Tag Archives: Charismatic Movement

40 Years Ago: The Conference on the Holy Spirit Brought Pentecostals and Charismatics Together

This Week in AG History — October 10, 1982

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, October 13, 2022

Forty years ago, the Assemblies of God hosted the Conference on the Holy Spirit, which brought together Pentecostals and charismatics from across the denominational spectrum. While the speakers and attendees came from different backgrounds, they shared a desire to know more about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

The conference, held Aug. 16 to 18, 1982, at the Hammons Student Center on the campus of Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) in Springfield, Missouri, included notable speakers from classical Pentecostal churches and from the charismatic movement in mainline and evangelical denominations. The opening speaker was Dennis J. Bennett, an Episcopal priest who was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1959 and became a leader in the charismatic movement.

Other speakers included Revivaltime speaker Dan Betzer; Frank W. Smith, former general superintendent of the Open Bible Standard Churches and chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America; Harold A. Carter, a leader among African-American charismatics and pastor of the New Shiloh Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland; Morris G.C. Vaagenes Jr., pastor of North Heights Lutheran Church in Roseville, Minnesota; and John Bueno, Assemblies of God missionary to El Salvador.

An estimated 8,300 people attended the opening rally where Bennett gave a message, “Baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Bennett, one of the earliest leaders in the charismatic renewal in the Episcopal Church, authored several books, including How to Pray for the Release of the Holy Spirit and Nine O’clock in the Morning.

Bennett shared that after receiving Jesus as his Savior many years before, he “went on to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost, with its normative manifestation of speaking in other languages as the Spirit gives utterance.” Bennett also stressed that he believed the experience is not optional, but a commandment for all Christians. He said, “The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not incidental for the Christian life; it is basic.”

Bennett described how Pentecostals paved the way for the charismatic movement. He commended Pentecostals: “All of us owe much to Christian brothers and sisters of the older Pentecostal fellowships, such as the Assemblies of God, who first put up with persecution and ridicule to testify that Pentecost is for today. They performed a service to all Christendom that is of inexpressible value.”

The Episcopal priest encouraged Pentecostals to keep the faith: “What do I want to say to you? Don’t let your witness be weakened. Don’t let Pentecost be watered down, not even for good-sounding reasons.” He said, “a faith that proclaims the full gospel can still accomplish miracles in this world. There is much to be done. The story of mankind is not over. Our orders are unchanged. Jesus said, ‘Occupy till I come.’ The Greek means, ‘Be doing business till I come!’”

Attendees listened to a special broadcast of Revivaltime, the Assemblies of God weekly radio program, on the Sunday evening just prior to the conference. Revivaltime speaker Dan Betzer’s sermon was titled, “Overflowing With the Holy Spirit of God.” A mass choir and orchestra of more than 200 people ministered on Sunday and during each evening of the conference, including former Revivaltime choir members and selected singers from area churches. Cyril McLellan directed the combined group. Susan Smith, vocal instructor at Evangel College (now Evangel University), ministered at the Monday evening service. Well-known gospel musicians the McDuff Brothers sang during the Tuesday evening rally, and the Blackwood Brothers sang at the closing rally on Wednesday.

Between 8,000 and 8,500 people attended each of the three evening rallies of the conference; the total number of attendees was between 10,000 and 12,000. In addition to the evening rallies, 90 small seminars took place during the daytime hours of the conference. Gospel Publishing House published sermons and lectures from the event in a two-volume Conference on the Holy Spirit Digest.

The Conference on the Holy Spirit provided a valuable opportunity for Pentecostals and charismatics to rub shoulders and learn from one another. While the early 20th century Pentecostal revival birthed the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal churches, the conference was a reminder that the work of the Holy Spirit is not limited to those in Pentecostal churches.

Read “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” by Dennis J. Bennett on page 3 of the Oct. 10, 1982, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Songs in the Night,” by D.V. Hurst

• “800 Million Muslims,” by David Irwin

• “Inmates Need Love, Encouragement, Prayer,” by Kenneth H. Leep Jr.

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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Gerald Derstine Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

DerstineBy Darrin J. Rodgers

Gerald Derstine (1928- ), a Mennonite pastor who became a prominent early leader in the charismatic movement, has deposited materials relating to his life and ministry at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Derstine is perhaps best known for his roles as former president of Gospel Crusade, Inc.; founder of Christian Retreat in Bradenton, Florida; and founder of Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship (now Global Christian Ministers Forum), a Pentecostal denomination.

