Category Archives: Music

From Buddhism to Christ: Yonggi Cho’s Healing and His Father’s Conversion

Cho

This Week in AG History–June 28, 1959
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 25 June 2015

When Yonggi Cho began holding services in May 1958 in Seoul, South Korea, he couldn’t have known what God would do through his ministry. Only five people attended the first service, held in the home of a friend. However, the small gatherings grew in size, ultimately developing into the largest Christian congregation in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assemblies of God church with over 700,000 members.

At the time, Yonggi Cho was 22 years old and a recent graduate of Full Gospel Bible School, an AG school in Seoul. Cho faced much opposition to the gospel from people in the community, including from his own father. But Cho persisted and his father became one of his early converts. The June 28, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel reported the story of Cho’s father’s remarkable conversion.

Cho’s father, a local businessman and politician, had no interest in learning about Christianity. He was a dedicated follower of Buddhist and Confucian teachings. However, unanticipated difficulties brought him to his knees. He ran a failed campaign as a candidate for the National Assembly, which left him penniless. In addition, his oldest son, Yonggi Cho, developed a life-threatening case of tuberculosis. Out of desperation, Cho’s father turned to his traditional religions for comfort and guidance.

Yonggi Cho, however, turned to Christ. He had been learning English from a young American man who was teaching English-language Bible classes in the neighborhood. Yonggi Cho trusted God for his healing and, to the amazement of his doctor and his family, was completely healed! The doctor sent for a new set of X-rays, which revealed that the large spot on his lung had disappeared!

Yonggi Cho’s father grudgingly accepted the fact that it was Jesus Christ who healed his son. But when Yonggi Cho insisted that salvation was found only in Jesus Christ, his father became indignant. His father responded, “Just as there are many paths to the top of the mountain, so there are many ways to reach paradise; you have your way and I have mine. Don’t worry about me.”

Soon after being healed, Yonggi Cho enrolled in Bible school. He tried repeatedly to tell his father about Christ, but to no avail. Finally, his father relented and attended special revival services at the Bible school, where Cho was serving as the translator for an American evangelist. Cho’s father came with contempt for what he termed the “foreigner’s religion,” but he encountered something that he could not explain in the service. He could feel the presence and glory of God, and he envied the joy exuded by the students. At the end of the service, the evangelist and Cho began praying for his father. The elder Cho began crying, which embarrassed him because he had not wept in years. According to the article, his father “felt a burning sensation go through his body, and then a sweet peace settled in his heart.” He accepted Christ and his life changed forever.

Yonggi Cho and his father went home and testified to the rest of the family, all of whom were Buddhist. Two of Yonggi Cho’s sisters also accepted Jesus as Savior and were healed of illnesses. Read more about the conversion of Yonggi Cho’s father in the article, “A Buddhist’s Search for God,” by John Stetz, on page 6 of the June 28, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “A Tiger Becomes a Lamb,” by Waldo Nicodemus

* “Among the Mayans of Guatemala,” by John L. Franklin

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

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R. Hilton Griswold, Longtime AG Minister and Gospel Musician, with the Lord at Age 93

Hilton Griswold playing the piano in the E. N. Bell Chapel at the dedication of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Hilton Griswold playing the piano in the E. N. Bell Chapel at the dedication of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

By Glenn Gohr

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is saddened to announce the passing of a dear friend and saint of God. Rev. R. Hilton Griswold was born on November 12, 1921, and he passed away on May 5, 2015 in Springfield, Missouri, at the age of 93.

Hilton Griswold passionately loved Gospel music. He is remembered for playing the piano and singing baritone for the Blackwood Brothers Quartet from 1940-1950. He was credentialed as an Assemblies of God minister on July 10, 1948, and pastored churches in Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.

Hilton has been a friend of the Heritage Center for many years. In addition to singing and playing in the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center chapel on various occasions, he played gospel hymns and choruses for the opening of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center and museum on January 19, 1999.

In recent years he ministered in nursing homes and senior adult gatherings. He also hosted his own program called “Inspiration Time,” which was released on television, radio and internet releases nationwide. He not only personally knew many of the gospel singing groups and composers, but he often knew the stories behind the songs, which he often shared on his weekly television programs.

