Dr. Florence J. Murcutt, Early Assemblies of God Missionary and Surgeon

Florence Murcutt (sitting) with Alice Luce at Glad Tidings Bible Institute, San Francisco, California; circa 1920s

This Week in AG History — January 30, 1932

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 02 February 2023

Dr. Florence J. Murcutt (1868-1935) began life in Australia as a Jew, overcame prejudice to become a pioneer female surgeon in the United States, and ended life as an Assemblies of God missionary to Mexicans. She was likely the first medical doctor to serve as an Assemblies of God missionary, yet her name and significant evangelistic work as a Pentecostal has been largely forgotten.

Born in Australia to English parents, Murcutt was raised in the Jewish faith. Murcutt had an inquiring mind and explored the claims of Christianity. As a young woman she read the Bible for herself, cover to cover, in six weeks. She accepted Christ as the messiah and became active in Christian circles. She and her sister, Ada, immigrated to America in 1900 and became national speakers with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Murcutt graduated in 1907 from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel University College of Medicine) and became a surgeon.

Murcutt’s life was forever altered when she attended a Pentecostal camp meeting in Portland, Oregon. At the meeting, a man who was entirely unfamiliar with the French language began prophesying in French under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Murcutt understood the prophecy, which testified that Jesus was the only way to God. Moved by this miraculous prophecy and by the palpable presence of God at the meeting, she knelt at the altar and committed to yield herself fully to God’s purposes for her life.

Murcutt was later baptized in the Holy Spirit and devoted the rest of her life to missionary work. In 1912, she traveled to Palestine, where she distributed gospel literature in Hebrew and Arabic. She was ordained as a missionary by the Assemblies of God on June 18, 1915. Murcutt served with Alice Luce and Henry C. Ball as a missionary to Mexicans living along the borderlands in Texas, California, and Mexico. In 1926, she helped Luce to establish a Spanish-language department of Berean Bible Institute in San Diego. This department was the foundation for what became Latin American Bible Institute in La Puente, California. Murcutt and Luce taught at the school, planted several Spanish and English congregations, and engaged in missionary work in Fiji and Australia. Murcutt died in December 1935 from injuries resulting from being struck by an automobile.

Murcutt, one of the many largely unheralded Pentecostal pioneers, had a testimony that reads like an adventure novel. She had many impressive achievements, but she found the greatest purpose and meaning when she committed herself fully to God.

Read Florence Murcutt’s article, “A Retrospect of the Lord’s Leadings,” on pages 7 and 9 of the Jan. 30, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Secret of Victorious Living,” by Rachel Craig

• “Is Pentecost a New Religion?” by Charles E. Robinson

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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Highlands Child Placement Services: Providing Assemblies of God Adoption Services Since 1966

This Week in AG History — January 26, 1975

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 26 January 2023

In 1946, the Assemblies of God began operating Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to provide a safe place for children who were unable to remain in their family home. Over the next several years, it became apparent that some children might be better served in a foster family or adoptive home rather than an institutionalized group home setting.

In 1959, the General Council approved a resolution “that the Department of Benevolence be encouraged to continue to broaden its program of childcare through the establishing of child placement and adoption agencies at such a time as is deemed feasible, and practical.” This paved the way for the establishment of Highlands Child Placement Services and Maternity Home.

In 1963, Mrs. D.G. Danley donated her three-story, 40-room mansion in Kansas City, Missouri, to the Assemblies of God without restriction. Much renovation was needed before it was ready for children, but churches and individuals, under the direction of the first administrator, James W. Strayer, had it ready for occupancy by June 1966, naming it Highlands Children’s Home, after the Highlands neighborhood in which the building stood.

Strayer came to Hillcrest in Hot Springs to identify children who wanted to live with families and who were legally free to be adopted. Five girls and four boys – ranging in age from 7 to 12 – were transferred from Hot Springs to Kansas City and welcomed by a team of houseparents. In February of 1967 the first Highlands child was placed in a foster home and, that spring, the first legal adoption took place. More than 250 Assemblies of God families made application to take a child into their home during that year.

In 1969, the new administrator, Vernon Cooper, expanded Highlands’ vision to also include prenatal care to unmarried pregnant women and assistance in helping them with options for their future. In 1970, the General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God decided to place more emphasis on child placement rather than replicating the in-house services of the home in Hot Springs. To achieve these visions, a new facility was built in 1972 that was more suitable for housing pregnant women while still serving as offices for the adoption agency. The name was changed to Highlands Child Placement Services.

