W. W. Simpson’s Missionary Work in China


This Week in AG History–January 5, 1918
By Glenn Gohr

Also published in PE News, 6 January 2015

One of the best-known missionaries in the Assemblies of God was W. W. Simpson, an early missionary to Tibet and China. He was already on the mission field prior to the formation of the AG, and he was baptized in the Holy Spirit at Taochow, China, in 1912. After serving two years as principal of Bethel Bible Training School in Newark, New Jersey, Simpson returned to China in 1918 to continue his missionary work.

In the January 5, 1918, issue of the Evangel, with an article titled “Bro. W. W. Simpson’s Plans,” he  laid out a strategic plan for ministry in China. Some of the goals included: establishing a New Testament church, reaching out to Mandarin-speaking Chinese, establishing a Bible school for training Chinese preachers, setting up a training home for new missionaries, and holding Pentecostal meetings in new stations of missionary work.

Launching out with renewed vigor, the Simpson family located at Chenchow, Honan Province of China and later at Labrang, near the Tibetan border. Simpson writes: “I am still in the prime of life, just forty-eight years of age, and in good health.  And I have three children, Margaret, aged 20; Louise, aged 18; and William, aged 16, who belong to the Lord also for His work, and are eager to go forth to His service in China.” (His wife, Otilia, had passed away with cancer in 1917 while the family was living in New Jersey.)

For additional information, read the article, “Bro. W. W. Simpson’s Plans,” on page 7 of the January 5, 1918, issue of The Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Jews in Palestine.”

• “The Supernatural in Christianity,” by F. A. Hale

• “The Remarkable Spread of Pentecost in Chile,” by W. C. Hoover

• “Questions and Answers,” by E. N. Bell

• “Report From Maryland,” by O. P. Brann

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 Missions

Work Amongst the Soldiers


This Week in AG History–December 22, 1917
By Glenn Gohr

Also published in PE News, 19 December 2014

Ministry to military servicemen has been promoted in the Assemblies of God almost from the beginning. Known for his patriotic red, white, and blue tent outreaches in World War II, Raymond T. Richey first began ministering to servicemen during World War I. Throughout his lifetime he ministered to thousands of military personnel and civilians in healing campaigns all across the globe.

In this edition of the Evangel, Richey reports on a big campaign scheduled to take place in Houston, Texas, on Dec. 23. In “Work Amongst the Soldiers,” he reports that the building would by 80 x 150 feet and would seat more than 2,000 people.

“In every respect it is believed that it will be one of the truest evangelist efforts being put forth anywhere in the United States in behalf of the soldiers now in camp,” Richey states. The article continues by saying that assisting Pastor Richey “will be a corps of workers, organized to do a real soul-saving work, before the men of Camp Logan are called to go to the trenches in France.”

Richey was planning many more revival campaigns similar to this: “God’s favor on the work will mean that at every point in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, where troops from the Northern and Central Mississippi Valley States are located, that such Tabernacle meetings will be conducted by real Holy Ghost filled leaders.”

Read the article, “Work Amongst the Soldiers” on page 10 of the Dec. 22, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Christmas Worship”

• “The Supernatural,” by F. A. Hale

• “Questions and Answers,” by E. N. Bell

• “The Porto Rican Revival,” by Frank Ortiz, Jr.

• “God’s Redeeming Love,” by Susan C. Easton

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 Evangel, click 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

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Missions

Looking Toward the New Year


This Week in AG History–December 29, 1934
By William Molenaar

Also published in PE News, 31 December 2014

“Looking Toward the New Year,” by E. S. Williams was published in the Pentecostal Evangel on December 29, 1934. Williams wrote this article during the Great Depression, and noted how people felt uncertain in regards to the next year ahead. However, he encouraged readers saying, “It is a time for the Church, the Bride of Christ, to trim afresh her lamps, to replenish her vessels with spiritual oil, to look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble and defile us.”

