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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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J. R. Evans: Early Pastor, Evangelist, and General Secretary

This Week in AG History — August 12, 1951

By Glenn W. Gohr

Originally published on AG News, 12 August 2021

J. R. Evans (1869-1951) served as an early Assemblies of God pastor and is best remembered for serving as general secretary of the Assemblies of God. Born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, his full name was James Richards Evans. He lost his first wife early in life, and in 1913 he married Elsie Leonard, who previously had served as a missionary to India with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

J. R. and Elsie Evans belonged to the Pentecostal Church [Assemblies of God] of Cleveland, Ohio, which was pastored by D. W. Kerr.

Feeling a call to the ministry, J. R. Evans at age 45, and Elsie at age 39, were both ordained by Kerr on March 28, 1915. Evans served the Assemblies of God as a pastor in Cleveland, Ohio; Osborne, Kansas; Broken Arrow and Pawhuska, Oklahoma; Toronto, Canada; Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; and Syracuse, New York. He also served as an evangelist in the general field. While living in Oklahoma he served as Oklahoma district superintendent (1917).

Elsie served as an assistant pastor, evangelist, and Bible teacher. She also led singing at the churches they pastored as well as at camp meetings and conventions. She passed away on May 15, 1936, at the age of 59 and was buried in Springfield, Missouri. One of her sisters was Lavada Morrison, an early AG missionary to China. Another sister was Ruth Phillips, the mother of Guy and Everett Phillips, both well-known Assemblies of God ministers.

In 1923 Evans was elected general secretary of the AG and served in that position for 12 years (general secretary from 1923-1927 and general secretary-treasurer from 1927-1935).

Cataracts formed on his eyes in 1933, and within months, he began to go blind. J. R. Evans served as an executive presbyter and general presbyter from 1936-1942.

Evans was granted a retirement allowance when he left office, and he moved back to Cleveland, Ohio, for a few years. He did some evangelistic work in various places in Ohio. In 1938 he served a short time as interim pastor of the Full Gospel Church [Assemblies of God] at Youngstown, Ohio. He then moved to Tampa, Florida, for a few years. He spent the last two years of his life in the Pinellas Park Home in Florida which was established to house retired ministers and missionaries of the Assemblies of God.

J. R. Evans passed away on July 18, 1951, at Pinellas Park, Florida, at the age of 81. He was survived by his third wife, the former H. Mary Engle, whom he married on July 3, 1941.

Read the article, “Former Executive of General Council Promoted to Glory,” on page 14 of the Aug. 12, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “You Have One Problem—Solve It!” by U. S. Grant

• “Why a General Council?” by J. Roswell Flower

• “Wait, Examine the Facts!” by Stanley Horton

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

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Edith Mae Pennington: The Beauty Queen Who Left Hollywood for a Pentecostal Pulpit

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pennington.jpg

This Week in AG History —July 4, 1931

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 08 July 2021

Edith Mae Pennington (1902-1970) traded the glamour and fame of Hollywood for a Pentecostal pulpit. Her testimony, published in 1931 in the Pentecostal Evangel, shared her journey from small town America to Hollywood and back again.

Reared in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Edith accepted Christ at a young age in her family’s evangelical church. By high school, she had become a ravishing young woman and lost interest in spiritual things. She enjoyed popularity and, she wrote, “the love of the world gripped my heart.” She spent her time going to dances and engaging in the frivolities of the world. She did not intentionally reject God, but nonetheless drifted away from her faith.

After high school, Edith attended college. She intended to become a teacher but soon found herself on another path. She entered a beauty pageant in 1921 and beat out 7,000 other young women to capture the title, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the United States.”

Edith’s life would never be the same. Gifts and money were showered upon her, and she received numerous invitations to speak at luncheons and christen buildings and public works projects. “I was dined and feted, flattered, and honored,” she recalled. She wore expensive clothing, had a car and chauffeur, and regularly made guest appearances at theaters.

Even though Edith seemed to have everything, she felt empty on the inside. “It was very exciting, alluring, inviting — yet it did not satisfy,” she wrote. During her travels across America, she decided to try the screen rather than the stage. She settled in Hollywood, hoping for a change.

Edith’s mother was her constant companion, helping to protect her and line up events. But her mother’s most important work, perhaps, was accomplished in the prayer closet. Edith noted, “Mother would be behind the curtain praying for me at my request and her desire — for God to help me and not let me make any mistakes.”

These prayers were soon answered, but not before witnessing the depravity of Hollywood. Edith appeared in several motion pictures, but became increasingly “shocked” at the “wicked world” surrounding her. “I was horrified at the immorality and the things I witnessed,” she wrote, noting that she had “several narrow escapes which frightened me.” She realized that her hopes for fame and fortune had been misplaced. “My air castles shattered at my feet,” she cried.

In her despair, Edith turned to God. She began attending church and heard the gospel preached by the power of the Holy Spirit. She felt conviction for her sins and “awakened to the startling realization that I was a sinner, lost and undone.” She began to read the Bible, which seemed to make everything “brighter” and her “soul lighter.” However, she hesitated to make the decision to become a true follower of Christ.