In the Jan. 26, 1975, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Cooper wrote an article, “Our Children Need Love,” in which he stated that the functions of the home included “placing children for adoption and foster care and working with unmarried mothers.” By this time, Highlands had placed more than 300 children in adoptive homes and served nearly 200 unwed mothers with medical service, counseling, education, and a safe home in which to adjust to the changes of pregnancy. Adoptive families fees provided 25% of the funding, and the other 75% came from donations by Assemblies of God churches and laypersons.

More changes came in later years. A second group home for young women was added in 1984, with most of the mothers ranging in age from 14 through 21, with an average age of 17. In 1990, it was reported that over 700 women had gone through the program with 550 releasing their children for adoption, and the remaining mothers receiving education and assistance in preparing to parent their babies.

In 1992, a toll-free pregnancy-counseling hotline was opened to help women in crisis pregnancies, and in 1993, a home was begun on the 10-acre campus to house pregnant women who already had other children so that they could receive help during their pregnancy without needing to relinquish custody of their older children.

Administrator Robert Michels reported, “we don’t tell the girls or their families what to do. We help them ask questions of themselves and others and make a decision on their goals, on what they want to do. We give them the supportive atmosphere they need in which to decide.” Abortion was never an option offered through the services of Highlands, whose leadership stated their belief that “abortion is death. We talk about life.”

In 2006, after placing over 3,000 children in adoptive homes, Highlands relocated to the 62-acre campus of Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs and continued its emphasis on providing help and hope for pregnant women and a safe place for children.

In 2018, the decision was made to restructure the Highlands adoption program to better serve children under new laws affecting adoption placement with its placement services shifting to providing a consultation and support service for singles or adoptive couples at any point in their adoption journey. This shift allowed Highlands to continue ministering to a larger demographic of the Assemblies of God. Highlands is also able to facilitate adoptions in Missouri and Arkansas. It is anticipated that several other states will be added in the near future. The maternity home remains in Hot Springs while the adoption networking agency is based in Springfield, Missouri.

While the needs and responses of Highlands Child Placement Services have evolved over the years, the mission remains the same as that stated by Vernon Cooper, the author of the 1975 article and administrator of Highlands for more than 20 years: “We cannot ignore the needs of our society. We must realize God has placed us here in a unique position for ministry. We must reach out to those in need – care for them and love them. It’s what God would have us do and with his help we will do the very best we can.”

Read the article, “Our Children Need Love,” on page 23 of the Jan. 26, 1975, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Is Jesus Really Coming Back?” by Ian McPherson

• “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” by C.M. Ward

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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Pentecostal History by the Numbers: 2022 FPHC Report

Another year has come and gone, and the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) has continued to expand its influence and its collections—assisting researchers, processing archival materials, and making materials accessible online. THANK YOU to staff members, donors, and church leaders for helping to build both the Assemblies of God and God’s Kingdom through our work at the FPHC!

The FPHC has become the largest Pentecostal archives in the world – a world class repository of materials documenting the Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement. Church leaders, scholars, students, and other researchers around the world depend on the FPHC’s resources and services.

Here are some highlights from 2022:

150,000 Catalog Records

In 2022, the FPHC created 7,750 new catalog records, which broke the 150,000 mark. As of December 31, 2022, the FPHC catalog contained 155,115 catalog records. Each record represents an item or a collection that has been processed and that is now in the FPHC online database, which allows end-users to search, do research, and place orders for materials.

The growth of the FPHC’s collection has been remarkable. When Darrin Rodgers came in July 2005 to serve as director, the FPHC catalog contained about 49,000 records. In 17 years, the FPHC more than tripled the number of records. This has been possible because of the behind-the-scenes work by FPHC staff of collecting, preserving, and making accessible these treasures of the faith.

163 Languages

The Assemblies of God is diverse (44% of AG USA adherents are non-Anglo) and global (95% of AG adherents live outside the US). This is reflective of the incredible growth and diversity of the broader Pentecostal movement. Importantly, the FPHC seeks to document this diverse and global constituency. In 2022, 10% of new FPHC catalog records were for materials in languages other than English. The FPHC now holds materials in 163 languages (up from 158 languages in 2021).

The ten languages with the largest numbers of catalog records are below:

English143,987
Spanish3,216
Norwegian1,795
Swedish1,166
French781
Finnish760
German656
Italian280
Portuguese278
Russian242

3,000 Reference Questions

Each year, countless thousands of people use the FPHC’s research website. The vast majority find what they need on the website. In 2022 approximately 3,000 thousand people (NLRC employees, church leaders, students, people in the pew, and other researchers) contacted FPHC staff for additional personal assistance. The FPHC’s Reference Archivist, Glenn Gohr, alone fielded 2,368 request inquiries. Other FPHC staff members assisted numerous others.

1 Million Views

In 2022, the FPHC blog (https://ifphc.wordpress.com) reached 1 million views since its launch in 2007. We received just over 100,000 views in 2022. The blog features “This Week in AG History” columns, as well as other posts related to Pentecostal history and the Heritage Center.

