Dr. Edwin Louis Cole
“The Father of the Christian Men’s Movement” established a heritage that will influence generations, launched from a mission statement that propelled his life and ministry: “I have been called to speak with a prophetic voice to the men of this generation and commissioned with a ministry majoring in men to declare a standard for manhood, and that standard is that ‘Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.’”
Born in Dallas, Texas, Edwin Louis Cole was taken to Los Angeles by his mother, Florence, when he was just four years old after a doctor told her he would not survive without the sea air and sun to heal a severe case of scarlet fever.
In Los Angeles, where his mother attended L.I.F.E. Bible School, Dr. Cole grew up in Angelus Temple, founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. He was often an actor in Sister Aimee’s famed “illustrated sermons.” He remembered witnessing the miraculous throughout the Depression years at the historic Angeles Temple and on Skid Row where he played a trumpet with street corner witnessing teams.
Until her death at age 96, Florence Cole was a warrior in prayer and evangelism, founding several churches and preaching on street corners and in missions on Skid Row for fifty years, well into her 70s.
After falling away from the church and serving in World War II, Dr. Cole met and married a fellow member of the Coast Guard, Nancy Corbett of Brookline, Massachusetts. Florence Cole steadfastly prayed for her son’s and his new wife’s dedication to Christ. Dr. Cole returned to the faith of his mother, then led his bride into the Kingdom as well, and immediately returned to his roots in street witnessing, leading dozens of Marines stationed nearby to Christ.
Within two years of his conversion, Dr. Cole accepted the pastorate of a church in the mountains of Northern California. Ten years later, Dr. Cole became the first full-time district men’s minister for a major denomination.
Unwilling to settle for pulpit successes, Dr. Cole spent the next two decades pastoring, evangelizing and taking missions trips for months at a time, as well as studying, praying and seeking God.