Category Archives: Reviews

Review: The Davis Sisters

The Davis Sisters: Their Influences and Their Impact, compiled and written by Patricia P. Pickard. Bangor, ME: the author, 2009.

This delightful book is a tribute to the legacy of two Southern aristocratic ladies named Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis who became Pentecostal evangelists and founders of Pentecostal churches. After these twin sisters from Macon, Georgia, were converted to Pentecost, they hit the streets of Macon, powerfully charged with the gospel and the Holy Spirit. Later they felt directed to establish Pentecostal churches in Maine and New Brunswick. They ended up in Saint John, New Brunswick, where they founded a Pentecostal congregation and became copastors for many years.

Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis were twins whose parents died when they were young. They were from a well-to-do family, so their Aunt Minnie accepted the task of raising the twins. The family lived a fashionable life on a plantation outside Macon, Georgia. Both girls decided to become schoolteachers. Around 1910 they were converted to Pentecost and became dedicated Christians, desiring to serve God in every way they could. Through their aunt, they learned about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When they planned a vacation trip to Chicago, Aunt Minnie urged them to visit a Pentecostal Persian Mission which had been established by Andrew Urshan. They also attended a series of meetings which were conducted by William Durham, where a mighty Pentecostal outpouring was taking place, and where Miss Carro received Spirit baptism. Miss Susie received the Pentecostal blessing shortly after she returned home.

Eager to share this good news in Georgia, they returned and shared this news with their associates and with their friend, Professor J. Rufus Moseley, who had already received the Baptism.  Not long afterwards, Professor Moseley, the Davis sisters, and their aunt were refused admittance to the Presbyterian Church they attended because of their Pentecostal beliefs.

This led the two sisters to begin traveling the streets to tell others about the good news of God’s love. They held street meetings, conducted house and tent meetings, and established churches in Georgia and Florida among African Americans and whites. They suffered persecution, but God blessed their ministry. Four “unusual men from Maine” (that included Clifford A. Crabtree) arrived at the plantation in 1922, and spent the winter helping the ladies and Professor Moseley in their work of evangelism. Soon they heard an inward “voice” that spoke to them to “Go north, Miss Carro and Miss Susie.” They started out like Abraham, not knowing just where they were to go. Arriving in Bangor, Maine (with Crabtree as their young chauffeur and assistant), they started holding revival services which resulted in the establishment of a strong congregation in that city which is now Glad Tidings Church.

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Review: History of the BFP in Germany

Der Auftrag bleibt: Der Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden auf dem Weg ins dritte Jahrtausend, by Dieter Hampel, Richard Krüger, and Gerhard Oertel. Erzhausen, Germany: Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden, 2009.

Der Auftrag bleibt: Der Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden auf dem Weg ins dritte Jahrtausend (in English, The Mandate Never Changes: The Union of Free Pentecostal Churches in Germany on the Way into the Third Millennium), authored by three long-time members of the executive leadership of the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (BFP) in Germany, provides first-hand insight into the church’s historical and structural development. This reference volume provides a detailed historical overview of the BFP during the last two decades of the twentieth century and a wealth of data related to many of the changes that occurred during this period of time. German reunification, the addition of several Pentecostal fellowships to the BFP, and the growth of ethnic churches within the BFP have brought about major changes which lead to a structural transition.

This volume also looks back to the development of German Pentecostalism during the Nazi era and Post-World War II Germany. The authors trace the formation and development of numerous local congregations, providing insight into various periods of modern German history which, to say the least, was very turbulent at times. The authors provide lists of missionaries from Scandinavia and the U.S. Assemblies of God who worked to train leaders and establish local congregations through intentional church planting. Much historical attention is also given to the establishing of the Bible school in Erzhausen by Assemblies of God missionaries after World War II. This work is a tremendous contribution to Pentecostal scholarship and describes how the BFP has grown and developed in post-Christian Europe.