100 Years of the Pentecostal Evangel

The FPHC is making progress on adding digital resources to its website. All known surviving issues of the Pentecostal Evangel (1913-2014) are now on the FPHC website. Our Digital Archivist, Todd Trask, is in the process of re-scanning issues from 1992 to 1999, replacing the remaining low resolution black and white scans created 23 years ago. The Pentecostal Evangel, our flagship AG periodical for 100 years, continues to promote our AG testimony.

61 Services at 25 Churches and Events

In 2022, the FPHC’s Heritage Speaker, Ruthie Oberg, spoke in 61 services at 25 churches and district and national events in 10 states. Her compelling messages bring our heritage and testimony to life, furthering the mission of the FPHC and of the Church.

_________________

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

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A Methodist Revival with Signs and Wonders in 1901 Propelled Barney Moore to Become an Early Pentecostal Missionary to Japan

This Week in AG History — January 17, 1931

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 19 January 2023

When Barney S. Moore (1874-1956) converted to Christ in 1901, it was during a revival with signs and wonders in a Methodist church. His testimony, published in the Jan. 17, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, recounted that the Methodist missionary at the revival “was preaching nearly everything that is now preached in Pentecost.”

Moore recalled that, as the congregation was in quiet prayer, the “heavens opened and a rushing mighty wind” filled the small Methodist church. About one-third of the congregation fell to the ground, overwhelmed by God’s glory and the power of the Holy Spirit. Moore experienced something unexpected — he began speaking in a language he had not learned. At first the pastor was uncertain how to respond to the revival and the gift of tongues. But they soon realized they had experienced something akin to the spiritual outpouring in the second chapter of Acts. At the end of the revival, Moore counted 85 people who had decided to repent of their sins and follow Christ.

At the encouragement of his pastor, Moore attended Taylor University (Upland, Indiana) and studied for the ministry. At his first pastorate, in Urbana, Illinois, in 1904, the power of God fell again. During the revival, he wrote, a lady in his church spoke in tongues she had not learned, which Moore deemed to be classical Hebrew and Latin.

Moore was ordained in 1906 by the Metropolitan Church Association, a small Holiness denomination. Before long he heard about the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909) in Los Angeles, which had become a focal point of the emerging Pentecostal movement. He immediately recognized the similarity between his own spiritual experiences and what was happening at the Azusa Street Revival. He cast his lot with the Pentecostals.

In 1914, Moore and his wife, Mary, followed God’s call to serve as missionaries in Japan. They established a thriving mission and, in 1918, affiliated with the Assemblies of God. When a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 1923, devastating Yokohama and Tokyo and killing 140,000 people, the Moores turned their efforts toward relief work. Moore wrote a widely-distributed book, The Japanese Disaster: or the World’s Greatest Earthquake (1924), and spent years raising money to help the suffering Japanese people.

The testimony of Barney Moore demonstrates that early Pentecostals did not emerge in a vacuum. They were heirs to earlier revival traditions, including those in Methodist and Holiness churches. Moore was careful to document that his experience of speaking in tongues came before the broader Pentecostal movement came into being. His story also shows that early Pentecostals, when confronted by human suffering, were among those who demonstrated Christ’s love not just in word, but in deed.

Read Barney Moore’s article, “Glorious Miracles in the Twentieth Century,” on pages 2-3 of the Jan. 17, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Gift of Faith,” by Donald Gee

• “Evidences of God’s Grace in Japan,” by Jessie Wengler

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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50 Years Ago: The Assemblies of God Participated in Key 73, the Interdenominational Evangelism Emphasis

This Week in AG History —January 14, 1973

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 12 January 2023

Fifty years ago, the Assemblies of God participated in Key 73, an interdenominational effort to reach everyone in North America with the gospel.

Evangelism has always been an integral part of the Assemblies of God. In the early years of the Fellowship, traveling evangelists moved from town to town to hold revival meetings in churches, storefront buildings, schoolhouses, brush arbors, tents, and on street corners. Others evangelized door-to-door and through Bible studies, children’s meetings, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and radio programs. Over time, national outreach programs were developed, including Children’s Ministries, Girls Ministries, Royal Rangers, National Youth Ministries, and Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.

From time to time the AG promoted various evangelistic emphases, such as the Council on Evangelism (1968), Council on Spiritual Life (1972), “Nothing’s Too Hard For God” (2007), and localized literature witness campaigns.

Key 73 was one such evangelistic program in which the Assemblies of God participated during the early 1970s. Over 130 denominational groups pledged their support to the common goals of this outreach.