The Gerald Derstine Collection includes books, tracts, periodicals, photographs, audio recordings, and unpublished materials documenting Derstine’s life, ministry, and the organizations he led. The collection provides valuable insight into segments of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements that have not been sufficiently documented and will be a boon to researchers.

Gerald Derstine was born into a conservative Pennsylvania Mennonite family, but as a teenager he became a functional agnostic. He was a baptized church member, but he had not internalized the faith and did not believe Christian claims. He offered two major critiques of Christianity: Christians seemed to lack joy, and twentieth-century churches did not seem to resemble those in the New Testament.

Derstine married Beulah, also raised a Mennonite, on June 25, 1949. On their honeymoon in Minnesota, a friend told them about miracles he had witnessed at a Pentecostal revival in Michigan. This piqued Derstine’s interest, and three months later he and Beulah visited a crusade in Reading, Pennsylvania, featuring Pentecostal evangelist T. L. Osborn. At the revival, Derstine was immediately struck by the warmth, friendliness, joy, and earnest faith he found among the Pentecostals. They kept returning to the evening revival services, where they saw miracles and yielded their lives to Christ.

They began attending services at the Brethren in Christ Church, an Anabaptist church impacted by the Holiness movement, which encouraged believers to have an experience of entire sanctification. Both Gerald and Beulah had this experience, they consecrated their lives to Christ, and Gerald felt called to the ministry.

Derstine knew that ministry would not be easy. From a young age, other children mocked “Pee Wee” Derstine for his small stature and his chronic stuttering. Not only would he have to overcome a lifetime of feelings of inadequacy, his stuttering would be an obstacle to ministry. However, Derstine recalled that Osborn encouraged Christians to pray for healing. He followed Osborn’s instructions to confess Bible verses about healing and was healed of stuttering.

Derstine began passing out tracts among alcoholics in street ministry in Philadelphia. His uncle, a Mennonite missionary to the Chippewa Indians in northern Minnesota, asked Gerald and Beulah to join him in ministry. In 1951, they moved to Minnesota. Gerald was ordained into the ministry in 1953 and became pastor of Strawberry Lake Mennonite Church (Ogema, MN), which had been started by his uncle.

In late 1954, an unexpected outpouring of the Holy Spirit, featuring a spirit of intercession, miracles, and spiritual gifts, changed the trajectory of Derstine’s ministry. He was leading a five-day Bible study retreat for 76 Mennonite youth between Christmas 1954 and New Year’s Day 1955, when a remarkable revival began. After a period of fasting and prayer by seven pastors at the camp, 13 unconverted youth accepted Christ on the first day of the camp. Soon afterward, several children reported hearing angels singing. The youth and adults began praying fervently for their unsaved family members and friends, and some experienced healings and gifts such as speaking in tongues.

After returning to his pastorate at Strawberry Lake Mennonite Church, similar charismatic phenomena began to happen in homes and in the church sanctuary. Word spread quickly and, in April 1955, Mennonite bishops and elders conducted a hearing that resulted in Derstine being “silenced” from the Mennonite ministry. They offered to restore him to ministry if he would publicly state that the manifestations had been an “act of Satan.” Derstine refused to deny the work of the Holy Spirit.

Later in 1955, Derstine met Henry Brunk, a Mennonite evangelist and businessman from Florida. In 1953, Brunk had founded the Gospel Crusade, Inc. as a non-denominational missions outreach to Haiti. Brunk encouraged Derstine to enter the evangelistic ministry and supplied him with a tent, a house trailer, and a car. Derstine began to receive invitations to preach and share his testimony, first from people at the fringes of the Mennonite community, and then from larger cities.

The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship offered Derstine his first national platform, and he became well known in Pentecostal circles. Pentecostal revival began to break out in mainline denominations (often termed “charismatic renewal”) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Derstine also became a popular speaker among mainline charismatics.

The charismatic renewal made a significant impact on the Mennonite church, which officially “restored” Derstine as an approved minister in 1977. However, Derstine’s ministry went far beyond his ancestral denomination.

Derstine settled in Sarasota, Florida, a city where many Mennonites live or own winter vacation cabins. He started a non-denominational charismatic church, Revival Tabernacle, which included a core group of several former Mennonite families. In 1965, Derstine became president of Gospel Crusade, Inc.

