Category Archives: Biography

Howard Carter: How a Young British Artist Became a Prominent Pentecostal Bible Teacher

Howard Carter

Howard and Ruth Carter, 1965

This Week in AG History — May 19, 1945

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 17 May 2018

Howard Carter (1891-1971) was an early British Assemblies of God leader who planted congregations, trained ministers, and traveled the world encouraging missionaries. He also gave to the Pentecostal movement some of its most lasting teaching on spiritual gifts.

Carter was raised by a godly mother in the Anglican church but did not show much interest in religion. He was a mediocre student who stuttered and did not find a place of belonging until he discovered his talent as an artist. He gained the highest awards in the Royal Society of Artists’ examinations and began a career as a draftsman, a job at which he excelled.

As a young man he began to experience disillusionment as he realized that the finest works of art fade in time. Even the great English cathedrals with their soaring buttresses and stained glass windows would one day disappear. Carter wanted to give himself to something that could impact eternity.

A friend invited him to visit the Church of Christ, where he was impressed with the informal and friendly services. He accepted Christ and was baptized. He became involved in Friday night meetings with the YMCA, where he met a man whose preaching and exuberant praise during prayer intrigued him. The man invited Carter to join him in Pentecostal meetings that were taking place in a room over a shop outside of Birmingham. Carter listened to the messages and observed the Pentecostal worship services and believed immediately that what he was seeing coincided with the experience of the early church in the New Testament.

He began to seek the Pentecostal experience but struggled with the concept that speaking in tongues was a necessary aspect of receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit. In a May 19, 1945, article in the Pentecostal Evangel, Carter described a deep experience with God when he felt the manifestation of the Spirit in a way that left him spiritually enthralled but did not include speaking in tongues. He recalled, “For a time, this was conclusive evidence to me that the speaking with other tongues was not the evidence of the Baptism … people asked me if I had received the Holy Spirit. I would confidently affirm that I had, yet in my spirit I felt a lack … it was as if I had seen a great deluge of rain falling over a country parched by the sun and greatly refreshing it for the time, but leaving no river flowing through it.”

It was a full year later when Carter experienced the fullness of the Spirit with the evidence of tongues. “From that day on in the year 1915 to the present, I have never ceased to speak with other tongues … not only did the showers fall …but a river has flowed ever since, from which I have been able to slake my thirst daily.”

Interestingly, Carter’s faith developed deep roots while in prison during World War I. Like many Pentecostals in this period, Howard Carter was a pacifist. When Britain passed the Military Service Act in 1916, Carter registered as a conscientious objector. Because he made his living as a draftsman and not as a minister, even though he was pastoring a small Pentecostal work at the time, he was not allowed to claim his religious affiliation as an exemption to military service. On March 16, 1917, Carter was sentenced to 112 days hard labor, locked in solitary confinement, and given a diet of bread and water.

It was during his imprisonment that a lifelong quest to unlock the mysteries of the gifts of the Spirit began. Having nothing to study but his Bible, he spent his confined hours praying and searching through the entirety of the Scriptures, seeking to develop a fuller understanding of spiritual gifts, a topic he felt had been neglected by church theology for centuries. The teaching he developed during this time enabled him to construct a balanced and scriptural teaching on the gifts of the Spirit, which was his greatest contribution to the Pentecostal movement.

Carter went on to direct a Pentecostal Bible school for 27 years, and he was a founding member of the British Assemblies of God, serving first as vice-chairman and then as chairman. During his years as the leader of that movement he made it a goal to visit every Assemblies of God missionary on the field, including taking a two-year missionary journey with his young American protégé, Lester Sumrall.

Resigning his position with the British Assemblies in 1945, Carter continued to travel the world, encouraging missionaries and leading many into the Pentecostal experience through his teaching on spiritual gifts. In 1955, at the age of 64, the confirmed bachelor married Ruth Steelberg, widow of the general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God, Wesley Steelberg. The newlyweds embarked on a world preaching tour, inspiring others to move out in faith and exercise the gifts of the Spirit. They ministered together until Carter’s death in 1971.

