Pentecostal Pioneer Katherine Voronaev Escaped USSR 61 Years Ago, Revealed Horrors of Persecution

Mugshot of Katherine Voronaev during her imprisonment in Soviet slave labor camps, circa 1930s

This Week in AG History —November 27, 1960

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 24 November 2021

Ivan and Katherine Voronaev, pioneer Assemblies of God missionaries to the Soviet Union, were exiled to Siberian prison camps in the 1930s and believed to be dead. But 61 years ago, Katherine was released and made her way to New York City. She shared her story in 1960 with Pentecostal Evangel readers, offering a rare glimpse into the life of persecuted Christians under Soviet rule.

The Voronaevs spent much of their adult lives as fugitives or in prison. Ivan and Katherine fled Russia, the land of their birth, in 1908 after Ivan was court-martialed and threatened with a politicized trial and likely death. His crime? Ivan, a young officer in the Tsar’s army, had recently converted to Christ and felt conviction that he should no longer fight as a professional warrior. He laid down his arms and told his superiors that, from then on, his only weapon “would be the Word of God — the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The Voronaevs ended up in America in 1912 by way of Turkmenistan and Manchuria.

In the U.S., Ivan became a Baptist pastor and evangelist and ministered among Slavic immigrants in San Francisco and Seattle. In 1917, Voronaev moved to New York City to accept the pastorate of a small Russian Baptist congregation. Two years later, Voronaev’s daughter, Vera, was Spirit-baptized and spoke in tongues while attending Glad Tidings Tabernacle, an Assemblies of God church, with a friend. Voronaev began to study Scripture and became convinced that supernatural spiritual gifts did not cease, but continued to be available to Christians. Spiritually hungry, Voronaev prayed for and received a similar experience. In the summer of 1919, Voronaev and about 20 others formed a new Pentecostal congregation — the Russian Christian Apostolic Mission in New York.

Several months later at a home prayer meeting, Voronaev received a prophetic message, “Voronaev, Voronaev, go to Russia!” He ignored the message at first, but after he sensed the same message in his personal devotions, he made preparations to return to his homeland. This would not be an easy task. The Tsar recently had been overthrown, and political, religious, and social turmoil had produced much suffering in Russia. Voronaev joined the Assemblies of God and received official appointment as a missionary. With several Slavic families from his congregation, they made the arduous journey back to Eastern Europe.

Voronaev and his team of missionaries left the United States in 1920 and set up their headquarters in Odessa, Ukraine. They fanned out across the Soviet Union, preached the gospel, and established Pentecostal churches. In 1926, Voronaev organized the General-Ukrainian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith, which provided fellowship for the growing number of churches. By 1928, the Union consisted of about 400 congregations with approximately 20,000 members.

U.S. Assemblies of God churches provided financial and prayer support, including money for bicycles for Slavic ministers. Voronaev regularly wrote English-language reports of the Slavic revival, which American supporters read in the Pentecostal Evangel.

The Voronaevs and their ministerial cohorts enjoyed about 10 years of freedom to evangelize across the Soviet Union. Then, in January 1930, authorities arrested all of the officers and many other leaders of the Union, including Voronaev.

Katherine Voronaev, in the 1960 Pentecostal Evangel article, recalled in painful detail how “the communists herded the 800 pastors and Christian leaders into freight cars as though they were cattle and shipped them to Siberia.” She continued: “The horrors of that journey were indescribable. They had no food nor water, no sanitation, no provision for rest, and poor ventilation. The survivors were then forced into slave labor.”

The Soviet authorities thought that the churches would die if their leaders were taken away. But new leaders emerged. Katherine Voronaev was among those who began ministering secretly, but three years later police came and arrested her and sent her to a slave labor camp located 2,000 miles away from her husband.

Katherine later made an appeal to be placed in the same slave labor camp as Ivan. The request was granted, and for three years they were able to live together in prison. They spent long days doing hard labor — Ivan in a forest and quarry, and Katherine doing cooking and scrubbing. But they could be together at night when, under the cloak of darkness, they would take long walks through the snow in a forest. They prayed and praised God during those times, and “heaven seemed very near.” Life was hard, but Katherine recounted that they were not unhappy. They had each other.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Assemblies of God made great efforts to secure the release of the Voronaevs. The Soviet government told the Americans that they would free Voronaev upon payment of a large sum of money. U.S. Assemblies of God members raised the money, which they gave to the Soviet government. Voronaev was temporarily freed in 1936, but almost immediately he was rearrested and was never heard from again.

Katherine was released from prison in 1935 and had a measure of freedom. For years she went from camp to camp, trying without success to locate her husband. She was imprisoned a final time in 1949, after she tried to write to her children who lived in America. She was charged with being a counterrevolutionary and a spy.

The Pentecostal Evangel article recounted Katherine’s time in solitary confinement: “Her captors tried to hypnotize and brainwash her, but without success. She would close her eyes and silently pray. Her rat-infested cell had a concrete floor upon which she was forced to sleep without any bedding and she was clad only in a few worn-out garments. She was watched by the soldiers constantly through a peep hole.”

Soldiers waited for Katherine to have an emotional breakdown, but she instead felt the presence of God and kept remembering God’s promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Despite a year of brutal torture, the article recounted, “her spirit remained free and she kept a song in her heart.”

The 1953 death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin resulted in greater religious freedom, and Katherine was released from prison. But there was still great fear of reprisal, and she had to be very cautious. A son living in California discovered that Katherine was still alive and, through the intervention of the Eisenhower administration, Katherine was allowed to leave the Soviet Union in 1960 and come to the U.S. Upon her death in 1965, she still didn’t know whether her husband was alive or dead. After the fall of Soviet Union, documents were discovered that Ivan Voronaev had died in a slave labor camp in 1937.

The Voronaevs’ story wasn’t unique. Persecution separated consecrated believers from nominal Christians. Gustav H. Schmidt, Assemblies of God missionary to Slavic lands, wrote in 1934: “Anyone who is zealous for Jesus in Russia is marked for arrest and this makes Christian activity hazardous. Therefore we find no halfhearted Christians in Russia…Such who are not fully consecrated will not be able to stand the strain for any length of time but will step over into the enemy’s camp.”

Communist persecution not only failed to destroy Christianity; it helped to create a strong and vibrant Pentecostal movement numbering over one million adherents in the former Soviet Union.

Beginning in the late 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev began to allow persecuted religious minorities to emigrate, many put down roots in the United States. An estimated 500,000 Slavic Pentecostals from this recent wave of immigration now live in the United States, including children and grandchildren of immigrants who were born in the United States. While most are in congregations that are either independent or loosely affiliated with one of several Slavic Pentecostal unions, many are deciding to join the Assemblies of God.

