Category Archives: Biography

Verna Linzey Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Linzey

Verna Linzey, keynote speaker at the Singaporean Pastors’ Convention, June 29, 2014

Dr. Verna May Hall Linzey (1919-2016), an Assemblies of God minister who served as a pastor, crusade evangelist, television evangelist, songwriter, and author, spent over eighty years in active ministry.

Dr. Linzey’s son, Chaplain (MAJOR) James F. Linzey, USA (Ret.), deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center a collection of books, audio/video footage, photographs, and other materials documenting his mother’s life and ministry. Chaplain Linzey served as her road manager and is currently having her autobiography edited for publication.

Verna was one of six children born to Carey F. Hall and Alice M. Hall in the southeast Kansas town of Coffeyville. After her father passed away, her mother married Rev. Francis L. Doyle, who served in 1928 as pastor of Coffeyville First Assembly of God.

The early Pentecostal movement, with its dual emphases on the Word of God and spiritual renewal, made a significant impact on young Verna. She recalled that, as a young girl, prominent Assemblies of God educator and theologian P.C. Nelson routinely stopped at her family’s home with his ministry team. She received permission from her mother to get out of bed and sit at the kitchen table with other family members who were listening to Nelson and his team share about the meetings they had conducted.

Yielding to a call to the ministry, Linzey matriculated at the school founded by Nelson, Southwestern Bible School (now Southwestern Assemblies of God University), where she studied from 1937 to 1939.

Verna Hall Leads a Hallelujah Parade in San Diego. CA about 1940 Verna is front center with clarinet

Verna Hall leading a Hallelujah Parade in San Diego, California, circa 1940

Linzey participated in evangelism, pastoral ministry, and crusades with her eldest brother, Franklin Hall, in the 1930s and early 1940s in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and California. She eventually conducted her own crusades and ministry. She married Stanford E. Linzey (1920-2010) in 1941. They affiliated with the Assemblies of God and in 1946 planted and co-pastored a church, El Cajon Evangelistic Tabernacle, in El Cajon, California.

Linzey influenced her husband, Captain Stanford E. Linzey, Jr., CHC, USN (Ret.), to become a U.S. Navy chaplain. During his ministry as a Navy chaplain from 1955 to 1974, Verna Linzey continued to preach and teach in churches and at conferences, including at Women’s Aglow. She frequently taught on the Holy Spirit. Stanford sometimes accompanied her in ministry. It is estimated that Verna and Stanford Linzey laid hands on and prayed for 20,000 people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Linzey was given the title “Mother of the Fleet” by Admiral Frederick C. Johnson, USN (Ret.) for her building the Sunday school program at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, which was the largest Sunday school program in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1970. She was also made an honorary U.S. military chaplain by the Coalition of Spirit-Filled Churches.

In addition to her ministry, Linzey had a very active family life. She and Stanford had ten children—five boys and five girls.

Linzey 1958 El Cajon, CA

Verna and Stanford E. Linzey with their children, 1958

Linzey had a deep love for the Word of God. She mastered biblical languages at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. When her husband earned his his Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Seminary (1980), Verna Linzey audited and completed the coursework as well. She received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Kingsway University and Theological Seminary (2001). She served as chief editor of the New Tyndale Version Bible translation (2009) and as one of the translators of the Modern English Version Bible translation (2014).

In her later years, Linzey wrote extensively on the theology of the Holy Spirit, including articles published in various religious periodicals. In 2004, she authored The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, for which she received the Best Non-Fiction of the Year Award (2006) from the San Diego Christian Writers’ Guild. It is a classic restatement of Classical Pentecostal doctrine and was later republished in the Philippines by ICI Ministries and used as a textbook in 100 Bible colleges.

In 2004, following the publication of her book, Linzey received opportunities to preach on television. Her television ministry began when she preached on the baptism with the Holy Spirit on God’s Learning Channel, a satellite network founded by Al and Tommie Cooper. This paved the way for two television series which would later be filmed: “The Holy Spirit Today with Dr. Verna Linzey” and “The Word with Dr. Verna Linzey.”

