Category Archives: Uncategorized

Edgar Kroll was a Scientist, a Skeptic, and a Presbyterian Elder. Then He Encountered the Power of the Holy Spirit.

This Week in AG History —October 21, 1962

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 21 October 2021

Adam Edgar Kroll (1918-1993) was a Presbyterian layman with little use for the miraculous claims of Christianity until he experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in a charismatic prayer meeting under the leadership of Presbyterian pastor James H. Brown. In 1962, the Pentecostal Evangel shared Kroll’s story, documenting that an Assemblies of God prayer meeting played a role in his conversion.

Kroll received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Temple University in 1942. He went to work with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (now DuPont, after its merger with Dow Chemicals) in their military explosives division. After receiving his Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1946, he was promoted to supervisor of the research division of the Polychemicals Department, holding the 1956 patent for the polymerization of tetrafluoroethylene.

As a youth, Kroll recalled going to church for special holiday services but never to Sunday School. He confessed, “I was well grounded in science and mathematics, but I did not know a word of Scripture. In fact, some of the things I heard about Christianity I found extremely hard to believe. My greatest stumbling blocks were the ‘miracles’; because, like many who study natural phenomena, I rejected the supernatural.”

After settling into marriage and his profession, Kroll began to think about metaphysical things, such as “What is man?”, “What is he born for?”, and “After death, what?” Philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry did not provide the answers for which he was searching.

In the early 1950s, Kroll and his wife thought it would be a good idea to take their young son, Barry, to a Presbyterian Sunday School. Not wishing to make the drive to the church twice each Sunday, Kroll stayed during the Sunday School hour and attended a men’s Bible class. However, it seemed the more he learned about the Bible, the more he thought he would need to commit intellectual suicide to believe its teaching.

Despite his skepticism, Kroll and his family continued to attend the church and, due to his intellect and standing in the community, he soon became an elder in the church and a Sunday School teacher, even filling the pulpit at times when the minister was absent.

In 1961, Barry Kroll experienced a genuine salvation and began to pray for his family. He learned that Revivaltime, an Assemblies of God evangelistic radio program, would pray for anyone who sent in their name. In November, Barry sent the name of Edgar Kroll, asking for prayer for his father’s salvation. Soon after submitting this prayer request, Barry received the infilling of the Holy Spirit in a January 1962 prayer meeting, and in a few weeks his mother and younger sister were also filled with the Spirit.

The prayer meetings Barry was attending were being held at the Upper Octorara Presbyterian church in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. They were led by Presbyterian minister, James H. Brown (1912-1987), who experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ in a Pentecostal meeting after serving more than 10 years in the pastorate and as theology professor at Lincoln Theological Seminary.

When Brown was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues in the late 1950s, he asked Assemblies of God leader David du Plessis for advice. “Stay in your church and renew it,” was the counsel he received. Taking this advice to heart, he continued to conduct traditional Presbyterian services on Sunday, while adding an informal Saturday evening prayer meeting to the church schedule. In time, the Saturday prayer meetings attracted hundreds of enthusiastic worshipers, including the Kroll family.

In April 1962, six months after requesting prayer from the Assemblies of God Revivaltime prayer meeting, Barry and his sister convinced their father to join them at the Saturday night prayer meetings at the Presbyterian church. After attending for three weeks, Edgar Kroll responded to an altar call and the self-professed skeptic and church elder gave his life to Jesus Christ.

In a report in the Oct. 21, 1962, Pentecostal Evangel, Kroll states, “While still on my knees with my hands lifted to God in praise, I began speaking in an unknown language. I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. After this glorious experience, my son told me that he had written to Revivaltime requesting prayer for my salvation. I know now that intercessory prayer led me to the meeting in Parkesburg.”

The Kroll family continued to attend their Presbyterian church but the experience of salvation and baptism in the Spirit changed their family. Barry Kroll wrote to the Revivaltime staff, “When Christ came into our home, He ruined us … for the world. Families without Christ do not have the slightest idea of how glorious life can be with Him.”

The Krolls were among the first generation of people who were Spirit-baptized in mainline churches during the charismatic movement. Some of the new charismatics ended up joining the Assemblies of God or other Pentecostal churches, while others, such as the Krolls, remained in their churches and brought new spiritual life to their congregations.

The Upper Octorara Presbyterian neo-Pentecostal prayer meetings, under Brown’s ministry, continued for more than 20 years, seeing thousands of clergy and laity baptized in the Spirit. In 1960, Brown was invited to address a gathering at Evangel College (now Evangel University) in Springfield, Missouri, where he shared the story of this Presbyterian charismatic revival.

The Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement left a remarkable imprint on countless mainline churches during the charismatic movement. The story of Adam Edgar Kroll, who was simultaneously a skeptic of Christianity and a Presbyterian elder, demonstrates how the power of the Holy Spirit can bring unbelievers to embrace the gospel.

Read the report of A. Edgar Kroll’s conversion, “Scientist Saved After Prayer at Last Year’s World Prayermeeting,” on pages 12 to 13 of the Oct. 21, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Baptism with the Holy Spirit” by Hardy Steinberg

• “Home Missions from a New Viewpoint” by Pauline Mastries

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How Tears of Grief Birthed the Assemblies of God in Lakhimpur, India

This Week in AG History —October 14, 1922

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 14 October 2021

Herbert H. Cox (1884-1926), an early Assemblies of God missionary in India, experienced the death of a son on the mission field. A few weeks after young Alkwyn’s death, Cox wrote a letter in which he described the grief that he and his wife felt. The letter, published in the Oct. 14, 1922, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, provides insight into the often-difficult lives of early missionaries.

Alkwyn’s death occurred at a stressful time in the Coxes’ ministry. Earlier that year, the family had moved to Lakhimpur, India, where they were trying to start an Assemblies of God mission. Things were not going well. Herbert wrote, “When we first came to this place it seemed if the whole community was against us. We could not go out without being sneered at.”