Ernest Swing Williams (1885-1981), was a participant in the Azusa Street revival in 1906, and ordained with the AG in 1914. Later he became the general superintendent between 1929 and 1949. During his tenure he brought great stability to the Assemblies of God fellowship in the United States, during which the United States faced the Great Depression and WWII.

In the beginning of his article Williams asked, “If we have injured, or wronged any, may we at the beginning of the New Year make restitution?” To begin the New Year right, Williams quoted Matthew 5:23-24, pointing out the need for reconciliation in our relationships.

Williams also mentioned the need for the teaching of sound doctrine and going back to the Bible. He noticed that “many new and strange doctrines are abroad and some of God’s children are sorely perplexed by them.” He also noted that some were seeking some new way or novel path, but he assured his readers that, “We need no new gospel, we need no strange or startling novelty.” He goes on to say that, “While we should not despise prophesying, we should regard the holy Scriptures as of greater importance than all else for building and establishing the soul.”

Looking to the future, Williams was pleased to see the Assemblies of God moving forward and reminded readers that we are pilgrims and strangers on a journey toward “the Celestial City.” Williams said we must look beyond the enemy, temptations, and all hindrances to “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, seeing in Him our sufficiency even when our faith and our strength seem small.” Williams also casted vision for the Assemblies of God to advance evangelism at home, as well as in the foreign fields for the coming year. “This will require, not only desire, but money, strength, and purpose. No doubt each assembly can establish some new work during the year,” said Williams.

Williams’ final encouragement reads, “The World plunges madly into darkness and despair. To us has been given the light of life. May the New Year take us leagues ahead of where we have ever been before. The blessing of God be with you.”

Read the article, “Looking Toward the New Year,” on pages 1, 6, and 7 of the December 29, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Communion with God: New Year’s Message,” by an unknown author.

* “The Editor’s Notebook,” by Stanley H. Frodsham.

* “The Passing and the Permanent,” by an unknown author.

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 Evangel, click here.

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 Church, Spirituality

United in and with Christ


This Week in AG History–December 15, 1917
By William Molenaar

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 15 Dec 2014 – 8:44 PM CST

Ninety-seven years ago, today, an article was published titled, “United in and with Christ,” by Andrew D. Urshan. It was originally a message given at the Pentecostal Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and released in the December 15, 1917, issue of the Weekly Evangel. Urshan opens his message by singing, “Jesus only, Jesus ever; Jesus all in all we sing; Saviour, Baptizer and Healer, Glorious Lord and coming King.”

Andrew D. Urshan (1884-1967), was an early Assemblies of God missionary to Iran. He founded a Persian Pentecostal mission in Chicago in 1908 and was ordained by William Durham in 1910. Urshan wrote several articles in the Weekly Evangel between 1914 and 1918.

In this 1917 article, Urshan points out that the “Baptism of the Holy Ghost make Jesus real.” He also observes that the power of the Holy Spirit brings God’s children together from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Urshan states, “Since we have received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, there is a spiritual magnetizing power that draws us toward each other. There is a strange holy unity between God’s people.” Urshan goes on to encourage readers to walk in the Spirit, live yielded to Him, and to set our affections upon Him.

Based on Psalm 91, Urshan taught that seven blessings are given to those who truly love God: “(1) I will deliver him; (2) I will set him on high; (3) he shall call upon me and I will answer him; (4) I will be with him in trouble; (5) and honor him; (6) with long life will I satisfy him, (7) and show him my salvation.”

Knowing persecution himself, Urshan pointed out that being in deep loving communion with God will give one the strength and courage to face persecution. According to Urshan, it will also preserve one from falling for the world’s temptations, and prepare one for the coming rapture of the Church.

Read the article, “United in and with Christ,” on pages 4-6 of the December 15, 1917, issue of the Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Hell and Who are Going There,” by William T. McArthur

* “Evangelizing the World,” by A. W. Orwig

* “Not Knowing,” by M. G. Brainard

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 Evangel, click 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

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Spirituality

The Founding of the Latin American Conference in 1918


This Week in AG History–December 8, 1917
By Glenn Gohr

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 08 Dec 2014 – 4:49 PM CST

From the outset, the Assemblies of God has evangelized and ministered to Hispanics, as well as other ethnic groups. H. C. Ball had been ministering to Hispanics along the Texas-Mexico border for a number of years, and he felt the need for organization. After speaking with a number of the Hispanic workers and pastors, the decision was made to have a convention in Kingsville in 1917.

