Tag Archives: Histories

Review: Nebraska’s Living Water





Nebraska’s Living Water: 20th-Century Assemblies of God, compiled and written by Elisabeth James Lemp and Glenn W. Gohr. Grand Island, NE: Nebraska District Council of the Assemblies of God, 2010.

This book roughly covers the history of the Pentecostal movement in Nebraska in the 20th century. It chronicles holiness and divine healing influences in Nebraska beginning in the 1890s and up through the founding of the Nebraska District of the Assemblies of God. It also covers the first 80 years of the moving of the Holy Spirit in the Nebraska District (1919-1999).

The title of the book compares Nebraska’s vibrant spiritual heritage with the history of how the Nebraska landscape began to flourish. As pioneers moved into the Nebraska Territory in the 1800s, they found it to be hundreds of miles of dry prairie, which came to be known as the “Great American Desert.” The climate was arid, and raising a crop was difficult. But this all changed one day when it was discovered that Nebraska was situated directly over the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest underground fresh water ocean in the world. All that was needed was a way to access this water to bring life to the landscape and its inhabitants. Soon windmills were built across the state, which were able to pump “life-giving water” to a parched and dry land.

Just as Nebraska experienced a physical drought in its earliest history, there was also a “spiritual drought.” But then came the “living water” of the Holy Spirit to touch many of the inhabitants of the state. Men and women began to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the Pentecostal message spread from Charles Parham’s Bible school in Topeka, Kansas and the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, as well as other places.

Many may not realize that Agnes Ozman, who was from Nebraska, was the first person to speak in tongues at Charles Parham’s Bible school on January 1, 1901. Other important Pentecostal leaders such as B. H. Irwin, John Alexander Dowie, A. A. Boddy of England, and Maria Woodworth-Etter each had early connections with the state of Nebraska.

Elisabeth James Lemp began this project in 1995, shortly after the funeral of her mother, Marie James, when it was noted that “Marie James was the last of that era of Pentecostal pioneers in Nebraska.” Elisabeth began contacting churches and ministers and families of ministers to try to obtain personal narratives, testimonies, and history of the Nebraska District and its people. Others including Joe Masten, Glenn Gohr, and Faith and Dennis Tyson, each helped with the project, with Glenn tying up all the loose ends to wrap up this 15-year project. The personal narratives and church histories were augmented with printed reports and testimonies found in periodicals such as the Pentecostal Evangel, district publications, early newspaper accounts, and other writings.

The book contains information on early revivals, memories from Nebraska church camps, testimonies from a number of ministers and missionaries across the state, and sketches of nearly 200 Assemblies of God churches and missions in Nebraska. Bibliographic references are included as well as photographs of key people, churches, and events. Anyone with a Nebraska connection will want to obtain a copy of this inspiring book.

Reviewed by Glenn W. Gohr

Hardback, 320 pages, illustrated. Price: $20 for the first book, and $15.00 for each additional book; shipping extra. Order from: Nebraska District Council of the Assemblies of God, P.O. Box 1965, Grand Island, NE 68802. Phone: 308-384-1234. Email: district@neag.org

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Review: Annette Murphy Barton Missionary Biography

Memories of a Missionary’s Daughter, by Annette Murphy Barton. Oklahoma City, OK : the author, 2009.

Annette Murphy Barton’s book, Memories of a Missionary’s Daughter, is a spell-binding account of a missionary family to India and Cuba. Barton’s mother, Dessie M. Knight, first sailed for India in 1929 as an Assemblies of God missionary after completing her education at Central Bible Institute (Springfield, Missouri). She married fellow missionary Hubert E. Murphy in 1935 while on furlough, and they went back to India under the auspices of his denomination, the Pentecostal Church of God. H. E. Murphy died in 1975 and Dessie Murphy died in 1981. Barton’s book details a fascinating record of significant events aboard both freight-hauling ships and of magnificent floating palaces, all necessary for world travel in order to arrive at required destinations. The book records in detail, both the extreme highs and lows of life as missionaries from the 1930s to the 1950s. The volume is well written and includes excellent pictorial illustrations.

Reviewed by Floyd and Joyce Hutcheson

Softcover, 70 pages + 38 pages of photos. Price: $15 postpaid. Order from: Annette Murphy Barton, 5008 S. Anderson Road # 40, Oklahoma City, OK 73150. Phone: 405.610.7455 Email: anniebarton38@aol.com

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Review: The Davis Sisters

The Davis Sisters: Their Influences and Their Impact, compiled and written by Patricia P. Pickard. Bangor, ME: the author, 2009.

