A. J. Smith. Twenty Years in the Dungeon of Doubt and How I Got Out. Rpt. Shoals: IN: Old Paths Tract Society, 2004.
Dr. A. J. Smith originally wrote "Twenty Years in the Dungeon of Doubt and How I Got Out" around 1930. The original edition was 64 pages. When that edition was exhausted, he abridged it for the next printing sometime prior to June 1939. Old Paths Tract Society has reprinted this abridged edition, which is 38 pages long. I have compared the two editions and concluded that the abridged edition omitted material Smith had gathered from other sources primarily to substantiate his concern over shallow altar work. The abridged edition stays more focused on his personal testimony. Nothing important is omitted. In fact, he even adds a couple of paragraphs not found in the original edition. Then he adds 16 pages of brief citations from other authors, separate from his testimony. The significance of his personal testimony is that he went to China as a Nazarene missionary in 1920. However, he had never been born again before March 14, 1927. When he got honest before God, a revival broke out among both the Chinese and American church leaders. Thus, the experience of Smith is a small reflection of Wesley's own missionary journey to Georgia and the mighty Methodist revival which began after Wesley returned to England and was born again at Aldersgate. While in China Smith prays for the baptism with the Holy Ghost, which at that time he equated with entire sanctification. But he comes to realize that he not only had not received the mighty baptism with the Holy Ghost, he had not been scripturally regenerated. Smith does not work out all the theology in this book. His final book, Bible Holiness, written a quarter of a century after his conversion is his mature understanding that regeneration is accomplished through the baptism with the Holy Spirit (this book is advertised on page 12).
Although Smith is still maligned today as one who was divisive, he clearly taught the Wesleyan view of Pentecostal regeneration and Christian perfection. Furthermore, he exhibited a holy love toward those with whom he disagreed and died with the full assurance of faith. He was a close colleague of Elmer Long, one of the founders of the Fundamental Wesleyan Society.
Some people are more persuaded by testimony than by doctrine, and many have been awakened through this testimony. Old Paths Tract Society is to be commended for reprinting it. You may order it from them by calling 812-247-2560, FAX number 812-247-2476. The price is $1.95 each, 5 or more copies are $1.19 each.