Tag Archives: Assemblies of God

The Female Anglican-turned-Pentecostal Missionary Who Became the Primary Shaper of Early Assemblies of God Missiology

This Week in AG History — January 22, 1921

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 21 January 2021

Alice E. Luce (1873-1955), a British-born Anglican missionary, learned of the emerging Pentecostal movement when she was engaged in ministry in India. After hearing about two women in India who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, she visited them in order to learn more. After Luce became convinced that their experience was biblical, she also was Spirit-baptized in about 1910. Luce identified with the Pentecostal movement and, in 1915, she transferred her ordination to the Assemblies of God.

Luce became the most prominent missiologist (theologian of missions) in the Assemblies of God in its early decades. Luce authored a series of three articles, titled “Paul’s Missionary Methods,” published in the Pentecostal Evangel in 1921. In these articles, Luce endeavored to show that the Apostle Paul taught that missionaries should aim to build indigenous churches — churches that were self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing. Importantly, this indigenous church principle differed from the majority of mainline Christian missions agencies, which equated Westernization with Christianization. The Apostle Paul, according to Luce, preached Christ, not culture.

The Pentecostal Evangel editor commended Luce as “an experienced missionary” who wrote the articles “with the express purpose of helping our Pentecostal missionaries to get a clear vision of Paul’s methods of evangelization.” The editor furthermore stated that these methods were applicable not just overseas, but also “to every town and community and district in the homeland.” The editor also affirmed the centrality of missions in the young Pentecostal movement: “The Pentecostal people are peculiarly missionary, and the growth of the Pentecostal movement is due largely to this missionary spirit.”

It is well known that missions has been a primary focus of the Assemblies of God since its earliest years. Many may not realize, however, that it was a female Anglican-turned-Pentecostal missionary, Alice Luce, who was the primary shaper of early Assemblies of God missiology.  

Read the series of three articles by Alice E. Luce, “Paul’s Missionary Methods,” in the following issues of the Pentecostal Evangel (click the following links):

Jan. 8, 1921 (pages 6-7).

Jan. 22, 1921 (pages 6 and 11).

Feb. 5, 1921 (pages 6-7).

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Call to Prayer,” by J. W. Welch

• “Some Last Things,” by J. Narver Gortner

And many more!

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

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The 1937 New Year’s Message for the Assemblies of God

This Week in AG History — January 16, 1937

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

While much has changed in the past 84 years, Ernest S. Williams’ New Year’s admonition to the Assemblies of God in 1937 remains strikingly relevant. Williams was the only veteran of the Azusa Street Revival to serve as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (1929-1949). Known for his spiritual depth, he led the Fellowship during a period of significant numerical growth.

Williams took the helm of the Fellowship the same year as the Great Depression began. In 1929, the Assemblies of God reported 1,612 churches with 91,981 members. By 1937 those tallies had approximately doubled to 3,473 churches with 175,362 members.

“God has blessed our Fellowship of Spirit-filled redeemed people with a phenomenal growth,” Williams acknowledged. However, he warned readers of “danger” that accompanied growth. With the increase in numbers, Williams cautioned, comes the temptation to rely on “human ideas and human methods, not all of which are sanctified to the glory of God.”

Christians are called to live and worship “in spirit and in truth” and “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” Williams wrote. Any substitute would cause the Assemblies of God to suffer “grievous loss.” He suggested that “prayerful watchfulness and entire consecration” were required to maintain this spiritual calling.

Williams encouraged believers to seek unity. He expressed his belief that the Pentecostal movement “would be a far greater service to God were it all united.” It may not be God’s will, he clarified, that this unity be expressed organizationally. In his view, believers should be united “in one spirit and Christian fellowship” and in “Christian love and worship.”

While Williams opposed divisions due to “sectarian causes,” he acknowledged that true Christian unity could only develop among believers who embraced solid doctrine and morals. “Let us therefore show Christian love and Christian fellowship to all of God’s children who love and do the truth, wherever they may be,” Williams wrote, “but let us continue an uncompromising stand against tolerance of evil wherever it is found.”

Williams concluded his New Year’s message with a missionary call. “The uttermost parts of the earth is our motto,” he propounded. “May the coming year be one of rich harvests in souls and in personal soul development.” This dual concern for deep spirituality and sharing the gospel continues to be central to Assemblies of God identity.

Read Williams’ article, “The Task That Is Before Us,” on page 4 of the Jan. 16, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Leaving the Choice with the Lord,” by Stanley H. Frodsham

• “Power, Love and a Sound Mind,” by Donald Gee

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

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Donald Gee: Christ is the Perfect Interpreter between God and Man

This Week in AG History —December 24, 1949

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 24 December 2020

In the 1949 Christmas Eve issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, noted British theologian and church leader Donald Gee gifted readers with a word picture of the mystery of the Incarnation. Sharing his vast experience of speaking through an interpreter, Gee illustrated the value of Jesus Christ, the God-Man, speaking the native language of both divinity and humanity.