Life did not seem fair. But Cox explained that he and his wife trusted God through the difficulties. “It pleased the Lord to take from us, a few weeks ago, our youngest son,” Cox wrote. “We did not understand it, but submitted to His will in it all.” The missionaries turned their burden over to the Lord and did not allow their grief to turn into despair.

Alkwyn’s death softened the hearts of the residents of Lakhimpur. Herbert wrote, “But now the people have become so friendly and salute us wherever we are. The walls of prejudice have been broken and now we have an open door for the gospel.”

The Cox family had sown seeds of the gospel in Lakhimpur, but the gospel did not take root until the missionaries had watered those seeds with their own tears of grief.

Cox seemed to anticipate their suffering. He delivered a sermon, “The Power and Grace that Makes Martyrs,” in 1919 at the Stone Church, a large Assemblies of God congregation in Chicago. In his message, Cox described how his spiritual formation came not from a Bible school, but at the Gurney Iron Foundry in Toronto, Canada, where he had worked for 10 years before entering Nyack Missionary Training Institute.

Cox’s co-workers at the foundry led rough lives. The drugs of alcohol and tobacco went into their mouths and profanity came out. They wanted nothing to do with religion. Cox had to decide whether to take the easy route and keep his faith to himself, or to share Christ and suffer persecution. He chose the latter.

Cox testified, “He wants us to witness right where we are working these days. Of course you get your persecution. I have been knocked to the ground and held down by four men and a knife threateningly branded. I have been smitten across the mouth, but I still have the love of Jesus in my soul.”

Cox was grateful for these formative experiences of suffering. He wrote, “God made me ready in the foundry to witness [of] Jesus.” He shared his faith at the foundry, and some of his colleagues accepted Christ and their rough lives became hewn for the ministry. His first convert became a missionary and was responsible for the building of 27 churches in Nigeria.

What caused young Herbert Cox to embrace the way of suffering? He spent significant time studying the Word of God, and he took to heart the life and teachings of the Apostle Paul. Cox noted that Paul was persecuted, jailed, reviled, hungry, and thirsty. Yet this did not deter him from wanting to follow Paul’s example. In his 1919 sermon, Cox admonished listeners to be fully consecrated to Christ and His mission: “Lord, give us some Apostle Pauls today. We are in need of them. I believe God wants us to follow in the steps of this great man of God.”

Herbert Cox followed the example of the Apostle Paul and gave everything for the cause of Jesus Christ. Cox contracted smallpox while ministering in Dhaurahra, India. On Feb. 6, 1926, he joined his son, Alkwyn, in heaven.

Read the article, “Lakhimpur: A Virgin Field of One Million Souls,” by Herbert H. Cox, on page 10 of the Oct. 14, 1922, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Like Precious Faith,” by Smith Wigglesworth

• “Be Filled with the Spirit,” by W. T. Gaston

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fred Vogler: From Australia to Assemblies of God U.S. Missions Pioneer

This Week in AG History — October 4, 1941

By Glenn W. Gohr

Originally published on AG News, 7 October 2021

Fred Vogler (1888-1972), an immigrant from Australia, impacted the Assemblies of God in many ways, including serving as the first director of what is now U.S. Missions.

Vogler was born in Boonah, Queensland, Australia, and immigrated in the spring of 1905 with his parents and four of his 12 brothers and sisters, along with some 60 other Australians, to Zion City, Illinois, which was founded as a Christian community about 30 miles north of Chicago. They became affiliated with healing evangelist John Alexander Dowie, who also was originally from Australia. The Voglers learned about him through his magazine, Leaves of Healing, which reported on many testimonies of divine healing.

Fred Vogler was 17 when he arrived in Zion City, and previously he had been saved and felt called to preach. He had contact with the Salvation Army while still living in Australia, but he discovered a new dimension of Christian experience in Zion City. He attended some cottage prayer meetings that Charles Parham conducted there. This led him to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1907, and he joined with other young people who spent many hours waiting on the Lord. He also began to diligently look for opportunities for Christian service. Vogler was among a group who had weekly prayers meetings and who traveled on Sunday afternoons to nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin, to hold street meetings.

Early in 1908, Vogler (who had been working as a carpenter), left his employment to evangelize with Bennett Lawrence. A few months later, J. Roswell Flower joined them for meetings in the Indiana towns of Mooresville, Farmersburg, and Worthington. They also evangelized in other places, often without any advance arrangements. In spite of opposition at times, Vogler recalled, “God gave us the victory.”

In 1909, Vogler and Flower went to Kansas City, Missouri, to assist in tent meetings sponsored by A.S. Copley, an influential Pentecostal editor and preacher. There was opposition from some holiness preachers who strongly opposed Pentecostalism. But in the end, the sympathetic crowd sided with Vogler and Flower. One sister said, “God bless these young men! We ought to help, not condemn them.”

On April 7, 1910, Vogler married Margaret Boyer, who also had been part of the young people’s group at Zion City, Illinois. She had ministered for a while with a gospel team directed by William Manley, another influential early Pentecostal. For two years after their marriage, the Voglers lived in Zion City, where Fred was employed as a carpenter, and the Voglers were active in the local Christian Assembly as well as evangelism in the surrounding area.

In 1912, the Voglers left Zion for Plainfield, Indiana, where they enrolled in a new “faith” school called Gibeah Bible School, which was conducted by D.W. Myland. There they kindled friendships with J. Roswell and Alice Reynolds Flower and Flem Van Meter who also attended this Bible school.

After three terms at the school, the Voglers took over as pastors of a mission in Martinsville, Illinois, where they stayed for seven years. While living there, Fred Vogler was ordained by J. Roswell Flower and Ed Armstrong, becoming affiliated with the Assemblies of God on June 1, 1914.