Edith knew that she would have to leave her lifestyle behind if she recommitted herself to Christ. She understood that there would need to be a parting of ways: “One way led to a career, fame, and fortune, but there was sin, the world, and a lost soul at the end. The other way revealed the Cross, and Jesus the Savior who had died for me that peace, joy, and forgiveness might be mine.”

Initially, Edith tried to have both God and the world. She went to church and also went to theaters and parties where sin abounded and where God was dishonored. She was miserable and ultimately recognized that she needed “deliverance from the bondage of the world.”

She visited churches that she described as “nominal,” and they were unable to help her find victory from her bondage to sin. She knew she wanted to live for the Lord, but she could not seem to separate herself from the destructive paths of the world. She experienced painful cognitive dissonance. She liked dressing like a Hollywood starlet, but deep inside she knew that she could not serve both God and flesh.

Finally, Edith decided to visit a Pentecostal church. She had heard that Pentecostal churches believed in the power of God. And Edith knew that she needed God’s power. She attended several Sunday evening services at a Pentecostal church in Los Angeles in October 1925. One evening, after a message in tongues seemed to be a direct rebuke from God, she ran to the altar and fully surrendered her life to God. She began to weep uncontrollably and then experienced unexplainable peace and quietness. She recalled, “I was happy, and felt so free, so light, so clean.”

The next night Edith returned to church. This time, she decided not to wear her characteristically gaudy jewelry. She received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and felt God call her to preach the gospel. Edith returned to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where, in 1930, she became the pastor of the Assemblies of God congregation.

Edith Mae Pennington spent the rest of her life in ministry as a pastor and noted evangelist. Throngs of people would come to hear “The Most Beautiful Girl in the United States” share how she left the lights of Hollywood for the light of the Cross. Edith’s decision to forsake the world and to follow Christ changed the course of not only her life, but thousands of others.

Read the article by Edith Mae Pennington, “From the Footlights to the Light of the Cross,” published serially in the July 4, 1931, and July 11, 1931, issues of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in the July 4, 1931, issue:

• “The Overflowing Stream,” by P. C. Nelson

• “Is Life Worth Living?” by Myer Pearlman

And many more!

Click these links to read the July 4th and July 11th issues now.

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

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

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

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Bert Webb: How a Teenager from Wellston, Oklahoma Became an Assemblies of God National Leader

Bert Webb, his wife, Charlotte, and their children, Tommy and Sue, sitting in their living room; circa 1956

This Week in AG History —June 20, 1954

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 24 June 2021

Bert Webb (1906-1995) held many positions of leadership in the Assemblies of God. He served as a district youth director, evangelist, pastor, district official, an assistant general superintendent for the Assemblies of God for 20 years, and in his retirement years he was campus pastor at Evangel College (now Evangel University) in Springfield, Missouri.

Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, he moved with his parents to a farm at Weleetka, Oklahoma, when he was 8 years old. Three years later, his family moved to Wellston, a small farming community in the central part of Oklahoma. Before the 1920s, Webb described Wellston as “a most ungodly place.” As a teenager, he said that he did not know any young people who claimed to know Christ, including himself.

But that all changed when Bert was a senior in high school. Dexter Collins, a new convert, came to Wellston in 1922 and conducted what amounted to a year-long revival. Starting small, the meetings soon attracted many individuals and families who were saved, healed, and baptized in the Holy Spirit. After Webb’s mother was healed of asthma, he went to services out of curiosity. Then he too was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. When the meetings ended, it was estimated that some 300 were saved in his hometown of only 600. His high school senior class officers were saved and filled with the Spirit. Nineteen of the new converts went into the ministry, including Webb.

Ordained in 1926 in the Oklahoma district, Webb first ministered as an evangelist. He met his future wife, Charlotte Williamson, at a district youth convention where he was preaching in June 1927. They eventually were married at Faith Tabernacle in Oklahoma City in June 1931. The Williamson family were gifted musicians, and Charlotte’s musical abilities were an asset to Bert’s ministry as an evangelist and pastor.

Webb continued evangelizing and also pastored churches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Arkansas before coming to Springfield, Missouri, in 1939, when he was elected as pastor of Central Assembly of God. In addition to preaching at the church, Webb also spoke three times weekly on Springfield’s KTTS radio station with a program called The Church by the Side of the Road. At the same time, on KWTO radio station, he hosted a weekly radio broadcast called, Assembly Vespers. Charlotte Webb served as director of the orchestra, and Sunday School exceeded all previous attendance records when the Webbs were pastors. One of the high points of the Webbs’ ministry at Central was a meeting they hosted with Dr. Charles S. Price, which was held at the Shrine Mosque in 1940.

Next Webb was elected superintendent of the Southern Missouri district for six years before becoming an assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God from 1949 to 1969. In that position he served as the executive director of the Sunday School, Youth, Evangelism, Radio, Personnel, and Publications. He also was chairman of the building committee for the administration building at 1445 N. Boonville Avenue, which was erected in 1960 and dedicated on March 2, 1962.

