Category Archives: Education

American Indian College: Training Native Americans for Pentecostal Ministry for 60 Years

AIC

American Indian College, 1980.

This Week in AG History — September 9, 1973

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 7 September 2017

American Indian College was pioneered 60 years ago in Phoenix, Arizona, by a white female Assemblies of God missionary, Alta Washburn, who recognized the urgent need to train Native American leaders.

At the time, the U.S. census reported about 500,000 Native Americans living in the nation. Many were migrating from rural reservations to urban areas, and various denominations started “Indian missions,” mostly led by white missionaries.

Alta Washburn and her husband began serving the Apache Indians on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona in 1946. They understood firsthand the importance of developing indigenous leaders. As whites, their ministry on the reservation was limited. But Native American migration to the cities opened new ministry opportunities. They moved to Phoenix in 1948 and started All Tribes Assembly of God, which became an important spiritual and social refuge for Native Americans from various tribal backgrounds who often felt out of place in their new surroundings.

Washburn believed that she was called to empower Native Americans to become pastors and leaders in their own communities and tribes. She had a vision to plant Native American churches throughout Arizona. An important part of this vision was the establishment of a Bible school to train pastors. The school she founded, initially called All Tribes Indian Bible Training School, opened its doors on Sept. 23, 1957. Washburn remained as president of the school until 1965.

The Sept. 9, 1973, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel highlighted the history of the school. The article noted that the school emphasized study of the Word of God and training in practical ministry. One of the most visible student ministries was the Tribalaires, a traveling group of students who sang and ministered in churches across the nation.

Simon Peter, a Choctaw, became the school’s first Native American president in 1978. The school changed its name several times over the years — American Indian Bible Institute (1967), American Indian Bible College (1982), and American Indian College (1994). In 2016, American Indian College became a campus of Southwestern Assemblies of God University, retaining its name and mission, while benefiting from the resources and faculty of the larger school.

Since its origins 60 years ago, American Indian College has grown significantly and now serves nearly 25 tribes as well as other ethnicities. Alta Washburn’s vision for a school to train Native American leaders has made a lasting mark, not only on the deserts of Arizona, but across the nation, wherever its graduates have served as pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and church workers.

Read “Indian Youth Train for Ministry,” on pages 14 and 15 of the Sept. 9, 1973, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “What We can do for our Colleges,” by Albert W. Earle

• “I Like My Problems” by Ralph Cimino

• “Jesus is Always in Vogue,” by J. Robert Ashcroft

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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J. Robert Ashcroft’s Remarkable Warning from 1957 about Secularism, Statism, and Paganism

Ashcroft1This Week in AG History — July 14, 1957

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 13 July 2017

Sixty years ago, J. Robert Ashcroft delivered a remarkable address that encouraged the Assemblies of God to invest in Christian higher education. Pentecostals must train the next generation of “thinkers and doers,” he surmised, or lose their young to the forces of “selfism, secularism, (and) scientism.”

Ashcroft’s message, delivered at the 1957 commencement for Evangel College (now Evangel University), warned that family, church, and freedom were threatened by three emerging trends in society: secularism, statism, and paganism. All Americans, he noted, are subject to these societal pressures. It will be difficult, he predicted, for Christians to remain true to biblical values.

Secularism, the first trend that Ashcroft identified, results in the compartmentalization of religious beliefs from other daily activities. This runs counter to the Christian faith because, he noted, Christianity is concerned with “the whole of life.” While Ashcroft recognized a distinction between the secular and the sacred, he expressed concern that making the distinction “too severe” would harm both the secular and sacred elements.

A society that dispels the influence of religion impairs its ability to reflect deeply about morality and human need. Ashcroft noted that a society that jettisons religion ends up “sinking in a quagmire of immorality.” Ashcroft was quite clear: “Secularism leads to depravity.”

Statism, the second trend identified by Ashcroft, is when the state takes over most or all spheres of life, leaving little room for freedom of conscience. The state becomes the ultimate authority and the arbiter of morality. Ashcroft pointed to communism as typifying the statist approach. Statism undermines human dignity and freedom. “The individual must rise above statism,” he asserted, noting that Christians schools are an important bulwark for freedom.

Ashcroft identified paganism, the third trend, as “de-centered religion” — spirituality that de-emphasizes the person of Christ and biblical truths. “Orthodoxy and old-fashioned holiness,” Ashcroft noted, “are held up to ridicule while paganism and superficial religion are receiving the plaudits of men.”

