Pentecostal Evangel Celebrates 102nd Anniversary – First Issue Featured Interracial Content and Called for Unity

This Week in AG History — July 19, 1913

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 16 Jul 2015

The Pentecostal Evangel, now known as PE News, is 102 years old this week. The magazine, launched as the Christian Evangel in 1913, transitioned from print to a digital platform at the beginning of 2015.

Over the years, PE News witnessed numerous changes. The title changed six times, and the place of publication changed three times. Publishing the weekly magazine was quite an undertaking. To lessen the cost and workload, the magazine was only published every other week from 1918 to 1923.

J. Roswell and Alice Flower established the Christian Evangel to report on revivals and missions activities and published it out of their home in Plainfield, Indiana. The first issue, dated July 19, 1913, featured interracial content. Three articles were by or about G. T. Haywood, the African-American pastor of the largest Pentecostal congregation in Indianapolis. The Flowers selected a masthead that remains relevant 102 years later: “The simplicity of the Gospel, In the bonds of peace, The unity of the Spirit, Till we all come to the unity of the faith.” Their call to unity implicitly recognized that their readers did not yet have “unity of the faith” — that disagreement existed on some matters. In the meantime, they affirmed that believers should aim for “unity of the Spirit.”

This language recognizing spiritual unity amidst diversity was included in the preamble of the constitution adopted by the first General Council of the Assemblies of God in April 1914. At that same meeting, J. Roswell Flower was elected to serve as the first general secretary of the Assemblies of God. The Flowers gave their magazine to the newly formed Assemblies of God. E. N. Bell, the first chairman, also gave his magazine, Word and Witness, to the new organization. The two periodicals merged in January 1916. The title changed in 1919 to Pentecostal Evangel, and under that name the periodical became one of the most prominent publications in the Pentecostal movement.

Today, PE News is the official news agency for the Assemblies of God and continues to network believers around the world.

Click here to read the first issue of the Christian Evangel.

Click here to read an engaging history of the Pentecostal Evangel, published in the 2013 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage.

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

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