The first planning meeting for this project took place in 1967 when representatives from various denominations gathered near the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Arlington, Virginia, in what was called the “Key Bridge Consultation.” The organizers felt they needed six years of preparation to carry on this wide-scale evangelistic thrust. Thus “Key 73” became the name of the project.

The goal was to actively carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) by reaching every home in North America in 1973 with a witness to Christ. It was hoped that issues like disunity, cynicism, and selfishness would fade away and be replaced with God’s love. Key 73 coincided with other interdenominational spiritual movements, such as the charismatic renewal and the Jesus People movement.

After three years of planning, Theodore A. Raedecke, secretary of evangelism for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, was appointed executive director for the interdenominational project. He said, “We feel that coordinated, concerted focus on evangelism is long overdue.” Key 73 sought to promote Christian witness at individual, congregational, and national levels. The program coincided with the fifth year of the Assemblies of God’s Plan of Advance, another evangelism emphasis which included a five-year plan of intentional soul-winning through the enablement of the Holy Spirit.

Members of the executive committee for Key 73 included Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Victor Nelson of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, John D. Waldron of the Salvation Army, Thomas F. Zimmerman of the Assemblies of God, and many others.

The Assemblies of God encouraged its churches and members to participate in Key 73 in several specific ways: a week of prayer (Jan. 7-14); Bible readings from God’s Word For Today and the Pentecostal Evangel; a spring community contact campaign called “Try Jesus”; spot TV and radio announcements from the AG Radio-TV Department; Spiritual Life (June 3) and Outreach (Sept. 2) Evangels; Revivaltime promotions; various evangelism and literature witness campaigns across the country; and evangelism outreaches promoted by local churches. Outreach also included ministering to various ethnic groups, people living in inner-cities and in correctional institutions, and people who cannot see or have hearing impairments.

What were the results of this concerted evangelism initiative? Key 73 resulted in the distribution of 35 million Bibles and in the formation of 50,000 home Bible study groups. Key 73 provided reinforcement for the ongoing Christian renewal movements in the early 1970s by organizing churches to help meet people’s spiritual needs.

T.E. Gannon, the national director of the Division of Home Missions (now U.S. Missions), wrote an article about Key 73 and its impact. Read, “New Church Evangelism Plays a Vital Role,” by T.E. Gannon on page 15 of the Jan. 14, 1973, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How to Develop a Devotional Life,” by Ralph W. Harris

• “Why the Bible is Reliable,” by Stanley M. Horton

• “Satan’s Army of 200,000,000,” by C.M. Ward

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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Assemblies of God Missionaries Ralph and Frances Hiatt: Pioneering a Church in Argentina 55 Years Ago

This Week in AG History —January 7, 1968

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 05 January 2023

Ralph and Frances Hiatt were appointed Assemblies of God missionaries to Argentina in March 1964. Three years later they moved to San Juan, Argentina, in May 1967 with the intention to plant a church. After just eight months they were able to give a glowing report of their evangelistic efforts in the Jan. 7, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

As they began their missionary work in San Juan, the Hiatts prayed about the best way to proceed. They were joined by Angel Vega, a recent graduate of an Assemblies of God Bible school in Argentina. Since they were living in the Southern Hemisphere, May was the start of winter. Because of the cold, they were prevented from holding outdoor evangelistic campaigns until maybe the warmer days of October. At the time, San Juan was a busy, university town nestled at the foot of the Andes Mountains with over 300,000 people.

Together they prayed, “Lord, what is our first step?” The answer led them to rent a hall in the center of the city. Looking through ads in the newspaper, they found a 42-foot-long hall in the heart of the city which was exactly what they needed. They claimed it for God!

Over the next three weeks they constructed a platform and assembled a pulpit and pews. They also placed windows in the front entryway of the building. Next, they used a loudspeaker on their Speed the Light car and distributed over 4,000 invitations to come to revival meetings. Their expectations were high, but at the opening service not even one person came. They did not give up. They continued holding services nightly.

Eventually curiosity seekers came, and some stayed. Most of these were university students. The building became known as Centro Biblico (Bible Center). Instead of a traditional worship service followed by a sermon, the Hiatts decided to broadcast taped or live organ music through a loudspeaker mounted above the outside door to draw in people from the streets. A projector also showed a rotation of slides of Bible verses and an occasional notice: “We invite you to come in without obligation.” Angel stood outside on the sidewalk talking to people to encourage them to enter the Bible center.

Those who came into the building were greeted with music from an electric organ, a Hawaiian guitar, and other instruments. They were encouraged to look through a literature rack to pick up any gospel tracts. They were also invited to ask questions. Many of them were students, and they had a lot of questions about the Bible and God, which the Hiatts did their best to answer.