How can Christians promote biblical values in a society that has drifted from its Christian roots? Ashcroft noted that many colleges and universities began as Christian institutions but over time drifted from their founding values and mission. A Christian heritage does not guarantee a Christian future. Christians must not reject higher education as ungodly, Ashcroft advised, and should instead work to develop institutions that reflect their values.

In his address, Ashcroft expressed a high calling for Evangel College — that it become “a true fountainhead of spiritual leadership, Christian character, and devoted orthodoxy.” This mission — that Assemblies of God schools serve as a training ground for reflective, faithful Christian leaders — remains a focus for the Fellowship 60 years later.

Read J. Robert Ashcroft’s commencement address, “A Call to Christian Service,” on pages 4-5 and 20-21 of the July 14, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Let the Fire Fall!” by Bert Webb

* “Should Christians Drink? Smoke?” by Betty Stirling

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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P.C. Nelson’s 1934 Plea for Liberal Arts Education in the Assemblies of God

PCNelson1This Week in AG History — June 16, 1934

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 15 June 2017

Peter C. (P. C.) Nelson, an Assemblies of God educator and theologian, made an eloquent plea for Pentecostal schools to develop curriculum in the liberal arts and to train students for non-ministry vocations in a 1934 Pentecostal Evangel article. Up to that point, all Assemblies of God colleges focused on the training of people for ministry. Nelson noted that increasing numbers of Assemblies of God young people have an “anointing of the Spirit for doing a worthy work in other fields besides that of the ministry.”

Nelson warned readers that the “moral and spiritual conditions in most schools and colleges” cause many Pentecostal young people to abandon the faith. “If we want our young people to remain loyal to our movement,” Nelson wrote, “our fellowship must provide instruction for them along all branches of study.” He envisioned new liberal arts and technical courses that would train teachers, musicians, businesspeople, stenographers, accountants, engineers, architects, carpenters, masons, auto mechanics, and printers.

Where would this new school be located? Nelson suggested that Central Bible College, the national ministerial training school of the Assemblies of God, located in Springfield, Missouri, would be an ideal location. He recommended that its facilities be enlarged so that it could train even more ministers and also add a liberal arts curriculum.

Nelson was not alone in his support for the development of a broader Pentecostal curriculum that would include a liberal arts education. His article received the unanimous support of the Executive Presbytery. There was a growing recognition that the Assemblies of God should develop educational programs for training young people in fields other than vocational ministry. Nelson began his article by pointing out that the Assemblies of God constitution, adopted in 1927, included the following paragraph: “The General Council shall be in sympathy with the establishment and maintenance of academic schools for the children of our constituency.”

Although Nelson did not mention it in his article, this vision for a Pentecostal liberal arts curriculum dated back to the founding of the Assemblies of God. The “Call to Hot Springs” — the open invitation to all Pentecostal “elders, pastors, ministers, evangelists and missionaries” to attend the first General Council of the Assemblies of God — enumerated five purposes for the meeting. The fifth purpose was “to lay before the body for a General Bible Training School with a literary department for our people.” The phrase “literary department” was a 19th– and early-20th-century term that roughly corresponds to “liberal arts” today.

Nelson’s call for Central Bible College to train ministers alongside laypersons was not realized during his lifetime. However, other Assemblies of God Bible schools began expanding their curriculum. North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University, Minneapolis, Minnesota) added a two-year business college in 1938. Southwestern Bible College (now Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Waxahachie, Texas), the school founded by Nelson, opened a junior college in 1944. Northwest Bible Institute (now Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington) also added a junior college in 1955. That same year, the Assemblies of God established its new national liberal arts school, Evangel College (now Evangel University), in Springfield, Missouri.

Nelson encouraged readers to invest in Assemblies of God young people who possess “real sterling character, native ability, and spirituality.” The value of Pentecostal schools, asserted Nelson, “exceeds the cost…No investment will pay a larger dividend.”

Read the entire article by P. C. Nelson, “Enlarging Our Educational Facilities,” on page 7 of the June 16, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Finishing Our Course,” by Zelma Argue

* “Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?” by Otto J. Klink

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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Now Hiring: Two Professional Archivist Positions at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, MO

fphc-vault

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri, seeks to hire an Archivist and a Digital Archivist. The two positions are full time with benefits (see job descriptions below).

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. Located in the Assemblies of God National Office, the FPHC’s collections span the broader Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Staff members have the privilege of interacting with scholars, church leaders, and those who lived the history. The positions are ideal for a trained librarian or archivist who loves our Pentecostal heritage. Our work here is very meaningful.

