Category Archives: Biography

John P. Kolenda: The German-American Assemblies of God Missionary to Brazil

Kolenda_1400bThis Week in AG History — July 11, 1942

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 12 July 2018 

John Peter Kolenda (1898-1984), an Assemblies of God missionary to Brazil and Germany, was a man of vision who was sold out for the gospel. He pastored churches in the U.S., founded churches on the mission field, established Bible schools, started printing plants, and taught extension courses. He never grew tired of doing the Lord’s work.

Kolenda was born in Germany and lived in Brazil from ages 4 to 11 before his family immigrated to the United States. After he was converted at age 18, he began reading Maria Woodworth-Etter’s classic Pentecostal book, Signs and Wonders, which led him to accept divine healing. Not long afterwards, through the ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson, he and other members of his family were filled with the Spirit.

After graduating from Southern California Bible Institute (now Vanguard University), Kolenda was ordained in 1922. He met his future wife, Marguerite Westmark, in Bible school, and they were married later that same year.

Kolenda sold cars in Los Angeles for a short time after graduation, and then after he was married he served as an evangelist for about six months, before pastoring a series of small churches in Michigan. The Kolendas raised two daughters, Dorothy and Grace Ann.

Kolenda had always felt a call to serve on the mission field in Brazil. His wife also shared that calling. He was over 40 years old when the door finally opened for him to go as a missionary to Brazil in 1939, even as World War II was breaking out in Europe. He arrived in Rio de Janeiro and rented an apartment as he became reacquainted with the people of his youth. Soon he felt directed to move to the state of Santa Catarina which had a great need for the gospel.

Kolenda started quite a few churches in Brazil during the 14 years he ministered there. When he left for his first furlough, over 100 churches or preaching points had been established.

He returned to Brazil and continued teaching at Bible conferences and served as the superintendent of the work in the state of Santa Catarina. He established a monthly publication called Messenger of Peace and provided Sunday School literature to his constituents. He also served as a missionary to Germany for 10 years. He later returned to both mission fields to evangelize and teach in their Bible schools. Through his preaching and teaching he touched untold thousands. His work in training young ministers in Brazil and Germany has significantly shaped the Pentecostal work in both those countries.

The Kolenda family made a large impact on the Pentecostal movement. One of John P. Kolenda’s older brothers, Paul Kolenda, was an Assemblies of God pastor in Illinois and Michigan. He became the father of 10 sons, many of whom went into the ministry. One of Paul’s descendants is Daniel Kolenda, who is the president and CEO of Christ For All Nations, which was established by Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.

During World War II there was a great missions advance in South America, spearheaded by missionaries John and Marguerite Kolenda and others. An article Kolenda wrote in the Pentecostal Evangel in July 1942, called “Missions Advance in Brazil,” gave reports from several missionaries on the field.

In the article, Kolenda told how, in February 1942, he was accompanied by missionaries Virgil and Ramona Smith as they conducted two weeks of evangelistic meetings in the northern part of the state of Santa Catarina and in the state of Parana. They held special services and Bible studies among the Russian colonists who had settled there. The trip was very interesting. Taking the train, which was greatly delayed, Kolenda reported, “When we finally reached the station it was one o’clock in the morning.” The believers who met them there with wagons said they would have to remain in the station until daybreak since the river they must cross had overflowed its banks and was very dangerous. The next morning they had to cross the river in small boats and then go by wagon a few more hours to their destination. They held a camp meeting service with the believers who came. Kolenda reported, “The Lord truly met with us and we believe the results will abide.”

Missionaries Erma Miller and Lillian Flessing gave an account that the Kolendas held five services for them, with nine people getting saved, and several backsliders being restored. “Each evening saw the altar lined with people seeking God,” said Miller and Flessing, “and we feel their visit was the means of starting a Holy Ghost revival in Sao Carlos which we pray shall continue until Jesus comes.”

Read more exciting reports in “Missions Advance in Brazil,” on pages 6 and 7 of the July 11, 1942, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Give Ye Them to Eat,” by John Wright Follette

• “The World Moves On,” by Ernest S. Williams

• “Isaiah’s Consecration and Call,” by J. Bashford Bishop

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Missions

Hillcrest Children’s Home: Caring for Children Since 1944

Hinson

Hillcrest founder Gladys Hinson in November 1944 with the first children received into the home.

This Week in AG History — June 17, 1956

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 14 June 2018

Hillcrest Children’s Home, an Assemblies of God ministry located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was founded in 1944 in obedience to the scriptural mandate to care for orphans (James 1:27).