Carter’s life motto can be summed up in the prayer he penned in 1923 after attending the great campaign in London of successful evangelist Stephen Jeffreys. As he contrasted his mundane ministry of Bible school teacher with the successful evangelistic crusade he wrote in the front of his Bible, “Let me never lose the all-important truth that to be in Thy will is better than success, and grant that I may ever love Thyself more than Thy service.”

While Carter was never considered a great evangelist, he was a solid teacher and an encourager who made an eternal impact that will outlast even the beautiful architecture of Westminster Abbey.

Read Howard Carter’s article, “Speaking in Tongues as the Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” on page 2 of the May 19, 1945, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “How Pentecost Came to India,” by Minnie Abrams
• “The Tarrying Meeting,” by Stanley Frodsham
• “An Anniversary Testimony,” by A.H. Argue
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 Remarkable Life and Conversion of KFC Founder Colonel Sanders

sanders1400

National Secretary of Radio Lee Shultz (left), Colonel Harland Sanders, and Revivaltime host C.M. Ward (right) share a time of prayer.

This Week in AG History — May 12, 1968

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 10 May 2018

Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980) was best known for founding the iconic restaurant chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken. After he accepted Christ at age 75 in an Assemblies of God church in Louisville, Kentucky, the news of his conversion spread quickly. During the last 15 years of his life, Colonel Sanders shared his Christian testimony countless times. Fifty years ago, the Pentecostal Evangel featured his story.

Sanders’ colorful life and personality earned him a storied place in American history. Young Sanders experienced a difficult childhood and home life. He began working as a farmhand at age 10, he left home at age 13, and he falsified his date of birth and joined the U.S. Army in 1906 at age 16.

Following his 1907 honorable discharge from the Army, Sanders held a succession of short-term jobs. He worked for a railroad, a ferry line, an insurance company, and a chamber of commerce, among other businesses. He was a hard-working entrepreneur, but his temperament led to frequent personality clashes. He studied law and worked as an attorney for three years in Arkansas, but his legal career ended after he got into a courtroom brawl with his own client.

In 1930, Sanders started a restaurant located adjacent to the Shell Oil station in Kentucky that he managed. His cooking became a local sensation and, in 1952, he began franchising his secret “Kentucky Fried Chicken” recipe. Sanders became a well-known philanthropist and was given an honorary title of “Colonel” for his charitable work by the governor of Kentucky. The company grew rapidly to 600 franchises by 1963. Sanders, with his white suit and white hair and beard, helped market Kentucky Fried Chicken and became a familiar image across the world.

Despite this success, Sanders felt troubled in his soul. Over the years, he had been active in church, but he had never wholly committed himself to God. He had developed a habit of cursing that had become ingrained in his lifestyle. He wanted to be free of the guilt and inner torment, but he did not know how to achieve the peace that he sought.

Then, one day in 1965, a stranger approached Sanders on the street and invited him to evangelistic services with the McDuff Brothers at Evangel Tabernacle Assembly of God in Louisville, Kentucky. Sanders visited the church and asked the pastor, Waymon Rodgers, whether God could give him an assurance that he would go to heaven, and whether God could deliver him from his habit of cursing. Rodgers responded affirmatively on both counts and led Sanders in a prayer to accept Christ. Sanders became a faithful member of Evangel Tabernacle.

Sanders frequently testified of his Christian conversion. In a 1979 interview on the PTL Club, Sanders noted that God both saved him and took away his desire to swear. Various Assemblies of God publications also featured Sanders’ testimony. In 1968, Revivaltime radio personalities C. M. Ward and Lee Shultz interviewed Sanders, which resulted in the publication of a small Revivaltime booklet, Colonel Sanders Begins a New Life.

In the Revivaltime booklet, Sanders summarized his testimony:

“You can join the church. You can serve on committees. You can be baptized and receive communion. You can become the superintendent of the Sunday School — and not be saved. I know. It happened in my life. There I was. I didn’t have enough spiritual power in my life to keep me from cussin’. I know there is an experience of salvation. It is my personal experience today. I know I am right with God. I know my sins are pardoned.”