God gave Derstine a vision for a conference and retirement center that would serve as headquarters for Gospel Crusade. In 1968, he purchased a 110-acre tract of land on the banks of the Manatee River near Bradenton, located just south of Sarasota. That same year he founded Christian Retreat and began building facilities on the land.

Christian Retreat in Bradenton became a focal point of Derstine’s ministry. He organized well-attended charismatic conferences, featuring prominent Pentecostal and charismatic speakers. He also established retreat centers in Ogema, Minnesota (Strawberry Lake Christian Retreat, which operated from 1965 to 2017) and in Hermon, New York (North Country Christian Retreat, which operated from 1982 to 2014).

Gospel Crusade has been active in global missions, supporting ministries in over 25 nations, including Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Philippines, Romania, and Trinidad. In 1981, Derstine began traveling to Israel and has ministered in many Jewish and Arab locations.

Derstine is a prolific author. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center holds 22 books and booklets that he wrote, as well as different editions and translations of his works into other languages. His daughter, Joanne Derstine, has been responsible for many of the publications of Gospel Crusade over the past 50 years.

Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship (GCMF) was formed in the 1970s to serve as the credentialing arm of Gospel Crusade, Inc. By 2002, GCMF had grown to over 1,100 certified ministers and 67 affiliated churches. While some GCMF ministers came from Mennonite families, the Fellowship has attracted Pentecostals and charismatics from varied backgrounds. In 2009 GCMF restructured and became organizationally separate from Gospel Crusade and relocated its headquarters from Bradenton, Florida, to Denver, Pennsylvania. It was renamed Global Christian Ministry Forum in 2012.

Derstine established the Institute of Ministry in 1975 to provide ministerial training in a 10-week course. Approximately 8,000 students have graduated from the program. A local church, Christian Retreat Family Church (now The Family Church), was organized in 1986 by Phil and Jannette Derstine, Gerald’s son and daughter-in-law, and meets on the grounds of Christian Retreat.

Derstine, now 91 years old, has stepped down from most of his leadership roles. However, he continues to travel across the United States, preaching and sharing his testimony. Derstine, with his engaging manner, compelling testimony, and visionary leadership, has made a lasting contribution to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements.


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


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Large Norwegian Pentecostal Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Norwegian books

A few of the Norwegian Pentecostal and charismatic books deposited at the FPHC

By Darrin J. Rodgers

Norwegians have played an outsized role in the development of Pentecostalism, first in Europe, and then around the world. Thomas Ball Barratt, a British-born Methodist pastor in Oslo, brought the Pentecostal message from America to Norway in December 1906. The movement then spread to England, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. Barratt is widely regarded as the father of European Pentecostalism.

A distinct ecclesiology and missiology emerged among Pentecostals from Norway, Sweden and Finland. Scandinavian Pentecostals sent over a thousand missionaries who planted and nurtured the Pentecostal movement in many regions of the world. Today, global Pentecostalism cannot be understood apart from the influences of these Scandinavian missionaries.

Geir Lie

Encyclopedia of Norwegian Pentecostal and charismatic movements, by Geir Lie

Despite the significance of Norwegian Pentecostals, their stories have often been neglected by scholars, in part because sources have been inaccessible. In an attempt to remedy this, over the past 25 years Norwegian historian Geir Lie has engaged in the backbreaking, groundbreaking work of documenting the varied Pentecostal and charismatic groups in Norway. Lie interviewed leaders, assembled an archival collection, and published several books, including an encyclopedia of the Norwegian Pentecostal and charismatic movements.

As Lie began to near retirement, he decided to place his personal collection of publications and research materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), located in the national office of the Assemblies of God USA. The FPHC is the largest Pentecostal archives in the world, with materials in over 145 languages.

Lie also encouraged other Norwegian church leaders and scholars to place materials at the FPHC. Darrin Rodgers, director of the FPHC, traveled to Norway in November 2018, met with church leaders, gathered materials, and shipped two pallets back to America. Donors continue to deposit additional Norwegian materials at the FPHC.

