John W. Welch: From Sunday School Organizer to Assemblies of God Chairman


This Week in AG History–July 29, 1939
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Tue, 29 Jul 2014 – 3:17 PM CST.

John W. Welch (1858-1939), a senior statesman in the Assemblies of God during its first quarter century, went to be with the Lord 75 years ago. He served as chairman (1915-1920 and 1923-1925) and secretary (1920-1923) of the young Fellowship.

Welch accepted Christ at about age 25 and almost immediately launched out into full-time ministry. He worked with the American Sunday School Union, a non-denominational organization dedicated to establishing Sunday Schools in every community. Many of these Sunday Schools worked with the destitute and taught young people without formal educations how to read and write by studying the Bible. Welch proved to be a good organizer and was recognized for opening a large number of Sunday Schools in Virginia.

Despite this success, Welch did not feel worthy to be in the ministry. He left the American Sunday School Union to take a job with General Electric in Schenectady, New York. Welch could not shake God’s call on his life, however. He led numerous people to the Lord during his day job at General Electric, and during the evenings and weekends he and his wife found themselves drawn to the slums and the street corners, where they preached the gospel and helped the needy.

Welch’s call to the ministry did not go unnoticed. When he was 41 years old, Welch was surprised by Christian and Missionary Alliance leaders, who insisted upon ordaining him. They told him, “Brother Welch, you are fully qualified for ordination, and we are going to ordain you.” He consented and, in 1910, he was named superintendent of the Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in Oklahoma. Since there were not yet any in that state, it was up to him to start them. He crisscrossed Oklahoma, holding tent meetings, revival services, and organizing churches.

Welch still felt that he lacked something for the ministry. He had encountered Pentecostals who testified to an experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit which gave them power for ministry. Welch studied scriptures and became convinced that he too needed this Pentecostal baptism. In 1911, he received the experience and became a prominent Pentecostal preacher. Welch became a founding member of the Assemblies of God in 1914.

Upon Welch’s death in 1939, General Superintendent E. S. Williams offered the following eulogy: “In the promotion of Brother Welch we have lost a foundation stone upon which the General Council was founded, a father in the Lord, one blessed with keen judicial sense, a man of clear cut experience and conviction, a proved pillar in times of crisis.”

Read tributes to Welch published in the July 29, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Inner Spirit of the Cross,” by George D. Watson

* “Now’s Your Chance, Lord,” by Mrs. Howard Taylor

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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TBN Donates C.M. Ward Library to Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

C. M. Ward, circa 1970

C. M. Ward, circa 1970

Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian broadcaster and America’s most watched faith channel, announced today that it has donated the personal library of Dr. C.M. Ward (1909-1996) to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), the official archives and research center of the Assemblies of God fellowship.

For 25 years, from 1953 to 1978, Dr. Ward was host of Revivaltime, the flagship weekly radio broadcast of the Assemblies of God. During its heyday Revivaltime was heard on hundreds of stations via the ABC radio network, and the program received from 12,000 to 15,000 letters each month from listeners around the world, including notes of appreciation from such well-known individuals as President Lyndon Johnson and Queen Juliana of Holland.

Thousands of listeners across the earth considered C.M. Ward their pastor, and many in the radio industry of the 1950s placed Revivaltime second in popularity only to Hour of Decision, the weekly radio program of the young evangelist Billy Graham.

A meticulous researcher who read voraciously in preparation for the weekly Revivaltime broadcasts, Dr. Ward was also a close personal friend of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, and a regular guest on the network’s Praise the Lord show, where viewers looked forward to the warmth and practical approach to the gospel that made him such a popular radio pastor.

TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch recalled that in 1990 Dr. Ward donated a large portion of his personal library to TBN, including his collection of theology books, Bible commentaries, history volumes, biographies, and other Christian resources.

“My parents Paul and Jan Crouch realized the rich reservoir of Pentecostal history and heritage that Dr. Ward’s library represented,” explained Mr. Crouch, “and following the passing of my father in November of 2013, we decided to turn it over to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, where it will be used and enjoyed for generations to come.”

FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers said that Dr. Ward’s library represents a significant chapter in the Assemblies of God fellowship’s evangelistic outreach through media. “For 25 years C.M. Ward took a message of salvation, hope, and healing to countless thousands of radio listeners on behalf of the Assemblies of God,” he said. “We are thankful to TBN for this generous donation that will help to honor Dr. Ward’s legacy.”

One Hundred Years of Pentecostal Heritage

It is significant that the donation from TBN comes during the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Assemblies of God. Paul and Jan Crouch were both raised in the Assemblies of God, and the roots of that fellowship’s faith and spiritual passion ran deep in their lives. Among the many connections:

– Paul Crouch’s father, Andrew Crouch, was a founding member of the Assemblies of God. As a young child Paul lived in Egypt, where his parents served as Assemblies of God missionaries.

– Jan Crouch’s father, Edgar Bethany, was one of the principal founders of what is now Southeastern University, the Assemblies of God’s university in Lakeland, Florida, and served as the Assemblies of God’s Executive Presbyter for the Southeastern United States until his passing in 1975.