Vogler also was a building contractor, which helped to support his growing family. Flower and others knew of his abilities, and in 1920, Vogler was enlisted to build the first wooden structure for Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri. This building later housed the first two years of Central Bible Institute.

During his time in Springfield, Vogler visited his sister in Topeka, Kansas. He saw a great need for evangelism in the capital city of Kansas, so he began planning to pioneer a work there as soon as he finished the building project in Springfield.

Vogler moved his family to Topeka, where he rented a basement room across the street from the governor’s mansion. By day he worked as a carpenter/contractor building a large contracting firm in Topeka, and the rest of the time he devoted to establishing a church in cooperation with the fledgling Kansas district. In 1921 he accepted the added responsibility of serving as secretary-treasurer of the Kansas district.

In 1923, the Kansas district elected Fred Vogler to the office of superintendent, a role he filled for 14 years (1923-1937). In 1927, his beloved wife, Margaret, passed away, leaving him with five young children. He married Nettie Voelkel in 1931, who became a wonderful helpmate to him and a mother to his children.

In 1937, Fred Vogler was elected to the office of Assistant General Superintendent and moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he served 14 years as an executive officer for the Assemblies of God. As part of his duties, he became the first executive director of the Home Missions and Education Department. When the two areas were separated in 1945, he became the director of the Home Missions Department (now called U.S. Missions). Under his leadership, many churches were built in Alaska as well as other places across the U.S. He also had a burden for reaching Native Americans, which led to a number of Indian mission churches springing up in many areas. He also supervised the formation of the Ministers’ Benefit Association which later was called Aged Ministers’ Assistance, and in 1947 he headed the newly formed Department of Benevolences.

In 1954, Vogler retired from his executive duties and moved to Belleville, Illinois. He passed away there in 1972 at the age of 84. His wife, Nettie, passed away in 1982 at the age of 91. Three of Vogler’s children followed their parents into ministry. His only son, David, was an ordained Assemblies of God minister. Daughter Kathryn spent two years in home missions work, received ordination, and was an appointed missionary to India. Daughter Mary Vogler was an ordained minister who was active in child evangelism and in teaching at Great Lakes Bible Institute in Zion, Illinois. The two younger daughters, Ruth Riegle and Alice Howard, became active lay workers.

Commemorating this pioneer evangelist, pastor, builder and church executive, who influenced a full range of ministries, the Pentecostal Evangel observed, “His accomplishments were great because he had vision and was willing to give himself without reservation to see the vision fulfilled.”

During World War II, Fred Vogler, as executive director of Home Missions, talked about many critical issues the U.S. was facing, including crime, alcohol, and spending, as well as some religious statistics. He identified 60 million people in the United States without any church affiliation and 13 million children without any religious training. With so many people without God, he said, “We have a great field right here in America.” He expanded on this thought by saying, “We are not responsible to God for past generations, neither are we responsible to God for future generations, but we are responsible to God for the generation that now lives.” Vogler recognized the need for missionaries abroad, but he also saw a real need to evangelize and win the lost in the United States, especially during the crisis in the 1940s.

Read the article, “Home Missions in the Light of the Present World Crisis,” on page 2 of the Oct. 4, 1941, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Place of Youth in Our Movement,” by Wesley R. Steelberg

• “The Gospel in India” by Maynard L. Ketcham

• “A Call to Missionary Work,” by J. Bashford Bishop

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Rediscovering the Early Pentecostal Worldview: The Lost Message of Full Consecration

This Week in AG History —September 27, 1930

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 30 September 2021

“I sometimes wonder whether God is much interested in big movements. I know He is intensely interested in individual souls who are wholly consecrated to Him, and wholly devoted to His cause.” [1]    — Stanley Frodsham, editor of the Pentecostal Evangel

Early Pentecostal literature is overflowing with calls to full consecration — the insistence that Christians fully devote themselves to Christ and His mission. This call to full consecration — an essential part of the worldview of early Pentecostals — is now a faint echo in some quarters of the movement. Early Pentecostals offered profound insights concerning the need for a deeper spiritual life. A rediscovery of these insights — which focus on discipleship and mission — could reinvigorate the church by challenging believers to question the Western church’s accommodation of the materialism and selfishness of the surrounding culture.

FULL CONSECRATION

What is “full consecration?” The term may be unfamiliar to many readers. Stanley Horton noted, in a 1980 Pentecostal Evangel article, “In the early days of this Pentecostal movement we heard a great deal about consecration.” Horton went on to explain that the Hebrew word, kadash, which means consecration, was later replaced in popular piety by similar words, such as dedication and commitment. He noted that kadash signified a “separation to the service of God,” calling for not merely a partial dedication, but for “a total consecration and a lifestyle different from the [surrounding] world.”[2]

Pentecostalism emerged about 120 years ago among radical Holiness and evangelical Christians who aimed for full consecration. They were very uncomfortable with the gap between Scripture and what they saw in their own lives; between ought-ness and is-ness. They wanted to practice an authentic spirituality; a genuine Christianity, not just in confession, but in practice. Yearning for a deeper life in Christ, they were spiritually hungry and desired to be more committed Christ-followers. These ardent seekers saw in Scripture that Spirit baptism provided empowerment to live above normal human existence; this experience with God brought believers in closer communion with God and empowered them for witness.

According to Pentecostal theologian Jackie Johns, early Pentecostals embraced a worldview that, at its heart, is a “transforming experience with God.”[3] According to this understanding, the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit enables believers to consecrate themselves to God.

RESULTS OF THE CONSECRATED LIFE


Various themes arose from this worldview that emphasized full consecration:

Mission — Pentecostals have demonstrated a gritty determination to share Christ, in word and deed, no matter the cost. They had a vision to turn the world upside down, one person at a time. Delegates to the second General Council of the Assemblies of God, held in November 1914, committed themselves to “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.”[4]

Priesthood of all believers — Pentecostals have put into practice a radical application of this Protestant ideal, affirming that God can call anybody into the ministry — regardless of race, gender, educational or social status, age, handicap, and so on.