Reviewed by Paul Clark, Assemblies of God missionary to Germany

Hardcover, 549 pages. €29,00 plus shipping. Available from: amazon.com

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Review: This River Must Flow, by William I. Evans

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The collection of W. I. Evans’ classic spiritual messages, This River Must Flow, is now available from Gospel Publishing House as a digital download! Click here to download the book now for $4.99.

W. I. Evans was the long-time Dean at Central Bible Institute (now Central Bible College) in Springfield, Missouri. He is remembered as a great man of prayer and a powerful Bible teacher. See his full-page obituary in the June 13, 1954 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel (page 4) by clicking here.

This River Must Flow, published by GPH shortly after Evans’ death in 1954, has long been treasured by Pentecostals for its spiritual insight. Topics in the volume include: Sanctification and the Holy Spirit, Ministry Gifts, Speaking in Tongues, Diversities of Operation, The Exercise of Spiritual Gifts, Prayer Must Have Priority, and Had I But One Hour to Live.

Gary Flokstra of 4 the World Resources Distributors, one of the largest Pentecostal used book dealers in the United States, says that he sold seven copies of This River Must Flow this year alone, for an average price of $20. He can’t keep the book in stock. “If I had another 15 copies, I’d probably sell them right away.”

After Billye Brim and Gloria Copeland recommended This River Must Flow on the Believer’s Voice of Victory television program on November 9, viewers began to inundate Gospel Publishing House and the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (the archives of the Assemblies of God) with requests for the book.

In response to the demand for this spiritual classic, GPH re-released This River Must Flow as a digital download this morning.

Additional writings by Evans are accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website: www.iFPHC.org  To view the list of articles from the Home page, under the Research Menu choose Digital Publications Search, then Index Search. Then enter William I. Evans in the Author box under the Periodical Advanced Search section and hit Search. Fifty articles by Evans are accessible. See how Evans’ anointed writings continue to challenge Christians in their spiritual life today. The sacred writings from our Pentecostal past are important because they challenge some of our present-day assumptions. The anointing survives the grave!

Posted by Darrin J. Rodgers

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Review: Heart for the Harvest

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Heart for the Harvest, Stories of Vision, Faith, & Courage, by Jeff Farmer and Andrea Johnson. Des Moines, IA: Open Bible Publishers, 2009.

Two Pentecostal groups starting from revival movements in the Northwest in 1919 and in Iowa in 1932 eventually discovered they shared most of the same doctrines and passion for spreading the gospel around the world. After comparing notes, praying, and attending each other’s conferences, they reasoned that they could more effectively minister for the Kingdom together than apart. They consolidated their efforts in 1935, becoming the Open Bible Standard Churches with headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. Today the group—much larger than in 1935—is known as Open Bible Churches and still operates from the capital city of Iowa.

The Northwest group began when Fred Hornshuh and other young Pentecostal ministers associated with Florence Crawford and her Apostolic Faith group in Portland, Oregon, came to disagreements with the leadership. They struck out on their own as the Bible Standard Mission to evangelize and plant churches. And they soon sent missionaries to foreign fields; created two periodicals: Bible Standard and Bible Standard Overcomers; and launched a Bible school in Eugene, Oregon.

Their evangelizing passion and excitement during the 1920s and the Great Depression apparently knew no bounds. Big game hunter Hornshuh could throw up revival tents, dig church basements, hammer nails, and advertise his meetings as well as he could preach from street corners and crude tent pulpits.

Sixty years after he pioneered as the Bible Standard Mission, Hornshuh reminisced: “We did things on the spur of the moment. We had no higher officer to consult like a district superintendent or board of evangelism. We had to find the mind of God quickly and then move as he directed. When we acted without analyzing all the difficulties, everything fell into line. As we bulldozed ahead, the Lord met us.”

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Review: Marcus and Elva Mae Bakke

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Marcus and Elva Mae Bakke: On Divine Assignment, by Virginia Dohms. Minot, ND: Grace Publishing, 2008.

