The Blessing of Fried Locusts: A 1923 Missionary Story from South Africa

GrassHopper_1400x490This Week in AG History — August 11, 1923

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 06 August 2020

Many missionaries tell stories about seemingly bad circumstances that God turned into a blessing. Hannah A. James, a single female who served as an Assemblies of God missionary to South Africa from 1917 to 1933, recounted such a story in a letter published in the Aug. 11, 1923, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Hannah wrote that a swarm of locusts had descended upon their South African mission station. The locusts devoured a small wheat crop that she and her missionary colleagues had planted. Most readers probably would have seen the destruction of the missionaries’ food supply as a bad thing. However, Hannah related that the native South Africans “shouted for joy” when they heard the locust swarm approaching.

The locusts, it turned out, were a delicacy to the local palate. Local residents spent all night scooping the locusts into large sacks. They then scalded the locusts and dried them in the sun, a process which allowed them to be stored for months. Preparation of the dried locusts into edible food merely required them to be fried in fat or butter.

The missionaries made careful plans to provide for their dietary needs. But they discovered that God could upset those plans, and what they viewed as a calamity was viewed by others as a blessing. The missionaries probably would have preferred eating wheat rather than locusts, but the life of faith often stretches people beyond their cultural preferences.

Read the article by Hannah A. James, “A Plague of Locusts,” published on page 13 of the Aug. 11, 1923, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Bible Evidence of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost,” by D. W. Kerr

• “From Prize Ring to Pulpit,” by Eddie Young

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 Should Christians Respond to Cultural Chaos? Read Myer Pearlman’s 1932 Message About Life in a Transition Period.

MyerPearlman

Myer Pearlman (1898-1943), Assemblies of God theologian

This Week in AG History — July 30, 1932

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 30 July 2020

The year was 1932. The world’s economic and political systems were groaning under the weight of an economic depression. Western culture was shifting as modern education and urbanization challenged traditional notions about family and morality.

Myer Pearlman, a prominent Assemblies of God systematic theologian, writing in a 1932 Pentecostal Evangel article, summed up the cultural moment with this phrase: “we are living in a transition period.”

The Assemblies of God’s view of the end times spoke directly to the cultural chaos of the 1930s. Like many other evangelical groups, the Assemblies of God embraced a premillennial eschatology that predicted a period of rapid social decay, followed by Christ’s return. They believed that much of the American church had abandoned the authority of Scripture. In their view, this would lead to the collapse of families, morality, and the broader culture.

Historians have described premillennialists as pessimistic. One might also describe their views as realistic. Indeed, their views seem to anticipate the current societal shifts and discord.

Pearlman’s 1932 article was titled, “At the Dividing Point of Two Ages.” He described the cultural conditions present at the birth of the church two thousand years ago. These cultural conditions, in many ways, strikingly paralleled what was happening in the 1930s.

Pearlman identified the following seven characteristics of the culture during the birth of the church:

1)  It was an age in which popular culture reigned. Superficial forms of religion, art, and philosophy were widely spread among the people.

2)  It was a highly civilized and modern age. International travel and commerce were common, women became prominent in various spheres of life, and there was proliferation of cultural amusements and comforts.

3)  It was an educated age. People were literate, teaching was an honorable profession, and universities and libraries flourished.

4)  It was a cosmopolitan age. The Roman Empire provided a common language and a system of roads that allowed the exchange of goods and ideas.

5)  It was an age of religious universalism. Spiritual and political leaders tried to unite religions and rejected truth claims viewed as divisive.

6)  It was an age that, just before its crisis point, expected a king to emerge who would save and rule the world.

7)  It was an age that witnessed the first earthly coming of Christ.

Christ came into a world, Pearlman noted, that exhibited very similar characteristics to the world that existed in the 1930s. Christ first came to earth during a transition period, and Pearlman expected Christ’s second coming also to be during a transition period. He wrote, “As the Redeemer appeared at the dividing point of the ages of Law and of Grace, so He will appear at the dividing point of the ages of Grace and the Millennium.”

How should today’s church, perched on the edge of the dividing line between the two ages, respond to cultural chaos? Pearlman encouraged believers to rejoice in the hope they have in Christ. Christians should “lift up their heads in joyous expectancy when these things come to pass,” he wrote, “and to watch to keep their lamps lighted and filled with oil, and faithfully to use their talents until he comes.”

