50 Years after the Azusa Street Revival, Donald Gee Offered this Warning about Miracles

Gee P0111This Week in AG History — April 28, 1957

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 28 April 2016

Miracles have played an important role in the histories of both the early church and the Pentecostal movement. However, just as the Apostle Paul had to correct excesses in the first century church at Corinth, 20th century Pentecostal leaders were faced in some quarters with an overemphasis on miracles. British Assemblies of God leader Donald Gee (1891-1966) wrote an article, published in the April 28, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, in which he affirmed the miraculous but also called for balance.

“The unvarnished story of the New Testament reads like a refreshing gust of fresh air,” Gee wrote. The New Testament “not only blows away the stuffiness of our unbelief, but also cools the fever of our fanaticism.” Gee taught that miracles should be part of “any truly Pentecostal revival,” but he also warned against extremism.

Miracles naturally attract a crowd. But Gee observed that the existence of miracles did not necessarily signify repentance or a change of heart. He urged readers to pay greater attention to the “less spectacular ministries” that are necessary to disciple believers.

Writing only 50 years after the Azusa Street Revival, Gee wrote that he had witnessed “a constant swing of the pendulum” regarding the emphasis on miracles in the Pentecostal movement. When revival breaks out and miracles occur, it is almost predictable that some people will go to extremes in chasing after miracles. Then, predictably, others will react to the extremists by being more orderly and conservative.

Pentecostals should be neither unbalanced fanatics nor overly cautious regarding miracles, according to Gee. Instead, he identified “a strong central body of believers, constituting the very heart of the Pentecostal churches, who do not want extremes either way.” These balanced believers desire “leadership based on the Word of God,” Gee wrote, rather than based on personality or preference.

Gee’s repeated admonitions to avoid unbiblical extremes earned him the moniker, “The Apostle of Balance.” Gee was nurtured in the fires of the early Pentecostal revivals, and he was one of the Pentecostal movement’s foremost advocates. So when he spoke about the need for balance, Pentecostals of all stripes listened.

Read the entire article by Donald Gee, “After That — Miracles,” on pages 8-9 of the April 28, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “A Great Faith,” by Louis M. Hauff

* “Power in the Word,” by Mrs. C. Nuzum

* “Missions in Northern Alaska,” by B. P. Wilson

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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Charlie Lee: Acclaimed Navajo Artist and Assemblies of God Leader

P10833 Lee
This Week in AG History — April 24, 1960

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 21 April 2016

Charlie Lee (1924-2003), a talented young Navajo artist, won widespread recognition and numerous awards for his paintings and sketches of life on the reservation. Despite his success, Lee felt dissatisfied with his life. In the fall of 1947, an Apache school friend invited him to visit an Assemblies of God church at the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, where he found new life and accepted Christ on New Year’s Day, 1948.

Feeling called to the ministry, Lee enrolled at Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri. He graduated in 1951 and traveled extensively as an evangelist among Native Americans. In 1953, Lee and his wife, Coralie, returned to his home state of New Mexico and pioneered Mesa View Assembly of God in Shiprock. Lee wanted to share the hope he had found in Christ with other Native Americans.

Lee continued to paint, mostly depictions of Native life, but his primary concern was ministry. Within 10 years, his congregation grew to several hundred people, mostly converts who had previously been addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

Lee became one of the best-known Native American pastors within the Assemblies of God. His congregation in Shiprock, in 1976, became the first Native American church on a federally recognized reservation to make the transition from being a supported mission to a fully indigenous, self-supporting, General Council-affiliated church. While some non-Christians criticized Lee for neglecting his art in favor of ministry, Lee responded that he derived a “greater thrill” from seeing the “Master Artist” painting on the canvas of people’s lives.

Read Lee’s testimony, “Navajo Artist Builds a Church for His People,” which was published on pages 8 and 9 of the April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Africa As I Saw It,” by C. C. Crace

• “Busy Mother Ministers to the Blind,” by Maxine Strobridge

• “Has God Forgotten?” by Meyer and Alice Tan-Ditter

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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Despite Opposition, Assemblies of God Founders Supported Missionaries AND Famine Relief

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Alfred and Myrtle Blakeney, Assemblies of God missionaries to India, and their five children (1920)

This Week in AG History — April 16, 1921

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 14 April 2016

The Assemblies of God, in its first decade, provided significant financial resources to the alleviation of hunger in other nations. A devastating famine hit China in 1920 and 1921, causing the deaths of an estimated half million people. This tragedy inspired Assemblies of God leaders to make an extended appeal for donations for Chinese famine relief. This decision was not without controversy.

J. Roswell Flower, Assemblies of God Missions Treasurer, in the April 16, 1921, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, recounted that church leaders expressed concern that an appeal for famine relief would likely decrease giving to support missionaries already on the field.  This fear was realized, and Flower reported that total missions giving did not increase in the first four months of the year. Donors shifted from supporting missionaries to famine relief. Missionaries were in danger of not receiving sufficient monetary support on which to live.

