Tag Archives: Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

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The Gerald Derstine Collection includes books, tracts, periodicals, photographs, audio recordings, and unpublished materials documenting Derstine’s life, ministry, and the organizations he led.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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Jack Hayford Deposits Personal Papers at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Hayford_wide copyBy Darrin J. Rodgers

Jack W. Hayford, one of the most highly respected Pentecostals in the United States, has deposited his personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri. Hayford is an author, educator, songwriter, former senior pastor of The Church On The Way (Van Nuys, California), and fifth President of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

The Jack Hayford Collection consists of correspondence and travel files, 1976-2014 (25 linear feet); approximately 200 books and pamphlets authored by Hayford and published in 16 different languages; approximately 250 audio/visual recordings of Hayford; numerous publications and theses relating to the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; and a large framed piece of art depicting his best-known song, “Majesty.”

Hayford deposited his collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) upon the suggestion of his daughter, Rebecca Hayford Bauer. Bauer became familiar with the FPHC during her doctoral studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. The FPHC, located in the national office of the Assemblies of God, is the largest Pentecostal archives in the world and collects materials from the Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement. Hayford also conferred with Dr. George O. Wood, former general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, who encouraged him to place his collection at the FPHC.

The Jack Hayford Collection takes its place alongside other significant Pentecostal collections deposited at the FPHC in recent years. The list of collections reads like a Who’s Who of the Pentecostal world and includes Assemblies of God church leaders Thomas F. Zimmerman and G. Raymond Carlson; Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr.; Charisma magazine founders Stephen and Joy Strang; 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

In his over sixty years of ministry, Jack Hayford has become known as one of the Pentecostal movement’s senior statesmen. A July 2005 article in Christianity Today called him “the Pentecostal gold standard.” Hayford’s biographer, David Moore, described his ministry and influence:

…Hayford’s ministry has been characterized by balance and integrity. As a communicator, his low-key, often self-effacing style, coupled with theological depth and biblical fidelity, has overcome the stereotype of the pentecostal preacher and contributed to his broad acceptance beyond pentecostal circles.

Hayford has been a bridge builder between Pentecostals and evangelicals and also across the racial divides. He has spoken to countless gatherings and has maintained a busy travel schedule. He was the only Pentecostal invited to be a plenary speaker at the Lausanne II Congress on World Evangelism in 1989, demonstrating the breadth of his influence. He was also one of the primary speakers for the Promise Keepers men’s stadium events during the 1990s.

Hayford is a prolific writer. He authored or co-authored at least 120 books, as well as countless pamphlets, tracts, and journal articles. He also served as general editor of The Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible. Many of his writings have been translated into other languages. Hayford is also a gifted musician and has written over 500 hymns and songs. His song, “Majesty,” is one of the most widely recorded contemporary Christian songs.

Life and Ministry

Like many other early Pentecostals, the conversion of Jack Hayford’s family resulted from a miracle. Hayford was born in Los Angeles on June 25, 1934. His parents were not Christians at the time of his birth. After their infant son was healed of a life-threatening illness, they became Christians at the Long Beach Foursquare Church. Hayford accepted Christ at age 14 and made a commitment to pursue full-time Christian ministry at age 16.

In the spring of 1952, Hayford matriculated at L.I.F.E. Bible College, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel’s school in Los Angeles. He met Anna Marie Smith at L.I.F.E., and they married in 1954. He graduated in 1956 as class valedictorian.

The Hayfords immediately launched into ministry and pioneered a Foursquare church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana from 1956 until 1960, when they moved back to the Los Angeles area. Hayford served as national youth director for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (1960-1965) and as dean of students at L.I.F.E. Bible College (1965-1970).

While serving as dean of students at L.I.F.E., Hayford was asked to serve as interim pastor at a declining church in Van Nuys, California. Under his leadership, First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, also known as The Church On The Way, grew from a congregation of 18 to a membership of 10,000. The congregation included Hollywood notables as well as the urban poor.

Hayford melded church ministry with education. He taught at L.I.F.E. Bible College (now Life Pacific University) and served as its president (1977-1982). In conjunction with The Church On The Way, Hayford founded The King’s Institute in 1989 to train Christian leaders. He founded The King’s College and Seminary in 1997 and resigned his pastorate in 1999 to focus on development of the school. The school was renamed The King’s University in 2010 and was moved in 2013 to Southlake, Texas, where it operates under the umbrella of Gateway Church, a large Pentecostal congregation.

Hayford served as president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel from 2004 to 2009. His wife, Anna, passed away in 2017, and he remarried and continues to live in the San Fernando Valley of California.