The premillennial return of Christ is one of the four cardinal doctrines of the Assemblies of God. The doctrine helps make sense of current events and points believers to the ultimate hope they have in Christ, even as storms swirl around them. The doctrine also underscores the biblical teaching that social conditions will worsen before Christ’s second coming, and that believers should not place their ultimate confidence in earthly kingdoms or leaders. These are important lessons for Christians to remember in the current transition period.

Read Myer Pearlman’s article, “At the Dividing Point of Two Ages,” on pages 8, 9, and 11 of the July 30, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Elijah, an Example,” by Ernest S. Williams

• “The Kingdom of the Son of Man,” by James S. Hutsell

• “Why Put Them Out?” by Mrs. H. F. Foster

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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Paul and Evelyn Derr: Eyewitnesses to the Sinking of the ZamZam

Zamzam_1400This Week in AG History — July 19, 1941

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 23 July 2020

One of the gripping stories from World War II is the sinking of the ZamZam and the rescue of its inhabitants. Paul K. Derr gave an eyewitness account of the ZamZam voyage in 1941.

After completing a furlough, Assemblies of God missionaries Paul (1895-1986) and Evelyn Derr (1897-1994) boarded the Egyptian ship ZamZam to return to the former British Tanganika Territory. Traveling with them were their daughter, Ruth, and her husband, Claude Keck. A total of 136 missionaries and family members from 19 different faiths, as well as many others of all walks of life were on board the ship. It was carrying civilian passengers and was neutral in the war.

No one expected the ship to sink in the Atlantic Ocean!

On March 27, 1941, eight months before the U.S. entered World War II, the ship left New York bound for Alexandria, Egypt, stopping at Trinidad and Brazil and then heading toward the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Early on the morning of April 17, amid the darkness of night, the German raider Atlantis (disguised as the freighter, Tamesis) misidentified the ZamZam as a British troopship and began shelling the ship without warning, striking it multiple times. The boat began sinking. Almost immediately, the panic-stricken passengers scrambled to lifeboats, although several of the lifeboats had been damaged by the gunfire.

The passengers and crew successfully evacuated, and the crew of the Atlantis eventually rescued everyone, and only a few were injured. Afterward the Germans sank what remained of the ZamZam with explosives.

Except for three men very critically injured, the ZamZamers were transferred from the raider to a small German freighter on April 18, the day after the sinking. The name of the freighter was Dresden, but for the ZamZamers it came to be known as “the prison ship.” They remained on that ship for almost six weeks, not knowing their fate.

The U.S. was not yet in World War II, so the Germans released the Derrs and other Americans to neutral Portugal. The Derrs were able to board an American ship called Exeter and then returned to the U.S. for the duration of the war.

Derr, in recalling the trauma, wrote, “We look back and see that our faith in God has been strengthened and our trust has become more sure in the Lord who cares for His own.”

After the war, Paul and Evelyn Derr returned to the land of their calling, serving as missionaries for three more years in Tanganyika Territory. They also served a term in Jamaica before retiring from missionary service.

This story of the sinking of the ZamZam was extensively covered by LIFE Magazine because one of their photojournalists was on the ship and took over 1,500 pictures, although most of these pictures were confiscated by the Germans. Now, almost 80 years later, this dramatic story is still captivating.

Read “Our Experience on the Zam Zam” on pages 1 and 11 of the July 19, 1941, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Plan For Setting the World Aflame,” by Sarah Foulkes Moore

• “Judgment and Revival,” by Stanley H. Frodsham

• “The Place of Refuge is the Place of Light,” by J. Narver Gortner

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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J. Robert Ashcroft’s Remarkable Warning from 1957 about Secularism, Statism, and Paganism

Ashcroft1This Week in AG History — July 14, 1957

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 16 July 2020

Sixty-three years ago, J. Robert Ashcroft delivered a remarkable address that encouraged the Assemblies of God to invest in Christian higher education. Pentecostals must train the next generation of “thinkers and doers,” he surmised, or lose their young to the forces of “selfism, secularism, (and) scientism.”

Ashcroft’s message, delivered at the 1957 commencement for Evangel College (now Evangel University), warned that family, church, and freedom were threatened by three emerging trends in society: secularism, statism, and paganism. All Americans, he noted, are subject to these societal pressures. It will be difficult, he predicted, for Christians to remain true to biblical values.

