Jack Coe (March 11, 1918 – December 16, 1956) was a Pentecostal evangelist, nicknamed "the man of reckless faith". He was one of the first faith healers in the United States with a touring tent ministry after World War II. Coe was ordained in the Assemblies of God in 1944, and began to preach while still serving in World War II. In the following twelve years, he traveled the U.S. organizing tent revivals to spread his message. Coe was frequently the center of controversy, preached extensively through the South, and employed some 80 persons."
Jack Coe was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the seventh child of George Henry and Blanche Zoe (Mays) Coe of Pleasantville, Venango County, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma City. His parents later placed him in an orphanage. He left there in 1935 at the age of 17. A heavy drinker, he joined the Army after World War II began. He later claimed to have experienced a miracle during his time in the military that caused him to become a Christian minister. Coe had close ties with the Assemblies of God, and preached several meetings while he was in the Army. He was ordained in 1944, and began his career as an itinerant preacher.
Tent evangelist and ministries
Coe was dynamic and enthusiastic in his beliefs. He knew Oral Roberts and was impressed by the size of Roberts' revival tent. One day Coe went to a Roberts' tent meeting and measured the tent; he then ordered a larger one. Coe was not bashful about announcing that his tent was the largest in the world; bigger, he claimed, than the one Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus used.
Coe was co-editor of fellow evangelist Gordon Lindsay's Voice of Healing magazine until 1950, when he began his own magazine, the Herald of Healing. By 1956 its circulation was approximately 250,000. Coe also opened a children's orphanage and built a large church building known as the Dallas Revival Center.
Jack Coe’s first encounter with William Branham
"I was having a tent revival in San Antonio in 1945 when I heard that a man called William Branham was discerning people's hearts and praying for sick. Sometimes we think we are the only one doing something for God. When I heard about discernment, I thought that was fortune telling. So I decided to go find for myself what it was all about since he was in the same town I was. I tried to get in the healing line but failed. He was discerning people and declaring them healed. One man that he prayed for had no eyeballs at all and he told him that eyeballs will be formed in three days. I thought anybody could say that! So as William Branham finished praying for the people, they led him out using the door to where I was sitting nearby. As he reached close to me, he stopped instantly and laid his hands on me as he prayed silently. After that, he told me that I was not sick but that my body was just tired. Then he softly said "You were doubting whether this is of God or not, I want to tell you that this is of God and we are both fighting the same devil. Go on and continue in your revival for you were also called to pray for the sick." When I left that meeting it was like I was walking on clouds! After three days I decided to find out about that man without eyeballs. When I saw him, he was still blind but eyeballs had formed. It was now noon. And that night, after he fell asleep, he awoke around 7 pm and started running around shouting praises to the Lord because he was now seeing. From then on, I knew that Rev. Branham was no ordinary preacher but was called for a dispensational purpose"... By Evangelist Jack Coe.
Conflict with denomination and controversy
Coe’s revival messages centered upon healing, and he was adamant about not taking medicines and not visiting doctors. In 1953, the Assemblies of God expelled him on the grounds that he was "misleading the public" and "antagonizing Dallas Civil Authorities". He was also accused of having an extravagant lifestyle and home. Upon hearing that, Coe printed pictures of four large homes owned by some top officials in the Assemblies of God and the smaller homes of himself and three other revivalists. Coe also charged that the Assemblies of God were "fighting divine healing". Other revivalists soon came into conflict with Pentecostal denominations as well.
Coe's arrest and case dismissed
Coe taught and preached fervently on divine healing, claiming to have healed visitors to his revivals. In a 1955 revival service in Miami, Florida, Coe told the parents of a three-year-old boy that he had healed their son of polio. Coe then told the parents to remove the boy's leg braces. However, the boy was not cured, and removing the braces left him in constant pain. As a result, Coe was arrested and on February 6, 1956 and was charged with practicing medicine without a license, a felony in the state of Florida. A judge dismissed the case on grounds that Florida exempts divine healing from the law.
In November, a few months after the charges were dismissed, Coe became sick while in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He returned to Texas and underwent a tracheotomy to help his breathing after his muscles became paralyzed. He was diagnosed with bulbar polio, and died a few weeks later at Dallas' Parkland Hospital on December 16, 1956. He was 38.
Coe's wife, Rev. Juanita Geneva Scott of Lancaster, Texas, died on September 27, 1996, and was buried in Laurel Land Memorial Park in Dallas. Jack Coe's son, Jack Coe, Jr., also became a preacher with a healing ministry.