Any speaker addressing an audience in a language unfamiliar to them will need a qualified interpreter to make sure that his message is accurately and adequately communicated to his hearers. After sharing some embarrassing and humorous incidents with interpreters in his own speaking career, Gee says that the best two interpreters with whom he worked shared the same distinction: a French father and an English mother. Both languages were spoken natively throughout their upbringing and, thus, they were equally at ease with either tongue.

Gee masterfully weaves this experience into an illustration of Jesus Christ in his article “An Interpreter is Born.” As the Son of God, Jesus spoke the language of heaven with the ease of a native son. Yet as the Son of Man, Jesus also spoke the language of earth with the same native ease. Jesus, therefore, was “the perfect Interpreter between God and man, for He — and He alone — speaks both languages perfectly.” With equal authority He could say “My Father in heaven” and my “mother and brethren” from Nazareth. He interpreted Heaven’s message of love to mankind and, in turn, can interpret the “feelings of our infirmities” at the right hand of God. In this sense, the Interpreter becomes the “one mediator between God and Man” — being born of both in Bethlehem. As the soul of man craves an explanation of the things of God, God has, in His redemptive plan, provided an Interpreter.

Gee takes the illustration one step further. Not only has Christ come to reveal the language of heaven to earth; He has equipped His followers to continue this task of interpretation. After providing for mankind to be “born from above” through salvation and, consequently, filled with the Holy Spirit, they become interpreters to others of the language of heaven. “Men wholly of this world cannot readily understand the things of God; they need interpreters — literally, ‘those who explain.’” Such interpretation “needs familiarity with the languages of heaven and of earth.” The interpreter cannot have a worldly mindedness that is unable to grasp the depth of meaning of the deep things of God nor yet can he or she have a “mistaken monasticism” that has lost touch with the language and experience of humanity.

The author then takes the illustration even one step further. While the task of interpretation is the duty of every Christian, it is especially relevant to the Pentecostal believer. “The Pentecostal gift of ‘interpretation of tongues’ in its own supernatural realm invites the same longing for the divine ability to bring the unknown into the realm of understanding … the language of ecstasy has its heavenly place, but happy is he who can translate it for our good into our more mundane speech.” We still need supernatural interpreters who, like Daniel, can explain the handwriting of God when He has a message for mankind.

Without the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus, there would be no satisfying revelation — or interpretation — of God to man and no adequate representative of man to God. Unto us an Interpreter is born; Emmanuel, “God with us,” who was born to bring understanding where confusion had reigned.

Gee invites us to accompany the shepherds to “even now go unto Bethlehem” and give thanks that an Interpreter has come — who will begin to unravel the mysteries of God and then “ever live to make intercession for us.”

Read “An Interpreter is Born” by Donald Gee on pages 2 and 13 of the Dec. 24, 1949, edition of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Our Immanuel – Christ Jesus” by P. C. Nelson

• “The Incarnation – Why Was it Necessary” by F. J. Lindquist

• “Christmas at Rupaidiha” by Hattie Hammond

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

Anne Eberhardt: Assemblies of God Missionary Educator in India

This Week in AG History — November 29, 1930

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 03 December 2020

Anne Eberhardt (1904-1995), Assemblies of God missionary to North India for 43 years, has a rich testimony of coming from a Catholic background, receiving salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, attending Bible school, and serving on the mission field.

Born in a small village in Austria-Hungary called Obesenyo, Anne Eberhardt and her family were Catholics. The town only had one church and one school, and both were Catholic. When Anne was about six, her parents, her aunt and uncle, and another couple decided to travel to the United States in search of a better life. Anne’s mother became so seasick on the journey that she decided that she would never go back to her homeland.

The family settled in Cleveland where Anne was raised Catholic, attended a Catholic school, and was confirmed in that faith. She had a love for the things of God, and one of the nuns said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you would become a nun when you grow up.” But God had another plan.

When the influenza epidemic was raging around 1918, Anne’s aunt got sick with the flu and was given up to die. She remembered meeting some Nazarene people who had a strong faith in God, and she had seen a real change in their lives. This kindled faith inside her. Lying on her deathbed, the aunt prayed, “Lord, if You will heal my body, and let me live for one year, I will live that year for You.”

God answered her prayer. She felt the power of God come upon her, and she was instantly saved and healed. Then she prayed again, “Now, Lord, lead me to the people that live closest to the Bible.” Soon after this the aunt saw an advertisement for a Pentecostal church on East 57th and White Avenue called First Assembly of God, and she began attending.

Through her aunt’s testimony of healing and reports of the Pentecostal church meetings, Anne, at age 15 also began attending First Assembly of God. She was inspired by the ministry of J. Narver Gortner, who pastored First Assembly during the early 1920s.

Anne visited her aunt’s church and was saved during a campaign the visiting Argue family of Canada held in Cleveland in 1921 where she answered the altar call. That was almost 100 years ago. At a service the next day, Anne was baptized in the Holy Spirit and immediately began sharing her faith, although her parents did not approve of her newfound religion. She was not allowed to go back to the church.

