Category Archives: News

Patten University Archives Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center


Patten University, founded as Oakland Bible Institute in 1944 by noted female evangelist Dr. Bebe H. Patten (1913-2004), has long been an important part of the landscape of Oakland, California. Patten started in the ministry as a girl evangelist, graduated from L.I.F.E. Bible College in 1933, and was ordained by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1934. She was later ordained by a Wesleyan Holiness denomination and subsequently by another Pentecostal denomination. A successful revival crusade in Oakland in 1944 resulted in the formation of the Oakland Bible Institute, Patten Academy of Christian Education, and Christian Cathedral. She also formed Christian Evangelical Churches of America (CECA), which ordained graduates of the university and is a member denomination of the National Association of Evangelicals.

After severe financial difficulties led Patten University to be acquired by UniversityNow, a for-profit educational company in 2013, the school’s Christian mission was changed to a secular one. Following the acquisition, the University’s archives were placed at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri. In recent years the archives have been developed by long-time Patten educator and administrator Dr. Abraham Ruelas. He is also author of No Room for Doubt: The Life and Ministry of Bebe Patten (Seymour Press, 2012).

The Patten collection includes college yearbooks, catalogs, and periodicals; extensive correspondence relating to Patten and her husband, Carl Thomas Patten; photograph albums and scrapbooks; and other publications and materials. Bebe Patten was a larger-than-life personality, and the bulk of the collection relates to her and her family.

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AG Superintendent to be Keynote Speaker at COGIC Symposium Honoring Bishop Mason’s 150th Birthday

Charles H. Mason (1864-1961), founding bishop of the Church of God in Christ.

Charles H. Mason (1864-1961), founding bishop of the Church of God in Christ.

Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA, is slated to be keynote speaker at a symposium honoring Church of God in Christ founder Bishop Charles H. Mason on his 150th birthday.

In an official press release, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake is quoted as stating, “The Church of God in Christ is honored and elated to have Dr. George Wood as the keynote speaker during the C.H. Mason Heritage Symposium & Celebration. The Church of God in Christ and the Assemblies of God have a long history together that dates back to the late 1800s. I am personally looking forward to this time of sharing and fellowship.”

Dr. Wood will speak at the C.H. Mason Heritage Symposium & Celebration on Monday, September 8, 2014, 7 p.m., to be held at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. The event will be held September 8-10, 2014. The public is invited to attend.

The invitation to Dr. Wood to speak comes on the heels of another important milestone in the history of the relationship between the Assemblies of God and Church of God in Christ. Executive leaders from both denominations came together for two days of meetings in November 2013, during which they forged personal relationships, prayed, and discussed how the two churches might cooperate. Bishop Blake spoke at the Assemblies of God National Office chapel service on November 26, 2013.

AG General Superintendent George O. Wood and COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, November 26, 2013, at the Assemblies of God National Office chapel.

AG General Superintendent George O. Wood and COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, November 26, 2013, at the Assemblies of God National Office chapel.

The November 2013 meeting was preceded by a symposium in honor of the 100th birthday of former Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. The symposium, held in Springfield, Missouri, drew 1,000 people to events over September 17-18, 2012. The highlight of the symposium was the dedication of the Bishop J. O. Patterson Collection, consisting of the former presiding bishop’s personal papers, which his widow, Mother Mary P. Patterson, deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, which is located in the Assemblies of God National Office.

According to the Mason symposium press release, the Church of God in Christ has nearly 6.5 million adherents in 63 countries. While the number of adherents in the U.S. is not provided, it is widely believed to be the largest Pentecostal denomination in the nation. The Church of God in Christ is historically black, although from its earliest years it has included ministers and members of other races. The Assemblies of God USA is a multi-ethnic fellowship of over 3.1 million adherents, 41 percent of whom are non-white. In 2013, 9.6 percent of Assemblies of God USA adherents were black. The Assemblies of God USA is a constituent member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, which claims over 67 million adherents.

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Dr. Stanley M. Horton (1916-2014), Bridge Builder and Servant

Horton COGIC

This photo shows Dr. Stanley M. Horton at Timmons Temple COGIC (Springfield, MO) in 2009 telling the story of his mother’s Spirit-baptism at the interracial Azusa Street Mission as a little girl. I was present and can testify that everyone was listening with rapt attention. The service, part of a three-day event, “A House No Longer Divided,” brought black and white Pentecostals together on April 13-15, 2009, remembering the unlikely dual anniversary of the beginning of the Azusa Street Revival and the Springfield Lynching. Both happened on April 14, 1906. This is one of my favorite pictures of Dr. Horton, because it captures his Pentecostal identity, rooted in the iconic Azusa Street Revival, and it shows his calling to teach, not just in the academy, but to those in the pew.