Secularism, the first trend that Ashcroft identified, results in the compartmentalization of religious beliefs from other daily activities. This runs counter to the Christian faith because, he noted, Christianity is concerned with “the whole of life.” While Ashcroft recognized a distinction between the secular and the sacred, he expressed concern that making the distinction “too severe” would harm both the secular and sacred elements.

A society that dispels the influence of religion impairs its ability to reflect deeply about morality and human need. Ashcroft noted that a society that jettisons religion ends up “sinking in a quagmire of immorality.” Ashcroft was quite clear: “Secularism leads to depravity.”

Statism, the second trend identified by Ashcroft, is when the state takes over most or all spheres of life, leaving little room for freedom of conscience. The state becomes the ultimate authority and the arbiter of morality. Ashcroft pointed to communism as typifying the statist approach. Statism undermines human dignity and freedom. “The individual must rise above statism,” he asserted, noting that Christians schools are an important bulwark for freedom.

Ashcroft identified paganism, the third trend, as “de-centered religion” — spirituality that de-emphasizes the person of Christ and biblical truths. “Orthodoxy and old-fashioned holiness,” Ashcroft noted, “are held up to ridicule while paganism and superficial religion are receiving the plaudits of men.”

How can Christians promote biblical values in a society that has drifted from its Christian roots? Ashcroft noted that many colleges and universities began as Christian institutions but over time drifted from their founding values and mission. A Christian heritage does not guarantee a Christian future. Christians must not reject higher education as ungodly, Ashcroft advised, and should instead work to develop institutions that reflect their values.

In his address, Ashcroft expressed a high calling for Evangel College — that it become “a true fountainhead of spiritual leadership, Christian character, and devoted orthodoxy.” This mission — that Assemblies of God schools serve as a training ground for reflective, faithful Christian leaders — remains a focus for the Fellowship 63 years later.

Read J. Robert Ashcroft’s commencement address, “A Call to Christian Service,” on pages 4-5 and 20-21 of the July 14, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Let the Fire Fall!” by Bert Webb

* “Should Christians Drink? Smoke?” by Betty Stirling

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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Ethan Otis Allen: 19th Century Faith Healing Pioneer

Ethan AllenThis Week in AG History — July 8, 1939

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 09 July 2020

Ethan Otis Allen (1813-1903) has been called the father of divine healing in America. After experiencing his own healing, he often prayed for the sick, and he influenced others toward a divine healing ministry.

The Pentecostal Evangel featured Allen’s life story in July 1939. Born on a farm in Belchertown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 25, 1813, he grew to adulthood in Springfield, Massachusetts. In his youth he became afflicted with consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) and found work as an overseer at a poor farm because he was unable to do hard labor.

In 1846 Allen attended a Methodist meeting in a country schoolhouse. At the close of the meeting, one of the leaders said to him, “Brother Allen, don’t you think it is time for you to seek religion?” He felt conviction and went forward to accept salvation. Afterwards, “great joy filled his soul and there was much rejoicing.”

In the enthusiasm of his new-found joy, he said, “Brethren, if you will pray for me, I believe this mighty power that has come upon me will heal my lungs.” One of the men spoke up and said, “Does it not say, ‘They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover’?” They gathered together and prayed for him, and instantly Ethan Allen was healed.

Allen went on his way rejoicing. He went back to his job at the poor farm and began praying for the sick under his care. Soon he felt the Lord calling him to a greater ministry of healing. He reported that he heard God speak audibly: “Behold, I give you power over all the power of the enemy.” He believed that all sickness was either directly or indirectly the work of Satan, so at times he felt directed to cast out an evil spirit before he prayed for healing.

Allen also had a strong belief in fasting and prayer and sometimes would refuse both food and water for several days as he prayed for someone in need. Numerous times he was called upon to pray for the sick, and they would recover. One time he was summoned to the Home for Incurables in Brooklyn, New York, to pray for a woman that doctors had given up on. Sarah M. C. Musgrove had been ill for about five years. She had faith for her healing, and after Allen prayed for her, she was healed. He stayed and prayed for others at the home as well. Sarah Musgrove later ran the Four-fold Gospel Mission in Troy, New York.

It is reported that Ethan Allen was one of the first in America to teach and practice divine healing. In the 1880s he became associated with Dr. Charles Cullis and A. B. Simpson who impacted the U.S. by holding conventions on divine healing. Allen spoke at these conferences, and Simpson called him the “Father of Divine Healing.” Allen wrote a booklet in 1881 titled, Faith Healing: or What I have Witnessed of the Fulfillment of James V:14, 15, 16.