However, Anne made friends with Elizabeth Weidman (later Elizabeth Weidman Wood), who became a missionary to China. Elizabeth worked in an office across the street from Anne, and met her for lunch each day as they talked about the Lord. Finally, after about six months, Anne decided to go back to the church, against her parents’ wishes. Her father said she would have to leave if she was going to attend the Pentecostal church, but before she headed out the door, he changed his mind, allowing her to stay at home and allowing her to attend the church of her choice.

About a year later, Marie Juergensen, missionary to Japan, spoke to the young people of First Assembly, urging them to consecrate their lives to God. After this, Anne earnestly prayed, saying she was “willing to be made willing to do His will.”

For a few years, Anne worked as a stenographer, secretary, and bookkeeper. Then she had an opportunity to attend Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri, and began to feel a call to missionary work. One Friday afternoon, A.G. Ward spoke to all the missionary prayer groups on campus about the leper work in North India. After that meeting, Anne thought, It would take a lot of consecration to go and work among the lepers. She never imagined that God would ask her to do just that.

Missionary Blanche Appleby spoke at the Bible school that evening and encouraged the students to offer themselves as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” Anne felt the Lord asking her if she would be willing to go anywhere with the gospel. She replied, “Yes, Lord, anywhere.” However, when the Lord asked to her to go to North India a struggle followed.

After earnestly praying all that evening and the next day, Anne felt a strong calling and peace that she was to go as a missionary to India. She joyfully completed the rest of her Bible school studies, keeping in mind that God had a plan for her life.

After graduating from CBI, Anne worked for one year in the editorial department of the Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Missouri, and then pastored a church at Breckenridge, Missouri, for six months. She was approved for missionary service and sailed for India in February 1931.

Her first term of missionary service was spent assisting the Harry Waggoner family with a leper colony and orphanage in Uska Bazar. Next came a time of evangelistic work in the Kheri District, where she also edited the North India Field News, a periodical published by Assemblies of God missionaries. This was followed by 13 years of teaching at the Hardoi Bible Training School in United Province where Marguerite Flint was the principal. Next she was asked to start a night Bible school in Jabalpur and was there for nine years.

After years of missionary work in India, Anne said, “I have never been sorry I said ‘Yes’ to the Lord. That was my greatest decision up to that time; an experience as real as the day I was saved and the day I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.”

After retiring from missions work, Anne moved back to Cleveland and again attended her home church of First Assembly of God in Lyndhurst. She continued to be a wonderful encourager to many and guided some to also enter the mission field. She recorded much of her life story in a booklet called For the Glory of God, published in 1985. She passed away in 1995.

Anne Eberhardt obeyed God and dedicated her life to His service. Read more about her story in “From Catholicism to Pentecost” on pages 2-3 of the Nov. 29, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Three Phases of Sanctification,” by Donald Gee

• “Seven ‘Conventions,’” by Arthur H. Graves

• “Is It Possible to Be Happy?” by J. Narver Gortner

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 archives and research center 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: http://www.iFPHC.org

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Stanford E. Linzey, Jr. Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Captain Stanford E. Linzey, Jr., CHC, USN (U.S. Navy Photo: 1974)

Dr. Stanford Eugene Linzey, Jr. (1920-2010) holds the distinction of being the first Assemblies of God minister to serve as an active duty Navy chaplain. During his 65 years of active ministry, during which he served as a pastor, chaplain, educator, author, and evangelist, Linzey became well known in the Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal and charismatic movements.

Linzey’s son, Chaplain (MAJOR) James F. Linzey, USA (Ret.), has deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center a collection of books, sermons, photographs, and other materials documenting his father’s life and ministry.

Linzey was born on October 13, 1920, in Houston, Texas to Stanford Linzey and Eva Fay Westphal Linzey. Linzey first accepted Christ as Lord and Savior at 10 years of age and was reared Southern Baptist. However, as a teenager he strayed from his Christian upbringing and became, according to James F. Linzey, “a smoking train hopper.” In 1938, when he was 18 years old, Linzey’s misconduct landed him before a judge, who ordered that he go to jail or join the Navy. He enlisted in the Navy in 1938.

Linzey served aboard the USS Yorktown, which was homeported in San Diego, California. It was there that he met a young Pentecostal evangelist named Verna Hall in 1940. She invited him to attend her church, First Assembly of God in National City, California. He recommitted his life to Christ, joined her church, and they married on July 13, 1941 in McAllen, Texas.

Verna played a significant role in discipling Linzey. Verna’s step-father (Rev. Francis L. Doyle), mother (Alice Hall Doyle), and brother (Pentecostal evangelist Franklin Hall) lived in San Diego and also mentored Linzey. Linzey did office work for Franklin Hall and also preached in San Diego on the streets, in rescue missions, and in parks under his tutelage. Linzey, influenced by his wife’s teaching, received the baptism with the Holy Spirit on July 29, 1942, in Los Angeles at the church pastored by Raymond Harms.