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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)

Barratt2

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

Brunstad

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

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

Maranata

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).

Nardusmenighetene

Nardus

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

Strangs2

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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Opal Reddin Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Reddin

Dr. Opal Reddin

Jewel van der Merwe Grewe, president of Discernment Ministries, has deposited the Opal Reddin Collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Opal Reddin (1921-2005) was an Assemblies of God minister and longtime educator at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.

The Opal Reddin Collection includes both Reddin’s personal research collection and research materials collected by Discernment Ministries. The collection consists of about 30 boxes of books, booklets, periodical runs, research materials, audio and video recordings, and correspondence. Materials chiefly relate to the Assemblies of God, revival movements within Pentecostalism (including the New Order of the Latter Rain, the charismatic movement, the Toronto Blessing, and the Brownsville Revival), and various contemporary movements and issues (including the New Age movement, the prosperity gospel, the signs and wonders movement, modern day apostles and prophets, and the ecumenical movement).

Opal Reddin accepted Christ and was baptized in 1933, was called into full time ministry in 1942, and married Thomas Reddin in 1943. They were ordained by the Assemblies of God in 1946 and pastored several churches in Arkansas. She graduated from University of Arkansas at Little Rock (B.A. in Education, 1965), Southwest Missouri State University (M.A. in English, 1969), Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (M.A. in Biblical Studies, 1977), and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977; D.Min., 1980).

Reddin was known for her engaging personality, fiery preaching, and strong defense of Pentecostal faith and doctrine. From 1968 to 1996, she taught over 15,000 students at Central Bible College. In the classroom, she frequently shared stories of Pentecostal people (lay and clergy) and the powerful moves of God they experienced.

In 2005, towards the end of her life, the Opal Reddin Biblical Research Library was created by Discernment Ministries and was located at Pinebrook Assembly of God in Naugatuck, Connecticut. The library was moved in 2010 to Michiana Christian Embassy in Niles, Michigan. Finally, it was deposited in 2019 at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri. A large number of theological books in the library did not fit the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center’s collection parameters and were given to Africa’s Hope for placement in Assemblies of God Bible college libraries in Africa.

The Opal Reddin Collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center includes research materials collected by Discernment Ministries, which was founded in 1989 by Travers and Jewel van der Merwe. Longtime Assemblies of God pastors in South Africa and the United States, they were concerned with what they perceived to be a shift away from the authority of scripture within certain segments of Pentecostalism and evangelicalism. They began assembling a library of publications and newsletters from various ministries. Using this library as source material, in 1990 they began publication of Discernment Newsletter, which documented what they viewed as harmful, unbiblical trends in Pentecostal and evangelical churches. Discernment Ministries also published several books and pamphlets. Discernment Ministries publications extensively cite rare ministry newsletters and recordings, which have been placed in the Opal Reddin Collection. Many of these source materials are not found in other archives or libraries.

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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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James F. Linzey Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

SONY DSCJames Franklin Linzey, namesake of his uncle, Pentecostal evangelist Franklin Hall, and son of Assemblies of God ministers Chaplain Stanford E. Linzey, Jr. and Dr. Verna M. (Hall) Linzey, has deposited his personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

James F. Linzey has spent his life in service to God and country. He served as a Pentecostal chaplain for 24 years in both the Air Force and the Army with high honors, retiring in 2009 with an Honorable Discharge. He is a prolific author, he has hosted numerous Christian television broadcasts, and he served as manager of Verna Linzey Ministries during his mother’s final decades of evangelistic ministry. Linzey’s most significant contribution to the Christian church, however, is likely his Biblical scholarship that resulted in two new Bible translations: the Modern English Version and the New Tyndale Version.

Linzey served side by side with Assemblies of God educator Stanley M. Horton, Th.D., as the Chief Editor of the Modern English Version Bible translation, now used in the Fire Bible, and General Editor of the New Tyndale Version Bible translation, also with Dr. Horton, Dr. Verna Linzey, and their committee of other reputable Bible scholars, which is scheduled to be released sometime before 2025, the 500th Anniversary of the Tyndale Bible.

The Modern English Version, published by Passio (an imprint of Charisma Media), has become a prominent Bible translation since its debut in 2014. The Modern English Version retains the style and feel of the King James Version, and yet uses the most modern English allowed within the parameters of the Formal Equivalence approach, and is based on the Textus Receptus. The New Tyndale Version differs from the Modern English Version in that it will be based on the eclectic Nestle-Aland/UBS text of the Greek New Testament.

