Stanley Frodsham: The Assemblies of God refuses “to be sectarians or insectarians”

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This Week in AG History — April 15, 1944

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 14 Apr 2014 – 4:28 PM CST

On the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Assemblies of God, Stanley H. Frodsham recounted the first General Council and its legacy. According to Frodsham, the long-time editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, Assemblies of God founders in 1914 were opposed to “sectarianism and denominationalism.” However, they also recognized that they had much in common and desired to “unite together on a voluntary cooperative basis” for “the furtherance of the gospel ministry in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Frodsham recalled that J. W. Welch, an early chairman, described missions as the reason-for-being of the Assemblies of God: “We simply recognized ourselves as a missionary society, and we saw the whole world as the field in which to labor.”

This vision for cooperation in order to achieve the evangelization of the world, Frodsham noted, still remained strong in 1944. To illustrate this continuing vision for cooperation, he pointed to the unanimous decision at the 1943 General Council for the Assemblies of God to become a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Frodsham explained that the Assemblies of God desired a sweet spirit of fellowship, rather than a harsh spirit of condemnation of other faithful Christians who may not see eye to eye on everything. He quoted evangelist Gipsy Smith: “I refuse to be sectarian or insectarian.” Frodsham explained, “Many insects have stings. So have many sectarians. We as a people refuse to be sectarians or insectarians.”

Read the entire article by Stanley H. Frodsham, “These Thirty Years,” on page 4 of the April 15, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “My Soul Desireth First-Ripe Fruit,” by Zelma Argue

* “Thirty Years Ago,” by Ernest S. Williams

* “How God Saved a Communist Chieftan,” by Lester Sumrall

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books. Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center 1445 North Boonville Avenue Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400 Toll Free: 877.840.5200 Email: Archives@ag.org

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The First General Council (Part 2)

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Description: Hot Springs Opera House, the site of the first General Council.

This Week in AG History – “The Hot Springs Convention”

By Glenn Gohr
Originally published on AG-NewsMon, 07 Apr 2014 – 3:34 PM CST

Exactly one hundred years ago this week, the Assemblies of God was formed at Hot Springs, Arkansas. Close to 300 people attended the founding convention, which took place April 2-12, 1914.

In fulfillment of the five goals for the convention, a number of important decisions were made. The body adopted a governing document (titled “Preamble and Resolution of Constitution”), elected officers, and decided on a name, the Assemblies of God.

The May 20, 1914, issue of Word and Witness (which later merged into what is now the Pentecostal Evangel) reported on the business at the first General Council. The article reported that a “great time of shouting, rejoicing, hand-shaking, and even hugging” followed the unanimous adoption of the preamble.

Other decisions included: 1) to incorporate the General Council of the Assemblies of God; 2) to refrain from making an issue of whether Christians should eat meats; 3) to recognize and encourage a weekly day of prayer; 4) to recommend Bible and literary schools; 5) to recognize Word and Witness as the official publication of the Assemblies of God; 6) to authorize the formation of district and state councils in harmony with the principles and purposes of the General Council; 7) to recognize the ministries of elder, evangelist, minister, exhorter, and deacon, as well as the ministries of women; and 8) to discourage divorce and remarriage.

The Council closed without going further into doctrinal or organizational matters, and a second General Council convened seven months later in Chicago. T. K. Leonard offered his small printing plant and school property at Findlay, Ohio, for a headquarters, and the monthly Word and Witness (edited by E. N. Bell) and the weekly Christian Evangel (edited by J. R. Flower) became the official publications of the Fellowship. A small Bible school operated in Findlay during the fall of 1914 and both Bell and Flower assisted on the faculty.

Read the entire article, “General Council Special,” on page one of the May 20, 1914, issue of Word and Witness.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Love and Sweetness,” by E. N. Bell

* “Cooperation, Not Ecclesiasticism,” by D. W. Kerr

* “Sin and Repentance,” by F. F. Bosworth

* “The Holy Spirit Given to Those Who Obey,” by George C. Brinkman

And many more!

Click here to read the May 20, 1914, issue of Word and Witness now.

Click here to read the entire text of the General Council Minutes from April 1914.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books. Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center 1445 North Boonville Avenue Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400 Toll Free: 877.840.5200 Email: Archives@ag.org

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The First General Council (Part 1)

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This Week in AG History – March 31, 2014

By William Molenaar
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 31 Mar 2014 – 4:30 PM CST.  The article here contains editorial changes.