– Paul Crouch graduated from the fellowship’s Central Bible Institute in 1955, and in 1961 the Assemblies of God appointed him to organize its newly formed Department of Television and Film Production in Burbank, California, a position he held until 1965.

Matthew Crouch said that his parents’ close connection with the Assemblies of God was foundational when they launched TBN in 1973. “The flame of the Holy Spirit that burned deeply in the hearts of the men and women who started this great fellowship back in 1914, was the same fire that ignited the passion of Paul and Jan Crouch to take the gospel around the world through television.”

He noted that in 1964 while serving with the Assemblies of God, his parents produced an historical documentary, entitled Like a River, for the fiftieth anniversary of the fellowship. “This year my wife Laurie and I have had the honor of working with Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, to produce a documentary to be aired on TBN for the fellowship’s centennial celebration.”

Added Mr. Crouch: “I think there is powerful significance that my grandfather was part of the founding of the Assemblies of God, my parents were there to document its first fifty years, and now as the third generation we are present to honor the hundredth anniversary of this continuing move of God. As with so many families, it’s one generation declaring God’s power to the next.”

Tune in to TBN Friday, August 15th, at 7 p.m. (Pacific Time) as Matthew and Laurie Crouch host a very special program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Assemblies of God.

About the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks

With 28 networks and growing worldwide, the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks is the world’s largest faith-and-family television group, airing a broad range of church and ministry programming, Christian music, family friendly movies, children’s programming, and shows for teens and young adults 24 hours a day to every inhabited continent via 87 satellites and 20,000 television and cable affiliates. In addition, TBN’s most popular global networks are available on computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices, and over 25,000 hours of entertaining and inspiring On-Demand programming is accessible via TBN’s innovative online network, iTBN.org. To find out more about the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks, log on to www.tbn.org.

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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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Henry Jauhiainen, Longtime Fellowship of Christian Assemblies Leader, Deposits Personal Papers at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Rev. Henry Jauhiainen, circa 1965

Rev. Henry Jauhiainen, circa 1965

Henry Jauhiainen Collection

For decades, Rev. Henry Jauhiainen (1924- ) served the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (FCA) as its most prominent historian and theologian. Jauhiainen recently deposited his personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), making his life’s work accessible to future scholars, church leaders, and researchers.

The Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (FCA), known as the Independent Assemblies of God until 1973, was formed during the early twentieth century Pentecostal revival by Scandinavian immigrants to North America. Influenced by Swedish Pentecostal leader Lewi Pethrus, the FCA has grown to about 100 churches in the U.S. and another 100 churches in Canada.

Raised in a Finnish immigrant community in Michigan, Jauhiainen spent two years at Suomi College before going on to earn a B.A in history at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He later did D.Min. studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He and his wife, Maxine, raised four boys. Jauhiainen followed Elmer C. Erickson as pastor of Duluth (MN) Gospel Tabernacle, a leading FCA congregation. He also served churches in Laurium, Michigan, Cloquet, Minnesota, and Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Jauhiainen was the chief architect behind the FCA’s name change and its carefully considered statements on doctrine and polity from the 1950s through the 1980s. One of Jauhiainen’s friends, theologian Robert Webber, wrote that he is “a very thoughtful and deep person.” And Jauhiainen has brought this depth to everything he has done — including preaching, writing, and personal relationships. He has built bridges with Christians from other traditions and was active in the charismatic renewal.

Over the course of 60 years, Jauhiainen collected a substantial archive of materials relating to the FCA. He interviewed countless people, assembled rare publications, and wrote extensive notes for a history which he envisioned but never did write. Jauhiainen deposited his collection at the FPHC so that others may pick up where he left off. The collection provides insight into an important segment of the Pentecostal movement that made a unique contribution to American and global Christianity through its strong local churches, publications, and missionary enterprise.

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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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Hillcrest Children’s Home: 1960s Film “A Child Is Wanting” Now Online!

A Child Is WantingGladys Hinson, a Christian schoolteacher in Arkansas, had a vision to provide a loving home for destitute children. She was inspired by the example of Assemblies of God missionary Lillian Trasher, who founded the large orphanage in Assiout, Egypt. In 1944, Hinson overcame significant obstacles and founded Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

A promotional film for Hillcrest, “A Child Is Wanting” (produced by Curtis Ringness and Charles W. H. Scott in the 1960s), has been digitized and is now accessible online on AGTV.

Hillcrest Children’s Home, now part of COMPACT Family Services, is the national children’s home for the Assemblies of God. COMPACT will be celebrating its 70th anniversary on September 27, 2014. You are invited to attend the celebration of this compassion ministry!

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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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Like a River: Assemblies of God 50th Anniversary Film

River

The Assemblies of God celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1964. Many of the founding leaders were still alive, and thousands who were touched by the early twentieth century Pentecostal revivals could still recount their testimonies.

The earliest-known documentary film about the history of the Assemblies of God, Like a River, was recorded in celebration of the Fellowship’s golden anniversary. This 30-minute film, directed by Paul Crouch, may now be viewed online for the first time! Watch four Assemblies of God leaders who lived the history – Thomas F. Zimmerman, J. Roswell Flower, Noel Perkin, and Ernest S. Williams – recount the development of the Assemblies of God.