North Dakota has produced many outstanding leaders within the Assemblies of God, and Marcus Bakke is one of them. After almost sixty years in ministry, Marcus and Elva Mae Bakke continue to let their lights shine brightly for Jesus. On Divine Assignment is an engaging account of this Norwegian-American couple’s life and ministry in North Dakota, with stories of changed lives and miracles, and vignettes of life in the rural Great Plains worthy of Garrison Keillor. In our age of impermanence and rootlessness, it is remarkable that the Bakkes have had only three ministry assignments: thirty years in pastoral work in Bowman County, nineteen years as District Superintendent, and their current ministry in Selfridge. The Bakkes have served their communities, the Assemblies of God, and their family well, demonstrating warmth, humor, and faithfulness.

–George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God

Paperback, 221 pages. $14.95, plus $4 shipping. Order from dakotabooknet.com or from the author: Virginia Dohms, 701 46th Ave NE, Minot, ND 58703. Contact the author by phone (701-852-2339) or email (dohms@srt.com).

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Review: Assemblies of God Missionaries in the Philippines

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Led by the Spirit: The History of the American Assemblies of God Missionaries in the Philippines, by Dave Johnson. Pasig City, Philippines: ICI Ministries, 2009.

Dave Johnson, an Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines, has written an impressive account of the development of Assemblies of God missions work in the Philippines from 1926 to the present. Johnson’s 676-page book, Led by the Spirit, is arranged chronologically into five sections: 1) 1926-1946, detailing the arrival of the first missionaries through the internment of missionaries by the Japanese during World War II; 2) 1946-1959, describing the regrouping of the missions efforts following the war; 3) 1960-1979, including the development of educational institutions and media ministries; 4) 1980-2000, documenting the further development of national programs and educational institutions; and 5) 2001-2008, showing the maturation of the institutions within the Assemblies of God of the Phillipines and the relationship of American missionaries with the national church. Each section provides extensive documentation of the lives and work of the American Assemblies of God missionaries active in the Philippines. This is an important addition to the literature on Pentecostal missiology and should be in the library of every seminary and university.

Paperback, 676 pages, illustrated. Available from the author for $22.95 postpaid to U.S. addresses. For more information or to order the book, see: http://www.daveanddebbiejohnson.com

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Review: History of Slavic-American Pentecostal Immigration to America

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The Pentecostal Heritage of Slavic-Americans (Пятидесятнические истоки Славян-Американцев), by Anton Goroshko. [English and Russian language versions both in one volume]  Renton, WA: National Slavic District Council, 2009.

What is the future of Christianity? Demographers predict that it will look more Pentecostal and less Western. While Western Europe and North America long viewed themselves as the center of the Christian world, cultural and religious decline among people of Western European origin, combined with the robust growth of Christianity (and in particular Pentecostalism) among non-Westerners, portend a significant shift in the religious landscape.

American observers do not have to travel overseas to witness these changes. Most U.S. cities are now home to large immigrant communities, and these immigrants have added their own languages, churches, and values to America’s cultural mix.

Slavic immigrants from the former Soviet Union are among those who have been growing in visibility and influence in the United States. Since the 1980s when Mikhail Gorbachev began to allow Pentecostals – who long suffered persecution in the Soviet Union – to leave, many put down roots in America. For the most part, these Slavic Pentecostals initially kept to themselves and did not integrate into the broader American society. They grappled with their newfound freedoms and cultural challenges, reasserting their cultural boundary markers as a means to retain their religious and familial values. Many of these immigrants are now well-established in their communities, and their children who were born and raised in America often feel just as home in America as they do in their ancestral communities.

An estimated 300,000 Slavic Pentecostals now live in the U.S., mostly in congregations that are either independent or loosely affiliated with one of several Slavic Pentecostal unions. Increasing numbers of Slavic Pentecostal leaders are recognizing the value of being in fellowship with non-Slavic Pentecostals in America. In 2002, several Slavic Pentecostal churches in California joined the Assemblies of God and formed the Slavic Fellowship, which provided both a structure for Slavs to organize themselves within the Assemblies of God and also representation on the Fellowship’s General Presbytery. In September 2008, the leaders of the Slavic Fellowship, in addition to other Slavic Pentecostals interested in affiliating with the Assemblies of God, came together in Renton, Washington, and organized the National Slavic District. This new district gives greater strength and visibility to Slavic Pentecostals, both within the Assemblies of God and within the broader society.