Delegates of the first General Council of the Assemblies of God met 100 years ago this week, April 2-12, 2014. They wanted to organize their efforts to more effectively carry out the mission of God, but there was tension regarding how this should be done. Were they going to start a church or a parachurch network?

The Council opened with three days of worship services, and the business sessions didn’t start until the sixth. A conference committee made up of representatives of each state in attendance was charged with receiving resolutions and setting an agenda for the coming business sessions.

While the conference committee met, a secret, self-appointed committee also met for fear that the conference committee would attempt to steer the General Council toward a high level of structural organization. This secret committee wrote its own resolution.

According to William Menzies, in his book Anointed to Serve, the conference committee caught wind of this secret committee and invited them to meet together for understanding. At first there was some apprehension, but since the secret committee’s resolution voiced the very values that the conference committee members were seeking, they approved of it. In the end, the same resolution was presented to the Council cosponsored by both committees. The Preamble and Resolution of Constitution approved by the 1914 General Council follows:

WHEREAS, God, our Heavenly Father, sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, Who purchased and redeemed fallen man with His own Precious blood, and called out of the world and saved a people, of whom He built and established His Church (Assembly of God. Mat. 16:18), upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Head and Chief Corner-stone (Eph. 2:20), and organized and baptized it with the Holy Spirit, with its government upon His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6-7),

WHEREAS, He gave the Holy Inspired Scriptures, (Both old and new covenants, Heb. 8:6-13) as the all-sufficient rule for faith and practice, (2 Tim. 3:16), as follows: ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,’ we therefore shall not add to nor take from it (Rev. 22:18); and

WHEREAS, He commanded that there should be no schism (division, sectarianism) in His Body, the GENERAL ASSEMBLY (Church) of the first born, which are written in heaven, Heb. 12:23; and

WHEREAS, We recognize ourselves as members of said GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GOD, (which is God’s organism), and do not believe in identifying ourselves as, or establishing ourselves into, a sect, that is a human organization that legislates or forms laws and articles of faith and has jurisdiction over its members and creates unscriptural lines of fellowship and disfellowship and which separates itself from other members of the General Assembly (Church) of the first born, which is contrary to Christ’s prayer in St. John 17, and Paul’s teaching in Eph. 4:1-16, which we so heartily endorse:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, FIRST, That we recognize ourselves as a GENERAL COUNCIL of Pentecostal (Spirit Baptized) saints from local Churches of God in Christ, Assemblies of God, and various Apostolic Faith Missions and Churches, and Full Gospel Pentecostal Missions, and Assemblies of like faith in the United States of America, Canada, and Foreign Lands, whose purpose is neither to legislate laws of government, nor usurp authority over said various Assemblies of God, nor deprive them of their Scriptural and local rights and privileges, but to recognize Scriptural methods and order for worship, unity, fellowship, work and business for God, and to disapprove of all unscriptural methods, doctrines and conduct, and approve of all Scriptural truth and conduct, endeavoring to keep the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and to walk accordingly, as recorded in Eph. 4:17-32, and to consider the five purposes announced in the Convention Call in the February, 1914, issue of ‘WORD AND WITNESS;’

RESOLVED, SECOND, That we recognize all the above said Assemblies of various names, and when speaking of them refer to them by the general Scriptural name ‘Assemblies of God;’ and recommend that they all recognize themselves by the same name, that is, ‘Assembly of God’ and adopt it as soon as practicable for the purpose of being more Scriptural and also legal in transacting business, owning property, and executing missionary work in home and foreign lands, and for general convenience, unity and fellowship” (General Council Minutes, April 2-12, 1914, 4-5).

The General Council Minutes from April 2-12, 1914, records that the motion to accept the Preamble and Resolution of Constitution “was unanimously adopted amid great demonstration, the whole house rising to their feet and shouting praises to God. ‘Praise God from whom all blessing flow’ was sung. The power of God fell mightily upon the great Assembly. The Council broke up into a great praise meeting. The joy of God filled all hearts, and the multitude were moved to tears, and many wept for joy.”

Did the first General Council start a church or a parachurch missional network? It appears that they tried to do both. Their values were clear; they were committed to:

1) The trinitarian full gospel,

2) The authority of Scripture,

3) The unity of the Church, and

4) The non-legislative and non-sectarian basis for their organization to prevent it from dividing the Church, since they too were part of the universal Church.