Despite this challenging financial situation, Flower defended the appeal for famine relief. He explained, “The famine need was so great…that we took the risk with such good results as you have seen.” To make up for the decrease in giving toward missionaries, Flower asked readers to contribute additional offerings.

How did Assemblies of God members respond to the challenge to expand their giving to include support for both missionaries and famine relief?

The 1921 General Council minutes reported that missions giving increased by almost 19 percent. The Foreign Missions Department received a record $107,953.55 during the fiscal year ending August 1921. Of that total, almost 10 percent ($10,383.12) was given to Chinese famine relief.

Read the article, “The Famine in China,” by J. Roswell Flower on page 12 of the April 16, 1921, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

•  “Looking from the Top,” by Christine Peirce

• “Tithes and Offerings,” by Elizabeth Sisson

• “Unity,” by C. W. Doney

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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1937 Campus Revivals at Central Bible Institute and Southeastern Bible Institute

CBI_TWApril10_1400
This Week in AG History — April 10, 1937

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 7 April 2016

Seventy-nine years ago, two Assemblies of God colleges experienced unusual seasons of revival. The April 10, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel reported that Central Bible Institute (which became Central Bible College, Springfield, Missouri) and Southeastern Bible Institute (now Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida) experienced “times of refreshing.”

L. R. Lynch, reporting on the revival at Central Bible Institute, wrote “For days we had expected something to happen. The air seemed laden with heavenly power. Nobody knew what to do to insure God’s best for us. Everybody was eager to learn more about Jesus.”

Lynch related that students began making public confessions, prompted by piercing messages that revealed the darkness of sin. Finally, he wrote, “the flood-gates of heaven were opened for us. God heard our humble cries. When we reached the foundation-rock, the heavenly fire blazed from the supernatural glory, while shouts of praise and thanksgiving rose from exultant hearts.”

The revival at Central Bible Institute lasted five days, during which 17 people were baptized in the Spirit and 16 felt a call into “different fields of labor, including India, China, Africa, and South America.”

Edgar Bethany reported about a similar revival at Southeastern Bible Institute. Bethany wrote, “Morning chapel service which ordinarily lasts from eight to nine could not be terminated. Volumes of prayer mingled with tears and at times strong crying, ascended to the throne of grace. Messages and wonderful interpretations were given by the Spirit. It resulted in a breaking up in practically every heart.”

What was the long-term impact of these spiritual outpourings? Lynch surmised that revival’s “true value” is something that “only eternity can reveal.”

Read the two articles on page 11 of the April 10, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
* “Blessed is He, Whoever Shall Not Be Offended,” by Stanley Frodsham
* “It Happened to Me: A Presbyterian Minister Receives the Baptism,” by E. R. Robertson
* “The Shekinah: Is the Fiery, Cloudy Pillar Ours Through Confession or Contrition?” by Zelma Argue

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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Job Opportunity: Administrative Coordinator for the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri

FPHC office

View from the Administrative Coordinator’s desk at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri, seeks to hire an Administrative Coordinator. The job is full time with benefits.

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is the largest Pentecostal archives in the world, and staff members have the privilege of interacting with church leaders, scholars, and those who lived the history. Our work here is very meaningful. The position would be perfect for someone who loves our Pentecostal heritage. It’s an important position, as he or she would help be the glue that holds the office together.

The person filling the position would need to have basic office skills (including computer and internet skills). Duties include answering phones, processing paperwork, taking orders, etc. One duty is to contact spouses of deceased Assemblies of God ministers to ask for photographs to include in the Memorial Book that is distributed at the biennial General Council. The Administrative Coordinator must be someone who can interact in a prayerful and loving way with grieving spouses.

This is a special position, and it will take a special person to fill it.

If you think of someone who would be a good fit for the position of Administrative Coordinator, I would appreciate it if you would let them know about this open position. The position is listed on the Assemblies of God HR website: https://jobopenings.ag.org/careers.aspx

I would be delighted to speak to inquirers.

Darrin

Darrin J. Rodgers, M.A., J.D.
Director, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802 USA
phone: (417) 862-1447, ext. 4400
toll free: (877) 840-5200
fax: (417) 862-6203
email: drodgers@ag.org
website: www.iFPHC.org

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2015/2016 Assemblies of God Heritage – Now Available Online and in Hard Copy!

WoodHeritage 2016The 2015/2016 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine is hot-off-the-press and is in the mail to all Assemblies of God USA ministers and subscribers! Selected articles are also accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

This edition uncovers the stories of Assemblies of God pastors, evangelists, and missionaries who hailed from a variety of religious and social backgrounds. Despite their differences, they shared a worldview that, at its heart, was a transformative experience with God.

Some, like Dr. Lilian Yeomans, were well-known. A Canadian medical doctor who became addicted to her own drugs, Yeomans nearly died before experiencing a transforming encounter with God. She went on to become a noted faith healer and author. Her gripping story of addiction and deliverance speaks directly to one of the great social problems in America today.