Slavic Pentecostals have an important story to tell. American evangelicalism is at a crossroads – its close identification with declining American cultural and political themes has led some to question evangelicalism’s identity and future. However, the character of Slavic Pentecostalism has developed along a quite different trajectory. This story has been largely inaccessible to English-speakers. To help remedy this, Anton Goroshko, a Slavic Pentecostal minister and historian who emigrated from the Ukraine to America in 1990, has written a small book, The Pentecostal Heritage of Slavic-Americans, published by the National Slavic District, in conjunction with the Intercultural Ministries Department of Assemblies of God US Missions and the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

The Pentecostal Heritage of Slavic-Americans includes Goroshko’s account in Russian and translated into English, written “at the request of the many Slavic Pentecostals in North America who have expressed a desire to learn about the origins of the faith and ministry of their forefathers” (p. 5). Goroshko begins by placing Pentecostalism within the context of Christian history in the Ukraine. He proceeds to tell the stories of two heroes of the faith – Gustav Herbert Schmidt and Ivan Efimovich Voronaeff.  Both men were born in Slavic lands, immigrated to America about 100 years ago, and returned to Europe as Assemblies of God missionaries. Schmidt helped to organize the Russian and Eastern European Mission and Continue reading

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Review: And the Latter Days…

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And the Latter Days…: A History of Oak Cliff Assembly of God…, by J. Naaman Hall. Springfield, MO: the author, 2009.

Oak Cliff Assembly of Dallas, Texas (now The Oaks Fellowship) holds a significant role in the history of the Assemblies of God. Beginning in 1909, evangelists such as F. F. Bosworth, Elias Birdsall, and Maria Woodworth-Etter held revivals in Dallas which helped to lay the foundation for the Oak Cliff congregation. Some of the early members of the church had earlier connections with Charles Parham’s Apostolic Faith movement, the Azusa revival, John Alexander Dowie’s movement, and the organizational meeting of the Assemblies of God.

The church officially began in 1921 under the ministry of evangelist Bill Barney Boland. Some of the later pastors included George Washington Pitts; Milton Summers; Finis Dake; Eddie Coyle; Clifford Andrews; J. C. Hibbard; Carl Alcorn; the much-beloved H. C. Noah, who pastored the church for more than three decades; David Godwin; Allen Groff; and current pastors Tom Wilson and his son, Scott Wilson.

Key people such as evangelists Aimee Semple McPherson, Anna B. Lock, Mildred Wicks, O. L. Jaggers, William Branham, Raymond T. Richey, W. V. Grant, Morris Cerullo, Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsay, Jack Coe, and A. A. Allen each had an influence on the Oak Cliff congregation in its early years. Musical groups, missionaries, and evangelists such as David Nunn, Sara Sharp and Jerry B. Walker ministered at the church in more recent times.

The church has always been one of the top in Sunday school attendance and world missionary giving. Oak Cliff also helped to host the 1935 and 1969 General Councils which were held in Dallas.

The author has done a thorough job of researching the history of this vital congregation which has connections and ties with many important people in the Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement. The book is full of interesting testimonies as well as sketches of pastors and founding families of the church. It also includes photographs, bibliographical references, and an index.

Reviewed by Glenn Gohr

Paperback, 424 pages. Available for $20.00 each plus $3.00 shipping and $1.90 sales tax. Send $24.90 by check or money order to: John Hall, 209 North Summit St., Red Oak, TX 75154.

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Review: 100th Anniversary of the Mülheimer Association

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Jahrhundertbilanz: erweckungsfazinierend und durststreckenerprobt: 100 Jahre Mülheimer Verband Friekirchler-Evangelischer Gemeinden, by Ekkehart Vetter. Bremen, Germany: Missionsverlag des Mülheimer Verbandes, 2009.