In 2002, several Slavic Pentecostal churches in California joined the Assemblies of God and formed the Slavic Fellowship, which provided both a structure for Slavs to organize themselves within the Assemblies of God and also representation on the Fellowship’s General Presbytery. In September 2008, leaders of the Slavic Fellowship, in addition to other Slavic Pentecostals interested in affiliating with the Assemblies of God, came together in Renton, Washington, and organized the National Slavic District, which now has 69 affiliated churches.

The legacy of Ivan and Katherine Voronaev lives on in their spiritual descendants who now live in America. With deep faith burnished by decades of persecution, Slavic-American Pentecostals are poised to provide leadership in the broader church. And their leadership could not have come at a better time, as they have already proven their mettle in a culture that is hostile to biblical values.

Read the article by Ruth Demetrus, “Back from Siberia,” in the Nov. 27, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Progress of the Gospel in South India” by Christine Carmichael

• “Fito Stands Firm” by Adele Flower Dalton

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions are courtesy of the 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Duncan Campbell and the Hebrides Revival (1949-1952)

Duncan Campbell and his wife, Shona

This Week in AG History —November 19, 1950

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 18 November 2021

The Pentecostal movement sees itself as a movement of revival. Pentecostals rejoice when they hear news of revivals in various places around the globe. This is evident in reports in the Nov. 19, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel about an ongoing revival in the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland.

In October 1949, the Free Church Presbytery of Lewis met for a discussion of the spiritual state of their communities in the Hebrides Islands. The hearts of these evangelical ministers were deeply concerned at the drift from the church, especially among the young people of their island. They passed a resolution which was later published in the Stornoway Gazette: “The Presbytery affectionately plead with their people to … make serious inquiry as to what must be the end, should be there be no repentance; and they call upon every individual as before God to examine his or her life in the light of that responsibility which pertains to us all, that haply, in the Divine mercy, we may be visited with the spirit of repentance and may turn again unto the Lord.”

In the congregation in Barvas, prayer meetings began to be held in a barn three nights each week often lasting until four or five o’clock in the morning. During one of those meetings, a young man rose to read Psalm 24, asking his praying companions, “Brethren, we have been praying for weeks, waiting upon God. Now I would like to ask ‘Are our hands clean? Are our hearts pure?’” In the wee hours of the morning, a spirit of conviction swept through the barn and the men prayed earnestly in repentance.

That same morning Peggy and Christine Smith, both in their 80s, joined in prayer in their cottage a few miles away. Each sensed an intense presence of the Lord and Peggy said to her younger sister, “This is what God has promised: I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon dry ground. Sister, we are dealing with a covenant-keeping God.” So convinced was she that she sent a message to their minister, James Murray MacKay, to send a wire to the Faith Mission in Lewis to ask a Christian evangelist, Duncan Campbell, to come to their island.

Campbell replied that he could not come as he was already ministering elsewhere. He soon found that his scheduled convention was canceled, and he arrived in Lewis within 10 days. Arriving at 9 p.m., he was taken to the church for an immediate service in Barvas. The elders assured him that expectancy was high and that they believed God was going to do something in their meeting.

Yet the meeting was quite ordinary. After the end of the service at about 11 p.m., several stayed to seek God in fervent prayer. When they disbursed at 3 a.m., they found that something extraordinary happened during their prayer time. As they walked along the road, they found men and women crying out to God for mercy. Many had awakened in the night convicted that they must become right with God. The next day, without any advertisement, the church was crowded before the minister arrived. A stream of lorries (buses) brought people from all corners of the island. In the service, people began to cry out to God for mercy. After Campbell dismissed the service, many stayed to pray. Others who had left found themselves drawn back into the church. They prayed and sang until 4 a.m. when a messenger came that people were gathered at the local police station at the other end of the parish in great distress. The police requested that someone come and pray with them.

Campbell reported, “We went to the police station and I shall never forget the scene that met our eyes … scores of men and women under deep conviction of sin. On the road, by the cottage side, behind a peat stack, they were crying to God for mercy. Yes, the revival had come!”

This continued for five weeks with Campbell preaching in one church “at 7 p.m., in another at 10 p.m., in a third at twelve, back to the first church at 3 a.m., then home between five and six, tired but thankful to have found himself in the middle of what God was doing.” After this, the revival began to spread beyond Barvas and into neighboring parishes. The outstanding characteristics of the revival were a deep sense of the reality and presence of God accompanied by a deep sense of conviction of sin.

The revival affected both the church and the community. The Stornoway Gazette reported, “More are attending the prayer meeting in Lewis today than attended public worship on the sabbath before the outbreak of this revival.” It was also reported by Campbell that in the community “social ills were swept away as by a flood in the night.” Dance halls and drinking houses were closed. Family worship was prioritized in the homes and prayer meetings were well attended five or six nights a week.

Duncan Campbell summed up his thoughts on the revival in an address to the Keswick Convention of 1952: “We may organize. We may plan. But until we get on our faces and do business with a covenant-keeping God, we shall not see revival. We can have our conventions and our conferences, recalling the wonderful times we have had. But what we want – and desperately need – is a fresh manifestation of the mighty power of God, bringing men into conviction over sin and causing them to seek the Savior.”

Read the article, “Revival in the Hebrides,” on page 2 of the Nov. 19, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Giving Thanks Always for All Things” by J. Narver Gortner

• “Harvest Secrets” by Lettie Cowman

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Assemblies of God Chaplains: 80th Anniversary of Serving United States Men and Women in Uniform

This Week in AG History —November 11, 1944

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 11 November 2021

When President Woodrow Wilson declared the United States’ first observation of Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, he envisioned a world that would “work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations.” However, history would show that the world was not yet done with international war. Twenty-five years after that first declaration, the Pentecostal Evangel reported on Nov. 11, 1944, that nearly 12,000,000 men had taken up arms and were serving their country in war-time military service. The Assemblies of God provided several ministry avenues to these servicemen but one of the most critical was to “give our prayers and our wholehearted support to those who are in by far the most strategic position to sustain them — the United States chaplains.”

As early as 1917, the Assemblies of God began work among servicemen when a motion by Raymond T. Richey, of Houston, Texas, to “adopt every available means consistent with scriptural teaching and example to cooperate with every approved agency for revivals among our soldiers” was approved by the General Council. 