Linzey was an enlisted sailor with the rate of Musician First Class, serving as First Clarinetist in the U.S. Navy Band aboard the USS Yorktown. He also served as a Radioman on the third deck. He became a World War II hero when the Yorktown was bombed, torpedoed, and sank during the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Had it not been for the Yorktown, the war on the Pacific front would have been lost. Aboard the Yorktown, Stanford was nicknamed “The Deacon” for conducting Bible studies, witnessing among the sailors and officers, and teaching the Pentecostal message, which he learned from his wife, Verna.  

After the war, President Harry Truman sent Musician First Class Linzey a letter, stating, “As one of the Nation’s finest, you undertook the most severe task one can be called upon to perform. Because you demonstrated the fortitude, resourcefulness and calm judgment necessary to carry out that task, we now look to you for leadership and example in further exalting our country in peace.” Also, General Omar N. Bradley, USA (Ret.), sent a letter to Stanford, stating, “I congratulate you upon completion of your service in the armed forces and for your part in bringing to a conclusion a two-front war which resulted in the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers.”

Pentecostal ministers who influenced Linzey’s early ministry, in addition to Verna and her family, included Raymond T. Richey and Raymond Harms. Stanford and Verna received ministerial credentials from the Assemblies of God in 1945. The following year, they pioneered the El Cajon Evangelistic Tabernacle, an Assemblies of God congregation in El Cajon, California, which they co-pastored.

Verna and Stanford Linzey, co-pastors of El Cajon Evangelistic Tabernacle (Assembly of God), El Cajon, California, circa late 1940s.

When Linzey re-entered the U.S. Navy as a chaplain in 1954, it was natural that he would ask for the endorsement of the Assemblies of God. He became not only the first active duty Navy Assemblies of God chaplain, but also the first active duty Pentecostal Navy chaplain. Further, he was the first Pentecostal Navy chaplain to attain the rank of Navy captain. He served as a Navy chaplain for 21 years, retiring in 1974.

Linzey received a B.A. and a Th.B. degree from Linda Vista Baptist College and Seminary (now Southern California Seminary) in El Cajon, California, a Master of Divinity degree from American Baptist Seminary of the West in Covina, California (now Berkley School of Theology in Berkley, California), and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He also studied at Harvard Divinity School as a resident graduate. He is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in Religion, International Men of Achievement, and 5000 Personalities of the World.

Linzey and his wife, Verna, were an impressive couple. Verna, a pastor, crusade evangelist, television evangelist, songwriter, and author, was accomplished in her own right. Together, they had ten children, three of whom followed in their father’s footsteps and became military chaplains.

During his 20 years as a chaplain and afterward as an evangelist, Linzey taught widely on the Pentecostal message – in North America, Europe, Korea, Okinawa, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Venues included media outlets such as radio and television (including Trinity Broadcasting Network); Assemblies of God churches throughout the United States and some mainline Protestant churches; colleges such as Evangel College (now Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri), Southern California College (now Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa, California), Bethany Bible College (Santa Cruz, California); Bethel Bible Institute (Manilla, Philippines), and Far East Advanced School of Theology (now Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio, Philippines).

Linzey also guest lectured on various leadership topics at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, WA), California State University (Fullerton, CA), California State University (Long Beach, CA), the University of the Ryukyus (Okinawa), Prairie Bible Institute (now Prairie Bible College, Three Hills, Alberta, Canada), and Asia Pacific Military Retreats in the Far East.

Linzey also spread the Pentecostal message as the keynote speaker for various civic organizations, Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, Business Men’s Fellowship International, the Fellowship of Full Gospel Churches and Ministries International, Christian Servicemen’s Centers, and in the Navy as an enlisted sailor and as a chaplain. Due to his Pentecostal ministry as the Senior Chaplain of the USS Coral Sea, the Coral Sea was dubbed “The Pentecostal Ship.”

A prolific author, he wrote on the baptism with the Holy Spirit in his books: Pentecost in the Pentagon, The Holy Spirit in the Third Millennium, Baptism in the Spirit, and God Wat at Midway (later published under the title USS Yorktown at Midway); his pamphlet, Why I Believe in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit; and numerous articles published in Pentecostal Evangel, Pentecostal Messenger, Voice, Link, C.A. Herald, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Christian Times. Various articles on leadership were also published in such publications as Readers Digest, Sunday School Counselor, At Ease, Filling Your Boots (a leadership pamphlet he wrote), and Call to Prayer.

Chaplain Stanford Linzey delivers the invocation at Coronado Naval Base at the 60th Anniversary of Japan’s Surrender in World War II before President George W. Bush speaks. Photo taken by Chaplain (MAJ) James F. Linzey, USA (Ret.), August 28, 2005.

When Stanford Linzey, Jr. joined the Navy in 1938, he could not have imagined how his life would unfold. After his recommitment to Christ and marriage to Verna Hall, ministry became his primary focus. He broke new ground as the first Assemblies of God active duty Navy chaplain, he ministered as a chaplain and as an evangelist around the world, and he produced numerous written works. Now, with the Stanford Eugene Linzey, Jr. Collection accessible at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, future generations will be able to study his life, ministry, and legacy.

