Malagasy, Mongolian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish and Tongan.
Prince was born in Bangalore, India, into a British military family. He was educated as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton College and Cambridge University, England, where he held a Fellowship in Ancient and Modern Philosophy at King’s College.
According to his biography, as a student he was a philosopher and self-proclaimed atheist. His conversion came during service in the British Medical Corps during World War II, “through a powerful encounter with Christ,” after he began to study the Bible as a philosophical work.
When Prince married his first wife Lydia in 1946, she had eight adopted daughters, six Jewish, one Arab and one English. Lydia, who died in 1975, went to Jerusalem in 1928 from her native Denmark to run a children’s home.
He married Ruth Baker in 1978. She died in 1998 in Jerusalem where they had lived since 1981.
Prince was an important figure in the charismatic renewal movement of the 1960s and 1970s among mainline Protestant denominations in the United States.
In 1969, he teamed with Bible teachers Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson and Don Basham, and later Ern Baxter, to lead what became known as the “discipling” or “shepherding movement.” The movement became highly controversial as reports circulated of manipulation and control by leaders. Prince withdrew in 1983, saying, “I believe we were guilty of the Galatian error: having begun in the Spirit, we quickly degenerated into the flesh.”
“In the light of this,” he said, “I repented of my involvement and renounced the error. I deeply regret the damage that was done to the body of Christ and in the lives of many promising young men and women. ”
Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, called Prince the “quintesenntial charismatic Bible scholar,” noting many evangelical Christians have looked down on charismatics as being theologically weak.
“He showed the church world you can be both a man of the Holy Spirit and a man of the Word,” Grady told WorldNetDaily.
He said Prince was known for his emphasis on “Christian foundations” and taught many how to “lay down the proper foundation for their walk with Christ.”
Through his many books and tapes, Grady said, Prince “certainly has left a valuable deposit that we can continue to draw from in the days ahead.”
Prince is survived by 11 children and an extended family of more than 150. The funeral will be Friday in Jerusalem, and a memorial service will be held later in Charlotte.