Spiritual disciplines — Believers prayed, read their Bibles, fasted, avoided worldly entanglements that would dilute their testimony, and called for a lifestyle of self-denial for the sake of lifting Christ up to the world.

Expectation of the miraculous — Believers practiced biblical spiritual gifts, experienced miracles, and viewed life’s struggles as spiritual warfare.

Racial reconciliation — Early Pentecostals at Azusa Street and elsewhere, realizing that full devotion to Christ precluded racial favoritism, committed themselves to overcoming the sin of racism.

A conviction that heavenly citizenship should far outweigh earthly citizenship — Early Pentecostals emphasized one’s faith and calling above national concerns.

These themes (the above list is not exhaustive) all made sense within the worldview that called for full devotion to Jesus and no compromise with evil or distractions from the Christian’s highest calling. Pentecostals, subject to human frailty and the confusion of surrounding cultures, have not always lived up to these ideals. Still, Pentecostal identity should not be defined by the shortcomings of individual members, but by the vision for authentic Christianity that captures the imagination of its adherents.

The concept of full consecration is the underlying quality that gave birth within early Pentecostalism to the above themes, including speaking in tongues. Early Pentecostals viewed tongues-speech as the evidence, but not the purpose, of Spirit baptism. The purpose of this experience with God was full consecration — to draw believers closer to God and to empower them to be witnesses. The Pentecostal experience enabled believers to live with purity and power.

Early Pentecostals recognized that the consecrated life came at great cost, but yielded great spiritual riches. Daniel W. Kerr, the primary author of the AG’s Statement of Fundamental Truths, warned against “the fading glory” on some Christians’ faces, and instead called for a “deeper conversion” that is marked by desire for holiness.[5] Quoting Hebrews 12:14, Kerr stated that holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord,” is both a “product of grace” and “a life of self-denying and suffering.”[6] Early Pentecostals insisted that the consecrated life is not inward-focused. Kerr averred that holiness “is a life of love for others, manifested in words and work.”[7]

Early Pentecostals were ahead of their time. It should be noted that they were not buying into modern political or social ideologies; their commitments arose from their devotional life. Some of their commitments — such as women in ministry and racial reconciliation — brought persecution 100 years ago, but the culture has shifted so that these stands are now considered respectable by many. This newfound respectability presents a challenge — it is possible to look like a Pentecostal by embracing historic Pentecostal themes that are now considered “cool,” without also seeking to be fully consecrated.

PENTECOSTALISM WITH CONSECRATION?

Living out and conveying authentic Christian spirituality from one generation to the next has often proven a difficult task. Carl Brumback, in his 1961 history of the Assemblies of God, expressed concern over the decline of the spiritual life within the Pentecostal movement. He wrote:

It must be admitted that there is a general lessening of fervor and discipline in the Assemblies of God in America. This frank admission is not a wholly new sentiment, for down through the years in the pages of the Pentecostal Evangel and other periodicals correspondents have asked, “Is Pentecost the revival it was in the beginning?” As early as five years after Azusa, they were longing for “the good old days”! Nevertheless, it is vital to any revival movement to reassess not too infrequently the state of its spiritual life.[8]

Is it possible to be Pentecostal without full consecration? D. W. Kerr, in answering this question, propounded that “when we cease to [esteem others better than ourselves] we cease to live the Christ-life. We may still have the outward form, but the power is gone.”[9] Those who identify with the Pentecostal tradition but who practice or defend sinful or unwise activities are being inconsistent with the early Pentecostal worldview.

NEED FOR RENEWAL

Self-centered spirituality seems to be the default setting for humanity. “Pure and undefiled religion,” however, requires caring for the needy and keeping oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Pentecostalism arose as a renewal and reform movement within Christianity — and now the movement may itself be in need of renewal and reform.

How can Pentecostals rekindle a wholehearted passion for Christ and His mission? Stanley Frodsham suggested that Christians need to form a daily habit of reconsecration.[10] Rediscovering classic Pentecostal and Holiness hymns and devotional writings would be a good place to start.

The classic Holiness hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” (lyrics below) is a prayer for full consecration.

     Take My Life and Let It Be

     Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
     Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
     Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
     Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
     Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
     Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
     Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
     Make my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
     Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
     Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
     Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
     Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Early Assemblies of God General Superintendent Ernest S. Williams wrote an article, “Consecration,” published in the Sept. 27, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. He asserted, “Consecration is the only way to a life of Christian victory.” He went on to observe that “Unconsecrated persons may skim through satisfied with unsubstantialness in their religion. But he who would live above reproach to the honor and glory of God, will present his body a living sacrifice, not to be conformed to this world in example, spirit, or aim.”

For the consecrated believer, Williams wrote, “Christ becomes the source of his life and strength. In Him he finds wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, his light, his life, his all in all.”

E.S. Williams, the only general superintendent who participated in the Azusa Street revival, frequently encouraged believers to lives of holiness and consecration.

Read early Pentecostal literature, sing old Holiness hymns, meditate upon them, and let God transform you. In doing so, you will rediscover the worldview of early Pentecostals.

Read E.S. Williams’ article, “Consecration,” on page 2 of the Sept. 27, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “What the Coming of Christ Will Produce in Our Lives” by Stanley Cooke

• “Moved with Compassion for India’s Millions” by Marguerite Flint

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

Endnotes:
1. Stanley Frodsham, Wholly for God: A Call to Complete Consecration, Illustrated by the Story of Paul Bettex, a Truly Consecrated Soul (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1934), 20.
2. Stanley Horton, “Consecration, Commitment, Submission,” Pentecostal Evangel, Feb. 10, 1980, 20.
3. Jackie David Johns, “Yielding to the Spirit: The Dynamics of a Pentecostal Model of Praxis,” in The Globalization of Pentecostalism: A Religion Made to Travel (Carlisle, CA: Regnum Books, 1999), 74.
4. General Council Minutes, April-November 1914 [combined], 12.
5. D. W. Kerr, Waters in the Desert (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1925), 77.
6. Ibid., 34.
7. Ibid., 33.
8. Carl Brumback, Suddenly from Heaven: A History of the Assemblies of God (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1961), 349-350.
9. Kerr, 130.
10. Frodsham, 61.