In 2007, Linzey wrote another book, Spirit Baptism, and recorded a set of teaching CDs and videos titled, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit and The Light of the World.

Linzey continued to be remarkably active in ministry until the age of 97, when she passed away. In November 2010, she had a role in a major feature movie, Iniquity, which is an updated version of the story of David and Bathsheba. She sang “The Rose” by Bette Middler for the soundtrack. Linzey was one of the keynote speakers for the 2011 Leadership Summit at the Heritage Foundation, where she received the 2011 Leader of the Year Award. She also received the “National Bible Teacher of the Year Award” at Westminster Theological Seminary in California during National Bible Week in 2011. Her album “Oh Blessed Jesus” went Gold for Best Vocals in Southern Gospel Music, featuring Grammy Award Nominee Triumphant Quartet and the group Sisters as her backup vocals the year after she passed away.

Dr. Linzey’s remarkable life spanned the history of the Pentecostal movement, to which she made significant contributions. She touched countless thousands of people through her pastoral and evangelistic ministry and writings.  Now, with the Verna Linzey Collection accessible at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, future generations will be able to study her life, ministry, and legacy.

_________________

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 archives and research center 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: http://www.iFPHC.org

 

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Morris Plotts was told he was too old to be a missionary. That didn’t stop him…

MorrisPlotts_1400

Morris Plotts, 1980s

This Week in AG History — September 6, 1964

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 5 September 2019

Morris Plotts (1906-1997) was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He received Christ in an evangelical church in 1923 and began his preaching career two years later. In 1932, Plotts received the baptism in the Holy Spirit while attending a meeting in Kennett, Missouri.

In 1933 he planted a church in New Sharon, Iowa, and evangelized neighboring towns. The services in Montezuma, Iowa, included loud singing, shouts, and preaching which lasted from 8 p.m. to as late as 3 a.m. Soon he found himself in jail for 30 days with a charge of disturbing the peace. Undeterred, Plotts continued to preach the gospel from his jail cell. Afterwards he continued evangelizing and pioneering churches. He built a church in Lynnville, Iowa, and later took a pastorate in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

In 1955, at age 49, Morris Plotts felt an urgency to do overseas missions work. The Division of Foreign Missions (now Assemblies of God World Missions) felt he was too old to go as a first-time missionary. After his application was rejected, he decided to raise his own support and go out on his own. He packed up his bags and went to Africa. His answer to critics was that God had called him.

He traveled to Kenya and worked with the Wanga people, who had never heard the gospel. The chief offered land for him to build a church and a school. Plotts built a 500-seat church and began preaching salvation, healing, and Spirit baptism, and also prayed and cast out demons.

That initial missionary effort gave Plotts the assurance that God without a doubt had called him to Africa. Morris and his wife, Neva, were given AG missionary appointments in 1960. His ministry took him into other jungles, facing lions, elephants, and cannibals. He fearlessly faced villagers who had seen few white men or none at all. His burning desire was to reach people for whom Christ died, people who had never heard the gospel.

Later he served as a missionary-evangelist in Tanzania and Guyana and other places. Plotts’ large frame (he was over 6 feet tall and wore a size 16 shoe) earned him the African nickname, “Bwana Tembo,” meaning “Lord Elephant.” As a missionary evangelist, his ministry extended from Africa to as far away as Australia, Indonesia, and Japan.

Plotts’ later vision turned to raising money for missionary projects and taking on the responsibility of constructing churches and schools across Africa. His drive took him away from home for many months, reaching another tribe or raising money in the U.S. for still another missions building. His daughter Marilyn said when he visited churches, “He made missions real. Elephants trumpeted, lions roared, and hippos splashed in rivers.” But most of all, U.S. congregations saw the crying need of unreached people.

While Plotts may have been initially considered too old for missionary service in 1955, it is reported that he traveled 2 million miles, preached 10,500 times in 3,367 places, raised more than $3 million for missions, built 38 churches and three Bible schools, finally retiring in 1989 at the age of 83.