With this in mind, they resolved to organize a council of Pentecostals that would gather together for greater missional effectiveness and accountability to biblical beliefs and practices, which would cultivate unity and maturity in the faith. They also approved of the five purposes presented in the convention call in the February 1914 issue of Word and Witness, and encouraged all local assemblies to take on the name “Assembly of God.”  The same Council went on to recognize four offices of the Church: Elder, Evangelist, Exhorter, and Deacon; appoint 12 Executive Presbyters; and authorize the formation of District Councils.

Read the entire text of the April 1914 issue of Word and Witness, which recounted what happened at the first General Council.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Finished Work” by H. M. Savage.

* “What is Most Needed, Put Them to Praying” by Mrs. S. D. Mosaley.

* “Revival News in Home Land” by various authors.

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now

The Preamble and Resolution of Constitution approved by the 1914 General Council follows:

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

 

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“The Call” to Hot Springs


This Week in AG History — “The Call” to Hot Springs

By Glenn Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 24 Mar 2014 – 4:19 PM CST

One hundred years ago, Pentecostal ministers and their families from across America were busy packing their belongings and starting on their travels to attend the organizational meeting of the Assemblies of God at Hot Springs, Arkansas. These ministers were responding to “The Call to Hot Springs,” an invitation published in issues of the Word and Witness newspaper (a forerunner of the Pentecostal Evangel) from December 1913 through March 1914.

“The Call to Hot Springs” was initially signed by five Pentecostal ministers who stepped out in faith: M. M. Pinson of Phoenix, Arizona; A. P. Collins of Fort Worth, Texas; H. A. Goss of Hot Springs, Arkansas; D. C. O. Opperman of Houston, Texas; and E. N. Bell of Malvern, Arkansas. They realized the need for the creation of structures such as schools and a mission agency, as well as the need for greater accountability on doctrine, morals, and finances.

These five men were already members of loose networks of Pentecostal ministers, but they wanted to create a stronger organization in order to accomplish five major goals:

1. Create unity in doctrine and in identifying Pentecostal congregations.

2. Develop ways to conserve the work at home and abroad.

3. Develop a workable system for the support of missionaries.

4. Charter local churches under “one Bible name.”

5. Discuss the possibility of a Bible training school.

By March 1914, the “Call to Hot Springs” had been endorsed by 33 ministers from various parts of the country.

The final announcement for the meeting stated: “Everybody all aboard for the Hot Springs convention. This is the final call for objects as previously specified in Word and Witness. Meeting to be in old Grand Opera house, 200 Central Ave. All who can, come prepared to board yourself and pay your own fare to and fro. We will help as far as God supplies the means to supply meals and rooms for saints attending who cannot. No dead beats allowed. Bring your own bed clothing. Many expect to come.”

Approximately 300 delegates and visitors attended this first general council of the Assemblies of God, held April 2-12, 1914.

Prior to the first general council, D. C. O. Opperman conducted a short-term Bible school at the downtown Hot Springs Opera House. Several of Opperman’s students stayed in Hot Springs to participate in the founding council. The council, which lasted for 10 days, included a march down Main Street, waving flags and singing gospel songs; street rallies; times of prayer; lively worship; preaching; and business matters.

Read the entire text of “‘The Call’ to Hot Springs” on page 1 of the December 1913, issue of Word and Witness.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Bible School is Soon to Be Held in Hot Springs, Ark.” by Daniel C. O. Opperman

* “Woodworth-Etter Meetings”

* “The Second Blessing” by E. N. Bell

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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1950 Revival at Central Bible Institute

Photograph caption: Revival that lasted several weeks in the Central Bible Institute chapel, Fall of 1954

This Week in AG History — March 18, 1950

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 10 Mar 2014 – 4:43 PM CST

An openness to the move of the Holy Spirit has set many Pentecostal and evangelical institutions of higher education apart from their secular counterparts. This should not be surprising, as many Christian schools were birthed in times of revival.

Central Bible Institute (now consolidated into Evangel University) experienced brief, intense periods of spiritual renewal throughout its history. C.B.I. President Bartlett Peterson, in the March 18, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, reported on one such period of spiritual awakening, which he characterized as a “spontaneous Holy Ghost revival.” The Assemblies of God school, located in Springfield, Missouri, had been organized in 1922, but faculty members commented that it was “the deepest revival they can recall.”

Bartlett wrote the article thirteen days into the revival. He described it as a sudden and transformative visitation of God: “With it came a breaking, melting process as lives were conscious of being remade and transformed on the Divine Potter’s wheel. At one instant one was conscious of the sweeping power of a great forest fire; in the next a cleansing, as if by colossal waves, overwhelmed us. Some testified that their lives had been completely transformed within minutes of time.”

