Review: The Azusa Street Papers

The Azusa Street Papers

The Azusa Street Papers: A Reprint of The Apostolic Faith Mission Publications, Los Angeles, California (1906-1908), William J. Seymour, Editor. Foley, AL: Together in the Harvest Publications, 1997.

Have you ever wondered what the participants at the Azusa Street revival were thinking? Would you like to read their testimonies and discover for yourself what this interracial revival which promoted a restoration of Biblical spiritual gifts was all about?

You can do just that with The Azusa Street Papers, a reproduction of the tabloid papers used to herald the events of the phenomenal Azusa Street revival during its first two years (1906-1908). In this high quality reprint of 13 issues of The Apostolic Faith, you’ll read the same stories that early Pentecostals read one hundred years ago. As a result of the reports in The Apostolic Faith an amazing thing happened. Readers became hungry for the same Pentecostal experience. They believed that the promise Jesus made to his followers 1900 years earlier was also for them.

Many of them dropped what they were doing and left for Los Angeles. Some caught trains and rode across the country. Others hitched up teams of horses and struck out for the City of Angels. Still others walked great distances to get in on the revival. And in other countries, believers purchased boat tickets and set sail for the Los Angeles harbor. Some of these seekers were already full-time pastors, evangelists, and missionaries.

But it didn’t end with the excitement and blessing in Los Angeles.

After these spiritual seekers sought and found a new experience with God, they returned to their own areas — or new fields of ministry — and spread the fire through a fresh anointing of the Spirit. And from those small fires, others were ignited around the world. They were calling it the “latter rain” for which they had been praying for many years.

Perhaps the best explanation of what was happening in Los Angeles and around the world is a summary of the first year, published in the May 1907 issue: “Pentecostal power is sweeping its way into churches, missions, asylums, jails, hospitals, and soldiers’ barracks. People are being cleansed by the Blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Ghost. The saints of the Lord from Los Angeles to Africa and India are speaking in tongues and glorifying God.”

And what can be seen as prophetical are the frequent statements in the paper that Azusa and other revivals were only the beginning of what God was going to do. In the October 1906 issue, for example, is this statement: “We are only in the A.B.C. of this wonderful power of God that is to sweep over the world.”

The next issue quotes Florence Crawford, who left Azusa and established a church organization in Portland, Oregon. God showed her a beautiful bouquet of flowers all in the bud, and said to her, “This movement is just in the bud.”

On the same page, a 79-year-old man who had been healed, said, “This movement is in its infancy.” He then gave advice for continued success: “If you keep your hearts pure and open, God will give you the old apostolic power.”

With Pentecostal and charismatic believers numbering in the hundreds of millions today, indeed the turn-of-the-century revival was only in its infancy, in the bud, or just learning its ABCs.

The Azusa Street Papers is a reading experience that can whet your spiritual appetite for the same blessings and power that our ancestors received nearly a century ago. Are you ready?

The Azusa Street Papers, in addition to reprints of the 13 original newspapers, also includes a glossary, index, and a helpful introduction to the revival to help readers get acquainted with some of the people who played parts in this real-life spiritual drama.

Adapted from Introduction.

Paperback, 79 pages (oversize: 11 by 17 inches), illustrated. $19.50 retail. Order from: Gospel Publishing House

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