Whenever a small group of people assembled, the Hiatts led them in prayer followed by a few choruses and a short sermonette, often accompanied by a chalk drawing to illustrate the message. After one group left, then another group might come in, and the process started all over again. After filling out a visitor’s card, each person was given a Gospel of John. Follow-up could be done later.

This continued night after night. Some came back, bringing their friends to listen to the music or ask questions. Although these services were not conventional, the gospel was being shared, and souls were being saved.

Ralph Hiatt expressed, “As new missionaries in a new city, we cannot imagine the possibilities that might lie in the future for the San Juan Bible Center.” He concluded by saying, “We are enjoying the thrill that accompanies those who stand on the threshold of great opportunities and know they are following the quiet leading of the Holy Spirit.”

This is just one example of missions work in Argentina from 55 years ago. In 2020, the Assemblies of God had 27 missionaries and 1.2 million Assemblies of God members and adherents in Argentina.

Read, “Unique Evangelism in Argentina,” on pages 12 and 13 of the Jan. 7, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:

• “Good Works Were Not Enough,” by Marguerite Mandel

• “Why We Believe in the Second Coming,” by Robert B. Larter

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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The Assemblies of God’s Historical Position Against Antisemitism

Richard Bishop, standing with his wife, Evelyn, at the Victory Servicemen’s Center in Seattle, Washington, where their church assisted regularly during World War II; circa 1944.

This Week in AG History — December 29, 1963

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 29 December 2022

“From the Middle Ages to modern times there have been many instances of discrimination, persecution, and even atrocities committed against the Jews by so-called Christians or Christian nations.” This opening statement of Richard W. Bishop’s article “How A True Christian Regards the Jews” in the Dec. 29, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel sets the course for his defense of the Assemblies of God historical position on antisemitism.

Antisemitism (a prejudice and/or discrimination against Jews as individuals and as a group) has played a part in the relationship between Christianity and Judaism since the early days of the Christian movement. Initially, Christianity was viewed as a Jewish sect; but as more Gentiles converted, including the Roman emperors, Christianity became the dominant religion of the empire. Many of the Early Church fathers, with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Messiah, saw the purposes of Judaism as being fulfilled in Christ.

During the Middle Ages a pattern of discrimination crept into Christian society. Various localities passed laws prohibiting Jews from holding government positions, serving as court witnesses, or marrying Christians. Beginning in the 11th century, the Crusades had a direct impact on the Jewish/Christian relationship, as thousands of Jewish communities experienced looting, rape, and murder at the hands of Christian soldiers. During the 14th century outbreak of Bubonic Plague, Jews were accused of poisoning the water sources of Christian villages and an estimated 100,000 Jews were murdered as retaliation. In some European cities they were herded into ghettos and forced to wear a distinctive symbol on their clothing to mark their racial identity.

In 1903, Russian secret police published a forged document, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” purporting to expose a Jewish conspiracy for world domination. This was exposed as a forgery in 1921, but not before many people embraced its contents. Alongside such documents, the rise of social Darwinism led to the increase of belief in the superiority of some races and the inferiority of others.

After the Holocaust of World War II, the real-life consequences of antisemitism were made clear to many Christians. In 1945, the General Council of the Assemblies of God passed the following resolution: “WHEREAS, We have witnessed in this generation an almost universal increase in antisemitism and this has resulted in the greatest series of persecutions perpetrated in modern times, and WHEREAS, Even in the United States of America there has been an alarming increase in antisemitism; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the General Council hereby declare its opposition to antisemitism and that it disapproves of the ministers of the Assemblies of God identifying themselves with those who are engaged in this propaganda.”

When Bishop, at that time serving as pastor of Calvary Temple in Chicago, published his article in 1963, there had been several recent reports of antisemitism in the newspapers. Bishop posed the question to Evangel readers, “Have these acts been committed by true Christians?” He answered his own question with “an emphatic No!”

Bishop, reflecting the position of the Assemblies of God, outlined three attitudes that mark a true Christian toward the Jewish people. The first is a sense of gratitude. “Christians are indebted to the Jews for both the Old and the New Testament … [and] also [for] their Savior.” He also counted a debt owed to the “dedicated Jews who brought the Christian message to the Gentiles and not the other way around.”

The second attitude should be a sense of kinship. “Jews and Christians have much in common … Both acknowledge the same God. Both accept the Old Testament … Both emphasize love for God and for one’s neighbor …Both expect the Messiah … There is not to be one Messiah for the Jews and another for the Gentiles.”

Bishop says a third attitude must be one of a sense of deep concern. “The desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. This is the desire of every genuine believer … For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (or Gentile); for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”

Bishop, who later went on to teach Bible, history, and homiletics at Northwest Bible college in Kirkland, Washington, and finished his career as professor of practical theology at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri, argued that these attitudes must be the response of every true believer in Christ. “There is a radical difference between a true believer and one who is a Christian only in name or by profession … a real Christian manifests love for all men. He loves the Jewish people and prays for their welfare.”