The FPHC is grateful to three churches from Norwegian-American immigrant communities that helped to underwrite of cost of shipping the materials:
Freedom Church (Grand Forks, ND), Pastor Nathan Johnson
River of Life Church (Stanley, ND), Pastor Byron Lindbo
Assembly of God (Tioga, ND), Pastor Daryn Pederson

The FPHC catalog now includes about 1,200 records of Norwegian Pentecostal books, pamphlets, and periodical runs.  The FPHC also holds sizeable collections of Pentecostal publications in Swedish (786) and Finnish (724). The FPHC likely holds the largest collection of Scandinavian Pentecostal and charismatic materials outside of Europe. These resources are essential for scholars of global Pentecostalism.

The majority of the Norwegian collection at the FPHC consists of publications associated with Pinsebevegelsen, the largest segment of the Pentecostal movement in Norway. Leaders in several smaller but historically important groups also deposited significant collections at the FPHC: Brunstad Christian Church; the Faith movement; Kristent Nettverk; Maran Ata; and Nardusmenighetene.

Norwegian Collections Deposited at FPHC

Pinsebevegelsen (Pentecostal Movement)


T.B. Barratt

Pinsebevegelsen claims about 40,000 baptized members in 340 churches. Pinsebevegelsen does not consider itself a denomination, but a movement of independent churches. For this reason, Pinsebevegelsen does not have a national headquarters. The Filadelfia Church in Oslo, founded by T. B. Barratt, has been the most prominent congregation in Pinsebevegelsen. The Filadelfia Church helped launch several joint ministry endeavors, including the Filadelfiaforlaget (the primary Norwegian Pentecostal publishing house) and De Norske Pinsemenigheters Ytremisjon (the Norwegian Pentecostal missions agency, also known as PYM). The weekly Pentecostal newspaper, Korsets Seier, also began as a ministry of the Filadelfia Church.  In 2011, Pinsebevegelsen affiliated with the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.

Two Pinsebevegelsen organizations, Korsets Seier and PYM, deposited approximately 600 books, pamphlets, and periodical runs at the FPHC. This includes large runs of Korsets Seier (1930-2009) and several other periodicals, as well as numerous books about Norwegian Pentecostal theology, history, and missions.

Brunstad Christian Church


Skjulte Skatter, 1912

Brunstad Christian Church (originally called Smith’s Friends) has over 8,000 members in Norway and an additional 12,000 members in other nations. Founded by Johan Oscar Smith in the late 1890s, the group identified with Pentecostalism in 1906-1907. Smith’s younger brother, Aksel, initially cooperated with T. B. Barratt. After several years, Barratt and Smith’s Friends went their separate ways.

Brunstad Christian Church deposited at the FPHC a run of its monthly magazine, Skjulte Skatter (1912-2011), in addition to a collection of books.

Faith Movement


Magazinet, a Faith movement periodical, 1990

The Faith movement emerged in Norway in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced by American teachers such as Kenneth Hagin. The Faith movement also drew from aspects of the Norwegian Pentecostal and charismatic movements. Oslo Kristne Senter, founded in 1985 by Åge Åleskjær, grew to become the largest and most influential Faith church in Norway. In recent years, many leaders in the Norwegian Faith movement have distanced themselves from American prosperity gospel teachers and are more closely aligned with mainstream Pentecostals and charismatics.

Thomas Åleskjær, pastor of Oslo Kristne Senter, deposited about 120 Norwegian language books and periodicals, mostly relating to the Faith movement, at the FPHC.

Kristent Nettverk

ThuKristent Nettverk, a network of Restorationist charismatic churches in relationship with British New Church leaders Bryn and Keri Jones, was established in 1980s. Erling Thu, one of the founders of Kristent Nettverk, is a prolific author. Thu deposited at the FPHC over 20 books he authored, in addition to a run of Folk (1988-2007), a periodical he founded.

Maran Ata


Maran Ata magazine 1960

Norwegian Pentecostal healing evangelist and musician Åge Samuelsen (1915-1987) founded the Maran Ata movement in 1958/1959. Samuelsen was closely aligned with American evangelists associated with Voice of Healing magazine, such as Gordon Lindsay. Some Pentecostals left Pinsebevegelsen and formed Maran Ata churches. Samuelsen was removed from leadership of Maran Ata in 1965/1966 and formed a new organization, Vekkeropet Maran Ata.

Maran Ata and Vekkeropet Maran Ata each deposited runs of their periodicals at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center: Maran Ata Bladet (1960-2018) and Vekkeropet Maran Ata (1968-1987).