However, at the 1941 General Council in Minneapolis, which took as its theme “Our Place in the Present World Crises,” the need became apparent that a more complete plan for providing ministry to servicemen was needed. This plan came to include quarterly publications for military personnel, service centers near military bases and the creation of resources for local churches to minister to soldiers. The Assemblies of God also felt the need to provide some of its ministers as U.S. Military Chaplains. 

The qualifications for chaplains were very high. In December of 1941, Army Regulation 605-30 stated that an applicant must be “a male U.S. citizen, between the ages of 23 and 34, regularly ordained and in good standing with an organization which holds an apportionment of chaplain appointments, a graduate of both four-year college and three-year theological seminary, and have three years of ministerial experience.” 

Many ministers from the Assemblies of God, as well as other denominations, wished to serve their country as chaplains but found the educational requirements prohibitive. Due to the overwhelming need, educational and experiential requirements were at times waived or relaxed until the end of the crises. The first Assemblies of God Chaplain was Clarence P. Smales, who received his commission in June of 1941. During World War II, 34 Assemblies of God ministers left their churches, homes, and families to serve their country in providing spiritual care for military personnel. Of these, two were awarded the Purple Heart and three the Bronze Star. 

The Servicemen’s Department of the Assemblies of God (created in 1944) provided these chaplains with needed equipment not provided by other sources, such as public address systems, short wave radios, Bibles, and communion sets. 

In the Nov. 11, 1944, article, “Hard But Glorious,” Assemblies of God Navy Chaplain Joseph Gerhart tells of a seaman needing an immediate removal of an appendix. The operation was set to be carried out on the dining room table, and the roughness of the sea added to the peril. The ship’s doctor had not performed an operation for several years, adding to the young man’s apprehension. The sailor had been attending Chaplain Gerhart’s services but did not come from a church that believed in divine healing. Gerhart reports that he “prayed that God would heal his body … the boy began to improve immediately and the doctor came in after a while and said that the operation would not be necessary.” The boy was back on his feet the next day, much relieved at foregoing the surgery. 

On this 25th anniversary of Armistice Day (renamed Veterans Day in 1954) the Evangel editors called their readers to assist these chaplains by use of the most powerful weapon the church has in its arsenal: prayer. “We are sure you feel with us the urgent necessity of sparing no effort — for the reward is great! We must not let them down! … PRAY!” 

Read the full article “Hard But Glorious” on page 9 of the Nov. 11, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. 

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Apostolic Message, Method and Might,” by H. B. Garlock

• “That Blessed Hope,” by D. A. Clark

• “A Trophy of God’s Grace,” by D. W. Murphy, missionary to North India

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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William Burton McCafferty: Pioneer Assemblies of God Minister, Evangelist, and Educator

This Week in AG History — November 4, 1916

By Glenn W. Gohr

Originally published on AG News, 04 November 2021

William Burton McCafferty (1889-1963) overcame privation and persecution to become a pioneer Assemblies of God minister, evangelist, and educator.

At age 21, McCafferty attended an interstate camp meeting at Fort Worth, Texas. There he answered the altar call and was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit and also healed from a disease which had suffered since birth.

It is no wonder he felt called into full-time ministry in whatever avenue the Lord directed. First he began itinerant preaching. He attended a short-term Bible school in Fort Worth directed by D. C. O. Opperman in February 1912 and was ordained that same year by his pastor, A. P. Collins. Among his travels he felt it was important to join with other Pentecostals who met at Hot Springs, Arkansas, in April 1914. By attending, he became a charter member of the Assemblies of God.

Living as an itinerant pastor, he often had to work odd jobs in order to survive. Life wasn’t easy, and at times he suffered persecution. “I recall those early days vividly,” declared McCafferty. “We had no money…. It took days to make some trips which today can be completed in hours.” He told of living in a boxcar and working hard in a lumber camp to get a meal. At one job he picked cotton for six bits per hundred and dinner. The dinner was the best part of the deal. On another occasion he and a coworker were traveling around looking for an opportunity to preach. McCafferty said, “Walking on the hot sand made my coworker wince, for he had no soles in his shoes. The tin sardine can lids which he used for soles became unbearably hot.” At a tent meeting in Remlig, Texas, some vandals sliced the tent ropes and before they left town, a man threatened McCafferty and his coworker with a knife.

Although he was short in stature (5 feet 4 inches tall), he stood tall for the Kingdom of God. He ministered in quite a number of camp meetings and revivals, pastored churches, and was a long-time instructor at what is now Southwestern Assemblies of God University. In 1915 he married Catherine Flagler at Overton, Texas. She supported him in his ministry. She served many years as a dean and secretary of records, and later as alumni secretary for Southwestern. The McCaffertys’ only child died young, but they became Mother and Dad to hundreds of students at the school.

McCafferty pastored churches in Davis City, Iowa, Greenwood, Arkansas, Wichita Falls and Fort Worth, Texas, among others. He served as a presbyter in three states: New Mexico, Arkansas, and Texas. In 1916, when he was living in Iowa, he was assistant superintendent of the West Central District of the Assemblies of God.

He wrote nearly 200 articles for the Pentecostal Evangel, as well as contributing to a number of other early Pentecostal papers. His writings included reports of revivals and articles on Christian living, Pentecostal beliefs, eschatology, and theology, as well as poetry.

He was connected with Southwestern for thirty-two years, teaching many courses on Bible and doctrine. Subjects he taught there included the Old Testament, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Messianic Prophecy, Bible Doctrine, Dispensational Truths, Systematic Theology, and Homiletics. He also wrote two volumes on the Pauline Epistles and produced two unpublished works on dispensationalism and on Messianic prophecy. In retirement he was honored as Dean Emeritus. General Treasurer James K. Bridges recalled, “He was such a versatile person. There was nothing he couldn’t teach.” Joe Adams, former treasurer of the North Texas District said, “In stature he was small, but in biblical knowledge and teaching he was a giant.”

Read an article by McCafferty published 105 years ago, “And Knowledge Shall Be Increased,” on page 5 of the November 4, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Works of God,” by Bennett F. Lawrence

• “What It Costs to be a Missionary,” by Jessie Hertslet

• “Encouragement from West Africa,” by Harry E. Bowley

And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Myer Pearlman: The Story Behind One of the Foremost Assemblies of God Theologians of the 1930s and 1940s

This Week in AG History — October 27, 1934

By Glenn W. Gohr

Originally published on AG News, 28 October 2021

Myer Pearlman (1898-1943) was one of the foremost educators and writers in the early Pentecostal movement. Born into a Jewish family in Edinburgh, Scotland, he moved with his family to Birmingham, England, at age 7. He received his common-school training at the Birmingham Hebrew School and excelled in his studies. At age 14 he mastered the French language on his own and later used this knowledge to act as an interpreter for the U.S. Army during World War I.