Morris Plotts wrote an article, “The Undelivered Letter: A Story of Blight and Blessing,” published in 1964 in the Pentecostal Evangel. It was written as a parable to emphasize that missionary service is not optional. And of all people, Morris Plotts knew that well, for he let nothing stop him from the calling he had to go forward in missions, even when others said he was too old.

The parable told of a man named “Farmer Bliss” who was destined for bankruptcy, but a wealthy benefactor paid off all of his debts, so that he could become successful. A wonderful transformation took place in the Bliss family as the weight of unpaid debts was gone, and the farm began to prosper. The same story included a second man named “Poorman Knight” who lived a good distance away. The wealthy benefactor wanted Mr. Bliss to deliver a letter and check to Mr. Knight so that he also could be delivered from bankruptcy. With good intentions, Mr. Bliss set the letter aside and failed to deliver the check. After several years went by, and he never found the time to deliver the letter, he heard the startling news that this Mr. Knight had passed away due to starvation. It was too late to contact Mr. Knight. He was gone. Similar to this parable, Jesus came to deliver us from the debt of sin so that we may walk in newness of life through salvation. And we have a message to deliver to other lost souls still waiting to hear the gospel. We are all called to fulfill the Great Commission to preach the gospel to all nations and make disciples before it is too late.

Read more about “The Undelivered Letter” on pages 2 and 3 of the Sept. 6, 1964, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Try the Spirits,” by Joe Newby

• “Light-for-the-Lost in Bombay, India,” by Everett L. James

• “Revivaltime Choir and Prison Division Collaborate in Prison Evangelism,” by Stanley Michael

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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Emile Chastagner: The Atheist Who Became an Assemblies of God Missionary

Emile and Minnie Chastagner

Emile Chastagner family circa 1937. (L-r): David, Emile, Minnie, Paul (in Minnie’s lap), and John

This Week in AG History — August 27, 1932

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 29 August 2019

Emile Chastagner (1882-1956) was a convinced atheist at age 21, but he became an Assemblies of God missionary to French West Africa (now Burkina Faso) at age 45. The road between these events was marked by hardship, which brought him to faith in Christ.

Chastagner shared his testimony in the Aug. 27, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. He was born in New York City, the son of French immigrants. His parents came from a Catholic background but did not take their faith seriously. He followed his parents’ example and stayed away from church. By the age of 21, he became an atheist, unable to reconcile the existence of both suffering and God. He was quick to argue and “tear [the Bible] to pieces, appealing to ‘reason’ and ‘common sense.'” He later admitted that he was merely repeating the claims of others and that he had never himself investigated the claims of the Bible.

After only two and a half years of marriage, Chastagner’s wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She became bedridden and experienced intense pain. Both Chastagner and his wife were devastated by this unexpected turn of events. However, the suffering led them to faith in Christ. Books by two Christian authors, Edward P. Roe (a Presbyterian pastor and novelist) and Carrie Judd Montgomery (a Pentecostal healing evangelist), caused Chastagner and his wife to reconsider their atheism.

Chastagner recounted his slow conversion. In Roe’s writings, he found a love for people that he had never encountered before. Roe’s love, he discerned, arose from his faith, which was grounded in the Bible. Chastagner then read Montgomery’s The Prayer of Faith, which was the autobiography of a woman who was healed of an ailment similar to the one that afflicted his wife. He carefully studied the Bible and examined how the teachings of various churches lined up with Scripture. They made the decision to follow Christ and joined a small Pentecostal church. They jumped in with both feet and began helping in Sunday School and visiting the sick. Chastagner’s wife lived for another seven years and, even though she herself was sick, had an active ministry of praying for others who were sick.

Five weeks after his wife’s death, Chastagner received a call to serve as a missionary. This call came while a visiting missionary was speaking at the church. Chastagner recalled that the visiting missionary and the entire congregation confirmed this call, even though he was uncertain how it could come to pass. He decided to accept the call and, in faith, enrolled at Southern California Bible College (now Vanguard University) to study to become a missionary.