Please forward this information to people who would be a good fit for the positions of Archivist or Digital Archivist. These are important positions, and it will take special persons to fill them.

All candidates must complete the application on the Assemblies of God National Office HR website: https://jobopenings.ag.org/careers.aspx  I would be delighted to speak to inquirers.

Darrin J. Rodgers, M.A., J.D.
Director, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802 USA
phone: (417) 862-1447, ext. 4400
toll free: (877) 840-5200
email: drodgers@ag.org
website: www.iFPHC.org

___________________

The position descriptions are listed below.

Archivist

Position summary:

The Archivist is a key member of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center’s curatorial and special collections team and plays a pivotal role in helping the FPHC to care for and promote its collections. S/he will be responsible for overseeing the organization, cataloging, processing, care and accessibility of its archival materials and rare book collections.

Experience required:

1) Two years work experience in a library or archives, including online cataloging; 2) Knowledge of archival principles of arrangement and description for cataloging, and familiarity with MARC data elements; 3) A working knowledge of Pentecostal history is needed for purposes of cataloging; 4) Computer/PC proficiency. Aptitude to catalog in multiple languages preferred.

Education/Training required:

Master’s Degree in Library/Archival Science or equivalent experience.

Personality qualities required:

Position requires good organizational skills, a high level of concentration, and attention to detail, in order to maintain necessary high quality and consistency.

Salary:

The salary is negotiable and commensurate with experience (Salary Range Code 19).

Job duties:

1) Process/Catalog archival materials.

  • Accession, process, inventory and catalog archival materials and publications;
  • Create MARC-format catalog records for FPHC online catalog;
  • Create word processed finding aids to facilitate access to archives and manuscript collections;
  • Establish name and subject entries and ensure the implementation of current, consistent cataloging standards; and
  • Identify manuscript materials in need of conservation treatment and recommend appropriate treatment.

2) Reference services.

3) Fulfill special tasks assigned by the Director.

______________________

Digital Archivist

Position summary:

The Digital Archivist is a key member of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center’s curatorial and special collections team. S/he will be responsible for overseeing the development of the FPHC website and digital resources.  The Digital Archivist will also process archival materials and supervises Archives Specialists.

Experience required:

1) Two years work experience in a library or archives or in a related history field; 2)  Knowledge of archival principles and procedures; 3) Computer/PC proficiency. Familiarity with scanning, Adobe Acrobat, WordPress, DSpace, CONTENTdm, and video and audio editing preferred.

Education/Training required:

Master’s Degree in Library/Archival Science or equivalent experience.

Personality qualities required:

Position requires good organizational skills, a high level of concentration, and attention to detail, in order to maintain necessary high quality and consistency.

Salary:

The salary is negotiable and commensurate with experience (Salary Range Code 20).

Job duties:
1. Maintain and develop Heritage Center website.

2. Digitize archival materials.

  • Scan, OCR, or capture photographs, text, audio, and video materials according to the accepted archival standards;
  • Assign appropriate identification as well as physical location for files;
  • Provide means for physical and file-format migration when needed; and
  • Establish working relations with outside vendors when assistance is needed.

3. Process paper archival materials as assigned by the Director.

4. Train and supervise part-time Archives Specialists.

5. Other responsibilities.

  • Keep abreast of technology and procedures useful in creating digital access to archival materials;
  • Assist the Director in developing and maintaining digital exhibits in the Museum;
  • Maintain quality control on scanning equipment;
  • Work with freelancers and vendors on projects; and
  • Complete other assignments as delegated by the Director.

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Dr. Alexander Vazakas: Early Greek Pentecostal, Philosopher, Linguist

Vazakas2

This Week in AG History — September 2, 1962

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 1 September 2016

Alexander Vazakas (1873-1965) began life in the Ottoman Empire, where his family suffered persecution on account of their evangelical faith. In 1902 he immigrated to America, where he became a linguist and philosopher. During the last years of his life, he served as a professor at Evangel College (now Evangel University) in Springfield, Missouri, and became well-known for melding his sharp mind with a passion for working with young people.

Vazakas played many roles during his life — persecuted religious minority, immigrant, academic, husband. But the common thread that connected these seemingly disparate roles was his deep Christian faith. His remarkable story was published in the September 2, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Born into privilege, Vazakas was raised in a suburb of Thessalonica, in what is now Greece. His father was a practicing physician and rubbed shoulders with important people from around the world.