He immigrated to the United States (New York City) in 1915 and enlisted in the Army Medical Corps when he was 19. After the war, he moved to California where one night he felt drawn inside the Glad Tidings Mission (now Glad Tidings Church) in San Francisco. The people were singing an inspirational hymn called “Honey in the Rock.” After several months of attending the church, Pearlman was converted to Christ and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

He graduated from Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri, in 1925, and was immediately asked to join the faculty. In 1927 he married Irene Graves, whose father, F. A. Graves, had composed “Honey in the Rock.”

Pearlman was a premier Assemblies of God theologian in systematic theology of his era. He wrote extensively and taught a variety of courses, but he is best known for his synthesis classes on the Old Testament and New Testament. He was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian.

In addition to his teaching career, Pearlman was a prolific writer. For many years he prepared the Adult Teacher’s Quarterly and Adult Student’s Quarterly. He contributed articles to the Pentecostal Evangel, and during World War II he edited Reveille, a devotional publication for American servicemen. He also authored Seeing the Story of the Bible (1930), Why We Believe the Bible Is God’s Book (1931), The Life and Teachings of Christ (1935), Through the Bible Book by Book (1935), The Heavenly Gift (1935), the Minister’s Service Book (1941), Windows Into the Future (1941), Daniel Speaks Today (1943), and several other books. Several of Pearlman’s books are still in print and are available through the Gospel Publishing House

Pearlman also wrote the weekly Sunday School lesson for the Pentecostal Evangel from December 1932 to May 1935. A sample lesson found in the Oct. 27, 1934, issue is called “Christian Growth.” The lesson emphasizes that Christians first need to follow Christ’s example of being about His Father’s business (Luke 2:42-52) and then move forward in the plans of God for our lives and His church (2 Peter 1:5-8). In a nutshell, those two elements promote healthy Christian growth. Pearlman emphasized, “There is no standstill in the spiritual life; if we are not advancing we are retreating.”

Myer Pearlman was well-loved by his coworkers and by the faculty and students at CBI. Unfortunately, due to overwork and health issues, Pearlman passed away at the young age of 44. He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri.

The 1942 CBI yearbook, The Cup, was dedicated to him, and later the school library was named after him. The yearbook praised Pearlman for “his sterling Christian character and capable ministry.” The dedication continued: “We have seen the Christ whom he serves in his godly life, and the underlying element of human understanding and humility of heart expressed in his kindly dealings with the students. His knowledge and versatility qualify him for the wide sphere of service in which he so ably participates. His ready wit and originality have given us many gems which we shall cherish, while his sparkling humor has been a source of delight to all.”

Read Myer Pearlman’s article, “Christian Growth,” on page 9 of the Oct. 27, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How Shall I Curse Whom God Hath Not Cursed?” by Lilian Yeomans

• “Seed Thoughts,” by Alice E. Luce

• “Questions and Answers,” 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.

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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Edgar Kroll was a Scientist, a Skeptic, and a Presbyterian Elder. Then He Encountered the Power of the Holy Spirit.

This Week in AG History —October 21, 1962

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 21 October 2021

Adam Edgar Kroll (1918-1993) was a Presbyterian layman with little use for the miraculous claims of Christianity until he experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in a charismatic prayer meeting under the leadership of Presbyterian pastor James H. Brown. In 1962, the Pentecostal Evangel shared Kroll’s story, documenting that an Assemblies of God prayer meeting played a role in his conversion.

Kroll received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Temple University in 1942. He went to work with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (now DuPont, after its merger with Dow Chemicals) in their military explosives division. After receiving his Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1946, he was promoted to supervisor of the research division of the Polychemicals Department, holding the 1956 patent for the polymerization of tetrafluoroethylene.

As a youth, Kroll recalled going to church for special holiday services but never to Sunday School. He confessed, “I was well grounded in science and mathematics, but I did not know a word of Scripture. In fact, some of the things I heard about Christianity I found extremely hard to believe. My greatest stumbling blocks were the ‘miracles’; because, like many who study natural phenomena, I rejected the supernatural.”

After settling into marriage and his profession, Kroll began to think about metaphysical things, such as “What is man?”, “What is he born for?”, and “After death, what?” Philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry did not provide the answers for which he was searching.

In the early 1950s, Kroll and his wife thought it would be a good idea to take their young son, Barry, to a Presbyterian Sunday School. Not wishing to make the drive to the church twice each Sunday, Kroll stayed during the Sunday School hour and attended a men’s Bible class. However, it seemed the more he learned about the Bible, the more he thought he would need to commit intellectual suicide to believe its teaching.

Despite his skepticism, Kroll and his family continued to attend the church and, due to his intellect and standing in the community, he soon became an elder in the church and a Sunday School teacher, even filling the pulpit at times when the minister was absent.

In 1961, Barry Kroll experienced a genuine salvation and began to pray for his family. He learned that Revivaltime, an Assemblies of God evangelistic radio program, would pray for anyone who sent in their name. In November, Barry sent the name of Edgar Kroll, asking for prayer for his father’s salvation. Soon after submitting this prayer request, Barry received the infilling of the Holy Spirit in a January 1962 prayer meeting, and in a few weeks his mother and younger sister were also filled with the Spirit.

The prayer meetings Barry was attending were being held at the Upper Octorara Presbyterian church in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. They were led by Presbyterian minister, James H. Brown (1912-1987), who experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ in a Pentecostal meeting after serving more than 10 years in the pastorate and as theology professor at Lincoln Theological Seminary.

When Brown was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues in the late 1950s, he asked Assemblies of God leader David du Plessis for advice. “Stay in your church and renew it,” was the counsel he received. Taking this advice to heart, he continued to conduct traditional Presbyterian services on Sunday, while adding an informal Saturday evening prayer meeting to the church schedule. In time, the Saturday prayer meetings attracted hundreds of enthusiastic worshipers, including the Kroll family.

In April 1962, six months after requesting prayer from the Assemblies of God Revivaltime prayer meeting, Barry and his sister convinced their father to join them at the Saturday night prayer meetings at the Presbyterian church. After attending for three weeks, Edgar Kroll responded to an altar call and the self-professed skeptic and church elder gave his life to Jesus Christ.