Last month the Assemblies of God released a statement again condemning antisemitism in all forms.

Read the article, “How a True Christian Regards the Jews,” on page 12 of the Dec 29, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “New Power for the New Year” by Hardy Steinberg

• “A Crack in the Walls” by Delmar Guynes

• “Prayer Brings Revival to Lagos” by Robert Webb

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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Freddie’s Christmas: The Heart-Wrenching Story of Pentecostal Songwriter F. A. Graves

F. A. Graves with wife, Vina. Standing in the back are their children (l-r): Irene, Carl, and Arthur, circa 1920s.

This Week in AG History —December 19, 1931

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 22 December 2022

A heart-wrenching true story, titled “Freddie’s Christmas,” appeared in the Pentecostal Evangel 91 years ago this week. “Freddie” referred to Frederick Arthur Graves (1856-1927), the noted songwriter who became an early leader in the Pentecostal movement. 

“Little Freddie” began life as the son of a tailor, in a family of four boys and one girl. The family had weekly devotions and worship, and the children were taught to love and trust God. Freddie’s father worked long hours, going door-to-door to find work measuring and making clothes for men and boys. Eventually the work became too much, and he became sick and died. Freddie’s mother was frail and tried to care for the children by herself, but within three years she developed tuberculosis and also passed away. The children were farmed out to different homes. 

Freddie was taken in by Mr. Hollis, a man who was “honest in his dealings with his neighbors but who was godless.” It seemed that he wanted a boy for the sole purpose of helping with chores on the farm. Freddie was given many tasks to do on the farm and worked very hard, but often he was sad. After saying his prayers, he would climb into his bed in the attic and “cry himself to sleep in his loneliness and homesickness.” 

Mr. Hollis was very unkind to Freddie, often making the hapless young boy think it was his own fault that he became an orphan. Whenever cookies and other treats were shared among Mr. Hollis’ other children, Freddie was left out because he was “only an orphan.” When Christmas arrived, the children hung their stockings by the fireplace, and they had to beg their parents to let Freddie also have a stocking. Finally, the parents let Freddie put up a stocking next to the other ones. 

Bright and early on Christmas morning, the other children gleefully opened their stockings. But Mr. Hollis told Freddie that he could not touch his until all the chores were done, so he bravely trudged through the snow and cold to milk the cows and feed the calves and chickens. After the chores were completed and everyone had finished breakfast, the man finally gave Freddie permission to open his stocking. “Freddie sat down on the floor and began very carefully to take out the shavings in the top of his stocking — on and on he went still taking out shavings clear down to the toe. Not one thing in all that stocking but shavings!” 

Freddie’s heart almost stopped beating — and then Mr. Hollis began to roar with laughter, slapping his knee and saying to his wife, “That is the best joke I’ve had in a long time!” And he continued to laugh. 

Freddie slowly picked up every shaving and ran to the barn as fast as he could. He climbed up into the hayloft, out of sight, and sobbed for a long time. Finally he talked with God and felt God’s comfort and peace, despite the circumstances. As it began to grow dark, he remembered there were more chores to be done, so he climbed down and faithfully went to work doing his chores. As he worked, the Lord enabled him to forgive the man who had been so mean to him. 

Not long after this incident, Mr. Hollis began acting strangely and became increasingly moody and unhappy. (Some whispered it might be because of his cruelty to the poor orphan boy.) Then one day he went out to the barn and hung himself. Freddie, who had known much heartache and grief himself, was able to whisper words of comfort to the widow in her loss. Later, she hugged him and told Freddie what a comfort he had been to her. 

The Lord helped Fred Graves to be a blessing, despite all the hardship he had borne. Years later he became a minister of the gospel, overcoming significant difficulties and receiving healing from epilepsy. He obtained ministerial credentials from Christian faith healer John Alexander Dowie in 1899 and transferred his ordination to the Assemblies of God in 1916. 

Graves’ testimony inspired him to write numerous songs, including “He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me,” “He’ll Never Forget to Keep Me,” and “Honey in the Rock.”

Frederick A. Graves’ Christmas testimony reminds us of the hardships faced by early Pentecostals, and also illustrates how God can bring beauty from tragic circumstances. 