Dr. Linzey hosted his own worldwide television broadcasts, titled “Operation Freedom,” which emphasized the classical Pentecostal doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He was invited by the Vision Chanel in the United Kingdom to host these programs, which aired to 400 million people in Europe, Russia, North Africa, and hundreds of millions more around the world. His broadcasts aired in the United States on God’s Learning Chanel (GLC), and Angel One in the Far East. Additionally, he has spoken on the baptism in the Holy Spirit on ‘Behind the Scenes’ with Paul Crouch, Sr., and ‘Praise the Lord’ on Trinity Broadcasting Network worldwide, Daystar Television Network with Marcus and Joni Lamb, and SON Broadcasting Network, and Hosanna Broadcasting Network as a guest of Dr. Verna Linzey and Dr. Terry Warren. He has spread the Pentecostal message on American Voice Radio throughout North, Central and South America.

Chaplain Jim Linzey and Dr. Paul Crouch on Behind the Scenes, TBN Sep 7, 2004

Jim Linzey and Paul Crouch, on the “Behind the Scenes” television program, Trinity Broadcasting Network, September 7, 2004

Other media appearances included ABC News, CBS News, CNN News, FOX news, NBC News, Christian Broadcasting Network, and “Glenn Beck” on FOX.

Dr. Linzey has disseminated the Pentecostal message through his books The Holy Spirit, A Divine Appointment in Washington, DC, and his tract How to Pray for People to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He has also written a number of articles on the Holy Spirit, published by Pneuma Review.

A professionally trained actor, Jim had a role in the major feature film Iniquity, in which he was cast as a military chaplain in a court scene along with Dr. Verna Linzey who was the lead juror. The film was an update of the Bible story of David and Bathsheba. He also sang on the soundtrack, harmonizing with Verna Linzey on her rendition of ‘The Rose’ by Bette Middler.

In 2018 Sony Provident Films which produced the major feature film ‘Indivisible’ invited Dr. Linzey to write two of the Indivisible Devotionals for the movie.

Additionally, he is the general editor for The Military Bible and The Presidents’ Bible, both edited by Military Chaplains and published by Military Bible Association, Inc., which he and Verna Linzey co-founded.

Dr. Linzey has preached the Pentecostal message in his own crusades in Ukraine, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and also participated in Verna Linzey Crusades. The latter reached 80,000 people in Haiti in 2013, and hundreds of pastors as part of Verna Linzey’s ministry team at the Singaporean Pastors’ Convention in Singapore in June 26-29, 2014. Additionally, he has taught the Pentecostal message at various schools, including Regent University, Oral Roberts University, Christ for the Nations Institute, and Asia Pacific Theological Seminary.

Dr. Linzey did promotional work for Franklin Hall. He officiated at Mrs. Franklin Hall’s funeral at the International Healing Cathedral in January of 2010 and conducted the World Believer’s Convention there in 2010. He provided administrative support for and ministered with his parents, Stanford and Verna Linzey.

Jim Linzey on The Word with Dr. Verna Linzey Television program August 2012

Jim Linzey, on “The Word with Dr. Verna Linzey” television program, August 2012

As a Pentecostal chaplain, Dr. Linzey has laid hands on many airman and soldiers to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Serving with distinction for 24 years, his more notable positions were as supervising chaplain for the largest mobilization and demobilization mission in the continental United States at Fort Bliss, Texas in 2003-2004; and also as the first full time chaplain for the Leader’s Training Course under the U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in 2006.

Dr. Linzey received a BA at Southern California College in 1979; an M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1983, received an honorary D.D. at Kingsway Theological Seminary in 2000. Dr. Linzey mastered New Testament Greek at Fuller Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary.

Over the course of his ministry, Linzey collected a substantial archive of materials documenting his own ministry, as well as that of his uncle and parents. Linzey earlier deposited the Franklin Hall Collection, the Verna Linzey Collection, and the Stanford Linzey Collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. The James F. Linzey Collection includes publications, photographs, sermons, audio-visual materials, correspondence, MEV Bibles and NTV New Testaments, and other historical materials. The collection provides insight into the life and ministry of a Pentecostal military chaplain whose passion for the Bible and for the Pentecostal experience has made a lasting contribution to the Pentecostal Movement and the Church overall.

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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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Charles Price Jones/Anita Bingham Jefferson Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

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Charles Price Jones

By Darrin J. Rodgers

Charles Price Jones (1865-1949) was a prominent African American church leader, composer, educator, theologian, and poet. He founded the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., an African American Holiness denomination that shares a common history with the Church of God in Christ. He composed over 1,000 songs, many of which continue to be sung in churches across the denominational and racial divides. The songs for which Price is possibly best known are “Deeper, Deeper” and “Come Unto Me.”