In a report in the Oct. 21, 1962, Pentecostal Evangel, Kroll states, “While still on my knees with my hands lifted to God in praise, I began speaking in an unknown language. I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. After this glorious experience, my son told me that he had written to Revivaltime requesting prayer for my salvation. I know now that intercessory prayer led me to the meeting in Parkesburg.”

The Kroll family continued to attend their Presbyterian church but the experience of salvation and baptism in the Spirit changed their family. Barry Kroll wrote to the Revivaltime staff, “When Christ came into our home, He ruined us … for the world. Families without Christ do not have the slightest idea of how glorious life can be with Him.”

The Krolls were among the first generation of people who were Spirit-baptized in mainline churches during the charismatic movement. Some of the new charismatics ended up joining the Assemblies of God or other Pentecostal churches, while others, such as the Krolls, remained in their churches and brought new spiritual life to their congregations.

The Upper Octorara Presbyterian neo-Pentecostal prayer meetings, under Brown’s ministry, continued for more than 20 years, seeing thousands of clergy and laity baptized in the Spirit. In 1960, Brown was invited to address a gathering at Evangel College (now Evangel University) in Springfield, Missouri, where he shared the story of this Presbyterian charismatic revival.

The Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement left a remarkable imprint on countless mainline churches during the charismatic movement. The story of Adam Edgar Kroll, who was simultaneously a skeptic of Christianity and a Presbyterian elder, demonstrates how the power of the Holy Spirit can bring unbelievers to embrace the gospel.

Read the report of A. Edgar Kroll’s conversion, “Scientist Saved After Prayer at Last Year’s World Prayermeeting,” on pages 12 to 13 of the Oct. 21, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Baptism with the Holy Spirit” by Hardy Steinberg

• “Home Missions from a New Viewpoint” by Pauline Mastries

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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How Tears of Grief Birthed the Assemblies of God in Lakhimpur, India

This Week in AG History —October 14, 1922

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 14 October 2021

Herbert H. Cox (1884-1926), an early Assemblies of God missionary in India, experienced the death of a son on the mission field. A few weeks after young Alkwyn’s death, Cox wrote a letter in which he described the grief that he and his wife felt. The letter, published in the Oct. 14, 1922, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, provides insight into the often-difficult lives of early missionaries.

Alkwyn’s death occurred at a stressful time in the Coxes’ ministry. Earlier that year, the family had moved to Lakhimpur, India, where they were trying to start an Assemblies of God mission. Things were not going well. Herbert wrote, “When we first came to this place it seemed if the whole community was against us. We could not go out without being sneered at.”

Life did not seem fair. But Cox explained that he and his wife trusted God through the difficulties. “It pleased the Lord to take from us, a few weeks ago, our youngest son,” Cox wrote. “We did not understand it, but submitted to His will in it all.” The missionaries turned their burden over to the Lord and did not allow their grief to turn into despair.

Alkwyn’s death softened the hearts of the residents of Lakhimpur. Herbert wrote, “But now the people have become so friendly and salute us wherever we are. The walls of prejudice have been broken and now we have an open door for the gospel.”

The Cox family had sown seeds of the gospel in Lakhimpur, but the gospel did not take root until the missionaries had watered those seeds with their own tears of grief.

Cox seemed to anticipate their suffering. He delivered a sermon, “The Power and Grace that Makes Martyrs,” in 1919 at the Stone Church, a large Assemblies of God congregation in Chicago. In his message, Cox described how his spiritual formation came not from a Bible school, but at the Gurney Iron Foundry in Toronto, Canada, where he had worked for 10 years before entering Nyack Missionary Training Institute.

Cox’s co-workers at the foundry led rough lives. The drugs of alcohol and tobacco went into their mouths and profanity came out. They wanted nothing to do with religion. Cox had to decide whether to take the easy route and keep his faith to himself, or to share Christ and suffer persecution. He chose the latter.

Cox testified, “He wants us to witness right where we are working these days. Of course you get your persecution. I have been knocked to the ground and held down by four men and a knife threateningly branded. I have been smitten across the mouth, but I still have the love of Jesus in my soul.”

Cox was grateful for these formative experiences of suffering. He wrote, “God made me ready in the foundry to witness [of] Jesus.” He shared his faith at the foundry, and some of his colleagues accepted Christ and their rough lives became hewn for the ministry. His first convert became a missionary and was responsible for the building of 27 churches in Nigeria.

What caused young Herbert Cox to embrace the way of suffering? He spent significant time studying the Word of God, and he took to heart the life and teachings of the Apostle Paul. Cox noted that Paul was persecuted, jailed, reviled, hungry, and thirsty. Yet this did not deter him from wanting to follow Paul’s example. In his 1919 sermon, Cox admonished listeners to be fully consecrated to Christ and His mission: “Lord, give us some Apostle Pauls today. We are in need of them. I believe God wants us to follow in the steps of this great man of God.”

Herbert Cox followed the example of the Apostle Paul and gave everything for the cause of Jesus Christ. Cox contracted smallpox while ministering in Dhaurahra, India. On Feb. 6, 1926, he joined his son, Alkwyn, in heaven.

Read the article, “Lakhimpur: A Virgin Field of One Million Souls,” by Herbert H. Cox, on page 10 of the Oct. 14, 1922, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Like Precious Faith,” by Smith Wigglesworth

• “Be Filled with the Spirit,” by W. T. Gaston

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Fred Vogler: From Australia to Assemblies of God U.S. Missions Pioneer

This Week in AG History — October 4, 1941

By Glenn W. Gohr

Originally published on AG News, 7 October 2021

Fred Vogler (1888-1972), an immigrant from Australia, impacted the Assemblies of God in many ways, including serving as the first director of what is now U.S. Missions.

Vogler was born in Boonah, Queensland, Australia, and immigrated in the spring of 1905 with his parents and four of his 12 brothers and sisters, along with some 60 other Australians, to Zion City, Illinois, which was founded as a Christian community about 30 miles north of Chicago. They became affiliated with healing evangelist John Alexander Dowie, who also was originally from Australia. The Voglers learned about him through his magazine, Leaves of Healing, which reported on many testimonies of divine healing.

Fred Vogler was 17 when he arrived in Zion City, and previously he had been saved and felt called to preach. He had contact with the Salvation Army while still living in Australia, but he discovered a new dimension of Christian experience in Zion City. He attended some cottage prayer meetings that Charles Parham conducted there. This led him to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1907, and he joined with other young people who spent many hours waiting on the Lord. He also began to diligently look for opportunities for Christian service. Vogler was among a group who had weekly prayers meetings and who traveled on Sunday afternoons to nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin, to hold street meetings.