Edward Weaver, director of Hillcrest Children’s Home, posed the following question to readers of the Pentecostal Evangel on Father’s Day in 1956: “It’s nice to have children to remember you on Father’s Day – but how would you like to provide for 70 of them every day?” Weaver knew that men would resonate with the difficulty of providing for a family of any size and wanted to share the enormous need of managing the daily lives of 70 children plus 15 staff.

Hillcrest began as the vision of a woman who was disappointed that she was unable to serve on the foreign mission field. As a young lady, Gladys Hinson was inspired by the example of Assemblies of God missionary Lillian Trasher, who opened a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Egypt. Hinson felt a definite call to do the same in China and began making preparation for that assignment. The bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States involvement in World War II dashed her dreams as the window of opportunity to enter China was closed.

Struggling with the burden that she felt for the abandoned children of China, she turned to God for direction while waiting for the fulfillment of her dream. The scriptural command of “Occupy till I come” led Hinson to believe it was unacceptable to neglect the needs of children in her own country while waiting for doors in China to reopen.

With only a dime in her pocket, Hinson approached the leaders of the Assemblies of God with the idea of opening a nationally supported home to provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of America’s most vulnerable children. Approval was given and ideal property was soon found in Hot Springs, the birthplace of the Assemblies of God.

It took time to meet all the requirements of the Board of Child Welfare of the State of Arkansas, but the home was finally opened in 1944 for the first children: three brothers, Douglas, Milton, and Ronnie Davis. Over the next few years, many more children came to Hinson’s home: brothers who had witnessed their father shoot and kill their mother, five children abandoned in a cold midwestern town trying to survive by eating out of garbage cans and sleeping in vacated buildings, the child of a mother who died with no other family who could care for her, children whose new stepparent did not want them. The reasons they came were as varied as the children themselves.

Just like her inspiration, Lillian Trasher, Gladys Hinson cared for children who were neglected or forgotten by others. But unlike Trasher, who was able to work for 50 years with the children of Egypt, Hinson went to be with the Lord just a few years after founding the orphanage. She was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1949 at the age of 36, never knowing that just six years later, Trasher would pay a visit to the children of Hillcrest while on furlough from Egypt.

Every good missionary knows they must prepare others to carry on their work. Many followed in Hinson’s footsteps as directors and staff of the children’s home, including Edward Weaver, who made the plea for financial support on Father’s Day, June 17, 1956. Evangel readers responded to his plea and soon a remodeled cottage and new workers accommodations were both dedicated at the Hot Springs campus.

Hillcrest Children’s Home continues to operate today under CompACT Family Services of the Assemblies of God.

Read Edward Weaver’s Father’s Day request on page 16 of the June 17, 1956, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Church Militant” by C. W. H. Scott

* “Fathers, Provoke Not Your Children to Wrath” by C. M. Ward

* “First Freshman Class Completes Year’s Work at Evangel College”

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Missions

Arthur F. Berg: How a Powerful Revival Among Children Produced a Future Pastor and Missionary

Berg Arthur F

Arthur and Anna Berg, with daughter, Agnes, circa 1930

This Week in AG History — June 9, 1968

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 07 June 2018

Arthur F. Berg (1896-1983), a pioneer Assemblies of God missionary and pastor, recognized the importance of taking seriously the spiritual lives of children. He learned this from his own experience. At age 14, Arthur surrendered his life to Christ and was baptized in the Holy Spirit during a Minneapolis revival sparked by visiting Pentecostal leader William Durham. Interestingly, it was primarily young people who responded to the gospel — countless children were saved, 25 were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and 30 followed the Lord in water baptism.

For the rest of his life, Berg would share his testimony about this 1911 revival, which spiritually shaped him. The Pentecostal Evangel published his story in 1968.

Berg was born in an era when children were expected to be seen and not heard, and many traditional church services offered little to inspire or attract young people. However, early Pentecostal services — featuring testimonies, lively sermons, and peppy gospel songs — were often very accessible to young people. Countless people — both young and old — surrendered their lives to Christ in early Pentecostal services, which were known for their clear presentation of the gospel, coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

So it was with Berg. He was raised in a Christian home, but it was not until he experienced the Holy Spirit’s permeating presence during the Pentecostal revival that Berg finally committed his life to Christ. He described the revival as “glorious,” and that “hearts were melted together in the love of God.” The presence of God was so strong in those meetings that young people who normally did not want to attend church did not want to leave the revival services.

“The convicting power and pull of the Holy Spirit was so strong, so irresistible,” Berg recalled, “that I found myself at the altar weeping and praying my way through to a definite experience of old-fashioned salvation.” He went on to experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit and, he wrote, “exuberant glory flooded my soul.”