Ekkehart Vetter, the current President of the Mülheim Association in Germany, in his well-researched book, Jahrhundertbilanz: erweckungsfazinierend und durststreckenerprobt: 100 Jahre Mülheimer Verband Friekirchler-Evangelischer Gemeinden (in English, One Century of Assessment: The Fascination of Revival, Tried Through Difficult Times: 100 Year History of the Mülheimer Association Church in Germany), has presented an extensive historical documentation of 100 years of this early Pentecostal organization in Germany. The Mülheim Association was the first officially recognized “Pentecostal Movement” in Germany, which stemmed from a revival in the city of Mülheim, located in Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley, where 3,000 conversions occurred over a six week period in 1905. Pentecostal revival spread quickly throughout the Gemeinschaftsbewegung (Fellowship Movement) within the Lutheran Church, which resulted in dividing those who supported this new outpouring from those who strongly disapproved of what was occurring. In 1909, over sixty respected Evangelical leaders signed the Declaration of Berlin, which officially condemned this infant movement, along with its leader Jonathan Paul, as being destructive, demonic, and saturated with false teaching. After being forced out of the Gemeinschaftsbewegung, Jonathan Paul and other leaders, against their original intent, established the Mülheim Association.

Vetter goes to great lengths to trace the genesis and development in the early years by carefully examining Pentecostal periodicals that were prominent during the beginning decades of the twentieth century. Vetter also describes in detail, how in the first decades, the Mülheim Association never intended to be a denomination and was hopeful someday to reunite with the Gemeinschaftsbewegung. After World War II it became apparent that the Mülheim Association became an established denomination. Vetter takes a very critical look at his own church, listing at the end of his volume, ten reasons why the Mülheim Association dramatically declined in numbers over the years. One century later, the Mülheimer Association has evolved to become, as it now describes itself, an evangelical charismatic church that has gradually and gracefully left its Pentecostal roots.

Reviewed by Paul Clark, Assemblies of God missionary to Germany

Hardcover, 528 pages, illustrated. €19,80 plus shipping. Available from Mülheimer Verband

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Review: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission

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Visions of Apostolic Mission: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission to 1935, by David Bundy. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Historico-Ecclesiastica Upsaliensia, 45. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University Library, 2009.

Scandinavian missionaries have played an important role in the spread of Pentecostalism both in Europe and in the southern hemisphere. That is one of the major conclusions of David Bundy’s recently-published dissertation: Visions of Apostolic Mission: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission to 1935. Among many other things, Bundy underscores the achievements of T.B. Barratt, the Norwegian pastor and Pentecostal pioneer.

The Pentecostal revival spread across the globe following the Azusa Street outpouring in 1906. From the very beginning Scandinavians took part in this process. By 1906-1907 a foothold had already been established for the revival in Sweden and Norway. In contrast to the development of the movement in North America, the advent of Scandinavian Pentecostalism did not initially cause splits and the founding of new denominations. Many viewed the new revival as a continuation of the earlier international Holiness movement, which in the Scandinavian countries was influenced by Lutheran pietists, Methodists and Baptists. In Sweden the largest Baptist denomination became the center of the Pentecostal revival.

Bundy shows how Scandinavian pietism influenced not only the character of Pentecostalism in Scandinavia, but also Pentecostalism in other parts of the world through the work of Scandinavian Pentecostal missionaries. One of the characteristics developed by Scandinavian Pentecostalism was an emphasis on the autonomy of the local church. This peculiarity arose from the heritage of Baptist congregationalism in Sweden. Through the missionary strategy of the emerging leader of Swedish Pentecostalism, Lewi Pethrus, this ecclesiology was exported with remarkable success, particularly to Brazil. Bundy’s research using early Pentecostal primary sources in the native Scandinavian languages is unparalleled. His painstaking scholarship has resulted in a great narrative of early Pentecostal revival and missions and is recommended reading for everyone interested in the formative years of global Pentecostalism.

Reviewed by Torbjörn Aronson, Livets Ord University

Paperback, 562 pages. To order, contact the publisher: Acta@ub.uu.se

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