Early in 1908, Vogler (who had been working as a carpenter), left his employment to evangelize with Bennett Lawrence. A few months later, J. Roswell Flower joined them for meetings in the Indiana towns of Mooresville, Farmersburg, and Worthington. They also evangelized in other places, often without any advance arrangements. In spite of opposition at times, Vogler recalled, “God gave us the victory.”

In 1909, Vogler and Flower went to Kansas City, Missouri, to assist in tent meetings sponsored by A.S. Copley, an influential Pentecostal editor and preacher. There was opposition from some holiness preachers who strongly opposed Pentecostalism. But in the end, the sympathetic crowd sided with Vogler and Flower. One sister said, “God bless these young men! We ought to help, not condemn them.”

On April 7, 1910, Vogler married Margaret Boyer, who also had been part of the young people’s group at Zion City, Illinois. She had ministered for a while with a gospel team directed by William Manley, another influential early Pentecostal. For two years after their marriage, the Voglers lived in Zion City, where Fred was employed as a carpenter, and the Voglers were active in the local Christian Assembly as well as evangelism in the surrounding area.

In 1912, the Voglers left Zion for Plainfield, Indiana, where they enrolled in a new “faith” school called Gibeah Bible School, which was conducted by D.W. Myland. There they kindled friendships with J. Roswell and Alice Reynolds Flower and Flem Van Meter who also attended this Bible school.

After three terms at the school, the Voglers took over as pastors of a mission in Martinsville, Illinois, where they stayed for seven years. While living there, Fred Vogler was ordained by J. Roswell Flower and Ed Armstrong, becoming affiliated with the Assemblies of God on June 1, 1914.

Vogler also was a building contractor, which helped to support his growing family. Flower and others knew of his abilities, and in 1920, Vogler was enlisted to build the first wooden structure for Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri. This building later housed the first two years of Central Bible Institute.

During his time in Springfield, Vogler visited his sister in Topeka, Kansas. He saw a great need for evangelism in the capital city of Kansas, so he began planning to pioneer a work there as soon as he finished the building project in Springfield.

Vogler moved his family to Topeka, where he rented a basement room across the street from the governor’s mansion. By day he worked as a carpenter/contractor building a large contracting firm in Topeka, and the rest of the time he devoted to establishing a church in cooperation with the fledgling Kansas district. In 1921 he accepted the added responsibility of serving as secretary-treasurer of the Kansas district.

In 1923, the Kansas district elected Fred Vogler to the office of superintendent, a role he filled for 14 years (1923-1937). In 1927, his beloved wife, Margaret, passed away, leaving him with five young children. He married Nettie Voelkel in 1931, who became a wonderful helpmate to him and a mother to his children.

In 1937, Fred Vogler was elected to the office of Assistant General Superintendent and moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he served 14 years as an executive officer for the Assemblies of God. As part of his duties, he became the first executive director of the Home Missions and Education Department. When the two areas were separated in 1945, he became the director of the Home Missions Department (now called U.S. Missions). Under his leadership, many churches were built in Alaska as well as other places across the U.S. He also had a burden for reaching Native Americans, which led to a number of Indian mission churches springing up in many areas. He also supervised the formation of the Ministers’ Benefit Association which later was called Aged Ministers’ Assistance, and in 1947 he headed the newly formed Department of Benevolences.

In 1954, Vogler retired from his executive duties and moved to Belleville, Illinois. He passed away there in 1972 at the age of 84. His wife, Nettie, passed away in 1982 at the age of 91. Three of Vogler’s children followed their parents into ministry. His only son, David, was an ordained Assemblies of God minister. Daughter Kathryn spent two years in home missions work, received ordination, and was an appointed missionary to India. Daughter Mary Vogler was an ordained minister who was active in child evangelism and in teaching at Great Lakes Bible Institute in Zion, Illinois. The two younger daughters, Ruth Riegle and Alice Howard, became active lay workers.

Commemorating this pioneer evangelist, pastor, builder and church executive, who influenced a full range of ministries, the Pentecostal Evangel observed, “His accomplishments were great because he had vision and was willing to give himself without reservation to see the vision fulfilled.”

During World War II, Fred Vogler, as executive director of Home Missions, talked about many critical issues the U.S. was facing, including crime, alcohol, and spending, as well as some religious statistics. He identified 60 million people in the United States without any church affiliation and 13 million children without any religious training. With so many people without God, he said, “We have a great field right here in America.” He expanded on this thought by saying, “We are not responsible to God for past generations, neither are we responsible to God for future generations, but we are responsible to God for the generation that now lives.” Vogler recognized the need for missionaries abroad, but he also saw a real need to evangelize and win the lost in the United States, especially during the crisis in the 1940s.

Read the article, “Home Missions in the Light of the Present World Crisis,” on page 2 of the Oct. 4, 1941, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Place of Youth in Our Movement,” by Wesley R. Steelberg

• “The Gospel in India” by Maynard L. Ketcham

• “A Call to Missionary Work,” by J. Bashford Bishop

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the 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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Rediscovering the Early Pentecostal Worldview: The Lost Message of Full Consecration

This Week in AG History —September 27, 1930

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 30 September 2021

“I sometimes wonder whether God is much interested in big movements. I know He is intensely interested in individual souls who are wholly consecrated to Him, and wholly devoted to His cause.” [1]    — Stanley Frodsham, editor of the Pentecostal Evangel

Early Pentecostal literature is overflowing with calls to full consecration — the insistence that Christians fully devote themselves to Christ and His mission. This call to full consecration — an essential part of the worldview of early Pentecostals — is now a faint echo in some quarters of the movement. Early Pentecostals offered profound insights concerning the need for a deeper spiritual life. A rediscovery of these insights — which focus on discipleship and mission — could reinvigorate the church by challenging believers to question the Western church’s accommodation of the materialism and selfishness of the surrounding culture.

FULL CONSECRATION

What is “full consecration?” The term may be unfamiliar to many readers. Stanley Horton noted, in a 1980 Pentecostal Evangel article, “In the early days of this Pentecostal movement we heard a great deal about consecration.” Horton went on to explain that the Hebrew word, kadash, which means consecration, was later replaced in popular piety by similar words, such as dedication and commitment. He noted that kadash signified a “separation to the service of God,” calling for not merely a partial dedication, but for “a total consecration and a lifestyle different from the [surrounding] world.”[2]

Pentecostalism emerged about 120 years ago among radical Holiness and evangelical Christians who aimed for full consecration. They were very uncomfortable with the gap between Scripture and what they saw in their own lives; between ought-ness and is-ness. They wanted to practice an authentic spirituality; a genuine Christianity, not just in confession, but in practice. Yearning for a deeper life in Christ, they were spiritually hungry and desired to be more committed Christ-followers. These ardent seekers saw in Scripture that Spirit baptism provided empowerment to live above normal human existence; this experience with God brought believers in closer communion with God and empowered them for witness.