_________________

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 archives and research center 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: http://www.iFPHC.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pinellas Park, Florida: First Home for Retired Assemblies of God Ministers

Residents at the Pinellas Park Home, circa 1950.

This Week in AG History —November 20, 1955

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 19 November 2020

Many are familiar with Maranatha Village Retirement Community in Springfield, Missouri, established in 1973. However, this was not the first time the Assemblies of God responded to the need to provide care for its retired ministers and missionaries.

In the early years of the Pentecostal movement, a strong belief in the imminent return of Christ sent ministers and missionaries into difficult places in the United States and around the world with the Pentecostal gospel message. Many of these ministers lived entirely by faith, with only enough to meet their daily needs. Their lives were spent for God with little thought to laying up materials things for their old age. Even for those who were in a position to prepare for retirement, their conviction that they were living in the last days led many of them to enter their later years with little life savings, investments, or death benefit insurance.

As early as 1933, the General Council recognized the need to provide assistance for aging ministers and widows of ministers who died without insurance or savings. A committee on pensions for retired ministers was formed and reported recommendations back to the 1935 General Council in session, which included the creation of a fellowship fund for retired ministers and a voluntary death benefit program. The retired ministers fund would be supported by donations and earnings from Gospel Publishing House and would be available to “needy ministers or their widows who have engaged in an active and approved ministry in the General Council fellowship for a period of 10 or more years.”

In 1946 it was recommended to the General Presbytery that the Assemblies of God establish a home for aged ministers who “have spent their strength and lives in the gospel ministry and now face their declining years with no place to go or without anyone to care for them.” This home became a reality in 1948 when the Pinellas Park Hotel was purchased. The hotel had 29 rooms, each equipped with two twin beds, and two furnished parlors in the warm and pleasant climate near St. Petersburg, Florida. Former General Secretary-Treasurer J. R. Evans, age 79, and his wife became the first residents.

An article, “Meet This Happy Family,” published in the Nov. 20, 1955, Pentecostal Evangel, introduced readers to some of the residents of the Pinellas Park Home. “They are pioneers of Pentecost, representing the first generation of full gospel ministers. They were mature men and women in the days when the Spirit was outpoured in Topeka, Los Angeles, and all around the world. They represent the evangelists who first brought the message of Acts 2:4 to the cities of America, the pastors who stuck it out through thick and thin to establish Pentecostal churches, the first missionaries our struggling Assemblies sponsored on the field.”

Residents at Pinellas Park were retired from the professional duties of the ministry, but not from ministry itself. They taught Sunday School in local churches, led Bible studies, provided for one another’s needs, and provided much of the maintenance of the home. On any given day, one could find missionaries who had once opened up nations for the Pentecostal message passing out tracts and witnessing in the community of St. Petersburg.

It was not long before a larger facility was needed and construction began on a new facility in Lakeland, Florida, adjacent to the campus of Southeastern Bible College (now Southeastern University). Bethany Retirement Home was dedicated in 1960 and served the needs of retired ministers and laypeople until 1972, when Southeastern needed the property for expansion.

Forty acres was purchased next to Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, for the construction of Maranatha Manor (now Maranatha Village Retirement Community). Residents, who all their lives had been on the move for the gospel, packed up and moved one more time. College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, provided private air transportation from Lakeland to Springfield, and the new residents of Maranatha Village arrived in May 1973.

The Pentecostal Evangel article, “Meet This Happy Family!” reminded readers that Sunday, Nov. 20, had been designated “Aged Ministers Assistance Sunday,” a time when Assemblies of God churches were asked to remember the aged ministers, missionaries, and their widows with a special offering.

Mothers and fathers of the faith taught many the way of salvation and Spirit-filled living, knowing that in their time of need, God would not fail them. Today that need remains. Aged Ministers Assistance (AMA) continues to provide a monthly stipend for those in need and Maranatha Village is now a 100-acre home for both ministers and laypeople living in Christian community.

Read the article “Meet This Happy Family!” on page 6 of the Nov. 20, 1955, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “This is God’s Will for You” by E.M. Wadsworth

• “Some Day We’ll Understand” by J.J. Krimmer

• “It Brings Miracles” by Zelma Argue

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 Second General Council and the Story Behind the Assemblies of God’s Commitment to Missions

Stone Church, Chicago, Illinois

This Week in AG History — November 14, 1914

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 12 November 2020

One hundred and six years ago, hundreds of Assemblies of God pastors, evangelists, and missionaries traveled to Chicago to attend the second General Council. Held Nov. 15-29, 1914, at the Stone Church, this meeting’s stated purpose was “to lay a firm foundation upon which to build the Assemblies of God.”

The Assemblies of God had been organized just seven months earlier in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The young Fellowship grew quickly as existing independent ministers joined its ranks. They appreciated the vision for fellowship, accountability, and structure, while maintaining the autonomy of the local congregation. This growth caused founding chairman E. N. Bell to call for a second meeting, in order to make urgent decisions about the future of the new organization.