The December 8, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel published an important notice regarding this historic first convention. H. C. Ball was then living in Kingsville, Texas, and he announced: “There will be a special gathering of the Mexican preachers and workers, also missionaries, in Kingsville, Kleber County, Texas, January 13-21 inclusive.”

Ball went on to proclaim: “We expect to have a representative body from all parts of the State and are looking to God for a time of spiritual blessings. The work has so grown as to necessitate a season of council together.”

The planned first convention was not held until January of 1918. At this convention, H. C. Ball was authorized to organize the Assemblies of God work among the Spanish-speaking people. This led to a second convention of Hispanic ministers, which was held in the spring of 1918 in San Antonio, Texas. Soon after this convention, H. C. Ball became pastor of Templo Cristiano, the Spanish congregation in San Antonio, founded by M. M. Pinson and R. F. Baker.

These early Hispanic conventions spawned the “Latin American Conference” of the Texas District in 1918, which in turn led to the founding of the Latin American District Council in 1929 with H. C. Ball as its first superintendent. Ball’s move to San Antonio also led to the founding of the Latin American Bible Institute in San Antonio in 1926, as well as the establishment of a publishing house for Spanish language materials called Casa Evangelica de Publicaciones.

Today the Assemblies of God in the U.S. has grown to 14 Hispanic Districts, which all trace back to the historic first convention announced to be held in Kingsville, Texas.

Read the article, “Mexican Meeting” on page 13 of the December 8, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Call to Love,” by F. F. Bosworth

* “An Interesting Letter From the Congo,” by James Salter

* “Galatians Applied,” a sermon by E. N. Bell

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 Evangel, click 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

Leave a comment

Filed under Church

Elder Eddie R. Driver and Saints’ Home Church of God in Christ (Los Angeles, CA)

Driver-125x150
This Week in AG History–December 2, 1916
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 01 Dec 2014 – 4:42 PM CST

A small notice about an ongoing revival at the Saints’ Home Church in Los Angeles might have escaped the attention of readers of the December 2, 1916, issue of the Weekly Evangel (the predecessor to the Pentecostal Evangel). Unless the reader was familiar with the pastor and the congregation, the revival report would have been indistinguishable from countless similar articles. The congregation’s pastor, Eddie R. Driver, reported spiritual progress: “God is blessing these meetings with a full house, souls are being saved and baptized with the Holy Ghost, the sick are being healed, and there is a great outpouring of God’s choicest blessings accompanying every service.”

The pastor, Eddie Driver (1869-1929), was an African-American businessman and attorney (he was licensed to practice general and corporation law in Memphis in 1892). He accepted the call to preach in 1893 and became a Baptist pastor. Several years later he became friends with Charles H. Mason, the influential African-American Holiness Baptist pastor who went on to found the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). Driver joined Mason’s organization, became Chairman of the COGIC Council of Elders, and drafted the COGIC’s original articles of incorporation.

In 1914, Mason asked Driver to move from Memphis to Los Angeles to establish a COGIC congregation. Driver complied and became pastor of an existing Pentecostal congregation, the Apostolic Mission at 14th and Woodson Streets. The congregation had roots in the interracial Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909), which had been a focal point in the emerging Pentecostal movement. As the Azusa Street revival fires grew dim, numerous small Pentecostal missions popped up across the City of Angels. The Apostolic Mission was one of those new congregations.

Driver organized the congregation as Saints’ Home Church of God in Christ in 1914, the first COGIC located in the western states. Driver personified the interracial nature of early Los Angeles Pentecostalism. He had a mixed ethnic heritage and could pass as an African-American, a Mexican, or a Filipino. The congregation’s leadership consisted of blacks, whites, Mexicans, and Filipinos.