Webb served on numerous interchurch committees. He was chairman of the Assemblies of God Commission on Chaplains. He served on the National Advisory Board for the U.S. Air Force Chief of Chaplains in Washington, D.C. He was president of the National Sunday School Association, which was comprised of some 40 Protestant denominations. He also served on boards with the National Religious Broadcasters and the National Association of Evangelicals. His ministry took him to more than 62 countries where he led missions conventions, teaching seminars, and revival campaigns.

In retirement, he and Charlotte moved to California, where they became administrators of a 262-bed church-operated convalescent home. In 1974 they started a church in Mission Viejo, California, pastoring there for a year. Webb then traveled in ministers institutes and camp meetings until January 1977, when he returned to Springfield to accept the position of campus pastor of Evangel College (now Evangel University), where he served until 1983.

The Webbs continued to accept ministry invitations from many places. They served interim pastorates in Eugene, Oregon; Houston and Fort Worth, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Omaha, Nebraska. He passed away in Springfield, Missouri in January 1995 at the age of 88. Assemblies of God General Superintendent Thomas Trask stated, “This Fellowship owes a great debt of gratitude to Bert Webb for his years of leadership…. This man faithfully served the Lord and this church and we shall miss him.”

While serving as executive director of the National Sunday School Department, Webb wrote an article called, “It is Time to Seek the Lord,” found on page 4 of the June 20, 1954, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Head of the House,” by James D. Menzies

• “Hundreds Converted in South Africa,” by Vernon D. Pettenger

• “Graduation at the L.A.B.I,” by Kenny Savage

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

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Hermano Pablo: Assemblies of God Missionary and Media Pioneer in Latin America

This Week in AG History —June 16, 1963

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 17 June 2021

Growing up as an Assemblies of God missionary kid in Puerto Rico in the 1920s and 1930s, Paul Finkenbinder (1921-2012) dreamed of reaching not just one country but all of Latin America with the gospel of Christ. He returned to the United States to attend Zion Bible Institute (Providence, Rhode Island) and Central Bible Institute (Springfield, Missouri). In 1943, he and his wife, Linda, packed up and moved to El Salvador where Paul began to work his dream into reality.

As Assemblies of God missionaries, Paul and Linda spent the next 12 years teaching in Bible schools, ministering in churches, and making themselves available for whatever needs arose in ministry. In 1955, God gave Paul a vision for expanding the message he was preaching through the larger avenue of short-wave radio broadcasts. At the time, radio was still a novelty for many living in Latin America.

Beginning with a Webcor recorder mounted on a missionary barrel in his garage, Paul began recording a short radio program called “La Iglesia del Aire” (The Church of the Air). By 1963, this 15-minute broadcast was the only gospel network program heard daily in all Latin America. Hermano Pablo (Brother Paul) began receiving testimonies from across the region of what God was doing through the radio messages. Of the six daily broadcasts, two were devoted to evangelistic sermons, one to issues of morality, and another addressed Bible questions. The remaining two were given to Scripture readings, Christian poetry, and gospel music.

In 1960, the ministry, then known as LARE (Latin American Radio Evangelism), pioneered the use of Christian drama to present parables and Bible stories on television. The response was overwhelming. This led to the production of six Bible drama films that are still in use today throughout Latin America. The realization of Brother Paul’s dream required utilizing every tool available — radio, television, the printed page, crusades, and special events — to present the Gospel of Christ to all of Latin America.

In 1964, Hermano Pablo and his family returned to the United States and established their headquarters in Costa Mesa, California. After four years in a makeshift recording studio in their garage, God provided a building for their studios and offices. Today Hermano Pablo Ministries’ four-minute “Un Mensaje a la Conciencia” (A Message to the Conscience) is broadcast more than 6,000 times per day and is published in over 80 periodicals. The Spanish language radio and television programs, along with the newspaper and magazine columns, are shipped to more than 33 countries of the world.

Hermano Pablo was honored by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) with the award for the “Hispanic Program of the Year.” Other awards include “Best Film of the Year” given by the National Evangelical Film Foundation (NEFF), and the “Best Spanish Broadcast” Angel Award given by Religion in Media (RIM). In 1993, the NRB awarded Hermano Pablo the “Milestone Award” for 50 years of service in religious broadcasting, and in 2003 he received the prestigious NRB Chairman’s Award.

On Jan. 25, 2012, Paul and Linda celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Later that evening he complained of a severe headache and was taken to the hospital where he slipped into a coma. Paul Finkenbinder died in the morning hours of Jan. 27, 2012, but the ministry of Hermano Pablo continues to live and thrive across an entire continent.

Hermano Pablo and his ministry were featured in an article, “La Iglesia del Aire,” published on pages 12-13 of the June 16, 1963, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Should A Christian Have A Breakdown,” by Anne Sandberg

• “A Former Gambler Testifies,” by Arthur Condrey

• “Another Minister Led Into Pentecostal Blessing,” by Ansley Orfila

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

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