Dr. Stanley M. Horton (1916-2014), who went to be with the Lord yesterday at age 98, was a bridge builder. He built bridges across the racial, denominational, and academic divides. He was one of the Pentecostal movement’s most revered scholars, one of its most prolific authors, and one its most respected educators. His theological writings shaped generations of Pentecostals. But Stanley, to those of us who knew him, possessed something much greater than his Harvard degree. He was a gentle, humble, loving Christian man. He was a man of impeccable integrity. He loved his wife, Evelyn, and his children. He loved his students. He took time for everyone.

I am grateful that he poured himself into countless thousands of students who are now pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and educators. I am grateful for the late evenings he spent for 25 years, authoring the Adult Sunday School curriculum for the Assemblies of God. I am grateful for his numerous theological volumes. Stanley went home to be with the Lord, but his influence continues to be profound through the lives of those he discipled — in person and through the printed word.

Just seven weeks ago, Dr. Horton deposited his personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. The collection consists of correspondence, class notes as a student and as a professor, his writings, and other materials related to his leadership in the church and the academy. Future researchers, students, and church leaders will have access to his thoughts for years to come.

Dr. Horton’s obituary is accessible on the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary website. Please take time to leave a personal note for the family. Dr. Horton was a giant, not because of his impressive achievements, but because he embodied what it meant to have a servant’s heart. I pray that his legacy of godliness and servanthood will live on in future generations of Pentecostal scholars.

–Darrin J. Rodgers, M.A., J.D.
Director, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

______________

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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Assemblies of God 2013 Statistics Released

Water baptism, 2013. Bread of Life Christian Church (Rogersville, Missouri), a growing Slavic congregation affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

This water baptism was performed in 2013 by the pastors of Bread of Life Christian Church (Rogersville, Missouri), a growing Slavic congregation affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

The Assemblies of God (AG) is one of the few major denominations in the United States to show continuing growth. The AG has now experienced 24 consecutive years of growth in the number of U.S. adherents, according to a press release from the AG National Leadership and Resource Center in Springfield, Missouri. The article compares the AG’s growth to the “declining attendance for many other North American evangelical denominations.”

The 2013 Full Statistical Report was not posted on the AG website as of today (6/16/14), but the article provided the following notable statistics for calendar year 2013. For comparative purposes, statistics from 2008 and 2012 are also provided here.

U.S. Stats             2008             2012            2013     2012-13 Growth

Adherents                   2,899,702       3,095,717        3,127,857        1.0%

Churches                     12,377              12,722               12,792               0.6%

Membership              1,662,632        1,780,468        1,805,381        1.4%

Major Worship

Service Attendance  1,799,987       1,880,269      1,918,686        2.0%

Water baptisms          114,091           131,713           137,375           4.3%

Spirit baptisms            85,667             81,345             83,731             2.9%

Conversions                 441,377           453,496          456,395         0.6%

Credentialed ministers34,178           35,867             36,434           1.6%

Worldwide Stats       

Adherents                   61,550,938      66,383,778      67,512,302      1.7%

Preaching Points         332,411           362,791           366,105           0.9%

The AG is growing at a faster rate than the U.S. population, which increased by 0.7% in 2013. The number of U.S. adherents has been increasing at a relatively steady pace — at an average of 1.6% per year since 1989, and 1.5% per year since 2008.

In recent decades, most mainline Protestant denominations in the U.S. have witnessed significant numerical declines. From 1960 to 2011, the United Church of Christ lost 48% of adherents; The Episcopal Church lost 43%; the Presbyterian Church (USA) lost 35%; the United Methodist Church lost 29%; and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lost 19%. Others showed increases, including the Southern Baptist Convention (66%) and the Roman Catholic Church (62%). During the same period, the Assemblies of God grew by 498%, from 508,602 members in 1960.

While mainline denominations have been declining for decades, in the past few years some evangelical groups, such as the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), have also begun to decline. SBC leaders recently have shown alarm over deceasing numbers of baptisms and conversions. The number of SBC baptisms has declined for seven straight years.  This demographic decline has caused some pundits to predict the slow death of evangelicalism.

Robust growth of Pentecostal churches, including the Assemblies of God, shows a different story. All statistics released in the article — water baptisms, Spirit baptisms, membership, attendance, conversions, and numbers of adherents, churches, and ministers — increased last year in the AG. Other categories, including attendance at Sunday evening and midweek services, were not included in the article and presumably declined. The AG press release attributes much of the growth to increases in ethnic minority churches and young people: “The impact is especially evident among Latino adherents, who now make up 20 percent of the Fellowship (more than 40 percent of total adherents are ethnic minorities), and Millennials (ages 18-34), who contributed 21 percent of the growth from 2001-2013.”

