By Glenn Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 24 Mar 2014 – 4:19 PM CST
One hundred years ago, Pentecostal ministers and their families from across America were busy packing their belongings and starting on their travels to attend the organizational meeting of the Assemblies of God at Hot Springs, Arkansas. These ministers were responding to “The Call to Hot Springs,” an invitation published in issues of the Word and Witness newspaper (a forerunner of the Pentecostal Evangel) from December 1913 through March 1914.
“The Call to Hot Springs” was initially signed by five Pentecostal ministers who stepped out in faith: M. M. Pinson of Phoenix, Arizona; A. P. Collins of Fort Worth, Texas; H. A. Goss of Hot Springs, Arkansas; D. C. O. Opperman of Houston, Texas; and E. N. Bell of Malvern, Arkansas. They realized the need for the creation of structures such as schools and a mission agency, as well as the need for greater accountability on doctrine, morals, and finances.
These five men were already members of loose networks of Pentecostal ministers, but they wanted to create a stronger organization in order to accomplish five major goals:
1. Create unity in doctrine and in identifying Pentecostal congregations.
2. Develop ways to conserve the work at home and abroad.
3. Develop a workable system for the support of missionaries.
4. Charter local churches under “one Bible name.”
5. Discuss the possibility of a Bible training school.
By March 1914, the “Call to Hot Springs” had been endorsed by 33 ministers from various parts of the country.
The final announcement for the meeting stated: “Everybody all aboard for the Hot Springs convention. This is the final call for objects as previously specified in Word and Witness. Meeting to be in old Grand Opera house, 200 Central Ave. All who can, come prepared to board yourself and pay your own fare to and fro. We will help as far as God supplies the means to supply meals and rooms for saints attending who cannot. No dead beats allowed. Bring your own bed clothing. Many expect to come.”
Approximately 300 delegates and visitors attended this first general council of the Assemblies of God, held April 2-12, 1914.
Prior to the first general council, D. C. O. Opperman conducted a short-term Bible school at the downtown Hot Springs Opera House. Several of Opperman’s students stayed in Hot Springs to participate in the founding council. The council, which lasted for 10 days, included a march down Main Street, waving flags and singing gospel songs; street rallies; times of prayer; lively worship; preaching; and business matters.
Read the entire text of “‘The Call’ to Hot Springs” on page 1 of the December 1913, issue of Word and Witness.
Also featured in this issue:
* “Bible School is Soon to Be Held in Hot Springs, Ark.” by Daniel C. O. Opperman
* “Woodworth-Etter Meetings”
* “The Second Blessing” by E. N. Bell
And many more!
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