Chastagner, already fluent in French, felt a call to the Mossi people in French West Africa. While in college, he met a young lady, Minnie Moore, who also felt a call to be a missionary. They married and set sail for Africa, where they served as Assemblies of God missionaries for 16 years.

Few who knew Chastagner as a youth would have guessed that he would become a faithful Christian, much less a missionary to Africa. But God not only transforms hearts, He also changes the trajectory of lives. Was it worth it? Chastagner testified, “God has met us and supplied every need and given joy to outweigh every trial and test.”

Read the article by Emile Chastagner, “An Atheist Who Became a Missionary,” on pages 1 and 10-11 of the Aug. 27, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How to Cure Fanaticism” by Donald Gee

• “How God Helped the Shoemaker,” by Mrs. M. E. Thorkildson

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: iFPHC.org

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John and Cuba Hall: Assemblies of God Missionaries and Linguists in Upper Volta

John Cuba Hall_1400

John and Cuba Hall with their four children; circa 1956. (L-r): James, Cuba, Betty Ann, Evelyn, John, and David Hall.

This Week in AG History — August 2, 1936

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 22 August 2019

John F. Hall (1906 – 1984), Assemblies of God missionary, Bible translator, and teacher, was born in New Jersey on April 15, 1906, the same day William Seymour opened his mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. The Pentecostal revival sparked in that mission would introduce Hall to a power that would carry him through more than 50 years of ministry in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Togo.

At the age of 13, Hall responded to his Baptist pastor’s appeal to accept Christ at the close of a Sunday School lesson. The next year, Emil Sywulka of the African Inland Mission came to speak at their church. The young teen responded to a call from God to African missions. After graduating high school, he attended Wheaton College, where he associated with the children of missionaries. From them he learned the side of missionary life which he had not heard from church platforms. He became more aware of the hardships that accompany missions work but was even more determined to face difficulties to fulfill the call on his life.

At Wheaton, Hall majored in French and took extra courses in medicine. He graduated and set sail for Paris to study practical French before proceeding to Africa. In June 1931, he arrived in Minna, Nigeria, as a missionary with the Sudan Interior Mission.

While stationed in Niger Colony, French West Africa, he met Assemblies of God missionaries at Ouagadougou and Tenkodogo, Upper Volta. From this friendship, Hall became convinced that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a scriptural experience. He developed a desire to experience the fullness of the power of God. He also enjoyed the company of one of the Pentecostal missionaries, Miss Cuba Hill. Hill, a graduate of Southern California Bible College (now Vanguard University), had pioneered and pastored two churches in California before receiving appointment in Upper Volta. They married in November 1935 and returned to the United States for furlough.

While traveling to share their vision for Africa, John and Cuba visited Berean Bible Institute, an AG school in San Diego. While ministering there, John prayed with a boy who wanted to receive Christ and experience the baptism in the Spirit. John felt deep in his heart that he was unable to lead the boy into an experience through which he had not yet passed. The next morning, Hall requested prayer from the students that God would fill him with the Spirit.

Hall spent much of the remainder of his time at the school in the prayer room, feeling keenly that he could not go on without the fulness of the power of God. One night they asked him to speak in the service but he was so hungry for the fulness of the Spirit that he asked to tarry in the prayer room rather than be a speaker. Finally, on the last night of their visit, Hall found himself flat on his back in the prayer room, exhausted from prolonged intercession, yet determined to seek God. That evening the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in a way he had never experienced. He later recounted, “There was such a restful feeling from head to foot. How wonderful to be wholly filled with the Lord’s Spirit and have him praise our Lord Jesus Christ in another language … then came a burden for souls and the tears rolled down my cheeks, behind my ears, and dropped on the floor … then came singing in the Spirit … after this I arose with the joy of the Lord flooding my being. Bro Harriss looked so good to me that I picked him up, kissed him with joy, and praised the Lord. We began singing ‘This is Like Heaven to Me’ and IT WAS!”

Eighty-three years ago this week, the Aug. 22, 1936, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel announced the AG missionary appointment of John F. Hall, joining his wife, Cuba, as “an experienced missionary” who “just a few months ago” was “graciously filled” with the Spirit in California.