The breakdown of the 2013 numbers will be available in the yet-to-be-released Full Statistical Report. But the 2012 report shows the AG’s significant ethnic diversity: Asian/Pacific Islander (4.3%); Black (9.8%); Hispanic (21.7%); Native American (1.4%); White (59.2%); and Other /Mixed (3.5%). These stats suggest that the AG closely mirrors the ethnic makeup of the U.S. population as a whole. The 2010 U.S. census revealed the following racial breakdown of the U.S. population: Asian/Pacific Islander (5%); Black (12.6%); Hispanic (16.3%); Native American (0.9%); White (63.7%); and Other /Mixed (6.2%).

Much of the numerical growth in the Assemblies of God in recent decades has been among ethnic minorities. From 2007 to 2012, the number of AG adherents increased by 8.1%. During this period, the number of white adherents increased by 1.6% and the number of non-white adherents increased by 19.2%. This demographic shift continued from 2011 to 2012, and the percentage of white adherents dropped from 59.6% to 59.2%. When the 2013 Full Statistical Report is released, it is likely to reveal that this demographic shift continued apace in 2013.

The AG’s growth in America is partly due to immigration. The Assemblies of God is a global church. About 1% of the world’s population is AG. Only 5% of AG adherents worldwide live in the U.S. Pentecostals who move to America from other regions of the world often bring with them a faith, burnished by persecution and deprivation, that is an important part of their identity. Pentecostal refugees who move to America are like pollen scattered by a strong wind — they plant churches wherever they happen to land. Strong African, Slavic, Asian, and Hispanic AG churches are taking root in American soil, and their congregations sing, preach, and testify in the tongues of their native countries.

Interestingly, this demographic shift is also helping to usher in a global re-alignment of Christianity. Anglican, Presbyterian, and Methodist Christians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are generally evangelical in belief, if not Pentecostal in worship, and often have much more in common with their brothers and sisters in the Assemblies of God than they do with liberal members of their own denominations in the West.

The Assemblies of God is growing in America. But the real story is the ethnic transformation of the Assemblies of God. It is becoming less white and more reflective of the ethnic, linguistic and social diversity that exists in the global church. The founding fathers and mothers of the Assemblies of God  laid the foundation for this ethnic shift when they committed the Assemblies of God in November 1914 to “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.” In 1921 the Assemblies of God adopted the indigenous church principle as its official missions strategy, in order to better carry out world evangelism. The implementation of this strategy — which recognizes that each national church is autonomous and not controlled by Western interests — resulted in the development of strong national churches and leaders. And now, in a fitting turn of events, those churches are sending missionaries to America.

–Darrin J. Rodgers

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In 1934 Charles Robinson Foresaw and Condemned the Coming Jewish Holocaust

CE-Robinson

This Week in AG History — January 27, 1934

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 27 Jan 2014 – 4:20 PM CST

The year was 1934, and a rising tide of anti-semitism seemed to be sweeping the Western world. Adolph Hitler had recently ascended to power in Germany and strident voices in America were blaming Jews for the Great Depression.

Responding to this anti-semitism, Pentecostal Evangel associate editor Charles E. Robinson wrote an article “as a solemn warning to all Christians” to avoid playing any role in the persecution of the Jews. In his article, “A Lawyer Examines Evidence,” Robinson invoked his professional training to demonstrate that a widely-disseminated book purporting to be a secret Jewish manual for world domination was, in fact, a hoax. “The Jews are in for a bad time,” Robinson predicted. “That they will suffer every unspeakable villainy that godless men can devise is no doubt true.”

Charles E. Robinson (1867-1954) had stature in the professional and Christian communities. He began preaching in the Methodist church at age 17, graduated from law school, and practiced law with his father in Kansas City before entering the full time ministry. He was ordained by the Assemblies of God in 1922 and quickly rose to prominence as a district leader in Arkansas. From 1925 until 1947 he served as an associate editor of the Pentecostal Evangel. He authored about 20 books, which were published by Gospel Publishing House, Zondervan, and various British publishers, among others.

Robinson was not alone in his sensitivity to the plight of persecuted Jews. The other associate editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, Myer Pearlman, was a British-born Jew who had accepted Christ and who became the most prominent Assemblies of God systematic theologian of the 1920s through the 1940s. Stanley Frodsham, the editor, was also from Britain and regularly alerted readers to the difficulties faced by Jews across Europe.

Read the entire article by Charles E. Robinson, “A Lawyer Examines Evidence,” on page 3 of the January 27, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Way of an Eagle,” by Tinnie Wheeler

* “Preach Faith,” by E. S. Williams

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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Pentecostal Songwriter F. A. Graves


Description: F. A. Graves, circa 1897. 