Another person Allen prayed for was an African-American woman named Sarah Freeman Mix. After she was healed in December 1877, she was called into a healing ministry of her own. She is the first recorded African-American female healing evangelist in the U.S. Mrs. Mix prayed the prayer of faith for healing for Carrie Judd Montgomery in 1879, and they became friends. Ethan Allen later stayed for some time at Mrs. Montgomery’s Home of Peace, a healing home she established in Oakland, California.

The last four years of Allen’s life were spent in California where he lived in a small house which his son built for him. An aged relative cared for him, and when people came to visit him, they spoke in hushed tones as if they were standing on holy ground when they were in his presence.

Although he had been given up to die when he was young, he lived to be 89 years old and passed away in Los Angeles on Jan. 24, 1903. He did not have much earthly wealth; his treasures were stored in heaven. Ethan Allen impacted the world through his ministry of divine healing.

Read “Miracles Wrought Through Prayer: The Story of a Man Who Walked With God,” on page 1 of the July 8, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Mantle Christians,” by Robert A. Brown

• “Having God’s Approval on Your Life,” by J. W. Welch

• “The Ministry of Witnessing,” by A. H. 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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Harold and Beatrice Kohl: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary Educators

This Week in AG History — July 3, 1966

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, AG News, 2 July 2020

Harold Kohl (1923-2005) and Beatrice Wells Kohl (1926 – ) faithfully served the Assemblies of God as evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and educators. Beatrice began her ministry as a 9-year-old child evangelist and met Harold when his youth group hosted her 15th birthday party during revival services she was conducting at his church in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They struck up a conversation that led to a marriage and more than 50 years of ministry together.

Both Harold and Beatrice felt a call to ministry at the time of their respective baptisms in the Holy Spirit. After their marriage in 1946, they began traveling as evangelists and served as D-CAP (District Christ’s Ambassadors President) of the Potomac district’s youth organization. In 1948 they accepted the pastorate at Kitzmiller, Maryland. After two years of prosperous ministry, both Harold and Beatrice felt impressed of God to resign their church, but neither sensed what they were to do next.

In an act of difficult obedience, Harold tendered his resignation on a Wednesday evening and the couple walked into their rented home that evening and immediately knelt at the sofa to ask the Lord for clarity on what they were to do next. Neither of them felt a confidence in their next step.

On Saturday evening, a letter arrived from Derrick Hillary, missionary in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His wife, Dorcas, was very ill and he felt that their term would be cut short. The Kohls had worked hard to raise money for a Speed the Light vehicle for them and Hillary felt impressed that God was calling the Kohls to take their place. He asked if they were willing to begin the process immediately to devote five years of their lives to missionary work in Ceylon.

After praying together, Harold and Beatrice filled out the paperwork, met with the Division of Foreign Missions (now AG World Missions), were accepted, and began their itineration to raise support. There was an urgent need, and God blessed them, and they were able to raise all their funds within four months! The Kohls served in Ceylon for five years as pastors, evangelists, and radio broadcasters, and oversaw the development of evangelistic and training literature.

After their term was up in 1956, they returned to the United States to serve in pastoral and church planting ministry in New Jersey. During a powerful move of God in a Sunday evening service in 1962, Harold and Beatrice felt again the call from God to resign their church and prepare for a return to missionary service. After several weeks of prayer, Harold called Maynard Ketcham, Asia field director, and asked him to pray with them for direction.

Meanwhile, Ketcham was praying about a need in his region. Several Bible institutes were training ministers; however, the schools were dependent on missionaries to serve as faculty. Ketcham saw the need for an indigenous church with administration and faculty of the schools in the hands of national leaders. Many of their ministers were going to non-Pentecostal schools and returned with views at variance to Pentecostalism. Others were traveling to the West for education and staying in the United States or Europe after receiving their education. Ketcham had the vision for an advanced international training school that would be thoroughly Pentecostal and rigorously academic. After praying about it, Ketcham contacted the Kohls to ask them if they would be interested in taking on this task.

Harold and Beatrice arrived in the Philippines in March 1963. Together with Ketcham, they invited various regional Assemblies of God organizations to send representatives to a meeting designed to plan the shape of the proposed new school. Representatives from Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Burma, and the Marshall Islands formed the Far East Bible School Administrative Committee, of which Harold Kohl served as chair.