Nardus magazine, 1985

Nardusmenighetene, an indigenous Norwegian Oneness Pentecostal denomination, was formed in the early 1980s by Torkild Terkelsen. Terkelsen deposited at the FPHC a run of the periodical, Nardus (1984-2006) and 17 books published by Nardusmenighetene.


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

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Stephen and Joy Strang Deposit Charisma Media Archives at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center


By Darrin J. Rodgers

Stephen and Joy Strang have deposited the archives of Charisma Media at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. The Strangs founded Charisma in 1975, which has become the magazine of record of the charismatic movement in the United States. In 1981, they formed Strang Communications (now Charisma Media), which has published over 3,000 book titles (including many under their Spanish imprint Casa Creación), Christian education materials, and several notable periodicals. Charisma Media is one of the leading Christian publishers in the United States.  Fifteen of their titles have been New York Times bestsellers including The Harbinger, which was on the list more than a year.

The Charisma Media Collection consists of approximately 75 boxes (94 linear feet), including: an extensive collection of Charisma Media publications under its various imprints in the English and Spanish languages; correspondence with Pentecostal and charismatic leaders; notes and audio recordings from interviews; an important photograph archive; and an extensive collection of audio/visual recordings, including the weekly Charisma Now! television program produced in partnership with Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The Charisma Media Collection, which provides valuable insight into broad segments of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, will be a boon to researchers.

Stephen Strang has a longstanding passion for history, he often visits museums during his travels, and he has even written a book about his family’s heritage, How We Fit In (2018). Over the years, he has shown particular interest in the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), which is located in the Assemblies of God national office in Springfield, Missouri. Strang developed friendships with the two men who led the FPHC over the past forty years: Wayne Warner (1980-2005) and Darrin Rodgers (2005- ). When the Strangs decided that the sizable Charisma Media archives should be placed in a research facility, they naturally thought of the FPHC, which had grown to become the world’s largest archives within the Pentecostal and charismatic tradition.

The Charisma Media Collection takes its place alongside other significant collections deposited at the FPHC. The list of collections reads like a Who’s Who of the Pentecostal and charismatic world and includes Assemblies of God church leaders Thomas F. Zimmerman and G. Raymond Carlson; International Church of the Foursquare Gospel leader Jack Hayford; Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr.; charismatic leader Gerald Derstine; Pentecostal Assemblies of the World historian James L. Tyson; educators Grant Wacker, William W. Menzies, Gary McGee, and J. Robert Ashcroft; and many others.

Broad Influence

Stephen and Joy Strang are well connected in Pentecostal and charismatic circles. They count many leaders as personal friends, and their publications provide a level of influence within Pentecostalism often only achieved by top tier evangelists and pastors. Stephen has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including World Relief (2001-2004) and as chairman of Christian Life Missions (1988 to present), the Florida Magazine Association (as president in 1979-1980) and Kings University (affiliated with Jack Hayford) from 1998 to 2016. He also served on many advisory boards including Christians United for Israel, International Charismatic Bible Ministries, and Empowered21.

Strang Communications has built bridges across the denominational and racial divides. The Strangs were prominent supporters of the “Memphis Miracle,” the 1994 watershed event for racial reconciliation within Pentecostalism. They also provided support to the Promise Keepers men’s movement and published its New Man magazine. Joy Strang founded SpiritLed Woman magazine, a counterpart to New Man.

Assemblies of God Roots

The Strangs have deep roots in the Assemblies of God. Stephen was born in 1951 in Springfield, Missouri, where his father, A. Edward Strang, served as pastor of Lighthouse Assembly of God. Stephen Strang’s maternal grandmother (Alice Kersey Farley) and grandfather (Amos Roy Farley) were ordained by the Assemblies of God in 1914 and 1919, respectively.

Joy is also the daughter of Assemblies of God pastors—Harvey and Rose Ferrell (ordained in 1938 and 1952 respectively), who ministered in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines. Stephen and Joy married in 1972. Stephen graduated from the University of Florida College of Journalism in 1973 and won the prestigious William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Award. The Strangs had two sons, Cameron and Chandler. Cameron went on to found Relevant magazine in 2003.

After college, Stephen Strang landed a position as a reporter for the Sentinel Star (now the Orlando Sentinel). While working as a reporter, he envisioned starting a magazine that would provide a forum for sharing the Christian faith with those outside the church. He shared the idea with leaders at Calvary Assembly of God (Winter Park, FL), where the Strangs were members. The church agreed to underwrite the first six issues for $15,000, and Charisma magazine was born.