The Stone Church, one of the largest Pentecostal congregations in America, could easily accommodate the expected 1,000 participants. Delegates to the meeting made several important structural changes. They decided to move the headquarters from Findlay, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, which would provide a more central location in a larger city. Delegates voted to expand the number of executive presbyters from 12 to 16, making the leadership more representative of the constituency. New leadership was also elected and Gospel Publishing House was authorized to expand its operations.

But the most far-reaching decision at the second General Council was one that was not on the original agenda. Assemblies of God leaders planned to take a missionary offering at the conclusion of the General Council. They had written articles encouraging people to bring money to give to missions. But the pastor of the Stone Church decided that the final offering should instead go to his own church, to help defray expenses related to hosting the council. Assemblies of God leaders, although frustrated with this turn of events, did not oppose the pastor’s request. Instead, they decided to issue a strongly-worded resolution in which they committed the Assemblies of God, from that point forward, to the cause of world evangelization. L. C. Hall drafted the resolution, which read:

“As a Council, we hereby express our gratitude to God for His great blessing upon the Movement in the past. We are grateful to Him for the results attending this forward Movement and we commit ourselves and the Movement to Him for the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen. We pledge our hearty cooperation, prayers, and help to this end.”

This iconic resolution, unanimously adopted by the delegates, has been widely quoted as illustrating how support for missions is part of the DNA of the Assemblies of God.

There is more to the story. In the spring of 1915, something shocking was discovered about the Stone Church pastor, R. L. Erickson, who had refused to let the offering go to missions. The May 29, 1915, issue of the Weekly Evangel alerted readers that Erickson had been removed from the ministerial list due to moral failure. In a lengthy article, E. N. Bell detailed how Erickson’s “greed” was evidence of poor moral character, which also manifested itself in other harmful ways in his life and ministry. In Bell’s estimation, Erickson’s greed led him to take the offering meant for missions, which led to the adoption of the strong statement in support of missions. What Satan meant for harm, Bell wrote, God could turn into good. And 106 years later, the Assemblies of God remains committed to “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.”

Read the Nov. 14, 1914, issue of the Christian Evangel, which published the minutes from the first General Council and encouraged readers to attend the second General Council.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Work in Africa and Egypt,” by Frank M. Moll

• “The Unanswered Prayer,” by Harry Morse

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Also read E. N. Bell’s article, “The Great Outlook,” in which he details the events surrounding the adoption of the resolution regarding missions, on pages 3 and 4 of the May 29, 1915, issue of the Weekly Evangel.

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

Joseph Wannenmacher’s Healing: How a Gifted Violinist became an Assemblies of God Pioneer

This Week in AG History — October 29, 1949

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 29 October 2020

As a young man, Joseph P. Wannenmacher (1895-1989) was a rising star in the Milwaukee musical scene. But a miraculous healing in a small storefront mission in 1917 forever changed his life, and he went on to become a well-loved Assemblies of God pioneer pastor. He shared his powerful testimony in the Oct. 29, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Like many other Milwaukee residents, Wannenmacher was an immigrant. He was born in Buzias, Hungary, to a family that was ethnically German and Hungarian. The Wannenmachers moved to Milwaukee in 1903, but his father was unable to adapt to American ways so they returned to Hungary after 10 months. In 1909, they returned to Milwaukee to stay.

From an early age, music helped define Joseph Wannenmacher’s life. In Hungary, he was surrounded by some of the nation’s best musicians and became a noted violinist. In Milwaukee, at age 18 he organized and conducted the Hungarian Royal Gypsy Orchestra (named after a similar group in his homeland), which performed at many of the region’s top entertainment venues.

Wannenmacher seemed to have it all. He could afford fashionable clothing, a gold watch, and diamond-studded jewelry. But underneath his successful veneer, Wannenmacher was haunted by his own human frailties.

Wannenmacher knew that he was dying a slow, painful death. His flesh would swell, develop blisters, and rot. Doctors diagnosed his condition as bone consumption. His sister had already died of the same malady. Anger boiled up in Wannenmacher as he grappled with the unfairness of life. He developed a sharp temper and, try as he might, he could not find peace.

Wannenmacher was raised in a devout Catholic home, so he turned to his faith to help him deal with his physical pain and bitterness. He frequently attended church and offered penance, but these practices did not seem to help.

He then turned to Luther’s German translation of the Bible, which someone had given to him, and began reading it voraciously. In its pages he discovered things he had never heard before. He read about Christ’s second coming, salvation by faith, and Christ’s power to heal. Perhaps most importantly, he learned that God is love. Up until that point, he had conceived of God as “Someone away up there with a long beard and a big club just waiting to beat me up.” But then, at age 18, he began to discover the gospel for himself.

In the midst of this spiritual awakening, Wannenmacher’s health was weakening. He could barely hold his violin bow in his hand, and the pain was almost unbearable. Then one morning in 1917 he heard about a group of German-speaking Pentecostals who prayed for the sick. The next service was scheduled for that afternoon, and Wannenmacher made a beeline for it. He wrote, “It was a dilapidated place, but the sweet presence of God was there.”