According to Pentecostal theologian Jackie Johns, early Pentecostals embraced a worldview that, at its heart, is a “transforming experience with God.”[3] According to this understanding, the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit enables believers to consecrate themselves to God.

RESULTS OF THE CONSECRATED LIFE


Various themes arose from this worldview that emphasized full consecration:

Mission — Pentecostals have demonstrated a gritty determination to share Christ, in word and deed, no matter the cost. They had a vision to turn the world upside down, one person at a time. Delegates to the second General Council of the Assemblies of God, held in November 1914, committed themselves to “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.”[4]

Priesthood of all believers — Pentecostals have put into practice a radical application of this Protestant ideal, affirming that God can call anybody into the ministry — regardless of race, gender, educational or social status, age, handicap, and so on.

Spiritual disciplines — Believers prayed, read their Bibles, fasted, avoided worldly entanglements that would dilute their testimony, and called for a lifestyle of self-denial for the sake of lifting Christ up to the world.

Expectation of the miraculous — Believers practiced biblical spiritual gifts, experienced miracles, and viewed life’s struggles as spiritual warfare.

Racial reconciliation — Early Pentecostals at Azusa Street and elsewhere, realizing that full devotion to Christ precluded racial favoritism, committed themselves to overcoming the sin of racism.

A conviction that heavenly citizenship should far outweigh earthly citizenship — Early Pentecostals emphasized one’s faith and calling above national concerns.

These themes (the above list is not exhaustive) all made sense within the worldview that called for full devotion to Jesus and no compromise with evil or distractions from the Christian’s highest calling. Pentecostals, subject to human frailty and the confusion of surrounding cultures, have not always lived up to these ideals. Still, Pentecostal identity should not be defined by the shortcomings of individual members, but by the vision for authentic Christianity that captures the imagination of its adherents.

The concept of full consecration is the underlying quality that gave birth within early Pentecostalism to the above themes, including speaking in tongues. Early Pentecostals viewed tongues-speech as the evidence, but not the purpose, of Spirit baptism. The purpose of this experience with God was full consecration — to draw believers closer to God and to empower them to be witnesses. The Pentecostal experience enabled believers to live with purity and power.

Early Pentecostals recognized that the consecrated life came at great cost, but yielded great spiritual riches. Daniel W. Kerr, the primary author of the AG’s Statement of Fundamental Truths, warned against “the fading glory” on some Christians’ faces, and instead called for a “deeper conversion” that is marked by desire for holiness.[5] Quoting Hebrews 12:14, Kerr stated that holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord,” is both a “product of grace” and “a life of self-denying and suffering.”[6] Early Pentecostals insisted that the consecrated life is not inward-focused. Kerr averred that holiness “is a life of love for others, manifested in words and work.”[7]

Early Pentecostals were ahead of their time. It should be noted that they were not buying into modern political or social ideologies; their commitments arose from their devotional life. Some of their commitments — such as women in ministry and racial reconciliation — brought persecution 100 years ago, but the culture has shifted so that these stands are now considered respectable by many. This newfound respectability presents a challenge — it is possible to look like a Pentecostal by embracing historic Pentecostal themes that are now considered “cool,” without also seeking to be fully consecrated.

PENTECOSTALISM WITH CONSECRATION?

Living out and conveying authentic Christian spirituality from one generation to the next has often proven a difficult task. Carl Brumback, in his 1961 history of the Assemblies of God, expressed concern over the decline of the spiritual life within the Pentecostal movement. He wrote:

It must be admitted that there is a general lessening of fervor and discipline in the Assemblies of God in America. This frank admission is not a wholly new sentiment, for down through the years in the pages of the Pentecostal Evangel and other periodicals correspondents have asked, “Is Pentecost the revival it was in the beginning?” As early as five years after Azusa, they were longing for “the good old days”! Nevertheless, it is vital to any revival movement to reassess not too infrequently the state of its spiritual life.[8]

Is it possible to be Pentecostal without full consecration? D. W. Kerr, in answering this question, propounded that “when we cease to [esteem others better than ourselves] we cease to live the Christ-life. We may still have the outward form, but the power is gone.”[9] Those who identify with the Pentecostal tradition but who practice or defend sinful or unwise activities are being inconsistent with the early Pentecostal worldview.

NEED FOR RENEWAL

Self-centered spirituality seems to be the default setting for humanity. “Pure and undefiled religion,” however, requires caring for the needy and keeping oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Pentecostalism arose as a renewal and reform movement within Christianity — and now the movement may itself be in need of renewal and reform.

How can Pentecostals rekindle a wholehearted passion for Christ and His mission? Stanley Frodsham suggested that Christians need to form a daily habit of reconsecration.[10] Rediscovering classic Pentecostal and Holiness hymns and devotional writings would be a good place to start.

The classic Holiness hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” (lyrics below) is a prayer for full consecration.

     Take My Life and Let It Be

     Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
     Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
     Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
     Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
     Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
     Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
     Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
     Make my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
     Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
     Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
     Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
     Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Early Assemblies of God General Superintendent Ernest S. Williams wrote an article, “Consecration,” published in the Sept. 27, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. He asserted, “Consecration is the only way to a life of Christian victory.” He went on to observe that “Unconsecrated persons may skim through satisfied with unsubstantialness in their religion. But he who would live above reproach to the honor and glory of God, will present his body a living sacrifice, not to be conformed to this world in example, spirit, or aim.”

For the consecrated believer, Williams wrote, “Christ becomes the source of his life and strength. In Him he finds wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, his light, his life, his all in all.”

E.S. Williams, the only general superintendent who participated in the Azusa Street revival, frequently encouraged believers to lives of holiness and consecration.

Read early Pentecostal literature, sing old Holiness hymns, meditate upon them, and let God transform you. In doing so, you will rediscover the worldview of early Pentecostals.