The revival attracted the attention of the local press. Bartlett quoted an article in the Springfield Daily News, which stated that the revival had “consumed the feelings and interests of some 750 students.” School administrators quickly carved out time for students to meet for testimonies, preaching, confession of sins, singing, and waiting upon the Lord in prayer. For two weeks, three lengthy services were held each day at C.B.I. – 8 am to 12 pm; 2 pm to 4:30 pm; and 7 pm to 10:30 pm.

The Springfield Daily News compared the revival at C.B.I. to revivals occurring at the same time at evangelical schools Wheaton College and Asbury College, noting the C.B.I. revival did not develop “into the extended around-the-clock exultations” of the other two schools. The newspaper noted that C.B.I. students exhibited a variety of emotional responses: some “demonstratively and others in quiet contemplation.” This and other times of spiritual renewal at Central Bible Institute nurtured deep spirituality and a passion for people in countless students who went on to serve the Lord in life and ministry.

Read the entire article by Bartlett Peterson, “Spontaneous Revival Sweeps C.B.I.,” on page 6 of the March 18, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Do You Have a Burden for Souls?” by Hattie Hammond

* “A Church-Building Miracle,” by Billie Davis

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free:  877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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The Mexican Revolution and the Assemblies of God


Description: Congregation in front of Templo Cristiano in San Antonio, Texas in 1920. This church was first pastored by H. C. Ball and later by Demetrio Bazan.

This Week in AG History — March 11, 1916

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 10 Mar 2014 – 4:43 PM CST

In one of the most significant population migrations of the twentieth century, over one million people left Mexico and moved to the United States between 1910 and 1920. Many were refugees uprooted by the Mexican Revolution. While the United States government restricted the number of immigrants who could not speak English, an exception was granted for Mexicans, due to the scarcity of laborers in America during World War I.

Mexicans who had been displaced by war and poverty in their ancestral land faced many challenges in their new country. Many landed in refugee settlements along the borderlands, unable to provide for their families and uncertain how to cope in their new surroundings.

Assemblies of God minister John Preston, in a 1916 article in the “Pentecostal Evangel,” encouraged readers to take advantage of the “great opportunity” to help Mexican refugees with their spiritual and physical needs. Preston believed the refugees were heaven-sent: “Providence has sent them to our doors for Gospel light.” However, he lamented that “very little is being done for them compared to what could be.”

Preston encouraged readers to assist early Assemblies of God missionary to Hispanics, Henry C. Ball, in his efforts to help the refugees. According to Preston, when the Mexican refugees “return to their homes, they need not go as they came, in hopeless darkness, but as flames of light” who would be missionaries in their own communities.

A strong Assemblies of God ministry developed among the Mexican refugees, initially led by H. C. Ball and others. This work not only helped to strengthen the Assemblies of God in Mexico when refugees returned as Pentecostal believers, it also transformed the Assemblies of God in the United States. In 2012, over 20 percent of Assemblies of God churches in the United States were Hispanic. Like pollen scattered by a strong wind, Mexican believers have established churches whereever they happened to land.

Read the entire article by John Preston, “A Great Opportunity in the Mexican Work,” on page 12 of the March 11, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Conformity to Christ”

* “The Pentecostal or Latter Rain Outpouring in Los Angeles,” by Frank Bartleman

* “The Law of Faith,” by Mrs. G. N. Eldridge

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free:  877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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Donald Gee on Eternal Security

This Week in AG History — March 3, 1945

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 03 Mar 2014 – 4:49 PM CST

The Assemblies of God took a stance against “extreme so-called Eternal Security teaching” in the 1918 General Council. This stance, it should be noted, was against “extreme eternal security” and not against “eternal security.” This position was largely a response to the teaching, popular in some circles, that a person who has expressed faith in Christ is guaranteed to go to heaven and cannot be lost. This issue was a practical, pastoral concern because some people used the teaching to justify sinful lifestyles.

British Assemblies of God theologian Donald Gee, in a 1945 Pentecostal Evangel article, addressed the biblical concerns with “extreme eternal security” teaching. He wrote that the “handiest definition” of the doctrine is “once saved, always saved.” Gee acknowledged that extremes existed on both sides of the debate and called for a biblical approach that acknowledged both the security of the believer and the possibility of apostasy.

Read the entire article by Donald Gee, “Extreme Eternal Security Teaching,” on pages 2 and 3 of the March 3, 1945, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Pentecost in Cairo and Jerusalem,” by Vera Swarztrauber

* “The White Rose,” by Anne Hazelton

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free:  877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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