It was agreed that the new school should be located on the grounds of Bethel Bible Institute in Malinta, Valenzuela, a suburb of Manila, and that it should be named Far East Advanced School of Theology (FEAST). Classes began in Harold Kohl’s office in the Fall of 1963, with five students completing the first semester. The first building was dedicated debt-free in 1964.

Beatrice set to work building a library for the new school. She took classes in Library Science and beginning in 1964, the Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade (BGMC) contributed a substantial amount of money for the development of the FEAST library. The Kohls managed the business of the school, recruited faculty and students, and worked to receive government permission for international students to receive visas to study in the Philippines. During this time, Harold also completed a Master of Arts degree in Education from New York University, and Beatrice attended Philippine Women’s College in Manila.

In an article in the July 3, 1966, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Harold wrote, “Bible schools have given necessary stability and continuing thrust to the work of the Church in the Philippines.” He referenced FEAST as “a new venture of faith” whose “purpose is to help ministers who have completed regular Bible school training prepare for Christian leadership and Bible school teaching.”

In 1973, Harold and Beatrice joined the International Correspondence Institute (ICI, now known as Global University) in Brussels, Belgium, developing its college division degree. Harold served as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and Beatrice served as librarian. Aside from a year long stint as president of the Full Gospel Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, the Kohls continued to serve both ICI and FEAST until their retirement in 1993.

Over the years, FEAST moved from Manila to its own beautiful campus in Baguio City. Its name has been changed to Asia Pacific Theological Seminary and it now offers masters degrees and a Doctor of Ministry program. It is considered one of the finest centers of theological education in Asia.

Read Harold Kohl’s report, “Bible School Bias” on page 8 of the July 3, 1966, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “What Darkness Cannot Dim” by Joseph Sizoo

• “Trophy of Divine Grace” by Eunice Myrah

• “I Heard the Angels Sing” by Arthur F. Berg

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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Alice Belle Garrigus and Pentecostalism in Newfoundland

Garrigus_1400bThis Week in AG History — June 24, 1950

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 25 June 2020

Alice Belle Garrigus (1858-1949) was only five feet tall, unmarried, and 52 years of age when she sensed God call her in 1910 to help pioneer the Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland.

Born into an Episcopalian family in Rockville, Connecticut, Garrigus spent the first half of her life in various locations in New England.

At 15 she began teaching in rural schools. Desiring further schooling she returned to Normal School and then spent three years (1878-1881) at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College). Leaving the seminary a year before graduation, she resumed teaching. Through the influence of a colleague, Gertrude Wheeler, Garrigus accepted Christ as her Savior in 1888. Both women left on a 10-month excursion to Europe.

Returning to the United State, Garrigus again taught school, but she was spiritually restless. She wanted a deeper walk with God and began reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. “This I read,” Alice wrote, “often on my knees — praying fervently: ‘Oh God, if there be such an experience, won’t you bring me into it?’”

Garrigus and Wheeler then joined the Congregational Church. Her friend Gertrude later went to Africa as a missionary and died there. About 1891, Garrigus gave up her teaching profession to work in a home for destitute children and women. Next she moved to Rumney, New Hampshire, where she came in contact with the First Fruit Harvesters Association, a small evangelical denomination focused on the evangelization of New England. Garrigus served as an itinerant preacher with the First Fruit Harvesters between 1897 and 1903.

During 1906, Garrigus reread the Bible and earnestly sought to understand what made Jesus’ disciples different following the Day of Pentecost. Around this same time, she heard about the revival taking place at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles.

In 1907, at a Christian and Missionary Alliance camp meeting at Old Orchard, Maine, she met Frank Bartleman, a veteran of the Azusa Street revival and an unofficial chronicler of the Pentecostal movement. Bartleman “stood for hours,” wrote Garrigus, “telling us of the deeper things of God.” After he left the camp meeting, Garrigus, Minnie Draper, and others met in an old barn to pray, and there Alice Belle Garrigus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She continued preaching at Rumney and Grafton, Massachusetts, and other places, but began feeling impressed to found a mission in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

One of her protégés at Bridgeport, Connecticut, was Charles Personeus, superintendent of the John Street Mission. Personeus wrote, “When Miss Garrigus was with me in the John Street Mission, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that changed the mission to First Pentecostal Mission.” In 1917, Charles Personeus and his wife, Florence, went to Juneau, Alaska, as missionaries for the Assemblies of God.