Together, John and Cuba Hall served God faithfully in Africa for five decades. They spearheaded the translation of the entire Bible into the Mossi language, helping to create the written text of the language itself, reproducing book after book on mimeograph machine. During this work, he personally typed the Bible six times.

God blessed the Halls with five children. Their son, Billie, died of dysentery in Upper Volta at just 6 months of age. They carried on in spirit of their grief, trusting God for the health and well-being of their other children. Cuba later said, “The Africans lose so many children to death that our experience allowed us to identify with them as in no other manner.” The other four children, Evelyn, David, James, and Betty grew up in Africa and served God as adults in world and home missions.

Read more about the Hall’s missionary appointment on page 9 of the Aug. 22, 1936, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Home Atmosphere,” by Alice Reynold Flower

• “God Works,” by Zelma Argue

• “Can We Learn Anything from a Wasp,” by J. Narver Gortner

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Otto Klink: From Atheism and Socialism to Assemblies of God Evangelist

KlinkThis Week in AG History — July 18, 1931

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 18 July 2019

Otto J. Klink (1888-1955) was a German-born American Pentecostal evangelist who traveled the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, preaching salvation through Jesus Christ and warning his listeners about the dangers of socialism, atheism, and modernism.

Born in Hersfeld, Germany, he was educated in Berlin, where he learned French, Latin, and Greek, alongside his native German. His family were members of the Lutheran church; however, in 1905, 17-year-old Otto attended a Holiness tent meeting. Kneeling in the sawdust, he claimed God’s promise of salvation and felt a distinct call to enter the ministry.

Klink was willing to serve God but did not want to be associated with the Holiness people. He decided to study for the Lutheran ministry and entered the University of Berlin, where he studied the works of Marx, Engels, and La Salle. He came to believe that salvation was achieved by good character and social action — particularly through elevating the lot of the poor and underprivileged.

One night while attending a Socialist political gathering, he made a speech that was interpreted as encouraging rebellion against the German Crown Prince for his mistreatment of the working class. He was arrested and sentenced to two months in prison. Upon completion of his prison term, he found that his name had been removed from the University of Berlin attendance list. Klink interpreted these events as evidence that his belief in God had failed him. He made the intentional decision to embrace an atheistic worldview.

Finding jobs difficult to get in Germany due to his prison record, he asked his father for money to sail to America. Arriving in 1909, he began writing for a German language newspaper in New York City. He later recounted how he became involved with an anarchist society in New York City called The Red Mask, and that he was part of a plot to assassinate President William Taft at Bronx Park. His failure to carry out the plot led to his dismissal from the society. He returned to Germany, where through the assistance of influential friends he was able to secure a position in the office of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Due to political unrest in Germany, Klink sought to return to the United States. He did so just three months before World War I broke out in Europe in 1914. In 1917 he married a young Pentecostal girl named Ida Ball. Ida prayed earnestly for her new husband to receive Christ and to be healed of the anger and bitterness within him toward God. On the last night of a 10-day revival meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, with evangelist Paul Barth, Klink felt God say to him that this was his last chance. He prayed through to salvation that night and, in 1921, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He received ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God in 1923.

In the 1930s, Klink began to speak out strongly against the policies of the Nazi Party in Germany. Klink ministered alongside Myer Pearlman, the Jewish Assemblies of God Bible teacher and author, at the 1937 Wisconsin District camp meeting. Klink spoke of a great persecution of the Jewish people in Germany and prophesied disaster for Adolph Hitler if he continued his course of action.

Klink wrote several booklets, including, Why I Am Not An Atheist, and Why I Am Not A Modernist, along with a monthly column in the C.A. (Christ’s Ambassadors) Herald called “Otto-graphs” — a collection of world news and events of interest to young readers. He also authored several featured articles in the Pentecostal Evangel. His article in the July 18, 1931, issue, “The Language of the Blood of Christ,” is a prime example of his use of historical illustrations and world events to provide a deeper understanding of the gospel message of salvation.

