The First General Council (Part 2)

Description: Hot Springs Opera House, the site of the first General Council.

This Week in AG History — “The Hot Springs Convention”

By Glenn Gohr
Originally published on AG-NewsMon, 07 Apr 2014 – 3:34 PM CST

Exactly one hundred years ago this week, the Assemblies of God was formed at Hot Springs, Arkansas. Close to 300 people attended the founding convention, which took place April 2-12, 1914.

In fulfillment of the five goals for the convention, a number of important decisions were made. The body adopted a governing document (titled “Preamble and Resolution of Constitution”), elected officers, and decided on a name, the Assemblies of God.

The May 20, 1914, issue of Word and Witness (which later merged into what is now the Pentecostal Evangel) reported on the business at the first General Council. The article reported that a “great time of shouting, rejoicing, hand-shaking, and even hugging” followed the unanimous adoption of the preamble.

Other decisions included: 1) to incorporate the General Council of the Assemblies of God; 2) to refrain from making an issue of whether Christians should eat meats; 3) to recognize and encourage a weekly day of prayer; 4) to recommend Bible and literary schools; 5) to recognize Word and Witness as the official publication of the Assemblies of God; 6) to authorize the formation of district and state councils in harmony with the principles and purposes of the General Council; 7) to recognize the ministries of elder, evangelist, minister, exhorter, and deacon, as well as the ministries of women; and 8) to discourage divorce and remarriage.

The Council closed without going further into doctrinal or organizational matters, and a second General Council convened seven months later in Chicago. T. K. Leonard offered his small printing plant and school property at Findlay, Ohio, for a headquarters, and the monthly Word and Witness (edited by E. N. Bell) and the weekly Christian Evangel (edited by J. R. Flower) became the official publications of the Fellowship. A small Bible school operated in Findlay during the fall of 1914 and both Bell and Flower assisted on the faculty.

Read the entire article, “General Council Special,” on page one of the May 20, 1914, issue of Word and Witness.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Love and Sweetness,” by E. N. Bell

* “Cooperation, Not Ecclesiasticism,” by D. W. Kerr

* “Sin and Repentance,” by F. F. Bosworth

* “The Holy Spirit Given to Those Who Obey,” by George C. Brinkman

And many more!

Click here to read the May 20, 1914, issue of Word and Witness now.

Click here to read the entire text of the General Council Minutes from April 1914.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

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:

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