Everything changed when his father began to read a New Testament given to him by the British Consul. At the time, it was illegal to own a Bible. However, Vazakas’ father read the New Testament voraciously and ended up accepting Christ as his Savior. He wanted to share the good news of the gospel with others, so he invited his patients to his home, where he would read Scripture to them.

Greek Orthodox Church leaders heard about the elder Vazakas’ home Bible studies and were incensed. They viewed Vazakas’ activities as a threat to their religious authority. The Greek Orthodox leaders, who had a close relationship with the government, had Vazakas arrested. After several years of persecution, which included time in and out of prison, he was attacked by bandits and killed.

Alexander Vazakas was only 8 years old when his father died. He consoled himself by reading the book for which his father was willing to die. At first, reading the Bible only seemed to make things worse. “Tortured by feelings of wretchedness and unworthiness,” the Pentecostal Evangel article recounted, Vazakas “began to beat his head against the stones of a wall.” He wished to die. Then the extent to which Christ loved him began to dawn on the teenager. He surrendered his life to Christ, and he would never be the same.

The young convert shared his Christian faith wherever he went. Vazakas’ testimony was so powerful that even merchants and the occasional Orthodox priest or monk would gather and listen to him. In the 1890s, while sharing his testimony, “he found himself unable to speak except as the Holy Spirit gave utterance.” He began speaking in a language that he did not learn — an experience that he reckoned to be similar to what he read about in the Bible.

Vazakas was a brilliant young man. By age 12 he could speak six languages — Greek, Russian, German, French, Spanish, and Bulgarian. As a teenager, he worked as a language tutor. When he immigrated to the United States in 1902, he immediately enrolled at New York University, where he earned his B.A. (1904). He went on to earn additional degrees at Union Theological Seminary (B.D., 1906), Columbia University (M.A., 1911), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Humanities, 1927). His doctoral dissertation explored Greek language usage in the first 15 chapters of the Book of Acts. Between earning degrees, he also served as international secretary for the Y.M.C.A. for France and Greece.

The Greek academic taught for 27 years at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he served as head of the department of modern languages. After retiring, he taught for short periods at three Christian colleges — Bethany College (a Lutheran school in Lindsborg, Kansas), Kansas City College and Bible School (affiliated with the Church of God [Holiness]), and the Holiness Bible Institute (Florida). The degree to which he emphasized his Pentecostal testimony while at these non-Pentecostal schools is unknown.

Finally, in 1958, Vazakas moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he taught Philosophy and Greek at Evangel College. The 1962 Pentecostal Evangel article noted that “the flame ignited in his heart by the Holy Spirit in the 1890s is still burning brightly.” Vazakas continued teaching at Evangel until his death in 1965 at the age of 91.

What can we learn from the life of Alexander Vazakas? Early American Pentecostals came from remarkably diverse backgrounds. Many were immigrants, and some had their own Pentecostal experiences prior to the revivals at Topeka (1901) and Azusa Street (1906-1909) in Los Angeles, which are frequently viewed as the beginning of the Pentecostal movement. Although Vazakas was not a credentialed minister, he nevertheless spent his life in active ministry and impacted countless people with his gospel witness. Furthermore, Vazakas’ impressive academic achievements run counter to the common assumption that early Pentecostals were anti-intellectual. And Vazakas’ stamina — the fact that he taught until his death at age 91 — shows that elderly Spirit-empowered believers still have much to offer to younger generations.

One of Vazakas’ students at Evangel was a young man named George O. Wood. Wood, now general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, still recalls Vazakas’ classes and quotes him in sermons from time to time. Never underestimate the long-ranging impact of a substantive and anointed witness.

Read the article, “The Pentecostal Professor from Thessalonica,” on pages 6-7 of the Sept. 2, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Chapel at the Devil’s Pit,” by Don Argue

• “From Thorns to Diadems,” by Anna Berg

• “Blessed Brokenness,” by D. H. McDowell

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of 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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1937 Campus Revivals at Central Bible Institute and Southeastern Bible Institute

CBI_TWApril10_1400
This Week in AG History — April 10, 1937

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 7 April 2016

Seventy-nine years ago, two Assemblies of God colleges experienced unusual seasons of revival. The April 10, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel reported that Central Bible Institute (which became Central Bible College, Springfield, Missouri) and Southeastern Bible Institute (now Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida) experienced “times of refreshing.”

L. R. Lynch, reporting on the revival at Central Bible Institute, wrote “For days we had expected something to happen. The air seemed laden with heavenly power. Nobody knew what to do to insure God’s best for us. Everybody was eager to learn more about Jesus.”

