Category Archives: Education

2014 Assemblies of God Heritage Magazine – Now Available Online and in Hard Copy!

cover2014

The world will be gathering this week in Springfield, Missouri, for the triennial meeting of the World Assemblies of God Congress and to celebrate the centennial of the Assemblies of God USA. Registrants include 2,000 guests from outside the United States. Excitement is in the air and people are flooding into town for what has been described as the most ethnically diverse event in the history of Springfield.

The 2014 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine is now available and may be picked up at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center offices or at the Heritage Center booth at the JQH Arena this Thursday through Sunday. All Assemblies of God USA ministers will receive a copy of the magazine in the mail in the next couple of weeks. The magazine is also accessible for free on the Heritage Center website.

Assemblies of God Heritage magazine makes a great gift! Hard copies of the magazine are available for $8 plus postage and handling.

The lineup of articles, specially chosen and commissioned for the centennial, reflects important themes and people from Assemblies of God history — from the early years and right up to the present!

Articles in this issue are listed below:

From the Editor: Global, Diverse, and Growing
By Darrin J. Rodgers

Fully Committed: 100 Years of the Assemblies of God
By Darrin J. Rodgers
A survey of 100 years of Assemblies of God history.

Thomas King Leonard: A Truly Indispensible Man
By P. Douglas Chapman
The neglected story of an Assemblies of God founder and leader.

Who’s Who at Hot Springs
By Glenn W. Gohr
A detailed account of the participants at the first general council.

The American Mission Field: Intercultural Ministries
By William J. Molenaar
The Assemblies of God has been ministering to ethnic minorities since its founding.

“Silent No More”: Latino Assemblies of God Leadership under Demetrio Bazan and José Girón
By Gastón Espinosa
These men led the Latin American District from 1939 through 1971.

Christian Unity: A Founding Principle of the Assemblies of God
By William J. Molenaar
Assemblies of God founders prophetically called for Christian unity.

What Made Them Think They Could?
By Rosemarie Daher Kowalski
The stories of ten early Assemblies of God female missionaries.

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P.C. Nelson on the Value of a Liberal Arts Education


This Week in AG History–June 16, 1934
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 16 Jun 2014 – 4:12 PM CST.

Peter C. (“P. C.”) Nelson, an Assemblies of God educator and theologian, made an eloquent plea for Pentecostal schools to develop curriculum in the liberal arts and to train students for non-ministry vocations in a 1934 Pentecostal Evangel article. Up to that point, all Assemblies of God colleges focused on the training of people for ministry. Nelson noted that increasing numbers of Assemblies of God young people have an “anointing of the Spirit for doing a worthy work in other fields besides that of the ministry.”

Nelson warned readers that the “moral and spiritual conditions in most schools and colleges” cause many Pentecostal young people to abandon the faith. “If we want our young people to remain loyal to our movement,” Nelson wrote, “our fellowship must provide instruction for them along all branches of study.” He envisioned new courses that would train teachers, musicians, businesspeople, stenographers, accountants, engineers, architects, carpenters, masons, auto mechanics, and printers.

Where would this new liberal arts school be located? Nelson suggested that Central Bible College, the national ministerial training school of the Assemblies of God, located in Springfield, Missouri, would be an ideal location. He recommended that its facilities be enlarged so that it could train even more ministers and also add a liberal arts curriculum.

Nelson was not alone in his support for the development of Pentecostal liberal arts education. His article received the unanimous support of the Executive Presbytery. There was a growing recognition that the Assemblies of God should develop educational programs for training young people in fields other than vocational ministry. Nelson began his article by pointing out that the Assemblies of God constitution, adopted in 1927, included the following paragraph: “The General Council shall be in sympathy with the establishment and maintenance of academic schools for the children of our constituency.”

Although Nelson did not mention it in his article, this vision for a Pentecostal liberal arts curriculum dated back to the founding of the Assemblies of God. The “Call to Hot Springs” — the open invitation to all Pentecostal “elders, pastors, ministers, evangelists and missionaries” to attend the first general council of the Assemblies of God — enumerated five purposes for the meeting. The fifth purpose was “to lay before the body for a General Bible Training School with a literary department for our people.” The phrase “literary department” was a 19th and early 20th century term that roughly corresponds to “liberal arts” today.

Nelson’s call for Central Bible College to train ministers alongside laypersons was not realized during his lifetime. However, other Assemblies of God Bible schools began expanding their curriculum. North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University, Minneapolis, Minnesota) added a two-year business college in 1938. Southwestern Bible College (now Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Waxahachie, Texas), the school founded by Nelson, opened a junior college in 1944. Northwest Bible Institute (now Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington) also added a junior college in 1955. That same year, the Assemblies of God established its new national liberal arts school, Evangel College (now Evangel University), in Springfield, Missouri.