Read E.S. Williams’ article, “Consecration,” on page 2 of the Sept. 27, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “What the Coming of Christ Will Produce in Our Lives” by Stanley Cooke

• “Moved with Compassion for India’s Millions” by Marguerite Flint

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Endnotes:
1. Stanley Frodsham, Wholly for God: A Call to Complete Consecration, Illustrated by the Story of Paul Bettex, a Truly Consecrated Soul (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1934), 20.
2. Stanley Horton, “Consecration, Commitment, Submission,” Pentecostal Evangel, Feb. 10, 1980, 20.
3. Jackie David Johns, “Yielding to the Spirit: The Dynamics of a Pentecostal Model of Praxis,” in The Globalization of Pentecostalism: A Religion Made to Travel (Carlisle, CA: Regnum Books, 1999), 74.
4. General Council Minutes, April-November 1914 [combined], 12.
5. D. W. Kerr, Waters in the Desert (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1925), 77.
6. Ibid., 34.
7. Ibid., 33.
8. Carl Brumback, Suddenly from Heaven: A History of the Assemblies of God (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1961), 349-350.
9. Kerr, 130.
10. Frodsham, 61.

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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Royal Rangers Founder Johnnie Barnes: How a Methodist Minister Experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

This Week in AG History —August 24, 1946

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 26 August 2021

John Henry Barnes (1927-1989), better known as “Johnnie,” is remembered as the giant of a man who developed the boys ministry program of the Assemblies of God, “Royal Rangers.” When asked by Assistant Superintendent Howard S. Bush in 1961 to take on the task of developing this aspect of the Men’s Fellowship, Barnes prayed, “Lord, I’m available, if this is what you want me to do, with the Spirit’s help, I will do it.”

Born the sixth of seven children on a Texas ranch, Barnes experienced numerous outdoor adventures while growing up. He was involved in Boy Scouts of America, reaching the rank of Life Scout and serving as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, and he planned to become a park ranger after graduating from high school. But in 1946 he surrendered his life to Christ in a Methodist revival service. Turning down a football scholarship to a Texas university he enrolled at Texas Wesleyan College to pursue ministry training.

Barnes was licensed in the Methodist church during his freshman year of college and was given a circuit of two small churches in Marionville and Sybill Bend to pastor while attending school. In January 1950 he accepted the pastorate of an Evangelical Methodist church in Lubbock, Texas. It was while pastoring in Lubbock that Barnes connected with a friend who had a Pentecostal experience. This friend encouraged the young Methodist pastor to seek God for the truth of a deeper experience with God in the Spirit.

During this time, Barnes received a letter from his girlfriend, Juanita, stating that she had received the baptism in the Holy Ghost and encouraged him to consider it. Hungering for more of the Lord, Barnes attended a revival meeting at a nearby Assemblies of God church in February 1950. He tells of this experience in a 1963 article, “How A Methodist Minister Received the Pentecostal Baptism,” published in the Pentecostal Evangel:

“The first night I went to the altar I was very conscious of my position as a Methodist minister. Kneeling very carefully on one knee I prayed something like this, ‘Here I am, Lord. If you want me to have this experience, give it to me.’ But I did not receive the Baptism that way. I soon realized I must forget about my position and simply desire the infilling of the Holy Spirit with all my heart. It took a few days of fasting and several hours of prayer to humble my stubborn proud spirit … then one wonderful night I went to the altar wanting more than anything else for God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. I fell on my knees, raised my hands toward heaven, and began to tell Jesus of my love for Him. Soon I was lost in the presence of Christ … when I came to myself I was speaking in a language I had never heard before. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that this was the baptism of the Holy Ghost. God revolutionized my life that night so that I have not been the same person since.”

The following Sunday, Barnes preached a sermon to his Methodist church, “Why I Believe in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.” The response was mixed but the consensus was that “Bro. Barnes is a different person from the one we used to know.”

Barnes resigned his church and began traveling as a Pentecostal evangelist. In August 1950, he married Juanita and in June 1951 was ordained with the Texas district of the Assemblies of God. He went on to pastor the Assembly of God church in Electra, Texas, and served as the district youth director of the North Texas district.

When Barnes began to develop the Royal Rangers program in 1962, he intentionally included teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit in each of its age-level programs. His own experience of the need for the power of the Spirit to equip him for the task ahead of him, along with the teaching of Scripture, convinced him that this must be a key component of ministry to men and boys. When Barnes passed away in 1989, there were 5,290 Royal Rangers groups in the United States with more than 128,000 young men being taught of their need for the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Barnes later expanded and republished his 1963 Evangel article in pamphlet form, including a poem he wrote about his first experience in that 1950 Pentecostal service, entitled “First Nighter by Johnnie Barnes”:

I sat in the car till time to begin
Before I had nerve to get out and go in.
My heart began to jump, to bounce and to leap,
But I’d made a promise that I had to keep.
I slipped in the door and took a look around,
Then in the seat fartherest back I finally sat down.
I hoped no one would see me for I felt kinda low,
For I was a Methodist and rather dignified, you know.
Chills went up my spine and flutters through my heart,
Before the preacher said it was time to start.
“Let us pray,” said the preacher as he bowed his head,
But there were too many praying to hear what he said.
They started to sing and my goodness, my lands,
They were so irreverent they started clapping their hands!
They sang too fast and didn’t stop at the end;
But kept right on singing till they ran out of wind.
Someone called my name and that made me jump;
For that Pentecostal preacher had me up a stump.
“Will our Methodist brother testify?” the preacher said,
I stammered out the first thing that came into my head.
I sat back down kinda glad it was over;
But that preacher looked satisfied as a cow eating clover.
They started testifying and how the words did roll,
They said something about how good they felt in their souls.
The shouted, they danced, they stomped on the floor,
And that silly preacher hollered for more.
I was embarrassed and had all kinds of blues,
I felt like sinking way down in my shoes.
The preacher got up and took a text on Grace,
I’m telling you that man preached all over the place.
That man would walk, he would holler and leap,
He would wave his arms, then he would weep.
He told of the Holy Ghost and the unknown tongue.
And when he had finished I was glad he was done.
Then he called for the needy to come to the altar,
But I stood as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar.
When it was over they all shook my hand,
The men hugged my neck and said I was grand.
I couldn’t have been more uncomfortable sitting on a tack,
And when I left I swore I’d never come back.
But I did and finally I didn’t even mind
For everytime I went it got gooder each time.
As time went by and God led me on,
I realized God withheld nothing good from his own.
Then one day I paid the price God asked me to pay;
And my pride and ambition all vanished away.
Then God brought me from sagebrush to green pastures so fine;
For the promise of the Father at last was mine.


Read Johnnie Barnes’ article, “How A Methodist Minister Received the Pentecostal Baptism,” on page 10 of the Sept. 22, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Army of the Lord” by Richard E. Orchard

• “Riding On the Wind” by Zelma Argue

• “Trial By Fire” by Evelyn Bolton

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the 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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