Lynch related that students began making public confessions, prompted by piercing messages that revealed the darkness of sin. Finally, he wrote, “the flood-gates of heaven were opened for us. God heard our humble cries. When we reached the foundation-rock, the heavenly fire blazed from the supernatural glory, while shouts of praise and thanksgiving rose from exultant hearts.”

The revival at Central Bible Institute lasted five days, during which 17 people were baptized in the Spirit and 16 felt a call into “different fields of labor, including India, China, Africa, and South America.”

Edgar Bethany reported about a similar revival at Southeastern Bible Institute. Bethany wrote, “Morning chapel service which ordinarily lasts from eight to nine could not be terminated. Volumes of prayer mingled with tears and at times strong crying, ascended to the throne of grace. Messages and wonderful interpretations were given by the Spirit. It resulted in a breaking up in practically every heart.”

What was the long-term impact of these spiritual outpourings? Lynch surmised that revival’s “true value” is something that “only eternity can reveal.”

Read the two articles on page 11 of the April 10, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
* “Blessed is He, Whoever Shall Not Be Offended,” by Stanley Frodsham
* “It Happened to Me: A Presbyterian Minister Receives the Baptism,” by E. R. Robertson
* “The Shekinah: Is the Fiery, Cloudy Pillar Ours Through Confession or Contrition?” by Zelma 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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2015/2016 Assemblies of God Heritage – Now Available Online and in Hard Copy!

WoodHeritage 2016The 2015/2016 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine is hot-off-the-press and is in the mail to all Assemblies of God USA ministers and subscribers! Selected articles are also accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

This edition uncovers the stories of Assemblies of God pastors, evangelists, and missionaries who hailed from a variety of religious and social backgrounds. Despite their differences, they shared a worldview that, at its heart, was a transformative experience with God.

Some, like Dr. Lilian Yeomans, were well-known. A Canadian medical doctor who became addicted to her own drugs, Yeomans nearly died before experiencing a transforming encounter with God. She went on to become a noted faith healer and author. Her gripping story of addiction and deliverance speaks directly to one of the great social problems in America today.

Others, such as “Aunt” Fanny Lack, engaged in local ministry. A member of the Hoopa Indian Tribe, Lack converted to Christ at a Pentecostal revival in 1920—at age 100. She was delivered from a tobacco addiction and was also healed of physical infirmities (she was blind and lame). She became a stalwart member of the Hoopa Assembly of God and was a remarkably active lay minister until about age 109. Newspapers across the nation picked up Lack’s fascinating story, but she had been largely omitted from scholarly histories. That is, until now.

This edition also includes the inspiring stories of missionaries Anna Sanders, Barney Moore, and Emile Chastagner, as well as pastors Samuel Jamieson, Joseph Wannenmacher, and Elmer Muir. What did these early Pentecostals share in common? Each faced deep personal struggles, but when they placed their trust and faith in God, they discovered renewed meaning and opportunities in life.

Following Christ did not make their lives perfect. Some (such as Joseph Wannenmacher) experienced physical healing; others (such as Emile Chastagner’s wife) did not. And, as Anna Sanders discovered, becoming a Christian does not necessarily take away the pain or consequences of a divorce. In spite of these difficulties, she went on to become a revered founder of the Assemblies of God in Mexico.

Many readers will be surprised to learn that Bethel Gospel Assembly, the historic African-American congregation in Harlem, was started by a young German woman, Lillian Kraeger, in 1916. Kraeger was heartbroken that her white Assemblies of God congregation rejected the membership applications of two black girls on account of their race, and she did not want them to fall away from the Lord.

The congregation grew to become the largest in the United Pentecostal Council Assemblies of God (UPCAG), the African American denomination which entered into an agreement of cooperative affiliation with the Assemblies of God in 2014. Bethel Gospel Assembly, which is now jointly affiliated with the UPCAG and the Assemblies of God, has long viewed its own history and mission as one of racial reconciliation. The congregation’s story is important, particularly in this age of racial discord.

Finally, an article about spiritual manifestations in early Pentecostalism may raise eyebrows. Some early Pentecostals, for instance, claimed to have extra-biblical spiritual gifts, including levitation and writing in tongues! Early Pentecostal church leaders learned valuable lessons regarding discernment of spiritual gifts, and these lessons continue to be helpful today.

Access these articles for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website. You can also order a hard copy of Assemblies of God Heritage for yourself or as a gift. The 2015/2016 edition is available for $8, and over 100 different back issues are available, as supplies last, for only $3 each. To order, click here or call toll free: (877) 840-5200.

________________________

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

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