For more than 30 years, Otto and Ida Klink traveled the country in evangelistic meetings, making their home in the Miami, Florida, area where Mrs. Klink also began a children’s home that provided care for up to 40 children. The Klinks moved to California in 1951 and opened a gospel supply house which they operated until his death in 1955.

At the height of his preaching ministry, an article published in the Enid (Oklahoma) Gospel Tabernacle newspaper described the former employee of the German Kaiser as having “one of the most powerful, soul-gripping messages ever delivered from an American pulpit — a combination of fire and level headedness — whirlwind oratory and calm common sense that has made him an outstanding figure in American evangelism.”

Read Otto Klink’s article, “The Language of the Blood of Christ,” on page 1 of the July 18, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Freedom From the Dominion of Sin,” by E.S. Williams

• “How I Received the Baptism,” by H.C. Ball

• “Proving God as Healer,” by Mattie Kerr

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Thomas J. Jones: The Dynamic Pentecostal Preacher/Educator from England

JonesThis Week in AG History — June 20, 1942

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 20 June 2019

Thomas J. Jones (1896-1970) was a dynamic British preacher and Bible teacher, much in demand by American congregations. Jones taught at North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University) in Minneapolis for 21 years and was known as a man who could make the Old Testament come to life.

Accepting Christ as Savior in Birmingham, England, in 1914, Jones had an insatiable desire to understand God’s Word. Along with that desire came the desire to teach the Bible to anyone who would listen. He was a pastor in England when he married one of his congregants, Doris Lancaster. He found her attractive partly because she was as dedicated to the importance of teaching the Word of God as he was. Despite their great love for each other, that dedication to ministry would cost them separation, often during difficult times.

In 1937, a letter arrived at the Jones’ home with an invitation to preach in the United States. Jones told his wife, “I’ve always had an inkling to go.” Doris released him for ministry and travel while she stayed in England with their five boys. This invitation led to others in 1938 and, again, in 1939. It was while Jones was in America that Britain declared war on Germany on Sept. 3, 1939. Jones could not return home, so Doris and the children evacuated from London to a cottage 20 miles away. The bombs came within a quarter mile of their home and the doors were blown open. She and the children stood at their window and watched the sky turn orange with the burning of London during the Blitz.

Jones was able to return to his wife and children after the war, bringing with him an invitation to teach at North Central Bible Institute (NCBI), the Assemblies of God Bible school in Minneapolis. Arranging passports for the family took time; it was December 1947 before all seven members of the family were finally together, the boys arriving in English schoolboy short pants during a blizzard.

Doris would later say of Jones, “My husband studied the Bible as few did. People would quote him Scripture, and if he couldn’t pin down the chapter or verse, he could tell them the book. And he did not want to stop preaching.” She described their 40-year marriage as “wonderful” because she shared his vision for providing solid biblical teaching to anyone who wanted to hear it.

Jones was considered a “preacher’s preacher” by the students at NCBI and those who gathered around the country to hear him speak at camp meetings and ministry schools. He began each of his classes with the prayer, “Open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” and then opened the Scriptures and lovingly trained thousands of young students for the ministry.

He was also concerned with ensuring that students managed the practicalities of life, often saying that young men studying for the ministry should obtain “books first, a Buick second, and then a bride.”

The Pentecostal Evangel published more than 60 articles and sermons by T.J. Jones between 1938 and 1969. The June 20, 1942, issue contained a sermon preached by Jones at the Glad Tidings Bible Institute in San Francisco called “The Blessedness of Salvation.” In the sermon he used the first two verses of Psalm 32 to give a well-thought-out doctrine of the remissions of sins. He masterfully used the words of the Psalmist to explain the different ways each person is a sinner and the ways that God perfectly provides a remedy for “transgression, sin, and iniquity” through “forgiveness, covering, and imputation.”

Jones displayed in his written sermons a principle he quoted in this particular sermon: “You can take every word (of the Scripture) and the more minutely you examine it the more wonderful it seems. Why? Because it is the Word of God.”