This Week in AG History — January 22, 1927

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Wed, 22 Jan 2014 – 4:36 PM CST

Music has always been an important part of the Pentecostal tradition. This was true one hundred years ago as it is today. One of the best-known early Pentecostal songwriters was Frederick A. Graves (1856-1927).

F. A. Graves overcame significant childhood adversity. He was orphaned at age nine and was diagnosed with epilepsy five years later. He was an earnest young Christian and prepared for ministry at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and studied music in Northfield, Massachusetts. Despite suffering periodic seizures, he moved to southwestern Minnesota and served as an organizer and evangelist for the American Sunday School Union. He heard John Alexander Dowie, the famous healing evangelist, at a meeting in Minneapolis. At Dowie’s meeting, Graves experienced a miraculous healing of his epilepsy.

Graves wrote at least 43 songs, including popular hymns such as Honey in the Rock (1895) and He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me (1906). However, Graves did not write a single song until he was almost 35 years old, after his healing from epilepsy. Much of Grave’s inspiration as a songwriter came from his own experience of suffering and God’s merciful healing. Graves did not expect to be healed, nor did he expect to be a songwriter. Graves often testified in his usual understated manner, “God had a blessed surprise for me.”

Graves received credentials as an Assemblies of God minister in 1916. All of his children attended Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri. His son, Arthur, became president of Southeastern Bible College (now Southeastern University). Another son, Carl, became an Assemblies of God missionary to Ceylon. His daughter, Irene, married Myer Pearlman, the noted convert from Judaism, author, and theology professor at Central Bible Institute. F. A. Graves died on January 2, 1927. Nearly 1,000 people attended his funeral in Zion, Illinois.

Read the obituary of F. A. Graves on page 7 of the January 22, 1927, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Keeping our Accounts Balanced,” by D. W. Kerr

* “Old-Time Pentecost,” by Mattie Ledbetter

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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60th Anniversary of Light for the Lost

LFTL

Caption: Assemblies of God Heritage magazine, Spring 2003, featuring the 50th anniversary of Light for the Lost. General Superintendent G. Raymond Carlson (left) congratulates Sam Cochran upon his retirement as executive vice president of Light for the Lost in 1989.

This Week in AG History — December 2, 1962

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 02 Dec 2013 – 4:20 PM CST

When Assemblies of layman Sam Cochran started Light for the Lost in 1953, he could not have imagined that the ministry would raise, during the next 60 years, over $289 million for the printing and distribution of gospel literature and other evangelism resources.

Cochran, a successful insurance broker in California, saw a vision during a time of extended prayer in 1952. This vision transformed Cochran’s life and his approach to missions. In his vision, Cochran saw throngs of people from all over the world, reaching upward in an attempt to grab hold of a large Bible in a hand reaching from heaven. He heard one person plead, “Give me the Book! Give me the Book!” Before they could take hold of the Bible, a door seemingly swung open beneath the people, and they all fell into a fiery inferno.

Cochran, shaken by this vision, felt compelled to find a way to provide gospel literature to people around the world. But what could he, as a layman, do? Most Assemblies of God ministries were conceived and led by ministers and missionaries. Cochran could certainly give money, but he wanted to do more. He felt led by the Holy Spirit to form an organization of laymen who would raise money for the purpose of providing gospel literature. In 1953, Cochran and several others who caught the vision formed the Missionary Gospel Society. The Southern California District of the Assemblies of God recognized the new organization. Cochran and his friends began raising money for missions across California.

The organization grew and, in 1959, was incorporated into the national structure of the Assemblies of God. It became known as Light for the Lost and became a program of the Men’s Fellowship Department (now Men’s Ministries). The story behind the founding of Light for the Lost was published in the December 2, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Light for the Lost continues to fulfill a vital need as it provides evangelism resources around the world, in conjunction with the efforts of Assemblies of God missionaries. “Light for the Lost’s greatest days are ahead,” predicts Light for the Lost director Rick Allen. “For the past 60 years, men and women across the United States have helped to fulfill the Great Commission by delivering evangelism resources to people groups around the world. There is still much to do and the Harvest is ripe. Light for the Lost continues to accept the challenge given by our Lord to fulfill His Great Commission and expand His Kingdom.”

Read the article, “It Began with a Burden: The Story of Light for the Lost,” by Everett James, published on pages 10 and 11 of the December 2, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

A history of Light for the Lost, written by Mel Surface, was published in the Spring 2003 issue of Assemblies of God Heritage.

Information about Light for the Lost is available on the ministry’s website.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Holy Spirit and Everyday Life,” by C. M. Ward

* “Winning Men at Work,” by Jim Monson

And many more!

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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