Charisma Media

Charisma gained 50,000 subscribers in the first five years. The relationship with Calvary Assembly of God ended on June 1, 1981, when the Strangs formed a corporation and purchased the magazine from the church. The newly formed Strang Communications Company, with Stephen as CEO and Joy as CFO, would become a powerhouse in the Pentecostal and charismatic world.

In 1983, Strang Communications began publishing Ministries Today, a magazine for ministers. In 1986, Strang Communications acquired two magazines, Christian Life and Christian Bookseller (renamed Christian Retailing in 1986), and Creation House Books from Robert Walker. Walker was a longtime evangelical publisher in Wheaton, Illinois, who was sympathetic to Pentecostals. Christian Life, which began publication in 1939, merged with Charisma in the spring of 1987. The merged publication had a paid circulation at one time of over 225,000, making it one of America’s most widely read Christian magazines.  The Charisma Media collection includes every issue of Walker’s Christian Life and several other publications, every issue of Charisma and the other publications as well as every book published by Charisma Media and many books published by Walker before the merger.

Other periodicals published by Strang Communications include: Buckingham Report (1985-1986); New Man (1994-2007); SpiritLed Woman (1998-2007); Worship Today (1992-1994); and the Spanish language Vida Cristiana (Christian Life) from 1992 to 2011.

In 1987 Stephen Strang took over responsibility for Robert Walker’s non-profit Christian Life Missions (CLM), which Walker founded in 1956. Stephen Strang has served as chairman of the CLM board of directors since Walker retired in the late 1990s.

In 2011, as part of a company-wide rebranding, Strang Communications changed its name to Charisma Media, and the book imprint, Creation House, became Charisma House. Other Strang books imprints have included: Casa Creación, Passio, Frontline, and Siloam Press.

Of the more than 3,000 books Charisma House has published through its various imprints, more than 2,000 were still in print in 2020.  The company has sold an estimated 50 million books. Charisma House has had five books sell more than 1 million copies.

In 2014 the company released the Modern English Version of the Bible, a new translation that is an update of the King James Version.

In 2015 Charisma Media started the Charisma Podcast Network which had 25 million downloads as of early 2020.  Of the 41 podcasts on CPN in 2020, Stephen Strang hosted two–the Strang Report with more than three million downloads and a new podcast called “God, Trump and the 2020 Election,” based on his book by the same title.  This was the third book he authored on the 45th President, written, he said, from a “spiritual perspective.”


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


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Rare Kathryn Kuhlman transcripts donated to FPHC

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Produced by iFPHC

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (1907-1976), possibly the world’s most prominent female evangelist and faith healer (although at times she objected to these titles), was a catalyst for the emerging charismatic renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Her life and ministry — and her impact on the broader Christian church — remain the focus of much popular and scholarly attention.

Three unique and significant notebooks focusing on Kathryn Kuhlman’s ministry during the years 1949 to 1952 have been donated to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC).

A new convert, Gay Luchin, took shorthand notes during Kuhlman’s meetings in Pittsburgh and spent many hours transcribing her eye-witness notes, placing them in three notebooks. The donation also includes correspondence from Kuhlman to Luchin, in which she encouraged Luchin in her work to develop these accounts.

Luchin’s notebooks contain well over 1,000 carefully-recorded pages of typescripts, detailing Kuhlman’s unvarnished thoughts on theology, social issues, politics, ethics, and spirituality. This major donation, unexamined by the scholarly world, promises to throw new light upon an era of Kuhlman’s life that heretofore has been sparsely documented.

The FPHC invites you to visit Springfield to view these items for yourself. They are being released today, May 9th, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kathryn Kuhlman. Please call for an appointment.

Posted by Darrin Rodgers

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Review: Testimonies of Signs and Wonders

Cover of the revised edition, published 2014.

Testimonies of Signs and Wonders: Evangelistic Crusades of Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter in Moline, Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa in the Years 1902-1903-1907, or Redigging the Wells of Holy Spirit Renewal: Our Forgotten Heritage in the Quad Cities, compiled by Kenneth Richard Kline-Walczak. Revised version. Davenport, IA: The Author, 2006.