This delightful book is a tribute to the legacy of two Southern aristocratic ladies named Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis who became Pentecostal evangelists and founders of Pentecostal churches. After these twin sisters from Macon, Georgia, were converted to Pentecost, they hit the streets of Macon, powerfully charged with the gospel and the Holy Spirit. Later they felt directed to establish Pentecostal churches in Maine and New Brunswick. They ended up in Saint John, New Brunswick, where they founded a Pentecostal congregation and became copastors for many years.

Miss Carro and Miss Susie Davis were twins whose parents died when they were young. They were from a well-to-do family, so their Aunt Minnie accepted the task of raising the twins. The family lived a fashionable life on a plantation outside Macon, Georgia. Both girls decided to become schoolteachers. Around 1910 they were converted to Pentecost and became dedicated Christians, desiring to serve God in every way they could. Through their aunt, they learned about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When they planned a vacation trip to Chicago, Aunt Minnie urged them to visit a Pentecostal Persian Mission which had been established by Andrew Urshan. They also attended a series of meetings which were conducted by William Durham, where a mighty Pentecostal outpouring was taking place, and where Miss Carro received Spirit baptism. Miss Susie received the Pentecostal blessing shortly after she returned home.

Eager to share this good news in Georgia, they returned and shared this news with their associates and with their friend, Professor J. Rufus Moseley, who had already received the Baptism.  Not long afterwards, Professor Moseley, the Davis sisters, and their aunt were refused admittance to the Presbyterian Church they attended because of their Pentecostal beliefs.

This led the two sisters to begin traveling the streets to tell others about the good news of God’s love. They held street meetings, conducted house and tent meetings, and established churches in Georgia and Florida among African Americans and whites. They suffered persecution, but God blessed their ministry. Four “unusual men from Maine” (that included Clifford A. Crabtree) arrived at the plantation in 1922, and spent the winter helping the ladies and Professor Moseley in their work of evangelism. Soon they heard an inward “voice” that spoke to them to “Go north, Miss Carro and Miss Susie.” They started out like Abraham, not knowing just where they were to go. Arriving in Bangor, Maine (with Crabtree as their young chauffeur and assistant), they started holding revival services which resulted in the establishment of a strong congregation in that city which is now Glad Tidings Church.

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Review: History of the BFP in Germany

Der Auftrag bleibt: Der Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden auf dem Weg ins dritte Jahrtausend, by Dieter Hampel, Richard Krüger, and Gerhard Oertel. Erzhausen, Germany: Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden, 2009.

Der Auftrag bleibt: Der Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden auf dem Weg ins dritte Jahrtausend (in English, The Mandate Never Changes: The Union of Free Pentecostal Churches in Germany on the Way into the Third Millennium), authored by three long-time members of the executive leadership of the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (BFP) in Germany, provides first-hand insight into the church’s historical and structural development. This reference volume provides a detailed historical overview of the BFP during the last two decades of the twentieth century and a wealth of data related to many of the changes that occurred during this period of time. German reunification, the addition of several Pentecostal fellowships to the BFP, and the growth of ethnic churches within the BFP have brought about major changes which lead to a structural transition.

This volume also looks back to the development of German Pentecostalism during the Nazi era and Post-World War II Germany. The authors trace the formation and development of numerous local congregations, providing insight into various periods of modern German history which, to say the least, was very turbulent at times. The authors provide lists of missionaries from Scandinavia and the U.S. Assemblies of God who worked to train leaders and establish local congregations through intentional church planting. Much historical attention is also given to the establishing of the Bible school in Erzhausen by Assemblies of God missionaries after World War II. This work is a tremendous contribution to Pentecostal scholarship and describes how the BFP has grown and developed in post-Christian Europe.

Reviewed by Paul Clark, Assemblies of God missionary to Germany

Hardcover, 549 pages. €29,00 plus shipping. Available from: amazon.com

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Review: Heart for the Harvest


Heart for the Harvest, Stories of Vision, Faith, & Courage, by Jeff Farmer and Andrea Johnson. Des Moines, IA: Open Bible Publishers, 2009.

Two Pentecostal groups starting from revival movements in the Northwest in 1919 and in Iowa in 1932 eventually discovered they shared most of the same doctrines and passion for spreading the gospel around the world. After comparing notes, praying, and attending each other’s conferences, they reasoned that they could more effectively minister for the Kingdom together than apart. They consolidated their efforts in 1935, becoming the Open Bible Standard Churches with headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. Today the group—much larger than in 1935—is known as Open Bible Churches and still operates from the capital city of Iowa.