Thirty-eight years after his death, Colonel Sanders remains a larger-than-life figure in American culture. The company he founded, Kentucky Fried Chicken, continues to use Sanders’ image and life story in its marketing campaigns. But Sanders’s life represents much more than fried chicken; his story illustrates that the gospel can provide hope and new life to anyone — regardless of age or social background.

Read the article, “Colonel Sanders Begins a New Life,” on page 14 of the May 12, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Pure Stream of Christianity,” by H. Paul Holdridge

• “Paul Slept Here,” by R. D. E. Smith

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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Walter Higgins: Miracles in the Ministry of a Pentecostal Pioneer

Higgins WalterThis Week in AG History — May 1, 1943

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 3 May 2018 

Walter J. Higgins (1884-1960) was one of the charter members of the Assemblies of God. When the Hot Springs, Arkansas, convention was held in April 1914, he attended as a pastor from Essex, Missouri, along with his family. He pioneered a number of churches in the bootheel of Missouri and also pastored churches in Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and many other places.

Seventy-five years ago, in 1943, he was pastoring First Assembly in Russellville, Arkansas, and he made a visit to the Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Missouri, where he was interviewed, and his testimony was shared with the world.

Higgins said, “I began my ministry in 1911, three months after I was converted.” At that time he held some evangelistic meetings with a man named John Brown near Shawneetown, Illinois, and 81 souls were saved. Then Higgins came to Missouri. From 1912 to 1920 he helped establish 13 churches.

One of the churches was in Canalou, Missouri, where he was assisted by W. W. Childers. He reported that 100 souls were converted during the time he ministered there, although he endured a whipping for the sake of the gospel. After the beating, he went to a believer’s house. It was obvious what had happened to him as even his face was badly beaten. The woman questioned, “What has happened?” Higgins said, “I received a few stripes for Jesus Christ’s sake.” After she prayed and laid hands on his face, he revealed, “The Lord healed me excepting for a few marks.”

After leaving Canalou, Higgins evangelized and pastored churches in 18 states. In Alton, Illinois, Higgins says he preached healing and the people practiced it. People called him for prayer at all hours of the night. In one incident a 3-year-old child was sick and died with a doctor present. The family asked Higgins to come and pray, and he did. Higgins says that after he prayed, the child “opened its eyes and coughed, and the doctor said he had never seen a person survive after being dead.” The doctor attributed it to prayer.

Telling about other healings, Higgins recalled, “I have seen a limb shorter than the other made as long as the other.” He also shared, “One man totally blind was made to see in just a few minutes at Hot Springs, in 1914.” He saw another man healed of pellagra. And while living in Essex, Missouri, he saw three deaf people healed and begin to speak clearly. He also described a case of deliverance from demons. At a meeting in 1920, a man came to the altar, crawling on his stomach and hissing like a snake. Higgins declared, “This is demon power.” Higgins and two others prayed for the man, and he was delivered and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Higgins told how the Lord provided for his large family, which eventually grew to 17 children. In his early ministry he only had one suit of clothes, and it got dirty. He took the clothes to the cleaners “by faith.” He tried to find some work to earn some money, but nothing was available. He continued to pray, and three miles outside of the town he found a silver dollar, which was more than he needed to pay for the cleaning.

Another time he shared that all the family had to eat was potatoes and molasses. They had just settled into a new pastorate. “We had no salt, no shortening, no bread, no flour,” he said. “We boiled the potatoes in water, peeled them and soaked them in the molasses for three days.” Higgins and his family prayed for God to supply their needs. One evening he went to build a fire in the stove, and he found a basket was on the church platform. Higgins reported, “In this basket was flour, butter, bacon, sugar, salt, pepper, and some other articles that I had not asked the Lord for.” He did not know where this basket came from, for the doors had been locked. Once again, God had supplied his needs.

Read the article, “Recollections of a Pioneer Pentecostal Preacher,” on pages 6-7 of the May 1, 1943, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Need of Spiritual Mothers,” by Alice E. Luce

• “By My Spirit, Saith the Lord,” by Wilfred A. Brown

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Further information can be found in “Pioneering in Pentecost: The Experiences of Walter J. Higgins,” on pages 18-22, 34-35 of the Summer 1997 issue 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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Lula Bell Hough: Missionary to China and Japanese P.O.W.