Together with the W. D. Fowlers, a missionary couple she had known since 1889, Alice Belle Garrigus traveled to Newfoundland, arriving in the capital city of St. John’s in December 1910. The three established Bethesda Mission in a rented building in the downtown area on New Gower Street, which opened on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1911. Garrigus’ preaching at Bethesda emphasized conversion, adult water baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the imminent return of Christ. Numerous lives were changed because of the ministry at Bethesda. After little more than a year, the building was purchased, and by the next year the building was enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of people attending the services. In 1912, the Fowlers had to leave Newfoundland for health reasons, and that left Garrigus in charge.

The Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland grew slowly during the next decade, since Garrigus’ ministry remained centered in the St. John’s area.

After a crusade in 1919 by evangelist Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest, interest in Pentecostalism grew. New converts started new missions, and one of these, Robert C. English, eventually became co-pastor with Garrigus at Bethesda Mission.

Alice Belle Garrigus’ work with Bethesda Mission eventually led to the founding of a Pentecostal organization in Newfoundland. On Dec. 8, 1925, the “Bethesda Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland” was chartered. The word “Bethesda” was dropped in 1930.

The first general superintendent of this organization was Robert C. English, followed by Eugene Vaters, A. Stanley Bursey (all three who worked closely with Garrigus), and others. In 1949 the people of Newfoundland voted to become Canada’s newest province, and this organization and the number of churches has continued to grow. The current name is The Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAONL). It is a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and has strong ties with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Assemblies of God, and other denominations within the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA).

Alice Garrigus’ nearly 40 years in Newfoundland were very busy. She remained there for the rest of her life and continued to be a principal figure in the Pentecostal church, serving as an evangelist in charge of Bethesda Mission and also holding a number of executive positions in the PAONL. She passed away in August 1949 at Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, at the age of 91. Soon after her passing, a Pentecostal campground was established and called Camp Emmanuel. The Garrigus Memorial Tabernacle at the camp was named in her honor and dedicated in 1955.

A. Stanley Bursey, a former PAONL general superintendent, wrote: “We, who have had the opportunity to appraise her work and the result of same, can only conclude that when God calls, He makes no mistakes.”

Alice Belle Garrigus was a prolific writer. In 1950, the Pentecostal Evangel published an article by her, titled “Eating on the Heap,” which discusses Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban, making a covenant that was solidified with a mound of stones called “a heap.” Afterwards they ate together on the heap to show that past wrongs and hurts would be forgotten and that love would prevail.

Read “Eating on the Heap,” on page 3 of the June 24, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “I Sat Where They Sat,” by J. Narver Gortner

• “The Passing and the Permanent,” by Robert C. Cunningham

• “Missions — New and Old,” by H. C. Ball

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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P.C. Nelson’s 1934 Plea for Liberal Arts Education in the Assemblies of God

PCNelson1This Week in AG History — June 16, 1934

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 18 June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

• “Finishing Our Course,” by Zelma Argue

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

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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 Jethro Walthall and the Early Pentecostal Movement in Arkansas

Walthall

W. J. Walthall, the older minister in the center, at Aimee Semple McPherson’s camp meeting in Wesson, Arkansas, ca. 1920.

This Week in AG History — June 13, 1931

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 11 June 2020

William Jethro Walthall (1858-1931) was an early Pentecostal pioneer who later joined the Assemblies of God. Born in Nevada County, Arkansas, Walthall grew up in southwest Arkansas and attended Methodist and Baptist revivals in his youth. He felt called into full-time ministry and was always seeking more of God. He was ordained by the Missionary Baptist Church in 1887, but he was later expelled because of his strong belief in the Holy Spirit baptism, Bible holiness, and divine healing.

Walthall testified that he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1879, which was more than 20 years before the outpouring at Topeka, Kansas. He received the gift of speaking in tongues at about this time, although it is unclear whether it was in 1879 or shortly afterward. Earlier instances of tongues-speaking have been reported among the Shakers, the Holiness movement, the Advent Christian Church in New England (known as the “Gift People”), and others. However, among those who became Assemblies of God pioneers, it is possible that Walthall was the earliest to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues.