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

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Royal Rangers Founder Johnnie Barnes: How a Methodist Minister Experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

This Week in AG History —August 24, 1946

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 26 August 2021

John Henry Barnes (1927-1989), better known as “Johnnie,” is remembered as the giant of a man who developed the boys ministry program of the Assemblies of God, “Royal Rangers.” When asked by Assistant Superintendent Howard S. Bush in 1961 to take on the task of developing this aspect of the Men’s Fellowship, Barnes prayed, “Lord, I’m available, if this is what you want me to do, with the Spirit’s help, I will do it.”

Born the sixth of seven children on a Texas ranch, Barnes experienced numerous outdoor adventures while growing up. He was involved in Boy Scouts of America, reaching the rank of Life Scout and serving as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, and he planned to become a park ranger after graduating from high school. But in 1946 he surrendered his life to Christ in a Methodist revival service. Turning down a football scholarship to a Texas university he enrolled at Texas Wesleyan College to pursue ministry training.

Barnes was licensed in the Methodist church during his freshman year of college and was given a circuit of two small churches in Marionville and Sybill Bend to pastor while attending school. In January 1950 he accepted the pastorate of an Evangelical Methodist church in Lubbock, Texas. It was while pastoring in Lubbock that Barnes connected with a friend who had a Pentecostal experience. This friend encouraged the young Methodist pastor to seek God for the truth of a deeper experience with God in the Spirit.

During this time, Barnes received a letter from his girlfriend, Juanita, stating that she had received the baptism in the Holy Ghost and encouraged him to consider it. Hungering for more of the Lord, Barnes attended a revival meeting at a nearby Assemblies of God church in February 1950. He tells of this experience in a 1963 article, “How A Methodist Minister Received the Pentecostal Baptism,” published in the Pentecostal Evangel:

“The first night I went to the altar I was very conscious of my position as a Methodist minister. Kneeling very carefully on one knee I prayed something like this, ‘Here I am, Lord. If you want me to have this experience, give it to me.’ But I did not receive the Baptism that way. I soon realized I must forget about my position and simply desire the infilling of the Holy Spirit with all my heart. It took a few days of fasting and several hours of prayer to humble my stubborn proud spirit … then one wonderful night I went to the altar wanting more than anything else for God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. I fell on my knees, raised my hands toward heaven, and began to tell Jesus of my love for Him. Soon I was lost in the presence of Christ … when I came to myself I was speaking in a language I had never heard before. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that this was the baptism of the Holy Ghost. God revolutionized my life that night so that I have not been the same person since.”

The following Sunday, Barnes preached a sermon to his Methodist church, “Why I Believe in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.” The response was mixed but the consensus was that “Bro. Barnes is a different person from the one we used to know.”

Barnes resigned his church and began traveling as a Pentecostal evangelist. In August 1950, he married Juanita and in June 1951 was ordained with the Texas district of the Assemblies of God. He went on to pastor the Assembly of God church in Electra, Texas, and served as the district youth director of the North Texas district.

When Barnes began to develop the Royal Rangers program in 1962, he intentionally included teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit in each of its age-level programs. His own experience of the need for the power of the Spirit to equip him for the task ahead of him, along with the teaching of Scripture, convinced him that this must be a key component of ministry to men and boys. When Barnes passed away in 1989, there were 5,290 Royal Rangers groups in the United States with more than 128,000 young men being taught of their need for the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Barnes later expanded and republished his 1963 Evangel article in pamphlet form, including a poem he wrote about his first experience in that 1950 Pentecostal service, entitled “First Nighter by Johnnie Barnes”:

I sat in the car till time to begin
Before I had nerve to get out and go in.
My heart began to jump, to bounce and to leap,
But I’d made a promise that I had to keep.
I slipped in the door and took a look around,
Then in the seat fartherest back I finally sat down.
I hoped no one would see me for I felt kinda low,
For I was a Methodist and rather dignified, you know.
Chills went up my spine and flutters through my heart,
Before the preacher said it was time to start.
“Let us pray,” said the preacher as he bowed his head,
But there were too many praying to hear what he said.
They started to sing and my goodness, my lands,
They were so irreverent they started clapping their hands!
They sang too fast and didn’t stop at the end;
But kept right on singing till they ran out of wind.
Someone called my name and that made me jump;
For that Pentecostal preacher had me up a stump.
“Will our Methodist brother testify?” the preacher said,
I stammered out the first thing that came into my head.
I sat back down kinda glad it was over;
But that preacher looked satisfied as a cow eating clover.
They started testifying and how the words did roll,
They said something about how good they felt in their souls.
The shouted, they danced, they stomped on the floor,
And that silly preacher hollered for more.
I was embarrassed and had all kinds of blues,
I felt like sinking way down in my shoes.
The preacher got up and took a text on Grace,
I’m telling you that man preached all over the place.
That man would walk, he would holler and leap,
He would wave his arms, then he would weep.
He told of the Holy Ghost and the unknown tongue.
And when he had finished I was glad he was done.
Then he called for the needy to come to the altar,
But I stood as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar.
When it was over they all shook my hand,
The men hugged my neck and said I was grand.
I couldn’t have been more uncomfortable sitting on a tack,
And when I left I swore I’d never come back.
But I did and finally I didn’t even mind
For everytime I went it got gooder each time.
As time went by and God led me on,
I realized God withheld nothing good from his own.
Then one day I paid the price God asked me to pay;
And my pride and ambition all vanished away.
Then God brought me from sagebrush to green pastures so fine;
For the promise of the Father at last was mine.