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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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William Fetler, the Welsh Revival, and Early Russian Pentecostalism

William Fetler
This Week in AG History–July 22, 1916
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 21 Jul 2014 – 4:28 PM CST.

St. Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire, was in the midst of social turmoil 100 years ago. A decade of civil unrest and strikes, heightened by an emerging Marxist political movement, threatened to undermine the ruling czar. Political assassinations and mass uprisings became commonplace. Compounding these problems, the advent of the First World War led to high prices and a scarcity of food and other consumer goods. It was into this chaotic situation that William Fetler, a Latvian Baptist pastor, became a Pentecostal pioneer in the Russian capital city.

William Fetler (1883-1957), born in Latvia, was the son of a Baptist pastor. As a young man he worked as an interpreter and bookkeeper in the Latvian capital of Riga. He was quite sharp and had mastered seven languages, four of which he could speak fluently. He felt a call to the ministry and enrolled at Spurgeon’s College, the ministerial training school in London founded by noted Baptist Calvinist Charles H. Spurgeon.

Fetler was profoundly touched by the Welsh Revival (1904-1905) during his time at Spurgeon’s College. The Welsh Revival, which lasted only for about a year, resulted in over 100,000 converts to Christ. The revival, which included enthusiastic worship and miracles, left a lasting imprint on the religious landscape of Wales. Evan Roberts, the primary leader in the Welsh Revival, was asked by the Spurgeon’s College principal if he had a message for the students. Roberts replied, “Tell them to live near to God. That is the best life — near to God.”

William Fetler took that message to heart and was never the same. He felt a great burden to see revival in Russia and Latvia. He would spend the rest of his life working to see Latvians and Russians come to Christ. After graduating with honors in 1907, he moved to St. Petersburg. He found a ready audience with nobility who were already believers, including Princess Lieven, Baron Nicolay, Madam Tchertkoff, and others. His impassioned preaching in multiple languages attracted large audiences. He raised money for the construction of a large “Gospel House” in St. Petersburg.

The Welsh Revival fed into the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909), which was a focal point of the emerging Pentecostal movement. Fetler rejoiced at the news of this latest spiritual outpouring. What had been somewhat localized in the Welsh Revival became a worldwide movement in Pentecostalism. Fetler maintained his Baptist identity and also worked within the Pentecostal movement and became a regular speaker at Pentecostal conferences across Europe.

Events in Russia overtook Fetler’s St. Petersburg ministry. Government officials viewed him with suspicion and kicked him out of Russia in 1912. Fetler recounted persecution in Russia, as well as healings, visions and miracles he witnessed, in an article published in 1916 in the Weekly Evangel. Fetler, possibly the best-known Latvian pastor in the West, wrote a book about his life experiences under the pen name Basil Malof. He moved back to his native Latvia, where he led a thriving congregation.

Read Fetler’s article, “Pentecostal Power in Russia,” on pages 4 and 5 of the June 22, 1916, issue of the Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Tithing,” by E. L. Banta

* “Daily Portion from the King’s Bounty,” by Alice Reynolds Flower

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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Get Ready for “The Coming Revival” — Dr. Charles S. Price’s Prediction from 75 Years Ago!

Price
This Week in AG History–July 15, 1939
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 14 Jul 2014 – 4:26 PM CST.

Dr. Charles S. Price (1887-1947), an Oxford-educated Congregationalist pastor, used to mock Pentecostals. He had accepted Christ as a young man but then slid into theological liberalism, replacing biblical truths with the latest cultural fads.

In 1921, Price attended evangelistic services held by Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. McPherson had advertised that there would be prayer for the sick, and Price intended to expose her as a fraud. Price instead was convinced by the reality of God’s presence and the healings that he witnessed. He rededicated his life to the Lord, was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and went on to become a leading Pentecostal evangelist and author.

In an article published 75 years ago in the Pentecostal Evangel, Price predicted a powerful forthcoming revival and encouraged “the faithful few” to be prepared for this move of God that “will break even the most calloused hearts.”

The text of Price’s prophecy is below:

The Coming Revival

“Of one thing we are very sure. There will be a full restoration of the apostolic gifts and the full power of Pentecost before the coming of the Lord. To the faithful few who are true to God, to the overcomers, to them that place their all upon the altar of a full consecration, God will pour out in the fullest measure the power that was given to the disciples on the day the Church was born. We believe that there will be miracles of healing, supernatural manifestations of God’s mighty power, that will break even the most calloused hearts. There will be another outpouring, this time a cloudburst of the latter rain. We not only feel it in our Spirit, but the Word of God corroborates what we feel. Be true, my friends; keep tight hold of His hand. God has some wonderful things in store for you.”

Read Price’s prediction on page 5 of the July 15, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “My Jubilee Sermon,” by P. C. Nelson

* “The Prayers of the Prodigal,” by John Wright Follette

* “What Wonders Hath God Wrought,” by H. A. Baker

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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