Walthall continued preaching on his own for a while, and then ended up organizing a group of churches that became known as the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas. This group affirmed the contemporary practice of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Soon after the Assemblies of God was organized in 1914 at Hot Springs, Arkansas, Walthall began having dialogue with the Assemblies of God leadership. In 1917 he brought 36 churches from his Baptist group into the Assemblies of God. He also served two stints as superintendent of the Arkansas District of the Assemblies of God (1918-1926 and 1928-1929).

Walthall passed away on May 24, 1931, in Bearden, Arkansas. Afterwards, several tributes to him appeared in the Pentecostal Evangel. Only a few days before his death, Walthall contributed an article giving an account of some of his experiences with divine healing and courageous faith.

He reported that early in his ministry, a man had a cancer on his cheek that had troubled him for seven years. He had taken treatments, but they had not helped. One half of his face became consumed with the cancer. Walthall felt directed to call the family to prayer in a “life-and-death struggle for victory.” A few days later, when the man’s wife changed the dressing on his face, new skin had covered the affected part and it looked almost healed. Walthall said, “In a few days’ time the healing was complete.” The man lived eight more years without any trace of cancer.

Walthall reported other cases of healing that he had witnessed including a woman with a cancer on her mouth that he prayed for, and she was still cancer-free 20 years later. He also reported on a woman who was healed of “acute rheumatism.” He told of a man who had been confined to a bed for six weeks and six physicians had pronounced him incurable, saying that he had a growth on the brain. After Walthall prayed with him, the man got out of bed and went out to work on his farm. After more than 20 years, Walthall had seen no sign of that affliction returning.

Walthall shared other examples when he prayed for days for spiritual oppression to leave. After prayer and fasting, he reported deliverance from an angry mob in one instance as well as further physical healings that he witnessed.

Walthall’s last sermon text, just a week before he died, was 2 Timothy 4:6-8, which emphasized “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” After his passing, this seemed like a final benediction to his congregation.

Read “A Ministry of the Miraculous,” on page 8 of the June 13, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Joy of the Lord,” by Donald Gee

• “Letter From the Tibetan Border,” by W. W. Simpson

• “How I Received the Baptism,” by George A. Jeffrey

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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What can Pentecostals learn from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism?

Wesley_1400This Week in AG History — June 3, 1944

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 04 June 2020

What can Pentecostals learn from John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism?

Wesley, an Anglican priest in England, helped to lay the foundation for large segments of the evangelical and Pentecostal movements. Despite living in a nation that identified as Christian, he recognized that most people did not have saving faith. He pioneered new evangelism and discipleship methods, which upset some of the religious leaders of his day. He appointed itinerant, unordained evangelists who traveled and preached the gospel. He also encouraged the formation of small groups of Christians for the purpose of discipleship, accountability, and Bible study.

Wesley encouraged each person to experience God’s love. However, he insisted that if a person was truly saved, an experience with God must yield a transformed life. True Christians, he taught, would live holy lives. When the Holy Spirit transformed a person’s desires, this inner holiness would naturally be manifested in outward holiness.

In many ways, early Pentecostals identified themselves in the tradition of Wesley. The June 6, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel published an article that shared the “secret” of “Wesley’s power.” Three reasons existed, according to the article, which caused Wesley’s ministry to be so powerful.

First, Wesley believed that the Bible was “the very Word of God.” The Bible was the standard for everything, and he prayerfully consulted it for guidance.

Second, Wesley “preached with a living sense of divine authority.” He believed his sermons were given “by direct communication of the Spirit,” based on the Bible, and “applied logically, earnestly, passionately to the hearts of men.”

Third, Wesley “lived and preached in the presence and power of the Holy Ghost.” His deep spirituality was formed by living daily in the presence of God and by developing daily habits of “prayer and song, fellowship and meditation, study and preaching.”

Wesley taught that changed hearts should ultimately change society. He and his followers (known as Methodists) became leaders in social issues of his day, including the abolition of slavery and prison reform.

In the present era of social and family disintegration, Wesley’s admonitions point Christians back toward holiness and deep spirituality. He understood that humanity’s woes flow from the human heart, and he encouraged people to change society one heart at a time.

Read the entire article by Samuel Chadwick, “Wesley’s Secret of Power,” on page 4 of the June 3, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Direct Answers to Prayer,” by Frederick M. Bellsmith

• “Following Jesus,” by H. A. Baker

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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Filed under History, Spirituality