Something else about the 1916 article in the Weekly Evangel merits attention. Driver was promoting the ministry of a white evangelist, Thomas Griffin, who had been holding services at Saints’ Home Church. Griffin, an Irish Catholic who immigrated to the United States, accepted Christ and became a prominent Pentecostal evangelist during the first two decades of the 20th century.

Large portions of early issues of the Weekly Evangel were dedicated to small revival reports such as the one submitted by Driver. What was the racial makeup of these early congregations that promoted their activities in the Evangel? No one knows. It would require significant research to the identities of these early Pentecostal leaders and congregations. What we can know, as this article demonstrates, was that the early Pentecostal revival crossed the racial and ethnic divides.

Read the article, “Notes from the Field,” on page 14 of the December 2, 1916, issue of the Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Faith in Action in the Mission Field,” by Paul Bettex

* “God’s Prayer House,” by Elizabeth Sisson

* “Three Christian Soldiers,” by C. W. Doney

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 Evangel, click 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

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, History

Billy Bray: The Lively Methodist Preacher Who Had a Lifestyle of Thanksgiving

BillyBray2
This Week in AG History–November 24, 1957
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 24 Nov 2014 – 4:19 PM CST

Billy Bray (1794-1868), the fiery English Methodist preacher, spent the first 10 years of his adult life far away from God. A miner by trade, he was a drunkard and lived a riotous life. After narrowly escaping death in a mining accident in 1823, he began to think about eternal matters. After reading John Bunyan’s Visions of Heaven and Hell, he accepted Christ as his Lord, left behind his destructive ways, and became active in a Methodist church.

Billy Bray was an earnest young convert. He aimed to tell everyone he met about the gospel and how God changed his life. He soon became an evangelist and was known for his spontaneous outbursts of singing and dancing during his sermons. Few preachers of his era could equal his reputation for genuine joy and thanksgiving to God.

It was quite fitting, then, that the Pentecostal Evangel would publish an article about Bray for Thanksgiving in 1957. The article’s author, Raymond L. Cox (a noted educator with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel), used Bray’s testimony to illustrate why Christians should praise the Lord:

“Someone asked, ‘Billy Bray, why do you praise the Lord so much?’ The Cornish coal miner who had turned preacher eyed his questioner incredulously. Bray was astonished that such an inquiry should escape the lips of a Christian brother. ‘I bless the Lord constantly,’ he replied, ‘because my whole life is brightened by praising God.’ ‘But why must you do it aloud?’ queried the man. Billy answered, ‘I can’t help praising Him aloud. As I walk down the street. I lift up one foot, and it seems to say, ‘Glory!’ Then I lift up the other, and it seems to say, ‘Amen!’ And they keep on like that all the time I walk.'”

Cox recounted that Bray brought “his cheerful Christianity into the most desperate and dismal places.” He comforted those who were suffering and dying and spoke words of faith into situations that seemed hopeless. “The former Cornish coal miner was indeed a chronic praiser,” according to Cox. “The bells of blessing chimed constantly in the steeple of his soul. And often, although his voice was far from beautiful according to concert standards, Bray would be found going his way singing some hymn joyously and heartily.”

Billy Bray started life in a non-descript family of miners in England, but he ended life as a down-to-earth preacher who is remembered for bringing a joyful gospel message to countless thousands. The catalyst for his life-change was a near-death experience, which caused him to reassess his life priorities. He accepted Christ and spent the rest of his life cultivating a thankful heart that overflowed with praise.

Why should Christians praise the Lord? Cox suggested that the answer to this question is illustrated in the life of Billy Bray: “Praising God for our blessings extends them, Praising God for our troubles will end them.”

Read the article, “Why Praise the Lord?” by Raymond L. Cox, on pages 4 and 5 of the November 24, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Elijah in a Cave,” by Ruth Stewart

* “A Lesson in Thanksgiving,” by Robert W. Cummings

* “The Greatest Gift,” by David W. Plank

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 Evangel, click 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

1 Comment

Filed under History, Spirituality