Lula Bell HoughThis Week in AG History — April 21, 1934

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 19 April 2018

Lula Bell Hough (1906-2002) did not take the easy road in life. She sensed God’s call to ministry and was credentialed as an Assemblies of God missionary at the age of 23. She left her comfortable life in America and devoted herself to sharing the gospel in China, where she spent the next 45 years. As an unmarried woman in her 20s and 30s, she endured great deprivation and the ravages of war.

Hough’s greatest challenge on the mission field came during World War II, when she spent seven and one-half months as a Japanese prisoner of war. She did not know whether she would survive the ordeal, which began in December 1941. She later recalled that soldiers kept placing their bayonets to her throat, threatening to kill her. Women around her were raped, and thousands died from starvation. Some resorted to eating human flesh to survive. For the first two weeks of her captivity, she lived on nothing but wheat that was wormy and moldy. After that, she was given small food rations. The food was enough to keep her alive, but she lost 38 pounds in about six months. She was freed in a prisoner exchange — American prisoners were swapped for Japanese prisoners of war.

Living in difficult circumstances for over a decade in China had prepared Hough for the hardship of the prisoner-of-war camp. Hough sent regular letters to her supporters back in the United States. One of these letters, published in the April 21, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, described a trip to areas in south China where there were no Christians.

Hough humorously described having to share her accommodations with loud farm animals:

“When we reached the inn we were soaking wet and cold. After warming ourselves by an open fire in the center of the room we retired to our room. Cobwebs were hanging everywhere, and one corner was occupied by geese, which entertained us with special music at intervals during the night. Our room was really a hall where people had to pass through, and our bed was only a board. The next night we spent in Sha Hoh, and were thankful to find no geese in our room, but soon discovered there were pigs in the room just below us.”

New Christians often suffered for their faith. Hough described several instances of persecution in heart-wrenching detail. She wrote that one 18-year-old woman was beaten by her husband because of her newfound faith. Her mother-in-law scratched the young woman’s face until there were “deep sores and scars.” The villagers joined in the persecution, encouraging the family to sell the young wife into slavery if she didn’t recant her faith in Christ.

Why did Hough and other early missionaries leave their homes in the West and endure difficulties? They were motivated to be faithful to Christ in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Hough explained, “In some of these villages we were the first foreigners the villagers had ever seen, and in many, the first to preach the gospel. God has promised that His Word shall not return unto Him void, so we believe that if we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, He will be faithful in drawing souls unto himself.”

Lula Bell Hough’s life illustrates the early Pentecostal worldview that encouraged full consecration to Christ and His mission. Hough and countless other Assemblies of God missionaries spent their lives sharing the gospel, at great personal cost, and helped to lay the foundation for a worldwide Fellowship that now numbers over 68 million adherents.

Read the entire article by Lula Bell Hough, “Missionary Travels, S. China,” on pages 8-9 of the April 21, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Revelation of the Love of God,” by Kate Knight

• “Spiritual Awaking Follows Earthquake,” by Hilda Wagenknecht

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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Pentecostals, Pacifism, and Religious Liberty in World War I: The Waldron Case

WWI

British soldiers prepare artillery shells and man a gun during World War I.

This Week in AG History — April 5, 1919

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 05 April 2018

Clarence H. Waldron (1885-1926), an early Baptist-turned-Pentecostal minister, became the central figure in the first important criminal court case involving religious opposition to World War I. Newspapers across America carried reports of Waldron’s trial in 1918 for violations of the Federal Espionage Act. Later historians dissected the case, determining that the pastor was likely unjustly convicted based on suspect allegations made by members of his Vermont Baptist church who did not like their pastor’s embrace of the Pentecostal revival.

The pages of the Pentecostal Evangel remained silent about the Waldron case until April 5, 1919, when Samuel R. Waldron, an Assemblies of God minister, reported on the status of his son. The Pentecostal Evangel editor prefaced the elder Waldron’s letter by noting, “Many of our readers have been interested in what is known as the ‘Waldron Case.'” Undoubtedly many Pentecostals were apprehensive about the case’s outcome. Waldron’s case carried weighty implications regarding religious liberty for Americans.