For a wonderful example of Griswold’s inspirational music, watch this segment of him playing the piano, bass, and harmonica, and also singing 4 different parts for the song “We Shall Rise” as well as some other selections: https://vimeo.com/3599197

Additional selections of Griswold’s music are found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HiltonsFriends

Hilton Griswold was preceded in death by his wife, Marie, and his daughter, Barbara Chapman. He is survived by his son, Rev. Larry Griswold of Plainfield, Illinois and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He leaves a wonderful legacy of gospel music and singing which will continue to inspire future generations.

__________________________________

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

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

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Pentecostal Songwriter F. A. Graves


Description: F. A. Graves, circa 1897. 

This Week in AG History — January 22, 1927

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Wed, 22 Jan 2014 – 4:36 PM CST

Music has always been an important part of the Pentecostal tradition. This was true one hundred years ago as it is today. One of the best-known early Pentecostal songwriters was Frederick A. Graves (1856-1927).

F. A. Graves overcame significant childhood adversity. He was orphaned at age nine and was diagnosed with epilepsy five years later. He was an earnest young Christian and prepared for ministry at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and studied music in Northfield, Massachusetts. Despite suffering periodic seizures, he moved to southwestern Minnesota and served as an organizer and evangelist for the American Sunday School Union. He heard John Alexander Dowie, the famous healing evangelist, at a meeting in Minneapolis. At Dowie’s meeting, Graves experienced a miraculous healing of his epilepsy.

Graves wrote at least 43 songs, including popular hymns such as Honey in the Rock (1895) and He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me (1906). However, Graves did not write a single song until he was almost 35 years old, after his healing from epilepsy. Much of Grave’s inspiration as a songwriter came from his own experience of suffering and God’s merciful healing. Graves did not expect to be healed, nor did he expect to be a songwriter. Graves often testified in his usual understated manner, “God had a blessed surprise for me.”

Graves received credentials as an Assemblies of God minister in 1916. All of his children attended Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri. His son, Arthur, became president of Southeastern Bible College (now Southeastern University). Another son, Carl, became an Assemblies of God missionary to Ceylon. His daughter, Irene, married Myer Pearlman, the noted convert from Judaism, author, and theology professor at Central Bible Institute. F. A. Graves died on January 2, 1927. Nearly 1,000 people attended his funeral in Zion, Illinois.

Read the obituary of F. A. Graves on page 7 of the January 22, 1927, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Keeping our Accounts Balanced,” by D. W. Kerr

* “Old-Time Pentecost,” by Mattie Ledbetter

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

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

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free:  877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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Review: God’s Shining Jewels

God’s Shining Jewels, by Marvin and Helen Frey. Columbus, GA: Brentwood Christian Press, 2008.

The song “Kum Ba Yah” is widely known, but few realize that this African-American spiritual emerged from the life of the Pentecostal church.

In 1936, young Pentecostal evangelist and songwriter Marvin Frey (1918-1992) wrote the chorus, “Come By Here.” According to a recently-published biography of Frey, God’s Shining Jewels, this chorus traveled to Belgian Congo with African missionaries, who eventually brought the song to Angola. The Angolan believers sang “Come By Here” in the Lu Valle dialect, sounding like “Kum Ba Yah.” The missionaries, upon their return to America, brought this musical adaptation with them, which quickly spread throughout America and beyond. Frey registered both “Come By Here” and “Kum Ba Yah” with the Library of Congress. For an alternate account of the song’s origins, see the Wikipedia entry for “Kum Ba Yah.”

Who was Marvin Frey? One of twelve children born to immigrants from Germany, Frey was reared in Portland, Oregon. At age seventeen he began a prolific songwriting career, composing some of the most popular Christian choruses of the twentieth century. In 1955 he and Helen united in marriage, and they formed a dedicated ministry team for thirty-five years. The Freys began a children’s and youth ministry in New York City. They held credentials with the Independent Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal organization led by Rev. A. W. Rasmussen.

God’s Shining Jewels is a careful retelling of the lives and ministry of Marvin and Helen Frey. Of particular note are stories of their memories of and interactions with Pentecostal luminaries such as Charles S. Price, Aimee Semple McPherson, Thomas Wyatt, and Jack Coe. This inspiring and informative volume will be of interest not only to friends and ministry partners of the Freys, but also to scholars who will appreciate this account of a significant figure whose influential music and ministry extended over several generations.