Read Vina P. Graves’ article, “Freddie’s Christmas,” on pages 6 and 13 of the Dec. 19, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel

Also featured in this issue: 

• “A Child is Born,” by Ernest S. Williams 

• “The Meaning of Christmas,” by C.H. Spurgeon 

• “When Sankey Sang the ‘Shepherd Song’ on Christmas Eve” 

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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Leonard Bolton: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary to China

This Week in AG History — December 16, 1939

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 15 December 2022

Leonard George Bolton (1900-1961), veteran missionary to China, served 37 years as an exemplary servant of God and people. Despite burying his wife and three children, a God-given love for the Lisu people drove him to dedicate his life to establishing a strong Pentecostal church beyond the Mekong River.

Bolton was born in Bournemouth, and his family were nominal members of the Church of England. When his father, William, became ill with tuberculosis it depleted the family’s finances. In 1906, news came of a Pentecostal revival taking place at Emmanuel Hall in their town. The family attended the meetings where William was saved, healed, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

After that, church became a regular part of Bolton family life. Once, when Bolton was about 12 years old, he and his siblings were playing “church.” The older sister gave a Bible lesson and Leonard felt the presence of God speaking to him about his soul. He knelt by his chair and poured his heart out to God, vowing to serve Him only. Soon after this, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

At 17, Bolton joined the Royal Air Force to fight in the first World War. Fired upon by Germans while on a rescue mission, his companions were killed and he was blinded by mustard gas. Though sick with trench fever and his eyes feeling as though they were on fire, the illness provided a respite from the fighting, giving time for the young soldier to consider his direction in life. Despite the bandages on his eyes, Bolton had a vision of Jesus who told him, “I want you to be my soldier. I need you to carry my message to the ends of the earth.”

Bolton received complete healing from the attack and, after armistice was declared, he returned home ready to fulfill the call of God on his life. He began by preaching in a Romani (sometimes called Gypsy) camp set up near his town. Among the others working with him was a young lady named Olive Chin Chin. They later married and began plans together for missions work wherever God would send them.

After hearing a missionary from the Tibetan-Burma border, the Boltons began to make plans to assist him. There were no Pentecostal mission sending agencies so they organized what came to be called “The Tibetan Border Mission.” They embarked on a tedious sea voyage from England on Oct. 20, 1924, landing on Burma soil four weeks later. After three days of anxious waiting, they learned that their host missionary, Alfred Lewer, fearing to take the rope bridge across the Mekong, had attempted to swim the river and drowned on his way to greet them.

Not knowing what to do, they traveled to the next town where they met David, a Chinese evangelist, who helped them find the missionary’s widow. God quickly began to bless the new missionary as he picked up the unfinished work of his predecessor.

Soon Leonard and Olive anticipated the birth of their first child. But joy turned to sorrow as both mother and baby died in childbirth. Bolton struggled deeply and questioned whether the work was worth the cost. After a time of grief, God brought peace and flooded his heart with a new love — the Lisu tribe, a mountainous people who had known only hardship, poverty, and oppression by their Chinese neighbors.

A trip to visit these people was an adventure in faith that included crossing the rope bridge on the Mekong where Lewer lost his life. The rope bridge consisted of two parallel ropes – one to grip with your hands and one to walk upon. Bolton wrote about this adventure in the Dec. 16, 1939, Pentecostal Evangel: “Fifty miles on the trail brought us to a rope bridge crossing the Mekong. Although one strand was broken, we praise God we were enabled to cross safely with all our supplies … we entered a Lisu village where no foreigner had ever been … we stayed for a week, holding meetings every night … before we left, many families had repented and were rejoicing in their newfound Savior.”

When a civil war broke out in the province, all missionaries were evacuated. Bolton then visited the United States where he married Ada Buchwalter and joined the Assemblies of God in 1928. After returning to China, God blessed the union with four children, although two of them did not live past infancy.

In 1949, the Communist Revolution forced all missionaries to leave China. The Boltons spent their remaining years serving in Jamaica, Pakistan, Burma, and Formosa (now Taiwan). After only seven months on the island of Formosa, Bolton experienced a fatal heart attack. His last words to Ada spoke of his life’s passion and his love for the mountainous people who were so responsive to the gospel: “The record is finished and I will meet you in the morning … I can see them coming …the Lisu.”

Note: The rope bridge over the Mekong River is still considered one of the most dangerous bridges in the world.

Read the article, “Journeying Among the Lisu,” on page 10 of the Dec. 16, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Hidden Ministry” by John Wright Follette

• “God’s Delightful Surprises” by Stanley Frodsham

• “The Birth of Our Unique Savior” by Walter Kallenbach

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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Monroe and Betty Grams: Assemblies of God Missionary Educators in Latin America

This Week in AG History — December 4, 1977

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 08 December 2022

Monroe David Grams (1927-2021) and Betty Jane Grams (1926-2000) devoted their lives to sharing the gospel in Latin America, where they served as Assemblies of God missionaries and educators.