Read Johnnie Barnes’ article, “How A Methodist Minister Received the Pentecostal Baptism,” on page 10 of the Sept. 22, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Army of the Lord” by Richard E. Orchard

• “Riding On the Wind” by Zelma Argue

• “Trial By Fire” by Evelyn Bolton

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

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Melvin and Lois Hodges: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionaries to Latin America

This Week in AG History — September 13, 1941

By Glenn W. Gohr

Originally published on AG News, 16 September 2021

Melvin Lyle Hodges (1909-1988) and his wife, Lois (Crews) Hodges (1908-2011), were pioneer Assemblies of God missionaries to Latin America. Their experience on the mission field taught them the importance of training local believers to lead the church, and Melvin went on to become a leading missiologist among Pentecostals and evangelicals.

Melvin and Lois were married in December 1928 and pastored churches in Colorado and Wyoming for seven years before gaining approval to go on the mission field. They were appointed by the Assemblies of God Foreign Missions Department and served Latin America, primarily in El Salvador and Nicaragua (1935-1953).

They returned to the U.S. in 1945 and Hodges served as editor of the Missionary Challenge publication for two years. He spent the next four years traveling between the United States and Central America, overseeing the work there. He returned to Central America fulltime in 1950 and served another three years in Nicaragua as a missionary. Lois became proficient in Spanish and actively participated in a teaching and training role alongside her husband. Her sister, Esther Crews, also assisted them in missionary work in Nicaragua.

Melvin Hodges was then appointed as field director for Latin America and the West Indies (1953-1973) and again spent time traveling and overseeing the work in Central America, although he maintained an office in Springfield, Missouri.

Melvin and Lois Hodges teamed with veteran missionary Ralph Williams, who practiced English missionary Roland Allen’s philosophy of indigenous principles. While ministering in Nicaragua, Hodges was given an opportunity to put into practice these principles, which Allen called “the missionary methods of St. Paul.” He established a Bible school in Matagalpa and ministered to native Nicaraguans.

In his retirement (1973-1985), Hodges served as professor of missions at the Assemblies of God Graduate School (now Assemblies of God Theological Seminary) in Springfield, Missouri, which allowed him to share his vast knowledge of missions with students and also to do more writing.

As an Assemblies of God missions leader, Hodges wrote prolifically about the value of developing indigenous (self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing) churches around the world. He was the author of 15 books and more than 300 articles and tracts. His books have been revised and reprinted and translated into numerous languages and used as textbooks in colleges and seminaries around the world. His two best-known books, The Indigenous Church (1953) and Build My Church (1957), shaped missionary policy not only for the Assemblies of God but for other evangelical missions groups as well.

Hodges authored at least 115 articles in the Pentecostal Evangel. In a 1941 article, Hodges recounted how he and Lois returned from furlough to Matagalpa, Nicaragua, where they were greeted by Esther Crews and a group of native workers. Upon returning, they witnessed testimonies of answered prayer, healings, and souls saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Melvin and Lois Hodges left a lasting legacy, not only in Latin America, but on the development of Christian missions around the world.

Read the article, “In Nicaragua Again!” on page 11 of the Sept. 13, 1941, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Four Days Ago I Was Fasting,” by Zelma Argue

• “Choosing God’s Best,” by Wesley R. Steelberg

• “How Shall I Curse, Whom God Hath Not Cursed?” by Lilian B. Yeomans

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

In 1951, Amidst Increasing Worldliness, Steelberg Challenged the Assemblies of God to not Neglect its Spiritual Heritage

This Week in AG History —September 9, 1951

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 09 September 2021

Seventy years ago, General Superintendent Wesley Steelberg opened the 24th General Council of the Assemblies of God with a heartfelt plea to remain true to “our dual spiritual heritage in Pentecost.”

Steelberg’s address, which was published in the Sept. 9, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, showed concern over the direction of the broader culture and church world. He prayed that “the Assemblies of God may not drift in the swift current of worldliness towards the precipice of apostasy.” He encouraged listeners to instead “stand true to God,” so that when the trumpet sounds, “we will all rise to meet him — an uncontaminated, untarnished host who believe in all the fullness of the Pentecostal experience.”

Even before Steelberg spoke, the platform was nearly filled with people on their knees in prayer. Delegates started singing, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and God’s presence became palpable. Another article in the same issue reported that crowds at the altar “stood in God’s presence and lifted up their voices in united praise to the Lord.” According to the account, the prayer was reminiscent of the Book of Acts and sounded “as the mighty rush of many waters.”

The general superintendent took the platform and identified two important aspects of the Pentecostal movement’s heritage: 1) the gift of the presence of the Holy Ghost; and 2) the faith of our forefathers. He admonished hearers to not neglect this heritage.

Steelberg asked a question of the audience: “Are we as appreciative of the Holy Spirit and His presence in our individual lives, in our churches, in our districts, in our great worldwide Fellowship as we ought to be?” He reminded the ministers and lay delegates that it is frightfully easy to treat lightly that which has become familiar. According to Steelberg, Pentecostals must never allow themselves to be comfortable with the Third Person of the Trinity. He asserted that God did not intend for the Assemblies of God to be content to become “another in the long line of denominations.” Pentecostals must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, he cautioned, and not merely on the wisdom of men.

According to Steelberg, the faith handed down by Pentecostal pioneers should continue to characterize the Assemblies of God. “I have a firm conviction in my heart,” he declared, “that we are called to be a people for a specific service in a specific hour.” He characterized the Pentecostal heritage as a testimony more so than a tradition. The testimonies of Pentecostal pioneers, he spoke, “should be our testimony.” He pleaded with his listeners to pass on the fullness of the testimony of the Pentecostal experience to the next generation.