The revival led Berg to consecrate his life to Christian ministry. He married his childhood sweetheart, Anna, who shared a similar calling. He was ordained by the Assemblies of God in 1919, they served as missionaries in Belgian Congo from 1922 to 1926, and for the next 33 years they pastored congregations in Sisseton and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was also instrumental in starting the World Missions Plan, a program that encouraged Assemblies of God churches to systematically give money to home and world missions.

When William Durham went to Minneapolis in 1911, he was on a mission to talk with Pentecostal pastors regarding disagreements over the doctrine of sanctification. While the impact Durham made on adults on that trip is unknown, the revival services he led left a lasting mark on several dozen young people. One of them, Arthur Berg, became a noted pioneer Assemblies of God pastor and missionary.

Read the article, “How a Boy Received the Baptism,” on pages 24-25 of the June 9, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Who is My Neighbor?” by Everett Stenhouse

• “Children Need to be Nurtured,” by Jerry Stroup

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

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Spirituality

Oak Cliff Assembly of God and the 1957 Miraculous Healing of I.V. Hill

Oak Cliff

Mr. I. V. Hill and a church bus full of children.

This Week in AG History — June 2, 1963

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 31 May 2018 

I. V. Hill (1895-1965) of Dallas, Texas, received a miraculous healing which was reported 55 years ago in the Pentecostal Evangel. Confined to a wheelchair, Hill experienced “smothering” spells which made it necessary for him to be rushed to the hospital several times a week. He was suffering from heart trouble, nervousness, asthma, bladder trouble, and a hip infection that prevented him from walking.

Hill began listening to the Morning Worship Hour, a radio program broadcast by H. C. Noah of Oak Cliff Assembly of God (now Oaks Church). One morning in November 1957, after listening to the program, he felt prompted to call Pastor Noah. He told him about his condition and asked him to pray, which he did.

Later that same morning, he received a call from Mrs. Maymie Faust, who was the minister of visitation for the church. She asked him about his health issues and then told him he needed to come to church. He did not have transportation, so she said she would come for him. After lunch, he heard a knock on the door, and it was Mrs. Faust. In his wheelchair, he went to the door and invited her into the living room to pray for him. Hill reported, “She laid her hands on me and something like an electric shock went through me.” Hill said that “right there” he met the Lord and was saved. Sister Faust promised to come back that evening to take him to church.

When Sister Faust returned that evening, Mr. Hill, his wife, and a daughter, all were dressed to ride with her to church. When the altar call was given, I. V. Hill hobbled forward on his crutches to make a public profession of his faith.

On Friday Sister Faust again took the Hills to church. The Bible study that night, led by Raymond Brock, the associate pastor, was focused on Hebrews 11 and having faith. I. V. Hill was determined to believe God for healing of his many ailments. When the altar call was given, he went forward and began praying that God would take away each affliction as he began naming them. The Lord met him there. When he got up from the altar, no one needed to help him. He left his crutches behind and no longer needed them. He gave up a tobacco habit he had had for 50 years. He no longer needed his medicines. He was healed!

Hill said, “Prior to this time I was taking as many as 25 doses of medicine a day.” He also needed a narcotic in order to sleep, but from that day forward he no longer needed any of the medications. He slept all night and felt great in the morning. When his wife found him in the kitchen, he was “shouting and having a big time.”

Eager to witness for the Lord, Mr. Hill was handicapped because he had never learned to read. Before his conversion and healing, he could only spell out a few simple words like “cat” or “dog.” But within a few years he reported that he was able to read the Bible, all except for a few words in the Old Testament. He credited God for teaching him how to read.

Previously he could only walk a few feet at a time. But after his healing he started going from house to house with gospel tracts, witnessing to others. He promised the Lord he would do all he could to spread the gospel. Hill declared, “For the past five years I have been a new man, I have health, happiness, and heavenly hope, thanks to the Lord who changed my entire life.”

This healing testimony was endorsed by Pastor H. C. Noah who declared, “This is one of the greatest testimonies I have ever witnessed. Brother Hill has been a member of our church for a little over five years. He is a very faithful man of God. People always respond when they hear this radiant man tell what God did for his mind, soul, and body.”

Dr. Raymond T. Brock later made this assessment: “God permitted Brother Hill to live long enough to give a tithe of his lifetime in Christian service.” Hill witnessed to his 14 living children and their families and then went door-to-door witnessing for the Lord and inviting people to church. Often the church bus would pick up dozens of kids, all invited by this man completely sold out to God. He also ministered to the Dallas Rescue Mission, witnessing of the saving and healing power of God, and leading many men and women to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Read the article, “I’m a New Man Now,” on pages 22-23 of the June 2, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Their Secret — Unbroken Communion,” by Zelma Argue

• “Quench Not the Spirit,” by Geoffrey Duncombe

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Church, History

Andrae Crouch: The COGIC Minister Who Bridged the Racial Gap in Gospel Music

Andree Crouch

David Mainse (right) welcomes guest Andrae Crouch (left) to the Assemblies of God television program, Turning Point, in 1977.

This Week in AG History — May 22, 1977

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 24 May 2018

Andrae Edward Crouch (1942-2015) was a gospel singer, composer, music producer, and pastor of New Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Los Angeles. As an 11-year-old preacher’s son, Crouch’s father asked him, “Andrae, if the Lord gives you the gift of music, will you use it?” Young Andrae replied, “Yeah, Daddy. I’ll play for the Lord.”

That week Crouch’s mother bought him a cardboard keyboard to learn some fingering techniques. According to a 1977 interview published in the Pentecostal Evangel, two weeks later his father called him to the church piano and said, “If you’re going to play, then play!” The song the church was singing was What A Friend We Have in Jesus and Andrae begin to hit different notes until he found one that sounded right. He remembered, “In our churches they sing in any key, you know, and just take off without a songbook. And there was, oh, it was just really a touch of God, and I knew that He had a plan for my life.”

Andrae and his twin sister, Sandra, spent their childhood singing in their father’s church and in community choirs, including one led by gospel musician, James Cleveland. When they were 14 years old, Andrae and Sandra were invited to Cleveland’s home for a barbeque. Andrae recalled looking up to Cleveland and thinking, I wish I could write a song. Watching the adults pour the large vat of barbeque sauce over the ribs, it reminded Andrae of the blood of Jesus and he begin to sing, “The blood that Jesus shed for me way back on Calvary, the blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose its power.” Sandra wrote the words down but Andrae wasn’t happy with it and threw it in the trash. Sandra said, “Andrae, that was a good song!” She dug it out of the trash can, and kept it.

In 1965, Crouch was attending the annual COGIC conference when the speaker asked, “Is there anyone here that wants to be used of God?” Crouch responded to the altar call and after the service several young men came up to him and said, “Hey, we’ve heard you play at your dad’s church. Would you come over and play for us at Teen Challenge?” Upon learning that Teen Challenge was a rehabilitation center for drug addicts, Crouch tried to put them off by saying, “Maybe I’ll come over sometime.” They responded with, “Come by tonight.” Andrae went with them but had no desire to work with them. Yet on the way home he kept hearing an addict’s choir singing in his head. After a long prayer session, Crouch felt God telling him to sell the car he loved, quit his job, and go to Teen Challenge to start a traveling choir of former drug addicts.

Alongside his work with the choir at Teen Challenge and at his father’s church, Crouch starting singing locally with a group of friends who called themselves “The Disciples.” In 1969, Ralph Carmichael, a Pentecostal record producer, heard them and invited them to a session to record an album, Take the Message Everywhere. Thirteen years after Sandra pulled Andrae’s first attempt at songwriting out of the trash can, listeners heard on the airwaves the song, The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.

Crouch soon left Teen Challenge and began traveling full time in music ministry, including an early engagement with a traveling evangelist who took him on a world tour just a few short years after his first album, giving a wide audience to the musician and songwriter whose popularity was burgeoning. By 1973, Crouch had recorded a live album at Carnegie Hall and in 1975 appeared with Billy Graham at a televised crusade in New Mexico.

The impact of Andrae Crouch’s influence on contemporary Christian music in the 1970s and forward is impossible to quantify. For the first time, mainstream Christian radio stations were playing music performed by a black man for white audiences on a large scale. Crouch’s concerts drew both black and white audiences at a time when most concerts were segregated whether by intention or not.

Today Crouch’s songs, such as Bless the Lord, O My Soul; My Tribute (To God Be the Glory); and Through It All can be found in most contemporary hymnals. Few musicians can say they had both the respect of evangelist Billy Graham and the respect of pop-icon Michael Jackson, whose public memorial service included Crouch’s choir singing his song, Soon and Very Soon.

When he died in 2015, he had won eight Grammy awards and had an Oscar nomination for his music on the movie, The Color Purple. Despite the fame and fortune, Andrae Crouch remained in the COGIC ministry and, along with his sister, Sandra, served as co-pastor of the church his father founded in Los Angeles. Broadly speaking, Andrae Crouch was one of the most widely influential Pentecostal ministers of the 20th century.

Read more about David Mainse’s interview with Andrae Crouch for Turning Point TV program on page 20 of the May 22, 1977, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “Just Waiting,” by Carolyn G. Tennant
• “Tooling Up for the Unfinished Task,” by Thomas F. Zimmerman
• “The Ex-Smuggler,” by Rachel Petersen, missionary to the Dominican Republic
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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Music

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History

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

2 Comments

Filed under Biography, History