Maria Woodworth-Etter, among the most prominent of the healing evangelists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, became one of the best known Holiness preachers to embrace Pentecostalism. Her popularity was due in large part to her practice of faith healing and other charismatic gifts, which began occuring in her meetings in about 1885. Her ministry attracted large crowds, fierce detractors and fervent supporters, as well as widespread coverage in newspapers from coast to coast. Newspaper editors, who often deemed the excitement and large crowds sparked by the woman evangelist to be worthy of critique, helped to spread her fame. The standard biography of Woodworth-Etter, Maria Woodworth-Etter, For Such a Time as This (Bridge-Logos, 2005), was authored by former Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Wayne E. Warner.

Now Kenneth Kline-Walczak has cataloged Woodworth-Etter’s influence in one corner of the world — the Quad Cities on the Iowa-Illinois border. His book consists largely of an impressive collection of articles (1884-1907) about Woodworth-Etter from regional newspapers, assembled in chronological order and reprinted for the purpose of introducing the region’s readers to its Pentecostal past. The compiler also includes a helpful guide to the people and places mentioned in the articles. Kline-Walczak’s detailed research will aid not only historians, but also people in the Quad Cities as they seek to recover the sacred stories of God’s work among them in previous generations.

Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers

Paperback, xxvi, 194 pages, illustrated. $20, plus $4.00 shipping. Order from: Ken Kline, 2535 Central Avenue, Apartment 1, Dubuque, IA 52001 (email: woodworth65@yahoo.com ; phone: 563-845-9823).


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Top Pentecostal history books in libraries

Next to Assemblies of God Heritage magazine the Bible, what is your favorite reading material? Do you have a top ten list of your all-time favorite books?

We thought it would be interesting to see which Pentecostal history books are most popular in libraries. So, we logged onto FirstSearch (aka WorldCat or OCLC, which is available at your local library) and searched for books with the following terms in their subject headings. The top ten books for each term, in terms of the numbers of libraries holding each book, are below.

Pentecostal history
1. Heaven Below : Early Pentecostals and American Culture / Grant Wacker (Harvard University Press, 2001) 878 libraries
2. Reinventing American Protestantism : Christianity in the New Millennium / Donald E. Miller (University of California Press, 1997) 847 libraries Continue reading

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Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research


The January 2007 issue of the Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research contains the following interesting articles:

  • “The Chinese Expression of Pentecostalism” by Rev. Dr. Timothy Yeung
  • “Post-1960s Pentecostalism and the Promise of a Future For Pentecostal Holiness Women Preachers” by Kristen Welch
  • “Contemporary Pentecostal Leadership: The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa as Case Study” by Dr. Mathew Clark
  • “The Spirit and Theological Interpretation: A Pentecostal Strategy” by Dr. Kenneth J. Archer
  • “The Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria: A Re-Examination of the Concept, Its Impact, and an Evaluation” by Dr. George O. Folarin

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Posted by Darrin Rodgers

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Review: The Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy

Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy

The Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy, edited by Harold D. Hunter and Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2006.

The Azusa Street Centennial (Los Angeles, 2006) brought together approximately 45,000 Pentecostal pilgrims who traveled from all corners of the globe to celebrate, worship and reflect on the paths that led them to where they are in their spiritual journeys. Right in the heart of the celebration, historians gathered in an academic track where they presented a series of papers highlighting the most up-to-date scholarship on the history and legacy of the Azusa Street revival. Two leading Pentecostal historians, Harold D. Hunter and Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., assembled the majority of these papers, now available in The Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy. Continue reading

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Review: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival

The Azusa Streat Mission and Revival

The Azusa Street Mission and Revival: The Birth of the Global Pentecostal Movement, by Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.

If you only read one book on the Azusa Street revival, this should be it. Written by the leading authority on the subject, The Azusa Street Mission and Revival is the result of over twenty years of research. Its engaging prose and careful attention to detail bring the story to life. This book is a joy to read.

Nearly twenty-five percent of the world’s Christians count themselves among the Charismatic and Pentecostal family of Christian movements, yet few know how Pentecostalism began. The Azusa Street Mission and Revival tells the story of the small racially-inclusive group that gathered in Los Angeles in 1906 and changed the world of Christianity. With little more than a printing press, a trolley stop and a powerful message, the revival that began at Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street, rapidly crossed more than race lines — into Mexico, Canada, Britain, Scandinavia, western and southern Africa, India, and China — and began to change the landscape of Christianity. The complete story of the Mission has finally been recorded. Continue reading

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