Born in Rosendale, Wisconsin, Monroe was the youngest of 12 children born of German immigrants. Growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, he developed a strong work ethic. He graduated with a three-year diploma from North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University [NCU]) in Minneapolis in 1948, and there he met Betty Jane Haas. They were married May 1, 1949, when he was pastoring a church at Cataract, Wisconsin. Betty was born in Lead, South Dakota, and had a Hispanic and German background.

Both Monroe and Betty were ordained by the Wisconsin-Northern Michigan District. Feeling called to missions work, they were both appointed as AG missionaries to Bolivia in May 1951, where they attended six months of language school at Cochabamba and then moved to the capital city of La Paz, where they ministered until July 1969. During this time, Monroe Grams was pastor, director, and founder of La Paz Evangelistic Center and national superintendent (1960-65). He also started a night Bible school in La Paz (1960) and Altiplano Bible Institute at General Pando, Bolivia (1955). The school in Bolivia trained pastors for Aymara Indian churches and later relocated to La Paz in 1969. Monroe and Betty Grams each later earned a B.A. degree from NCU in 1963. Monroe also earned an M.A. degree in communication and anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

During the 1960s, the Gramses helped develop PACE (Program of Applied Christian Education), a traveling on-site leadership training program throughout 25 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Monroe became the founder and dean of Latin America Advanced School of Theology (LAAST) in 1968. The Gramses served as missionaries to Argentina from July 1969 to March 1977. Monroe and Betty Grams served with Christian Training Network (formerly PACE) in Latin America from 1977 to December 2003.

Over the course of their missionary career, the Gramses taught and mentored pastors and their spouses in every Spanish-speaking country in Latin America. Betty wrote articles for Women’s Touch, Mountain Movers, the Pentecostal Evangel, and other publications. She also authored a Spanish music teaching manual and wrote Women of Grace, a popular Bible study book. Monroe and Betty coauthored the Spanish family book, Familia, Fe y Felicidad (1984).

After 51 years of marriage, Betty Jane passed away in 2000. The next year, Monroe married Clemencia Hackley, who had a long career as a missionary working with Hispanics and Spanish language literature. They retired to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they lived for close to 20 years when Monroe passed away on July 31, 2021.

The Grams family has had four generations of AG ministers. Monroe’s father, Gottlieb Grams, received his ministerial license when he was in his 60s, and seven of the nine Grams boys were ordained. Two of Monroe’s three sisters were married to AG ministers. Monroe and Betty Jane Grams’ three children followed in the ministry. Son Rocky Grams is an AG missionary in Argentina, and both daughters, Mona Re and Rachel Jo, married AG ministers.

For over 40 years, Monroe and Betty Grams made a significant contribution to the training and development of church leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Forty-five years ago in the Pentecostal Evangel, Betty Jane Grams shared a powerful testimony of an Argentine woman named Pilar whom she had befriended. The woman was diagnosed with cancer and began going through treatments. She was scared and needed a friend, so Betty Jane began to meet with her to pray with her, encourage her, and enlighten her about the gospel of Christ. She shared some books on miracles and shared about the love of God. One part of their conversation centered around a wood carving given to Pilar’s father many years earlier. It depicted a man standing at a door, and she did not know who this was. She always had wondered. Betty Jane shared that Jesus is standing at our heart’s door knocking and wants us to let Him in.

Pila was excited to know the meaning of the wood carving and soon accepted the reality of the gospel. She prayed the sinner’s prayer and asked Jesus to come into her heart. She was saved at Christmastime, and soon her countenance glowed as she realized the joy of salvation. Her husband also noticed the difference.

Betty Jane Grams invited Pilar and her husband to attend the Christmas cantata that their church was presenting. Pilar and her husband, Walter, came, and they both had tears of joy as they realized the precious meaning of Christmas. It was Pilar’s first Christmas since she had given her heart to God. Not long after this, Pilar’s cancer worsened, and she passed away. The Gramses had left to come back to the United States, and Walter wrote about her death: “When she left us, she wore a resplendent smile. Her face simply glowed with a beautiful life. Now I must believe in eternal life.”

The Gramses had busy schedules, but they did not let their leadership, educational, and writing responsibilities prevent them from ministering to hurting people.

Monroe and Betty Grams started life in small towns on the northern tier of the United States, but they ended life as prominent Assemblies of God missionaries in Latin America. Ministry became a way of life for the Grams family, and countless family members have devoted their lives to sharing the gospel at home and abroad.

Read “You Have Led Me to the Light” by Betty Jane Grams on page 8 of the Dec. 4, 1977, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Disappointed Angels,” by C.M. Ward

• “What Happened That Night?” by Russell R. Wisehart

• “Through Heaven’s Gate,” by Edith Manchester

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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