The small band of believers had been fasting and praying that God would send someone who was in need of salvation and healing. The service was unlike anything Wannenmacher had ever seen before. He watched the people get on their knees and cry out to God. Their outpouring of genuine faith moved Joseph’s heart.

The pastor, Hugo Ulrich, preached that sinners could be saved simply by trusting in Christ. It seemed too good to be true, Wannenmacher thought. Faith then came into his heart, and he started laughing for joy. The pastor thought Wannenmacher was mocking him, but Wannenmacher didn’t care. At the end of the service, Wannenmacher came forward to the altar and experienced a powerful encounter with God.

Wannenmacher described his time at the altar: “the power of God just struck me and shook for fully half an hour…the more His Spirit operated through my bones, through my muscles, through my being, the hotter I became. The more God’s power surged through me, the more I perspired. The Lord simply operated on that poor, diseased body of mine.”

He described this experience as being in the “operating room” of God. Later in the service, as he knelt at the altar rail in silent prayer, it seemed like heaven came down. He recalled, “As I waited there in God’s presence … [God’s] hands went down my body from head to toe, and every spirit of infirmity had to go. I got up, and I was a new man.”

A few days later, Wannenmacher was baptized in the Holy Spirit. He soon launched into gospel ministry and shared his testimony wherever he went. He played his violin and sang gospel songs during the lunch hour at the Harley Davidson plant, where he sometimes worked. He testified about his healing in hospitals, street corners, and other places. Everywhere he went, he prayed with people, and many accepted Christ and were healed. Wannenmacher’s family jokingly referred to his violin as the “healing violin,” because numerous people experienced healing as he played songs such as “The Heavenly City.”

In 1921 he married Helen Innes and started Full Gospel Church in Milwaukee. He went on to found six additional daughter churches in the area. He also served as the first superintendent of the Hungarian Branch of the Assemblies of God, which was organized in 1944 for Hungarian immigrants to America. After pastoring Full Gospel Church (renamed Calvary Assembly of God in 1944) for 39 years, he retired in 1960.

Throughout his ministry, Wannenmacher emphasized the importance of the Word of God. In his Pentecostal Evangel article, Wannenmacher compared reading the Bible to the mastery of music. “You have to practice and play music over and over again before you have mastered it,” he wrote, “and you have to apply yourself to those wonderful teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, too, in order to make them yours.”

While Joseph Wannenmacher went to be with the Lord in 1989, his legacy lives on in the churches he founded and in the people whose lives he touched. Calvary AG is continuing to reach people in the Milwaukee area and was renamed Honey Creek Church in 2015. Joseph and Helen’s three children, John, Philip, and Lois (Graber), were involved in Assemblies of God ministries. Philip served as pastor of Central Assembly of God (Springfield, Missouri) from 1970 to 1995. Philip’s daughter, Beth Carroll, serves as director of Human Resources at the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center. On the floor just above Beth’s office, Joseph’s “healing violin” is on display in the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center museum.

Joseph Wannenmacher’s story reminds believers that history never really disappears. People, events, and themes from the past tend to resurface in the present, but it often takes discernment to see them. God radically transformed Joseph Wannenmacher’s heart and healed his body, and the world has never been the same.

Read Joseph P. Wannenmacher’s article, “When God’s Love Came In,” on pages 2-3 and 11-13 of the Oct. 29, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Life’s Supreme Objective,” by D. M. Carlson

• “Ministering to the Needy,” by J. H. Boyce

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

Cordas C. Burnett: Pioneer Assemblies of God Educator

Cordas C. Burnett, Wesley R. Steelberg, and J. Roswell Flower, circa 1950s.

This Week in AG History — October 21, 1951

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 2 October 2020

Cordas C. Burnett (1917-1975) served the Assemblies of God as an evangelist and pastor; however, he is most remembered for his passion for the education of the ministers and constituents of the Movement.

After graduating from high school in Granite City, Illinois, Burnett felt that he needed more education to serve God and his church. He began preaching while still in high school and served as a pastor in Carrollton, Illinois, while only 18 years old. Knowing his skills needed honing, he enrolled at Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri, in 1936 and sought his ordination with the Illinois District of the Assemblies of God in 1937.

After completing a year at CBI, Burnett returned to the pastorate in Illinois and took classes at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, finally completing his bachelor’s degree cum laude at DePaul University in Chicago. He later did graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis.

While pastoring in Chicago, Burnett received an invitation to return to CBI in 1948 as an instructor and later as vice president from 1954 to 1958. In 1959, he was appointed to serve as secretary of education for the Assemblies of God. When the position of president at Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz became open, Burnett and his wife, Dorothy, received the call to move to California.

Along with his work in the pastorate and educational institutions, Burnett also served the larger evangelical movement in influential leadership positions, including 25 years as field secretary for the American Bible Society and 17 years as convention chairman of the National Association of Evangelicals.

When the Assemblies of God created its first solely post-graduate institution, the Assemblies of God Graduate School (now Assemblies of God Theological Seminary) in Springfield, Missouri, the executive presbytery called on Burnett in 1972 to return to Springfield to provide leadership for the new school as executive vice president. He provided a guiding influence to this work until his death in 1975 at age 58.