Concluding his message, Steelberg quoted Luke 18:8: “When Christ cometh will He find faith on the earth?” Steelberg prayed that succeeding generations would be able to respond to the question with a resounding, “Yes!”

Read Steelberg’s full address, “Our Dual Spiritual Heritage,” on pages 3-4 and 13-14 of the Sept. 9, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “What Happened in Atlanta,” a report of the 24th Biennial General Council

• “How to Be Healed and Stay Healed,” by Evangelist W.V. Grant

• “Famine in India,” by Maynard Ketchum

And many more!

Click to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

L. M. Anglin and the Rise of the Indigenous Pentecostal Church in China

This Week in AG History —September 2, 1922

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 02 September 2021

Christianization does not equal Westernization. The success of Pentecostals in world missions has been due, in large part, to their reliance on spiritual transformation, rather than on Western cultural education, in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Assemblies of God committed itself in 1921 to a missions strategy of establishing self-governing, self-supporting, and self-sustaining churches in missions lands. Alice E. Luce, a Spirit-baptized Anglican missionary to India who transferred to the Assemblies of God in 1915, influenced the Assemblies of God to adopt this indigenous church principle long before it was embraced by most mainline Protestant groups. The policy was not uniformly implemented, and some Assemblies of God missionaries continued to follow the paternalistic practices of other Western churches during the early decades of the 20th century.

Leslie M. and Ava Anglin, early Assemblies of God missionaries to China, were quick to grasp the importance of establishing indigenous churches. The Anglins arrived in China in 1910 under the banner of the Baptist Gospel Mission, a small missionary sending agency. Leslie Anglin learned the Chinese language, began preaching in various villages, and assembled a small flock. By 1915, the Anglins had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, which caused the Baptist missions agency to cease its support of their ministry. They transferred to the Assemblies of God and became prominent Pentecostal pioneers in China. Over the next 20 years, the Anglins wrote over 50 letters reporting on their missions work that were published in the Pentecostal Evangel.

In 1916, the Anglins established the Home of Onesiphorus — an outreach in the city of Taian, Shantung, China, for orphans who had been abandoned by their families. As it expanded, the Home of Onesiphorus added a school for poor boys and girls, many of whom were beggars. The school provided both academic and technical training. Children were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as trades such as weaving and making furniture.

In a Sept. 2, 1922, Pentecostal Evangel article, Anglin described his approach to implementing the indigenous church principle. His goal, he wrote, was not “to create an American out of [the Chinese man],” but “to take in the outcast, clothe him, house him, and feed him in Chinese fashion.” The Home of Onesiphorus trained hundreds of lay people and Chinese Pentecostal preachers who helped lay the foundation for a strong indigenous Pentecostal church in China.

Read the article by L. M. Anglin, “The Home of Onesiphorus,” on pages 12 and 13 of the Sept. 2, 1922, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How Can We Know that We Have Received the Baptism?” by Bert Williams

• “The Basis for our Distinctive Testimony,” by D. W. 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: www.iFPHC.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Stanley Frodsham: Pioneer Pentecostal Author, Editor, and Teacher

This Week in AG History —August 24, 1946

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 26 August 2021

Stanley Howard Frodsham (1882-1969) was a writer, editor, and teacher during the formative years of the Pentecostal movement and the Assemblies of God. As editor of the Pentecostal Evangel for nearly 30 years, Frodsham stands as one of the most influential figures of 20th-century Pentecostalism.

Born to a Congregational family in England, Frodsham studied classical literature, French, Latin, and mathematics. As a young man, he came to personal faith in Christ through reading the biography of Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission. He immediately quit swearing, gave up his pack-a-day cigarette habit, and began attending F.B. Meyer’s weekly training classes at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in London.

While traveling with his brother, Arthur, in Canada in 1906 and 1907, Frodsham heard about a spiritual revival taking place and the restoration of the gifts of the Spirit as recorded in the New Testament Church. Upon his return to England, he sought this deeper work in his own life and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues on Oct. 13, 1908, in the Sunderland vicarage of Anglican minister, A. A. Boddy, one of the founders of British Pentecostalism.

In 1909, Frodsham commenced publishing the first Pentecostal paper in England, Victory, and began pastoring a small congregation in Bournemouth. In the same year, he and Alice Rowlands were married by their ministerial colleague and friend, Smith Wigglesworth. While continuing to publish Victory, the Frodsham’s traveled to the United States to attend meetings with Maria Woodworth-Etter in Dallas, Texas. They soon ventured to California where Wigglesworth joined them in ministry activities along the West Coast.

In 1916, Frodsham received a letter from J. W. Welch, general chairman (now called general superintendent) of the Assemblies of God (AG). Welch thanked him for articles he submitted to The Pentecostal Evangel, the weekly publication of the AG and stated they were “praying for God’s man” to be the editor of their periodical. “Are you that man?” Welch asked Frodsham. Included with the letter was an invitation to attend the upcoming 1916 General Council in St. Louis.

Frodsham came as a stranger to the Assemblies of God but, because of his writings, he was not unknown. During these meetings, he was elected the new general secretary and was appointed to serve on a committee with D.W. Kerr, and others, to draft a Statement of Fundamental Truths for the Movement. Frodsham served as general secretary from 1916 to 1919 and as assistant editor of the Evangel until 1921, when he became the editor-in-chief of not only the Evangel, but every other AG publication, including Sunday School materials. He served as the Evangel editor for 27 years, providing a stabilizing force in the young Movement.