Nelson encouraged readers to invest in Assemblies of God young people who possess “real sterling character, native ability, and spirituality.” The value of Pentecostal schools, asserted Nelson, “exceeds the cost…No investment will pay a larger dividend.”

Read the entire article by P. C. Nelson, “Enlarging Our Educational Facilities,” on page 7 of the June 16, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Finishing Our Course,” by Zelma Argue

* “Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?” by Otto J. Klink

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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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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Review: Proceedings of the Inaugural Faith and Science Conference

Bundrick, David and Steve Badger, eds. Proceedings of the Inaugural Faith & Science Conference. Springfield, MO : Gospel Publishing House, 2011.

“The students we teach and the congregations we pastor in the future will not be contented for us to put our heads in the sand or resort to simplistic preaching against science.” — Jim Bradford, General Secretary of the Assemblies of God USA

The uneasy relationship between faith and science existed long before church leaders censured Galileo for his defense of heliocentrism in 1633. The tensions that potentially exist between biblical faith and scientific advance can be perplexing and faith challenging. As today’s world grows more reliant upon scientific advancement, the Church is increasingly filled with scientifically literate believers who expect and deserve a prayerful, well-reasoned approach to the myriad ways in which science intersects with their faith. In recognition of these trends, the General Secretary’s office of the Assemblies of God recently sponsored a first-of-its-kind conference for the Fellowship. The Inaugural Faith & Science Conference took place on Evangel University’s campus in Springfield, Missouri, in the summer of 2011.

Drawing together a diversity of believers–including scientists, theologians, pastors, and teachers–the conference met with the threefold purpose to:

  • Delve into the connections between faith and science
  •  Explore the ethical and theological issues behind that discussion
  • Equip teachers and spiritual leaders to better evangelize and disciple followers of Christ who are increasingly scientifically savvy.

Collecting the plenary sessions and a majority of the presented papers, this volume of conference proceedings is divided into five categories:

I. Integrational Approaches

1. The Relationship between Christian faith and Natural Science
Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson

2. Five Patterns of Relating Science & Christian Theology
David R. Bundrick

3. Science and Faith—Enemies or Allies
Jeffrey Alan Zweerink

II. Exegetical Issues

4. Genesis 1 and Science: A Case for Agreement
Hugh N. Ross

5. Review and Discussion of the Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton
Bob Stallman

6. Creation in the Cosmos: Evidence for Creation and a Young Universe
Nathanael Loper

7. Genesis and Cosmology
Danny R. Faulkner

8. Clarifying the Exegetical Options for the Creation Days in Genesis 1 and 2 in Relation to Science
Roger Cotton

9. An Examination of the Analogical Days View and Concordism of John Collins
Brad Ausbury

10. Biblical Content Informed by Ancient Contexts: An Example from Genesis 2:4-3:24
James R. Blankenship

11. Digging for Dinosaurs: Epistemology and Theological Interpretation of Natural Phenomenon
Walter A. Rogero II

III. Pentecostal Perspectives

12. Pentecostalism and Science: Challenges and Opportunities
Amos Yong

13. Perspectives on Origins: How Diverse Are Pentecostals?
Mike Tenneson and Steve Badger

14. Survey and Analysis of Pentecostal Biblical Creation Worldviews
Larry S. Kisner

15. A Historical Overview of Pentecostal Responses to Biological Evolution
Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson

16. Medicine Is a Good Thing: Assemblies of God Doctrine as Support and Limit of Medicine
Jeremiah Gibbs

17. Measuring the Spirit’s Move: The Boon and the Bane of Empirical Methods in the Study of Evangelism, Conversion, and Spirituality
Brian Kelly

IV. Philosophical Analyses

18. The Mind of God: On the Death of Philosophy and the Limits of Science
Chris Emerick

19. Revolutionary Discoveries in Physics and Cosmology
Stephen Frank Krstulovich

20. Affordance-Based Reverse Engineering of Biological Systems as a Framework for the Cumulative Case for a Christian Worldview
Dominic Halsmer and Taylor Tryon

21. Blind Spots: Examining the Presuppositions of Western Culture That Led to the Divorce of Faith and Science
Paul Scheperle

22. Understanding the Role of Assumptions in Science and Its Contribution to Differing Views on Origins
Jean K. Lightner

23. Re-visioning Theology and Science: Introducing the Pneumatological Imagination as an Alternative to Thomas Torrance’s Theo-Scientific Logic
Aaron Yom

24.Faith in Science or the Science of Faith: A Nonfoundationalist View of Natural Theology for the Church’s Essence in the Scientific Age
Andreá Snavely

25. Developing a New Model for Diagrammatic Reasoning
Leonard Salvig

26. Science, Religion, and Racial Justice: A Multicultural Critique of the Theory of Evolution
Jason Eden

V. Ministry Applications

27. Science and the Pulpit: Ministering to Scientifically Literate People
Christina M. H. Powell

28. Teaching the Genesis 1 Cosmogony to Your Congregations
Michael D. Sharp

29. Creation Crisis? Proclaim God’s Wonders!
Nicholas J. Tavani

30. Churches That Push Scientists Away: Restoring Engagement with Scientists (While Reassuring the Faithful)
Philip M. Wala

31. Reconciling the Faith: Christian Students Who Move from Fear to Engagement with the Sciences
Dan Guenther

32. The Journey of a Christian Layman with a Science and Technology Background: How Can We Bring Science-Educated People to Christ?
Lowell Nystrom

These provocative and insightful sessions and articles are invaluable tools for preparing readers to effectively minister to those who desire a Christian theology that can engage science meaningfully and constructively.

-Adapted from back cover.

Paperback, 348 pages. $19.99 retail. Order from: Gospel Publishing House.

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2009 SPS Tribute to Stanley Horton


The audio above is the session “Honoring Stanley Horton” at the Society for Pentecostal Studies meeting held at Eugene Bible College (Eugene, OR) on March 26, 2009.  The Participants included:

  • George O. Wood, Chair
  • Lois Olena, Panelist
  • Russell Spittler, Panelist (by video)
  • Stan Burgess, Panelist
  • Marty Mittelstadt, Panelist
  • Lemuel Thuston, Panelist
  • Ken Horn, Panelist
  • Stanely M. Horton, Respondent

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1983 Interview with Stanley Horton


Dr. William W. Menzies interviews Stanley M. Horton at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, Missouri, 1983 (31:54).

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Seize the Moment

How will the current economic troubles affect the Assemblies of God? According to common wisdom, economic downturns bring spiritual upturns. As the theory goes, when people discover they cannot be self-sufficient, they look for spiritual solutions to their problems.

But is this really the case? History reveals that the Assemblies of God grew significantly during the Great Depression of the 1930s, but its growth was a deviation from the norm. Most churches suffered great setbacks. What really happened during the Great Depression? What lessons can this history provide for the Assemblies of God of the twenty-first century?

Mainline Decline
The Great Depression of the 1930s devastated many segments of American Christianity. Historian Mark Noll noted that mainline Protestants not only faced economic uncertainties, but also theological uncertainties as liberal theology had begun to replace historic Christian beliefs. Many mainline congregations, schools, and ministries had to close or drastically cut back. Their institutions, funded by endowments that disappeared with the Wall Street crash, were running off the fumes of the past.

However, there was a noticeable exception to the decline of religious institutions in the 1930s: evangelical and Pentecostal churches made significant gains. According to Noll, these “sectarian” churches “knew better how to redeem the times.”

Pentecostal Growth
In September 1929, the AG reported 1,612 churches with 91,981 members in the US. By 1944, this tally increased to 5,055 churches with 227,349 members. During that 15-year period, the number of AG churches tripled and membership almost tripled.

This growth didn’t happen by accident. Our forefathers and foremothers during the Great Depression laid a foundation for the expansion of the Assemblies of God, often at a tremendous cost. Of today’s seven largest AG colleges and universities, four were started during the Great Depression: North Central University (1930); Northwest University (1934); Southeastern University (1935); and Valley Forge Christian College (1939).

Myer Pearlman was a prolific writer during the Great Depression.

It was during these hard times that AG scholarship blossomed. Myer Pearlman (1898-1943), P. C. Nelson (1868-1942), and E. S. Williams (1885-1981) wrote many of their influential theological books in the midst of the Great Depression. Pearlman and Nelson literally worked themselves to death, their health breaking under the strain of constant writing, teaching, and preaching.

The AG’s foreign missions enterprise was centralized and strengthened during the Depression. This change encouraged coordination of efforts and accountability. The AG published its first Missionary Manual in 1931 and in 1933 the AG began providing funding for a missions staff at Headquarters. While the Great Depression made finances tight, in 1933 the Foreign Missions Department trumpeted that it did not have to recall any missionaries because of shortage of funds. Indeed, from 1930 to 1939, AG world missions giving increased by 47 percent, the number of world missionaries increased by 25 percent, and the constituency outside the US increased by 132 percent. When other denominations were retreating, the AG was making significant advances in missions.