Twenty of Frey’s most sung choruses (followed by copyright dates) are below:

Alleluia, 1973
Blessing and Honor and Glory, 1977
Do Lord, 1977
He is Lord, 1977
He Showed Me His Hands, 1977
He’s All I Need, 1974
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, 1983
I Have a Jubilee Down in My Heart, 1977
I Know It Was the Blood, 1977
I Love Him For He Is Mine, 1977
Isn’t He Wonderful, 1973
I’ve Got Peace Like a River, 1977
Kum Ba Yah, 1936
Lord Make Us One, 1977
Oh the Blood of Jesus, 1977
Praise Him in the Morning, 1977
The Move Is On, 1977
This Is My Commandment, 1977
We’ll Give the Glory to Jesus, 1977
With Healing in His Wings, 1978

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers

Paperback, 160 pages, illustrated. $12.00, plus $2.50 postage. Order from: Jubilee Productions, PO Box 273, North Chili, NY 14514. For more information, contact the author by email:  hfrey2@rochester.rr.com

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Religious Life of Elvis

Dr. Jim Goff, a leading historian of Southern Gospel music and Southern culture, has authored an important addition to Elvis scholarship. The article, “Conflicted by the Spirit: The Religious Life of Elvis Presley,” is featured in the 2008 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine. Goff’s sympathetic treatment of Elvis’ religious confliction portrayed a gifted individual with human frailties, with whom many readers will be able to identify.

Goff provided an overview of the subject and demonstrated his warm and engaging prose in the article’s introduction:

“In life and in death, Elvis Presley holds a fascination far beyond that of even the most successful singers and movie personalities. Worldwide, thirty years after his death, millions upon millions recognize him by his first name alone, the mention of which conjures up a surfeit of sight, sound, and memory. Less known is the real man, and especially the religious yearnings and conflicts that alternately soothed and convicted him. Ever enamored by gospel music, Presley was likewise influenced—and perhaps haunted—by the religious strictures of his youth. This early religious training was decidedly evangelical and Pentecostal in its orientation. Ultimately, it served as a religious umbrella under which the entertainer sought refuge in times of turmoil.”

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We discovered a new [old] hymnal!

Book Ad


Do you know the story behind the above hymnal, Glorious Gospel Hymns, published by Gospel Publishing House?

We at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center thought we had a complete collection of all Assemblies of God hymnals ever published, so when a donor gave us a copy of Glorious Gospel Hymns last year, we did a double take. Research into old issues of the Pentecostal Evangel yielded the above advertisement (published March 9, 1946, and Feb. 15 and Aug. 30, 1947), so it was likely published in 1946.

Since we had never seen Glorious Gospel Hymns, it must not have received wide circulation. The thick, 670-page hymnal contains The Apostles’ Creed, responsive readings, and other selections not found in the other gospel songbooks produced by GPH during that time period.

This edition of Glorious Gospel Hymns was compiled and edited by Haldor Lillenas, assisted by more than five hundred pastors, evangelists, and other church workers. According to the introduction, the book was prepared because of the “need among many denominations for a hymnal having a combination of the most famous and widely used hymns and the strongest and best loved gospel songs obtainable.” Haldor Lillenas produced a hymnal by the same title in 1931 for use by the Church of the Nazarene.

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The Couriers

[splashcast JWJV4127TN UNXU8152EW]
SplashCast with Flickr photos
Produced by iFPHC

The wait is over! The 2007 annual edition of Assemblies of God Heritage has been mailed to all Assemblies of God ministers plus subscribers. In the feature article, leading gospel music historian Jim Goff recounts the story of the Couriers – Assemblies of God boys who changed the world of gospel music by helping to shift its emphasis from entertainment toward ministry. Operating first as a quartet and later as a trio, the Couriers are celebrating five decades of music ministry as three of the long-time members, Dave, Duane, and Neil continue to travel and minister in song.

Also visit the eBay store of Mrs. Don Baldwin (Don Baldwin was a former Couriers member), featuring Couriers memorabilia for sale.

To view the photoset of the Couriers at Flickr click on the link below:
Flickr Photoset

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Posted by Darrin Rodgers

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