Jones was licensed to preach as a Baptist minister in 1885. Jones was concerned that many Christians of his day seemed unconcerned with spiritual disciplines and godly living. He identified with the Holiness movement, seeking to bring spiritual renewal to black Baptist churches. He served as a pastor and an evangelist throughout the South. He also served as editor of the Baptist Vanguard newspaper, published by Arkansas Baptist College.

In 1895, Jones became pastor of the prominent Mt. Helm Missionary Baptist Church, which was the oldest African American church in Jackson, Mississippi. In the same year, Jones befriended another young Baptist minister, Charles Harrison Mason. A growing Holiness movement coalesced as Mason and like-minded ministerial colleagues joined Jones in a quest for holy living.

The emergence of the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909) resulted in a split within the Holiness association led by Jones. While Jones and Mason both acknowledged that the gift of speaking in tongues had not ceased, they differed on whether it was the evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Mason accepted the Pentecostal view of evidentiary tongues, while Jones did not. The led to the 1907 organization of the Pentecostal group, over which Mason was selected as overseer. Both groups went by the name Church of God in Christ. After several years of legal battles over the use of the name, Mason’s group won the right to call itself Church of God in Christ. Those who followed Jones incorporated in 1920 as Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

During the first half of the twentieth century, Jones was a well-known figure in African American Holiness and Pentecostal circles. However, in recent decades Jones and his remarkable achievements have faded from the memory of many Christians. This may be partly due to the relative growth of the two groups. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. reported 12,960 members in 139 churches in the United States in 2012. The Church of God in Christ, however, in 1991 reported 5,499,875 members in 15,300 churches (these statistics apparently include worldwide members and churches).

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Dr. Anita Bingham Jefferson

Dr. Anita Bingham Jefferson, Christian educator and women’s leader in the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., has sought to educate new generations about Jones and his legacy by preserving and promoting his writings and life story. Over the past forty years, she has gathered historical materials. Since 1981, she has written or published seventeen books about Jones and the history of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.  Several of Jefferson’s books about Charles Price Jones are still in print and are available on amazon.com.

Jefferson has deposited copies of her books, as well as some of her research materials, at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). These materials shed important light on Jones and the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., as well as more broadly on African American hymnody and the African American Holiness movement.

Pentecostal historians will find the collection indispensable in their efforts to better understand Charles Harrison Mason and the origins of the Church of God in Christ, which cannot be understood apart from the history of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

Interestingly, the denominations led by Jones and Mason identify differing origin stories. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. originated in 1897. In 1896, after an extended period of prayer, Jones felt impressed by God to call for a Holiness convention. The convention was held the following year, in June 1897, at Mt. Helm Missionary Baptist Church.

The Church of God in Christ has identified two dates as its origin: 1897 and 1907. Two significant events relating to Mason occurred in 1897: he established a congregation in Lexington, Mississippi, and he received a revelation that the church should be named “Church of God in Christ.” The 1907 date refers to the Church of God in Christ’s organization as a Pentecostal denomination under Mason’s leadership.

Following the 1907 separation, the two groups grew and formed new churches across the United States. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. established its headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Church of God in Christ established its headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.

CPJonesBook

One of Dr. Jefferson’s books about C. P. Jones

Dr. Anita B. Jefferson deposited the collection at the FPHC with encouragement from Mother Mary P. Patterson, widow of J. O. Patterson, Sr., who served as Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop (1968-1989). Patterson, through her company, the Pentecostal Heritage Connection, has spent over 12 years raising awareness of the Charles Harrison Mason’s formative ministry years in Mississippi. She organized tour groups of Lexington, she built relationships with community leaders, church leaders, and academics, and she spearheaded the placement of two official State Historical Markers in Lexington. Patterson deposited her husband’s papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in 2012.

The Charles Price Jones/Anita Bingham Jefferson Collection takes its place alongside other significant African-American Pentecostal collections deposited at the FPHC in recent years, including:

  • Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection (Patterson served as Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, 1968-1989)
  • Mother Lizzie Robinson/Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection (Robinson was the founder of the Church of God in Christ Women’s Department)
  • James L. Tyson Collection (Tyson is the historian of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, which is the largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination)
  • Alexander C. Stewart Collection (Stewart is the historian of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., the second largest African American Oneness Pentecostal denomination)
  • Robert James McGoings, Jr. Collection (McGoings was a prominent African-American Oneness Pentecostal from Baltimore, Maryland)

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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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