Pentecostal Pioneers: Mack Dixon Abbott

Pentecostal Pioneers: Mack Dixon Abbott
by Marvin E. Abbott

Born on March 31, 1894, my dad, Mack Dixon Abbott was one of ten children of a Baptist minister who was also a farmer. Dad had four uncles, a sister (whom he won to the truth), and one brother who were ministers. When he was a child, Dad’s parents moved to western Oklahoma and lived in the area of Elk City and Sayre.

In 1915 he married Esther Joseph and they continued to farm. Within a few years Marvin E., Earl V., Chester L. and twins, Oleta and Vinita were born to the Abbotts.

In 1930 Dad and his family visited an Assembly of God church. During the service, tongues and interpretation went forth: “God is calling, God is calling.” Tall, slim, six-foot-four Mack Abbott stood up slowly and went to the altar. He said, “There was a light from above surrounding me that led me to the altar.” Mother followed him and eventually all five children came to God.

Later the family heard of a little Pentecostal church across the tracks. One evening we went and heard Brother Jim Barber preach baptism in Jesus’ name, the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, and the oneness of the Godhead. Dad sat by the kerosene lamp studying his Bible for hours trying to prove that preacher wrong. “I’ve heard my dad preach the trinity doctrine all my life. That surely has to be right.”

The more he studied the more he realized that Brother Barber was right. He and Mother accepted the message and were baptized in Jesus’ name with the children following suit not long after. Soon Mother received the Holy Ghost and seven months later Dad received the Holy Ghost in a private home in Elk City, Oklahoma, at 4:00 AM.

A year later, Brother Barber took another church, and for over two years, Dad helped keep the church together. In about 1932 C. P. Kilgore held an open-air revival in Elk City, and a close Friendship developed between Brother Kilgore and Mack Abbott, continuing until Brother Kilgore’s death. Brother Kilgore preached a couple of revivals for my father in Roswell, New Mexico. Shortly after the last one, my dad helped conduct Brother Kilgore’s funeral.

In 1934 after they fasted and prayed, God called Dad and Mother into the full-time ministry. They went to Sayre, Oklahoma, then on to Vernon, Texas, where we lived in a tent and held an open-air revival with over a hundred converts. His old pastor, Brother Jim Barber, came and took over.

After a year, Dad left the work with Brother Barber and evangelized several months in West Texas and Oklahoma. Then his sister asked him to come to Roswell, New Mexico. There the Lord helped him build a church that is still standing. He preached on the courthouse lawn and held open-air revivals in the park, where I, his eldest son, came to God. After renting a building for a while, he built an adobe church in 1938. Within a few years, God called his three sons, Marvin, Earl, and Chester, into the ministry, along with his two sons-in-law, Boyd Cates and Charley Cooper.

Dad was in Roswell for over thirty years, and most of his ministry was like a revival. Hundreds came to God. A few months before his death,Dad told me thirty-six active ministers had gone out from that church in Roswell. Some of them are Tommy Hudson, pastor in Mesa, Arizona, district home missions director, and leader of the Indian work; B. H. Havens, pastor in Farmington, New Mexico; John Wright, who started the church in Brownfield, Texas; and Cletus Floyd, who started the church in San Luis Obispo, California. As of this writing, Dad has three grandsons in the ministry: Ronald Abbott, pastor in Tulare, California; David Abbott, pastor in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Ricky Cooper, assistant pastor in Warsaw, Indiana.

Dad served as a presbyter with the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated, before the merger of the United Pentecostal Church. After the merger he was elected the first district superintendent of the Texico district, which included New Mexico, West Texas, and Colorado at that time. He served as superintendent for eight years. During this time Sister Eastridge was in the church in Roswell for about two years. Dad helped her get the Indian work started in New Mexico, where her son, Jerry, still carries on the work.

Dad was a great debater and debated many Church of Christ ministers and some tTrinitarian Pentecostals, winning some people through these debates. After his father had preached over fifty years in the Baptist church, Dad finally convinced his father of the truth of Jesus Name baptism.

Mack Abbot was known as one of the best preachers on the Godhead and the name of Jesus. Forty years old before he began his full-time ministry, Dad really put himself into the work and always said, “I’m gonna preach until I die.” And that he did, until the Lord called him home on March 8, 1967. My dad was one of the greatest preachers I have ever known.