Charles Elmo Robinson: Early Assemblies of God Lawyer, Minister, and Author

This Week in AG History — October 09, 1926

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 08 October 2020

Charles Elmo Robinson (1867-1954) is one of the unsung leaders of the early Pentecostal movement. He was a minister, a lawyer, and for 22 years (1925-1947) the associate editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Born in Adrian, Michigan, and raised near Lamar, Missouri, Charles Elmo Robinson was converted at age 17 and began preaching in local Methodist churches. He attended law school in Washington, D.C., and passed the bar when he was 21. He practiced law with his father in Kansas City for several years before going into full-time gospel ministry. He married Mollie Cole in 1889, and they had several children.

Robinson’s wife contracted tuberculosis in 1899 and was not expected to live. After Robinson read testimonies of healing in the Leaves of Healing publication, he convinced her to go to Zion, Illinois, where she received healing through the ministry of John Alexander Dowie. The next year, Robinson decided to move with his family to Zion, where he was ordained by Dowie in 1902. In about 1905 his first wife died, and then he married Daisy Woolery in 1907, who also had been a member of Dowie’s church.

Robinson received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and became an Assemblies of God minister, pastoring a number of churches in Arkansas. He was ordained by the Arkansas District Council of the Assemblies of God in 1922.

He was serving as secretary-treasurer of the Arkansas district when he accepted a call to move to Springfield, Missouri, to become associate editor of the Pentecostal Evangel. In addition to his duties in the Evangel office, he served as a consulting attorney at the Assemblies of God national offices.

Robinson was highly respected for his sweet humility and simple faith. He loved people and was a friend to the poor and a support to the weak. His coworkers at the Gospel Publishing House called him “Daddy” Robinson. He seldom shouted, but he had a very close relationship with Christ and would speak to God in prayer as if he was speaking to a friend across the desk. One friend said, “You could not be around ‘Daddy’ Robinson for five minutes without knowing he was a real Christian.”

His prolific writings, in addition to articles in the Pentecostal Evangel and other publications, included books on Christian living, children’s books, tracts, etc.

He wrote a at least 17 books, of which Praying to Change Things is probably the best known. He also wrote Broken Ties, God and His Bible, God’s Mysteries Made Known, His Glorious Church, Guided Hearts, The Governor’s Choice (a historical romance), Lifted Shadows, The Marital Relation, A Modern Pentecost, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, The Winning of Aliene, and Victory! Significantly, evangelical publisher Zondervan published several of his books in the 1930s and 1940s, at a time when it was unusual for major evangelical publishers to promote Pentecostal authors.

His children’s books, such as The Adventures of Keo the Colt, have likewise had a wide circulation. Other children’s books he wrote include: The Adventures of Blacky the Wasp, The Adventures of Hush-Wing the Owl, The Adventures of Sally Cottontail, The Gnat’s Lifeboat and Other Stories, The Hilly Billy, and The Not-Ashamed Club.

He also wrote a number of gospel tracts, including “Are You Sick?” “How God Heals,” “Is Pentecost a New Religion?” etc. In addition, he wrote several articles in Sunday School literature and Christ’s Ambassadors Herald under the pen name of “Rajoma.”

After his retirement as associate editor in 1947, Robinson continued in Bible-teaching ministry in local Assemblies in various parts of the nation until ill health kept him from traveling. His wife, known as “Mother” Robinson, had a successful ministry as a prison chaplain and evangelist. She had a “near-death” experience where she felt the Lord speak to her to begin ministering to prisoners. In about 1931 she began holding services for inmates in the county jail in Springfield, Missouri. She was assisted by students from Central Bible Institute. She also ministered to prisoners at the Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City for many years before retiring. Charles Elmo Robinson and his wife are buried in Eastlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri.

Robinson wrote a series of articles in the Pentecostal Evangel called “Homely Things from a Pastor’s Diary” in which he shared personal aspects of his life in a diary format. Most of these columns he wrote for the Pentecostal Evangel were later published in another book he wrote called A Pastor’s Diary (1937). In these pastor’s sketches, Robinson gives a picture of what it is like to be a pastor. Daily activities for a pastor can include counseling, personal prayer, prayer for the sick, and answers to prayer. A pastor may also deal with personal struggles as well as conflicts in general.

Read “Homely Things from a Pastor’s Diary” on page 6 of the Oct. 9, 1926, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Resurrection of the Roman Empire,” by D. M. Panton

• “Division Among Them,” by Robert A. Brown

• “Missionary Value of Gospel Literature,” by William M. Faux

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
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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