Others, such as “Aunt” Fanny Lack, engaged in local ministry. A member of the Hoopa Indian Tribe, Lack converted to Christ at a Pentecostal revival in 1920—at age 100. She was delivered from a tobacco addiction and was also healed of physical infirmities (she was blind and lame). She became a stalwart member of the Hoopa Assembly of God and was a remarkably active lay minister until about age 109. Newspapers across the nation picked up Lack’s fascinating story, but she had been largely omitted from scholarly histories. That is, until now.

This edition also includes the inspiring stories of missionaries Anna Sanders, Barney Moore, and Emile Chastagner, as well as pastors Samuel Jamieson, Joseph Wannenmacher, and Elmer Muir. What did these early Pentecostals share in common? Each faced deep personal struggles, but when they placed their trust and faith in God, they discovered renewed meaning and opportunities in life.

Following Christ did not make their lives perfect. Some (such as Joseph Wannenmacher) experienced physical healing; others (such as Emile Chastagner’s wife) did not. And, as Anna Sanders discovered, becoming a Christian does not necessarily take away the pain or consequences of a divorce. In spite of these difficulties, she went on to become a revered founder of the Assemblies of God in Mexico.

Many readers will be surprised to learn that Bethel Gospel Assembly, the historic African-American congregation in Harlem, was started by a young German woman, Lillian Kraeger, in 1916. Kraeger was heartbroken that her white Assemblies of God congregation rejected the membership applications of two black girls on account of their race, and she did not want them to fall away from the Lord.

The congregation grew to become the largest in the United Pentecostal Council Assemblies of God (UPCAG), the African American denomination which entered into an agreement of cooperative affiliation with the Assemblies of God in 2014. Bethel Gospel Assembly, which is now jointly affiliated with the UPCAG and the Assemblies of God, has long viewed its own history and mission as one of racial reconciliation. The congregation’s story is important, particularly in this age of racial discord.

Finally, an article about spiritual manifestations in early Pentecostalism may raise eyebrows. Some early Pentecostals, for instance, claimed to have extra-biblical spiritual gifts, including levitation and writing in tongues! Early Pentecostal church leaders learned valuable lessons regarding discernment of spiritual gifts, and these lessons continue to be helpful today.

Access these articles for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website. You can also order a hard copy of Assemblies of God Heritage for yourself or as a gift. The 2015/2016 edition is available for $8, and over 100 different back issues are available, as supplies last, for only $3 each. To order, click here or call toll free: (877) 840-5200.

________________________

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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Pandita Ramabai: Prominent Female Social Reformer and Pentecostal Pioneer in India


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This Week in AG History — April 1, 1916

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 31 March 2016

Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), widely regarded as one of India’s most prominent female social reformers and educators, played a significant role in pioneering the Pentecostal movement in India. Pandita came from a privileged family, and she used her education and resources to help the underprivileged of her society.

Despite a cultural proscription on educating girls, Pandita’s father, an educator and social reformer, taught her to read and write Sanskrit. By the age of 12, she memorized 18,000 verses of the Puranas, which were important Hindu religious texts. She became a noted Hindu scholar and was fluent in seven languages.

At a young age, Pandita devoted her life to helping widows and orphans, who were often despised and mistreated in her society. Pandita attended college in England, where she joined the Church of England. While traveling in the slums of London, she learned to distinguish between the institutional church and what she termed the “religion of Jesus Christ.” She returned to India and established homes for dispossessed widows and children. She also fought for social reform, including provision for quality healthcare and education.

Despite being marginalized by other social reformers who argued that her agenda was too radical, Pandita continued to promote her social vision for India, which was consistent with her Christian testimony. She weathered criticism and even became bolder in her efforts, founding additional orphanages and a home for prostitutes. Importantly, Pandita’s social ministries cared for both the body and the soul. They sheltered, educated, and fed women and children, and they also taught Christian doctrine and nurtured a generation of new Christians.

Pandita realized that some things only change through prayer, and she used her significant influence to encourage women to pray for spiritual and social change in India. In January 1905, she issued a call to prayer, and 550 women began meeting twice daily for intercessory prayer. That summer, Pandita sent 30 young women out into the villages to preach the gospel. These young female preachers were successful, and they reported an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on June 29, 1905, which included several being “slain in the Spirit” and experiencing a burning sensation. This Indian revival continued for several years. By 1906, participants also began receiving the gift of speaking in tongues. According to Pandita, the girls at the orphanage in Mukti prayed each day for more than 29,000 individuals by name. They prayed, among other things, for them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to become true and faithful Christian witnesses.

Pandita Ramabai and the revival at the Mukti mission played an important role in the story of the Pentecostal movement’s origin in India. Alfred G. Garr, the first missionary sent by the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, recounted his interactions with Pandita in a serialized history of the Pentecostal movement published in the April 1, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Read the article, “The Work Spreads to India,” by A. G. Garr on pages 4 and 5 of the April 1, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Face to Face,” by D. W. Kerr

• “Letter from a Brother Minister,” by W. Jethro Walthall

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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