In 1951, during his tenure as an instructor at CBI, Burnett addressed the General Council held in Atlanta, Georgia. He shared his concern that young Pentecostals, in their academic pursuits, were facing questions arising from theological modernism, including higher criticism, theological liberalism, and neo-orthodoxy. His address, titled “Four Foundations for our Faith,” was published in the Oct. 21, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. Burnett told the leaders of the Assemblies of God that “young people have gone out from our assemblies to attend some institutions of higher learning and have come back dazed and uncertain as to where they stand and what they believe. We must have an answer for them.”

Burnett proposed that the answer these students needed was “found in a living Pentecostal faith which, undergirded by four tremendous foundation stones, stands tonight for all to see.” A vibrant Pentecostal testimony, he asserted, provides an alternative to atheism, theological liberalism, and neo-orthodoxy, which were prevalent in theological training schools through the writings of thinkers like Bertrand Russell, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Julian Huxley.

Addressing the preachers, pastors, and educators of the Assemblies of God, Burnett insisted that Pentecostal young people must be grounded with sound arguments in these four areas: the inviolability of the human soul (man is more than just a physical combination of chemicals and that death is not the end of life); the infallibility of the Bible (a refusal to make the Bible a simple fetish, but to reasonably defend it as the authoritative rule of faith and conduct); the irrefutability of Christ’s deity (the logical reasonableness of Jesus’ claim to divinity); and the incontestability of His resurrection (a defense of the literal bodily resurrection of Christ). Burnett believed that Pentecostal churches must teach these four points to their students in order to prepare them with an answer to the questions of the age.

Burnett’s commitment to these theological foundations led General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman to say, upon Burnett’s death, that “through his efforts many significant steps of advancement have been made, both innovative and substantial in meeting the educational needs of the many ministers who have attended Assemblies of God educational institutions.”

Today his name is memorialized at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary through the Cordas C. Burnett Center for Biblical Preaching and the Burnett Library, which provides more than 130,000 scholarly resources for its students.

Read C. C. Burnett’s address, “Four Foundations for our Faith,” on page 3 of the Oct. 21, 1951, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Making True Disciples” by Robert W. Cummings
• “Thousands – then Twelve” by Donald Gee
• “Has the Cuban Revival Been a ‘Mushroom’ Revival?” by James W. Nicholson

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

Maria Woodworth-Etter and the Salt Lake City Revival of 1916

This Week in AG History — October 14, 1916

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 15 October 2020

Few early Pentecostal evangelists were as widely known as Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924). She traversed North America, holding services in large churches, auditoriums, and tents. Reports of revivals, including souls saved and bodies healed, regularly followed her ministry. People from a variety of backgrounds, including many non-Pentecostals, crowded into her meetings. Many heard about her reputation and sought to be healed.

Woodworth-Etter held an evangelistic campaign in Salt Lake City, Utah, in October 1916. The Pentecostal Evangel issue dated Oct. 7 and 14 promoted the campaign, which began on Oct. 6 and which was expected to continue three weeks or longer. Campaign planners rented an auditorium that seated 1,100, expecting to draw attendees from as far away as Denver, San Francisco, Portland, and Los Angeles.

The article noted that the Assembly of God mission in Salt Lake City was small. It had been opened just two years earlier, in August 1914. Several Assemblies of God evangelists, including Samuel and Sadie Finley, Robert Lowe, and Philip and Catherine Stokeley, helped develop the fledgling flock. Their hearts were drawn toward establishing a ministry of compassion. According to an Oct. 24, 1914, Pentecostal Evangel article, they desired to start a “Rescue Home for fallen girls.” They were unaware of the existence of any similar ministry in the city.

It was with the help of these local leaders in Salt Lake City that Woodworth-Etter began her 1916 campaign. Several weeks into the campaign, Woodworth-Etter’s associate August Feick reported that “there is much interest over a good part of this city.” According to Feick, “Many people are under deep conviction, and people surrender daily to God and get saved. Others again get healed and baptized with the Spirit.” The meetings were held in an auditorium that was a regular venue for boxing matches. Feick wrote, “On the same mat where prize fights are staged — stained with blood — sinners weep their way through to God, and saints receive their baptism.”

Feick reported a deeply spiritual atmosphere, noting that some participants could sense the glory of God present in the auditorium. Others saw a “peculiar mist” in the building, and several had visions of Jesus and angels. Bodily healings convinced many of the reality of the Pentecostal message. Feick explained that these healings were “proof” of the gospel that could not be denied.

These early meetings, over 100 years ago, helped to lay the foundation for the 15 Assemblies of God churches that today share the gospel in Salt Lake City.

Read reports of Maria Woodworth-Etter’s evangelistic 1916 campaign in Salt Lake City in the following issues of the Pentecostal Evangel:

October 7-14, 1916 (page 13).

November 4, 1916 (page 15).

Also featured in these issues:

• “Putting the Enemy to Flight,” by Stanley H. Frodsham

• “What it Costs to be a Missionary,” by Jessie Hertslet

And many more!

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