Category Archives: Bible

The Open Bible Council


This Week in AG History–June 24, 1916
By William Molenaar

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 23 Jun 2014 – 3:13 PM CST.

In the early days of the modern Pentecostal movement, controversies raged over the nature of tongues, sanctification, water baptism, and the Trinity. Many local churches and pastors operated independently, with little accountability, and did what was right in their own eyes. The Assemblies of God was formed in 1914 in part to bring unity, stability, and accountability to churches within the Pentecostal movement. However, the first General Council decided not to create a binding statement of faith.

The emerging Oneness movement (also called the “New Issue”) forced the Assemblies of God to reconsider its decision to be non-creedal. Advocates of the New Issue were teaching that believers must be baptized in the name of Jesus based on the narrative of Acts, rather than using the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19: “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” They further rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and understood the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit not as persons of the godhead, but rather as different manifestations of the one personal God. As a result, some Oneness believers asserted that no distinctions existed between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The young Assemblies of God was compelled to define its doctrine and to create organizational mechanisms to ensure accountability. Chairman J. W. Welch, in the June 24, 1916, editorial of theWeekly Evangel, issued a call to ministers to attend a third General Council of Assemblies of God. Welch desired unity and decried the strife and contentions among Pentecostals. He pointed out the need for “scriptural unity, order and government in the church.” Welch referred to the council as “an OPEN BIBLE council,” asking that those who attend to base their decisions squarely on the Bible.

Welch reassured readers that the meeting would not seek to create a sect or denomination. Doctrinal confusion was at hand, and he pleaded with those attending the next General Council to strive for unity and harmony, while discerning what is truth and what is error according to the Word of God. What resulted? The 1916 General Council adopted the Statement of Fundamental Truths.

Read the entire editorial by J. W. Welch on pages 3 and 7 of the June 24, 1916, issue of theWeekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Christians in India Are Given ‘Gift of Tongues,'” by William T. Ellis.

* “Some Good Things to Remember,” by Mrs. P. M. (Agnes Ozman) LaBerge.

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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D. W. Kerr on the Bible

P0138_Kerr

This Week in AG History — December 16, 1916

By William Molenaar
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 16 Dec 2013 – 5:21 PM CST

In 1916, the fourth General Council of the Assemblies of God approved the Statement of Fundamental Truths. Later that year, the Pentecostal Evangel published a series of articles by D. W. Kerr, who was the primary author of the statement. The first installment in the series, published in the December 16, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, pertained to the nature of the Bible itself. Kerr stated, “The Bible is the written word of God. Holy men, whom God had made ready, spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Pentecostals and other orthodox Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God — the infallible and authoritative rule for faith and conduct. Authentic Pentecostal spirituality is guided by biblical teaching. There was a common saying amongst Pentecostals: “If we have the Word without the Spirit, we dry up. If we have the Spirit without the Word, we blow up. If we have both the Word and the Spirit, we grow up.”

When faced with the Oneness controversy (which denied Trinitarian understanding of the godhead), the Assemblies of God adopted the Statement of Fundamental Truths, which affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity as being biblically grounded.

Nevertheless, Kerr admitted, “The Bible has in it many things very plain and simple and easy to understand. But there are some things of which the written word of God speaks, which are, and always will be too deep and high for us to understand.”

Kerr continued, “The Bible does not tell us how there can be a Father, a Son, and a Holy Ghost, who always was, is now and ever shall be, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Bible tells us that these things are facts without beginning and without end; but it does not tell us how these facts can be.”

Also featured in this issue:

* ” ‘I Fell in Love with the Nazarene.’ The Birth of a Wonderful Sacred Song,” by Sarah Haggard Payne.

* “The Pearl Divers. A Parable of Missionary Work,” by Alice E. Luce.

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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Review: Pastoral Letter to Theo

Pastoral Letter to Theo: An Introduction to Interpretation and Women’s Ministries, by Paul Elbert. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008.

Restricting women from leadership and ministry in the church is, as Church of God Theological Seminary professor Paul Elbert deftly argues, based in faulty exegesis and naive proof-texting. The more serious, underlying issue is that proof-texting combined with dispensational cessationism is ultimately a form of eisegesis, a way of making Scripture say what you want it to say. A more faithful hermeneutic listens to the whole counsel of Scripture and interprets the Bible in its context, but with sensitivity to the contemporary world. Pastoral Letter to Theo is practical and encouraging advice for all ministers and is rooted in a contextually sensitive reading of the New Testament.