While Pentecostals decried the Social Gospel movement, which they viewed as caring for physical needs while neglecting spiritual needs, many churches strove to evangelize in both word and deed. One of the best-known churches engaged in social outreach during the Depression was Pentecostal — Angelus Temple, the Los Angeles congregation founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. The congregation operated numerous soup kitchens and free clinics in the 1930s. Countless smaller storefront rescue missions dotted the Pentecostal landscape of that era.

Large-scale population migrations forced by the economic upheaval of the 1930s resulted in the unplanned evangelization of new regions. Pentecostals who left the Midwest during the Dustbowl established numerous Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Holiness, and Pentecostal Church of God congregations in the western states. African-American Pentecostals from the rural South migrated to northern cities and started Church of God in Christ congregations in almost every major city. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in the U.S. returned to Mexico, including many new Pentecostal believers who, in effect, became indigenous missionaries to their homeland. In the providence of God, the painful social dislocation of the 1930s helped bring about the rapid spread of Pentecostalism. Like pollen scattered by a strong wind, Pentecostal refugees planted churches wherever they happened to land.

In raw economic terms, an economic downturn offers a great opportunity for churches to expand their base. Finances will be tight in the meantime, but once the economy turns around, the churches will be much better off than they had been previously, with a larger and more committed membership.

Despair or Desperation?
Some Pentecostals actually seemed to celebrate the challenges of the Depression. The monthly magazine of The Stone Church (an AG congregation in Chicago) published this editorial note: “Our chief difficulty is that we have been bitten by the luxury bug. Nations can stand almost any adversity better than that of the debilitating, enervating, calamity of prosperity. The Word of God declares that, ‘In prosperity the destroyer shall come’” (Job 15:21). One can almost hear the writer saying, “Bring it on, financial struggles will only make us stronger.”

C. M. Ward and his wife, Dorothy, were married just after the stock market crashed in 1929.

C. M. Ward, the voice of the Revivaltime radio broadcast from 1953 to 1978, echoed this sentiment. He and his fiancée, Dorothy, set their wedding date for Christmas Day, 1929. Of course, one month before their wedding, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Ward couldn’t afford to buy a wedding ring, much less presents, for their first Christmas. He later learned that times of deprivation like this birthed one of two things: either despair or desperation. Despair caused people to simply give up, but desperation spurred people to work hard and be creative.

Need for Vision
Churches, however, are not guaranteed to grow during bad times. Indeed, AG evangelist Christine Kerr Peirce observed in 1935, “Instead of the depression driving people to God, there has developed an apathy and indifference which has not characterized previous periods of distress, when men have turned to God for help.”

Peirce’s lament for the church in 1935 could easily describe the condition of the American church in 2009: “Our modern methods are fast wearing out. That which a few years ago attracted the great crowds, attracts them no more. We have worn out every spectacular appeal we could make and while a few are reached here and there, yet the truth stares us plainly in the face that nowhere are we doing more than just scratching the surface, in comparison with the great number of unchurched and unsaved that should be reached.”

Why was the church in such a state of spiritual stupor? According to Peirce, “The backslidden, apathetic, lethargic condition of the pew today is due largely to the fact that this work [evangelism] has been left in the hands of the pulpit.” Instead, she averred, every Christian is called to be a witness.

How can the church remedy this problem? Peirce dismissed the idea that the church needs methods that are even “more spectacular.” Instead, she propounded, “The need of the present moment is Men and Women of Vision!” Christians first “must see God Himself,” and then must have a “vision of others.” She elaborated, “A true vision of the lost world will prostrate us on our face with a burden of intercession.”

According to Peirce, then, the visionary church must be worshipful and missional. While Peirce’s critique was aimed at the American church in general, she recognized that Assemblies of God members could very easily lose their vision and replace their passion for God and for souls with a reliance on modern methods. However, visionary Assemblies of God leaders viewed the economic crisis as an opportunity, leading the Fellowship to engage in ardent prayer and great personal sacrifice to advance a cause that was much bigger than any one person.

Seize the Moment
The history of the Assemblies of God illustrates the Fellowship’s compelling vision of world evangelization through voluntary cooperation to accomplish what individual Pentecostal believers or churches could not do alone. Hopefully, these testimonies will encourage readers to likewise see the current economic turmoil as an opportunity to reassess priorities, to love those who are hurting, and to lay a broader foundation for the future of the Assemblies of God. Even as we look back at the heroes of the faith who grabbed hold of big ideas and sacrificed greatly to bring them to fruition, I pray that we, the inheritors of this legacy, will seize this moment and invest in the future of our faith.

To learn more about the history of the Assemblies of God, visit the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center’s Web site.

Written by Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Darrin J. Rodgers, this editorial was published in the 2009 Assemblies of God Heritage magazine.

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