This Week in AG History — August 11, 1945
By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 13 August 2020
When the Pentecostal movement began to take root at the Azusa Street Mission in 1906 under the leadership of William J. Seymour, there were other missions springing up in Los Angeles that joined with what God was doing at the small African American church. One of those was The Upper Room Mission, led by Elmer Kirk Fisher (1866-1919) and George Brown Studd (1859-1945).
Fisher was a pastor at Calvary Baptist church in Los Angeles when a revival erupted in the nearby First Baptist Church led by Pastor Joseph Smale. As a result of the revival, Smale began the New Testament Church of Los Angeles and Fisher soon joined him as associate pastor. When revival services began at the Azusa Street Mission under the direction of Seymour, Smale supported the movement until October 1906, when he felt that the church needed more order. At this time, Fisher began the Upper Room Mission on Spring Street and began a close relationship with Seymour. Congregants flowed freely between the Upper Room Mission and the meetings on Azusa Street.
Studd was born to a well-to-do family in Wiltshire, England. While studying at Eton, his father became an evangelical Christian and, in 1878, Studd and his three brothers were converted to the Christian faith. He later went on to Cambridge where he served as captain of the cricket team and achieved fame in the English sporting world. When his brother, C. T. Studd, went to China as one of the “Cambridge Seven” missionaries, George visited him and made a full commitment to Christ. He soon moved to California where he became involved with the Pentecostal movement at Azusa Street in 1907, making arrangements for the small mission to pay off its deed and become debt-free.
Studd, an accomplished preacher and teacher, was asked by Fisher to take leadership of the noon meetings at the Upper Room. The two soon began working closely together, while maintaining their relationship with Seymour. In June 1909, they began to publish a paper, The Upper Room, which they continued until May 1911.
The official publication of the Assemblies of God, The Pentecostal Evangel, reprinted excerpts of the paper published by Fisher and Studd in the Aug. 11, 1945, issue. Reports are shared from India, Holland, Germany, South Wales, North China, Chile, South Africa, and England with stories of Pentecostal experiences among Methodists, Catholics, and Anglicans.
Among the excerpts is a statement from George Studd describing seven characteristics reported by those who came in contact with the Pentecostal people and the Pentecostal movement:
1. They always exalt Jesus Christ and honor His precious blood.
2. They honor the Holy Spirit; they give Him room to work and expect His operations.
3. They are earnestly looking for the coming of the Lord. It is almost a watch-word in their lives and in their services that ‘Jesus is coming so soon.’
4. They are certainly a missionary people. They have a burning desire to spread the gospel far and near; and to this end they pray, and give, and go as only Pentecostal people can.
5. They really do trust God for money, seldom taking collections and never begging. At the call of God they get up and go to the end of the earth without a board at their back to guarantee them salary or anything else.
6. The spirit of praise, of worship, and of prayer that is manifested in their private lives and meetings is phenomenal, to say the least.
7. Their joy and liberty in the Spirit are very marked. To those who are not too loaded down with prejudice, this is a very attractive and convincing feature of the Pentecostal experience. Who does not want to be happy and free in God?
The editors of the 1945 Evangel added their own thoughts to these reprints from 36 years previous, “It is a very easy thing to drift away from the simplicity that characterized the Pentecostal movement in its early days, and it will do us all good to read and re-read” these testimonies.
Pentecostals are now 75 years removed from the 1945 reprint. It is still good for us to “read and re-read” the testimonies of what God has done and seek for a refreshing and renewal that will continue to characterize the modern Pentecostal movement.
Read excerpts from the The Upper Room in, “The Early Days of Pentecost” on page 2 of the Aug. 11, 1945, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “The Challenge of ‘Tongues’ Today” by Donald Gee
• “Bountiful Provision for All” by Stanley Frodsham
• “The Fine Linen: Of What Does It Consist?” 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
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