Reviewed by Peter Althouse, Instructor in Theology, Tyndale University College and Seminary

Softcover, 97 pages. $15.00 retail. Order from: amazon.com

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Finis Jennings Dake biography

Finis Jennings Dake: His Life and Ministry, by Leon Bible. Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Publishing, 2006.

Bible teacher Finis Jennings Dake (1902-87) is known throughout the Pentecostal world for his four-column Dake Annotated Reference Bible which contains numerous notes and commentaries on all the different verses of the Bible. In fact, Charisma Magazine has even referred to it as “the Pentecostal Study Bible.” A notable Pentecostal minister, Jimmy Swaggart, stated that “I owe my Bible education to this man” [Dake], whose works also include God’s Plan for Man (originally designed as a 3-year Bible course), Revelation Expounded, The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ, and Bible Truths Unmasked among other publications.

Having been introduced to his various books in the early 1980s in Oslo, Norway, I was quite excited when I learned about Mr. Bible’s history on Dake’s life and ministry. The book contains more than 400 pages and is a gold mine of information pertaining to Dake’s life and ministry as an Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and independent Pentecostal pastor, as well as a Bible school teacher, radio minister and author.

Admittedly, this is no scholarly biography (despite footnotes and bibliography), but more of a devotional walk through the life of Dake as seen through the lenses of Dake himself and his immediate family. The author portrays himself as an avid Dake reader whose writings he has admired for more than 30 years, and the book is not only endorsed by but also published by Dake Publishing, Inc. However, due to Dake’s continued influence among Pentecostal and charismatic believers, he also deserves scholarly attention. I hope the author’s sympathetic presentation of Dake will spur contributions from the academic ranks to supplement this volume. Personally, I was intrigued to learn that Dake was so well schooled in E. W. Bullinger’s radical form of ultradispensationalism, and academic researchers might be interested in submitting the Dake writings to historical and theological scrutiny in order to find to what extent Dake has Pentecostalized dispensatonalist and ultradispensationalist writings and to what extent his writings might have an original flavor of their own.

Reviewed by Geir Lie, editor of Refleks : med karismatisk kristendom i fokus (Oslo, Norway)

Hardback, 441 pages, illustrated. $19.95 plus shipping. Order through Dake Publishing.

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Review: Elements of a Christian Worldview


Elements of a Christian Worldview

Elements of a Christian Worldview, edited by Michael D. Palmer and Stanley M. Horton. Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 1998.

Christianity is about holistic transformation of both individuals and communities. This involves a radical reordering of both our thoughts and our lives. In Elements of a Christian Worldview, a number of Christian scholars provoke their readers to engage this process of transformation by exploring the integration of the Christian faith with topics such as worldviews, the role of the Bible, historical Christianity, natural science, human nature, work, leisure, ethics, music, literature, entertainment, and politics. Russell Spittler, Provost and Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, in the forward writes, “These wise words will help reflective followers of Jesus know what to avoid in the world, what to shun. But they will aid also in the expansion of appreciation for all that is good in human culture, the collected reflections of God’s highest creatures who, however tarnished and alone among all living beings, embody the image of God.” Continue reading

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Grinding the Face of the Poor


Grinding the Face of the Poor

Grinding the Face of the Poor: A Reader in Biblical Justice, edited by W. R. Brookman. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, 2006.

Those who accuse Pentecostals of lacking a social conscience would do well to meet W. R. Brookman. In this handy, compact volume, Brookman has collected scriptural passages and other Christian texts that speak to justice issues. Grinding the Face of the Poor is designed to be an introductory reader for the student who is beginning to investigate the Biblical warrants to care for the poor. The editor, who serves as Chairman of the Department of Intercultural Studies and Languages at North Central University, is to be commended for drawing attention to an important subject in a book that will be useful in classrooms across the denominational spectrum.

Paperback, 180 pages. $12.99 plus shipping. Order from: University Bookstore, North Central University, 910 Elliot Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404. Ph. 612-343-7887.

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