Waldron had been accused of attempting to undermine the U.S. government in a time of war. Early Pentecostals, like most other premillennialists of that era, preached that believers should be fully committed to Christ and His kingdom. They admonished avoidance of worldly entanglements that would conflict with their heavenly allegiance. Accordingly, most Pentecostals avoided politics. Many likewise believed that killing in war was moral compromise. When America entered World War I, it became increasingly difficult for Pentecostals to maintain their pacifist stance in the face of intense societal pressure to support the war effort.

Waldron had a respectable, successful background in Baptist ministry. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1907. When he accepted the pastorate of the Baptist church in Windsor, Vermont, in 1915, the church’s prospects seemed bleak. But Waldron’s energetic and winsome ministry won hearts and converts, and by 1917 attendance had tripled. In that year, a Pentecostal evangelist began holding revival services in Windsor. Waldron and about half of his growing congregation attended the services and embraced the Pentecostal movement. A segment of the church that opposed the revival decided to force the resignation of Waldron. They did this by accusing him of violating the Federal Espionage Act.

Did Waldron “willfully attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, and refusal of duty in the United States military forces”? This was the question that the courts tried to resolve. Waldron’s accusers identified at least two events they believed constituted offenses. First, Waldron refused to allow his church to participate in a patriotic-themed “Liberty Loan Sunday” event. He told his congregation that he believed that Sunday morning services should be reserved for preaching the gospel and not for politics or nationalism. Second, they accused Waldron of advising his church members, through preaching and the distribution of literature, that Christians should not bear arms in war.

A trial in January 1918 ended with a hung jury. Jury members could not reach a verdict, in part because they identified significant bias by witnesses on both sides. Cross-examination seemed to reveal that a church squabble was at the heart of the case, and Waldron’s accusers seemed to be using the law to force the pastor to resign.

At a second trial, in March 1918, the judge did not allow testimony regarding the anti-Pentecostal religious prejudice of Waldron’s accusers. The jury returned a guilty verdict and the judge sentenced Waldron to 15 years in federal prison.

The 1919 letter from Waldron’s father, published in the Pentecostal Evangel, reported that President Woodrow Wilson had commuted his sentence following the conclusion of the war. Waldron, according to his father, almost died from influenza and pneumonia during his year-long incarceration.

Shortly after his release from prison, Clarence Waldron received ordination with the Assemblies of God and moved to California. He spent the remaining years of his life in bivocational ministry, working in secular employment and occasionally ministering alongside Aimee Semple McPherson in San Diego and Los Angeles. Waldron’s trial and imprisonment had broken his health. He died in 1926 at the age of 41.

The trial of Clarence H. Waldron was widely reported in the press in 1917 and 1918, and historians have studied it ever since. The Waldron case highlights the fragility of religious liberty. Historian Gene Sessions, in his definitive 1993 article on the Waldron case published in “Vermont History,” concluded the following:

“In Windsor that national legislation, ostensibly directed against spies, provided a way to remove from town an individual whose religious views had split his congregation and embarrassed his denomination’s state hierarchy and whose pacifism, rooted in those same views, had confused and infuriated local patriots … the Espionage Act became in the hands of Windsor citizens a potent instrument for disciplining, harassing, and punishing a neighbor no longer welcome.”

While Clarence Waldron was tried for his advocacy of pacifism, the Waldron case stands for a broader proposition — that religious liberty needs to be carefully guarded.

Read “A Note of Praise,” by Samuel R. Waldron, on page 14 of the April 5, 1919, issue of the Christian Evangel [the predecessor of the Pentecostal Evangel].

The fascinating account of Waldron’s trial, “Espionage in Windsor: Clarence H. Waldron and Patriotism in World War I,” published in the Summer 1993 issue of Vermont History, is accessible by clicking here.

Other articles also featured in this issue of the Evangel include:

• “The Pentecostal Baptism: Its Foundation,” by David H. McDowell

• “Healed and Filled with the Spirit,” by Mrs. E. M. Whittemore

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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Mark and Huldah Buntain: Helping the Poor of India for Over 60 Years

BuntainThis Week in AG History — March 31, 1968

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 29 March 2018 

Mark Buntain (1923-1989), a longtime Assemblies of God missionary, is perhaps best known for founding a prominent hospital and feeding program in Calcutta, India. He and his wife, Huldah, became iconic symbols of the AG’s melding of gospel proclamation with works of compassion.

Buntain was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the son of Pentecostal minister, Daniel N. Buntain. In his youth he worked as a radio broadcaster, and then after marrying Huldah Monroe in 1944, he began pastoring churches in Saskatchewan. He also ministered as a missionary-evangelist in Taiwan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, and Japan before going to India in October 1954. What started as a one-year mission assignment there turned into a lifetime of ministry. Mark, Huldah, and their 1-year-old daughter, Bonnie, took a three-month voyage across the Atlantic. After arriving in India, they set up a tent on a vacant lot in Calcutta, and started telling people about the love of Jesus.

One day a man entered the tent, interrupting the preaching, and said, “Preacher, feed our bellies and then tell us about a God in heaven.” This changed everything. It became the catalyst for the Buntains to start a feeding program, now part of Calcutta Mercy Missions, that serves thousands of people, mostly children, every day.

Mark’s ministry was featured in the Pentecostal Evangel 50 years ago. The article began with this statement: “Give ye them to eat.” This is exactly what the Buntains did as they carried out their much-needed ministry in North India. Not only did they provide physical food for the hungry, but they sought to meet the medical needs as well as spiritual needs of the people who crossed their paths. A testimony is given of a man named Thottathil Rajan who was suffering from hunger, was a heavy drinker, and a cripple. When New Zealand Evangelist Graham Truscott preached at one of Mark’s meetings, Rajan came and was saved and healed. Soon after this, he felt called to enter Bible school in order to preach the gospel.

On another occasion, Mark went to his office, and a staff member told him, “There’s a small boy dying on the steps!” He hurried out and found a 9-year-old boy who was almost dead. Buntain brought him inside and gradually nursed him back to health. After giving him a bath, he felt even better. Soon the boy went with the other children to attend school. Surprised to discover a new student, the teacher asked him, “Who are you?” “What are you doing here?” Without hesitancy, he quickly responded, “I belong to the Sahib!” (meaning Mark, who was the head missionary).

For many years the Buntains pastored the Assembly of God in Calcutta, which grew to more than 1,500 people in Sunday School each week and 4,000 in church attendance. Mark became the assistant superintendent of the AG in North India and aired a radio broadcast three times a week to a potential audience of 145 million listeners.

Today, more than 60 years later, the Buntains’ hearts to reach the people groups of India still continues. Calcutta Mercy Ministries operates a hospital that serves people free of charge, over 900 churches have been established in North India, there are around 100 schools to educate thousands of students, and a clinic in the red-light district helps individuals involved in sexual trafficking who are as young as 12 years old. Mark and Huldah are possibly best known for the feeding ministry they established, which continues to serve thousands.

Although Mark passed away in 1989, Huldah still helps to oversee the ministry they founded. Calcutta Mercy Ministries continues to feed, educate, and medically assist the poor of Calcutta, India, and surrounding areas.

Read the article, “I Belong to the Sahib,” on page 15 of the March 31, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Tell Me About the Council on Evangelism”

• “Betinho: King of the Night,” by Missionary T. R. Hoover

• “Why Jews Need the Gospel,” by Ernest Kalapathy

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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Henry H. Ness: The Norwegian Immigrant Who Became an Influential Assemblies of God Pastor and Educator

Ness

Henry H. Ness (right) and Ed Eliason traveled together as Assemblies of God evangelists in the 1920s. They were called the ‘Banjo Twins.’

This Week in AG History — March 22, 1970

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 22 March 2018

Henry H. Ness (1894-1970) immigrated to America in search of wealth and opportunity. When he dedicated his life to Christ in the 1920s, however, his focus changed from accumulation of wealth to sharing the gospel. He followed God’s call into the ministry and became an influential Assemblies of God pastor and educator.

Ness was born in Kristiania (Oslo), the capital city of Norway. His parents were devout Christians and were members of the Filadelfia Church, the first Pentecostal congregation in that country. Ness knew the power of God from firsthand experience. He grew up in the midst of the emerging Pentecostal revival, and he spent much of his free time during his teenage years in prayer meetings and church services.

Like many of his friends, Ness felt the lure of America. From 1820 to 1920, about 720,000 Norwegians immigrated to the United States. That was a sizeable portion of the nation, as Norway had a population of 2,653,024 in 1920. In 1911, when Ness was only 17 years old, he left Norway and set sail for America.

Ness initially settled in Chicago and then moved to Minneapolis, where he operated his own drug store. After several years, he sold the business and took a job with Standard Oil Company, where he was promoted several times and held a good position. In 1919, Ness married a young Danish immigrant, Anna, and they began a family together. They were living the American dream.

In his rush to achieve success, Ness neglected his spiritual life. He replaced the heart-felt Christian faith of his Norwegian upbringing with American materialism. Deep inside, he knew that he needed to get right with God, but he suppressed the sense of conviction he felt from the Holy Spirit. He became consumed with the daily activities of life and did not have time for God.

One Sunday evening in the early 1920s, Anna attended a Pentecostal service in Minneapolis and committed herself to God. She came home with a radiant countenance, exclaiming to her husband, “I am saved! Oh, I am saved! You too must be saved. It is so wonderful!” Ness could tell that she had a genuine conversion experience. Anna’s newfound faith brought back memories of the early Pentecostal revival in Norway. Two weeks later, Ness knelt down in his home and consecrated himself to the Lord.

Ness felt called to the ministry and, in 1925, he accepted the pastorate of a small Assemblies of God church in Brainerd, Minnesota. The following year, he moved to Fargo, North Dakota, where he pioneered Fargo Gospel Tabernacle (later First Assembly of God). Ness related well to the city’s large population of Scandinavian immigrants. During the seven years of his Fargo pastorate, the church grew to 500 members. He united several groups of Pentecostals in the region, including a group of former members of the Swedish Free Mission in neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota, where people began experiencing the gift of speaking in tongues in the 1890s. Ness documented the story of this early Scandinavian-American Pentecostal revival in his book, Demonstration of the Holy Spirit.

In 1933, Ness accepted a call to pastor another congregation of Scandinavian immigrants – Hollywood Temple, located in Seattle, Washington. The congregation emerged from a Pentecostal revival among Baptist churches in Seattle in the early 1920s. Founded in 1927 by former members of Elim Swedish Baptist Church, the new congregation was initially called Hollywood Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church (now Calvary Christian Assembly).

Ness led the congregation to affiliate with the Assemblies of God in January 1934. Later that year, he founded Northwest Bible Institute (now Northwest University), which was initially located on the church property. The college flourished, and the church planted several daughter congregations across the area. He served as pastor and college president until 1948, when he was appointed by the Governor to be chairman of the Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles, a position he held for six years. Ness was a respected minister and community leader. He authored several books, including the widely-read Dunamis and the Church (GPH, 1968).

Ness parlayed his background as an immigrant into a platform for building bridges across the religious and national divides. Following World War II, he made frequent trips to other nations and met with religious and political leaders. His obituary in the Pentecostal Evangel noted that Ness had a 30-minute private audience with Pope Pius XII, which helped win religious freedom for the Assemblies of God in Italy.

When Henry H. Ness went to be with the Lord in 1970, he left behind numerous institutions and countless people impacted by his extensive ministry. The young Norwegian immigrant had turned from a life of materialism, consecrating himself to God. Instead of building his own kingdom, Ness helped to build the kingdom of God.

Read Henry H. Ness’s obituary on page 28 of the March 22, 1970, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Corn of Wheat Must Die,” by William F. P. Burton

• “Pressures on the Church,” by C. M. Ward

• “What Chi Alpha Means,” by Johnny Davidson

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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