Frodsham’s contacts with Pentecostal leaders in Europe and Canada gave the Evangel a broader scope than many of the Pentecostal publications of the time and opened it to an audience beyond the Assemblies of God. Frodsham introduced his audience to the writings of his British colleagues such as George Jeffreys, Smith Wigglesworth, A. A. Boddy, and Donald Gee, giving a greater unity between the Assemblies of God in the United States and in Great Britain. Following the lead of the former editor, J. Roswell Flower, Frodsham was intentional in using the Evangel to promote enthusiasm for the missionary work of the Movement. He also saw the need of using the pages of the Evangel to provide for ministers who were unable to attend the Bible institutes, using it for ministerial instruction, sermon ideas, and Sunday School lessons.

Earlier, E.N. Bell, the first general chairman of the AG, was given the assignment to write a book telling the story of the worldwide Pentecostal movement. Bell began to collect letters and written accounts from first-hand observers. When he died unexpectantly in 1923, the task fell to Frodsham. With Signs Following was published in 1926, updated in 1928, and fully revised in 1941. Frodsham’s work became the standard textbook on Pentecostal history for many years.

In the Aug. 24, 1946, Pentecostal Evangel, Frodsham titled his editorial “By My Spirit.” At a time when the Assemblies of God was gaining favor in the church world and influence with the National Association of Evangelicals, there was concern that the Assemblies of God was losing some of its spiritual fervor, Frodsham reminded the Movement that “many think they can be wholly independent of the Holy Spirit. They say, ‘Are we not graduates of such and such a school, college, or university? Have we not back of us all the experience and traditions of the great denominations? Have we not libraries filled with the works of the greatest thinkers of the centuries? Have we not learned to be experts in our own particular field of service?’” He continued, “Constant consciousness of poverty and need will provoke us to constant asking. The disciples did not strut around after the day of Pentecost and say, ‘Look what we have!’ Knowing there was more of the Spirit from the same blessed Source, they cried to God for yet more of what they knew would be theirs by the further coming of the Holy Spirit in power.”

Before his death in 1969, Frodsham published 15 books, including the biography of his friend, Smith Wigglesworth, and he wrote nearly 1,000 articles for the Pentecostal Evangel. In 1970, the organ in the Central Bible College (Springfield, Missouri) chapel was dedicated in his honor with the simple words, “He inspired others to worship.”

Read Stanley Frodsham’s article, “By My Spirit” on page 4 of the Aug. 24, 1946, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Work Among the Lisu” by Lavada Morrison

• “The Cross and Discipline” by L.E. Maxwell

• “Victory and Faith” by Josephine Turnbull

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Prosperity Gospel and Worldliness: A Warning from Early Pentecostal Leader W.T. Gaston

This Week in AG History —August 16, 1953

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 19 August 2021

Will the Pentecostal movement follow “the path of gradual surrender to carnal forces” like most Christian renewal movements before it? This question, posed by former General Superintendent W. T. Gaston (1925-1929) in the Aug. 16, 1953, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, remains strikingly relevant. 

Gaston wrote that history’s “tragic lesson” is that a church’s solid foundation does not prevent corruption from “fleshly elements within.” He offered this warning at a time when certain media-savvy Pentecostal healing evangelists had been exposed for their ungodly lifestyles, but who continued to promote themselves and their unbiblical message that God guarantees financial prosperity to believers.

Gaston suggested, “If we are to have a future that is better or even comparable and worthy of our past, we will need to learn over again some of the lessons of yesterday.” One of the important lessons to rediscover, he wrote, was the importance of promoting “pure, undefiled” religion.

He recalled that many early 20th-century Pentecostal pioneers were bivocational ministers, that often met in homes or rented buildings, and that most were not very impressive by the standards of the surrounding culture. However, they did not need worldly goods and accolades in order for the Holy Spirit to accomplish great things through their lives and ministries.

Gaston wrote that he witnessed an “utter disregard for poverty or wealth or station in life” in the early Pentecostal movement. Yet “those rugged pioneers,” he noted, “had something that made them attractive and convincing.” The contrast between the attitudes of the world and the early Pentecostals was striking. According to Gaston, early believers were “completely satisfied without the world’s glittering tinsel, and content to be the objects of its scornful hatred.” 

Believers must carefully guard their hearts, Gaston warned, or face a dissipation of this consecration and sacrificial spirit. He noted, as an example, that some ministers in the 1950s seemed to “project themselves and their projects instead of promoting the common cause and sharing equally in the honors and sufferings of the common brotherhood.”

Gaston identified a love of money as a danger to the Pentecostal movement and an impediment to the gospel. We “must draw the line against all comers with a money complex,” he asserted, in order “to retain its good sense and religious balance.” He lamented that certain high-profile evangelists promised God’s blessings to those who would give money to their ministries. He wrote, “Ministers of the gospel who lay up treasure on earth while they preach that people should lay theirs up in heaven are neither consistent nor worthy.” Gaston suspected that the “selfless, lowly Jesus” would “refuse to go along” with such ministers.

Furthermore, Gaston was troubled by sensationalism promoted by some of the big-name preachers in his day. “Full-orbed religion throbs with sensation,” he wrote. However, he warned against “unbridled sensationalism,” which could easily bring “disillusionment and disintegration” to those who have not developed a strong faith. Gaston concluded with “a simple appeal for consistency and reality in our religious approach,” praying that the Pentecostal movement would “purge itself of practices or propaganda patterns which are not compatible with the spirit and letter of the New Testament.”

Gaston’s article offers several important lessons to 21st-century Pentecostals. First, Pentecostals should carefully guard their hearts. History demonstrates that selfishness and worldliness tend to creep into the church, and that even Christian renewal movements can drift from their founding ideals. Second, early Pentecostalism grew amidst widespread scorn and persecution as believers joyfully embodied consecrated, holy living. Third, Pentecostals can avoid the dangers of extremism and sensationalism by being solidly grounded in Scripture and biblical values.

Read W. T. Gaston’s article, “Guarding our Priceless Heritage,” in the Aug. 16, 1953, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue: 

• “Eternity-Proof,” by Arne Vick

• “Sunday Schools around the World” 

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

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized