The beginning of Brunstad Christian Church dates back to May 17, 1898 when a Norwegian naval officer named Johan Oscar Smith converted to Christianity onboard a naval ship called the “Thor.”
Smith describes his conversion to his family in a letter written on May 19th 1898:
“Now I can tell you, dear parents, brothers, and sisters, some wonderful news: I am very happy. And why? Because I have received Jesus as my Friend and Brother, and now He is my all in all. Before, I could find no peace anywhere; but now thanks be to the God in heaven, I find peace everywhere.”
In the time that followed, Smith earnestly sought to deepen his relationship with Christ and seek out the truths of the gospel in God’s Word. He became passionate about sharing these truths with all who were interested.
In 1905, Smith’s brother, Aksel, was also converted, and the two brothers began to discuss the Gospel in a series of letters. Soon after, Johan Oscar and Aksel Smith began to write for various Christian publications with the desire to bring God-fearing people together at a time when several revivals were sweeping the country. But the Smith brothers found that their teachings met greater opposition and their writings were frequently rejected because of their sharp and uncompromising message.
On January 1, 1912, Johan Oscar and Aksel Smith began their own publication called “Skjulte Skatter” (or “Hidden Treasures”), with the goal of “provid[ing] insight into the deeper things of God.” This periodical is still in print more than a century later, featuring contributions from active members worldwide.
While Johan Oscar Smith certainly met opposition, he worked zealously with God’s word and with those whom he crossed paths with. Over the course of his 40-year naval career, he met individuals along the entire coast of Norway who were enthusiastic for the message of the gospel, and this eventually led to the establishment and development of 19 Norwegian-based fellowships. As time went on, this shared faith spread to other countries and continents.