Jones developed heart problems in 1963 but, despite his illness, he accepted speaking assignments whenever and wherever he could. In 1967 his health forced him to retire. Although sad at stepping out of the classroom, he turned over some of his notes to students and colleagues who would take his place, receiving comfort from II Timothy 2:2, “…entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Jones died in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on July 17, 1970, at the age of 74. At his funeral, the president of North Central Bible College, Cyril Homer, quoted a favorite text of Jones from Genesis 49:33, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered to his people.” In 1974, the college named its library, the T.J. Jones Memorial Library, in his honor.

Read Jones’ sermon, “The Blessedness of Salvation,” on page 2 of the June 20, 1942 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Life A Trust” by E.S. Williams

• “Wanted: Men Who Can Pray” by Joseph Kemp

• “Prayer Brings in the Souls” by E. Hartmann

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Hans Nielsen Hauge: The Persecuted Lay Preacher Who Revived Christianity in Norway

Hans Niesen Hauge

This Week in AG History — June 14, 1947

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 13 June 2019

Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), a lay preacher who spent decades promoting revival in Norway, helped to transform the religious and social landscape of his homeland. Hauge’s story was featured in the June 14, 1947, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. Hauge’s testimony demonstrated that Pentecostals’ emphasis on reform and spiritual renewal had firm roots in the broader Christian tradition.

In 1796, Hauge experienced a spiritual awakening (which he termed “spirit baptism”) while he was ploughing his father’s farm. This experience with God transformed Hauge’s life. He began studying the Bible and shared the gospel and his testimony wherever he found an audience. He preached with great power and insisted that each person should have “living faith.”

According to Hauge, church membership alone did not make a person a Christian. At the time, exceedingly few people attended State churches. In the capital city of Christiania, which had a population of about 10,000, evidence shows that only about 20 people attended regular services in the State church.

Hauge inspired a large movement which revived Christianity in Norway. It is estimated that half of Norwegians experienced salvation under the ministry of Hauge and his fellow evangelists. Hauge not only promoted lay ministry, he also encouraged women to share the gospel. The first female preacher in the Haugean movement, Sara Oust, began preaching in 1799. For the next 100 years, Norway became known as “a land of revivals.”

Hauge not only brought a spiritual rebirth to Norway, but also an economic revival. He established numerous factories and mills and is credited with bringing the industrial revolution to his nation.

The informal network of Christians developed by Hauge challenged the authority of the Lutheran State church. Norway did not have freedom of religious assembly, and it was illegal to hold a religious meeting without a licensed minister present. Although he never departed from Lutheran theology, Hauge was arrested at least 14 times and endured great suffering in jail. His health failed in prison, resulting in Hauge’s premature death.

Hauge’s legacy, in many ways, lives on in the Pentecostal movement. Just as the Haugean movement began to die down, Pentecostalism emerged at the turn of the 20th century. In Norway, early Pentecostals identified themselves in the revival tradition of Hauge.

Hauge’s influence also extended to America. Followers of Hauge who had settled in Minnesota and the Dakotas experienced a revival in the 1890s and early 1900s that included healings and speaking in tongues. When various revival movements coalesced in the early 1900s to form what is now known as the Pentecostal movement, many of these Scandinavian immigrants became leaders within the Pentecostal movement. G. Raymond Carlson (1918-1999), for instance, came from a Norwegian Haugean background in North Dakota and ultimately served as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (1986-1993).

The Pentecostal Evangel article lauded Hauge as “God’s firebrand” and a “martyr at the early age of 53.” But Hauge’s death did not signal the end to the revival movement he started. Rather, the article noted, “It was the beginning of a new day, a new church, and a new Christianity throughout the land.”

Read the entire article, “Beginnings in Norway,” by Armin Gesswein, on page 12 of the June 14, 1947, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “An Old-Time Methodist Sermon,” by J. Narver Gortner

• “Neglected Duty,” by Arvid Ohrnell

• “Delivering the Demon-Bound,” by Ernest S. Williams

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Spirituality