The Northwest group began when Fred Hornshuh and other young Pentecostal ministers associated with Florence Crawford and her Apostolic Faith group in Portland, Oregon, came to disagreements with the leadership. They struck out on their own as the Bible Standard Mission to evangelize and plant churches. And they soon sent missionaries to foreign fields; created two periodicals: Bible Standard and Bible Standard Overcomers; and launched a Bible school in Eugene, Oregon.

Their evangelizing passion and excitement during the 1920s and the Great Depression apparently knew no bounds. Big game hunter Hornshuh could throw up revival tents, dig church basements, hammer nails, and advertise his meetings as well as he could preach from street corners and crude tent pulpits.

Sixty years after he pioneered as the Bible Standard Mission, Hornshuh reminisced: “We did things on the spur of the moment. We had no higher officer to consult like a district superintendent or board of evangelism. We had to find the mind of God quickly and then move as he directed. When we acted without analyzing all the difficulties, everything fell into line. As we bulldozed ahead, the Lord met us.”

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Review: Marcus and Elva Mae Bakke


Marcus and Elva Mae Bakke: On Divine Assignment, by Virginia Dohms. Minot, ND: Grace Publishing, 2008.

North Dakota has produced many outstanding leaders within the Assemblies of God, and Marcus Bakke is one of them. After almost sixty years in ministry, Marcus and Elva Mae Bakke continue to let their lights shine brightly for Jesus. On Divine Assignment is an engaging account of this Norwegian-American couple’s life and ministry in North Dakota, with stories of changed lives and miracles, and vignettes of life in the rural Great Plains worthy of Garrison Keillor. In our age of impermanence and rootlessness, it is remarkable that the Bakkes have had only three ministry assignments: thirty years in pastoral work in Bowman County, nineteen years as District Superintendent, and their current ministry in Selfridge. The Bakkes have served their communities, the Assemblies of God, and their family well, demonstrating warmth, humor, and faithfulness.

–George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God

Paperback, 221 pages. $14.95, plus $4 shipping. Order from dakotabooknet.com or from the author: Virginia Dohms, 701 46th Ave NE, Minot, ND 58703. Contact the author by phone (701-852-2339) or email (dohms@srt.com).

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Review: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission


Visions of Apostolic Mission: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission to 1935, by David Bundy. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Historico-Ecclesiastica Upsaliensia, 45. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University Library, 2009.

Scandinavian missionaries have played an important role in the spread of Pentecostalism both in Europe and in the southern hemisphere. That is one of the major conclusions of David Bundy’s recently-published dissertation: Visions of Apostolic Mission: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission to 1935. Among many other things, Bundy underscores the achievements of T.B. Barratt, the Norwegian pastor and Pentecostal pioneer.

The Pentecostal revival spread across the globe following the Azusa Street outpouring in 1906. From the very beginning Scandinavians took part in this process. By 1906-1907 a foothold had already been established for the revival in Sweden and Norway. In contrast to the development of the movement in North America, the advent of Scandinavian Pentecostalism did not initially cause splits and the founding of new denominations. Many viewed the new revival as a continuation of the earlier international Holiness movement, which in the Scandinavian countries was influenced by Lutheran pietists, Methodists and Baptists. In Sweden the largest Baptist denomination became the center of the Pentecostal revival.

Bundy shows how Scandinavian pietism influenced not only the character of Pentecostalism in Scandinavia, but also Pentecostalism in other parts of the world through the work of Scandinavian Pentecostal missionaries. One of the characteristics developed by Scandinavian Pentecostalism was an emphasis on the autonomy of the local church. This peculiarity arose from the heritage of Baptist congregationalism in Sweden. Through the missionary strategy of the emerging leader of Swedish Pentecostalism, Lewi Pethrus, this ecclesiology was exported with remarkable success, particularly to Brazil. Bundy’s research using early Pentecostal primary sources in the native Scandinavian languages is unparalleled. His painstaking scholarship has resulted in a great narrative of early Pentecostal revival and missions and is recommended reading for everyone interested in the formative years of global Pentecostalism.

Reviewed by Torbjörn Aronson, Livets Ord University

Paperback, 562 pages. To order, contact the publisher: Acta@ub.uu.se

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In the Steps of Smith Wigglesworth


In the Steps of Smith Wigglesworth, by Philip B. Taylor. England: The Author, 2007.

This a beautifully produced book. It contains over 150 photographs, many in colour of places connected with the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth. Here are the house and churches of the young Smith. From the humble beginning from his christening in 1859 to his conversion in Menston Chapel aged eight, all of these buildings are shown within the narrative of the story. Other places from Bowland Street in Bradford to All Saints’ in Sunderland and Glad Tidings in Wakefield where he died are all shown in full colour. Anyone interested in the life and ministry of Wigglesworth will want to add this sumptuous volume to their collection. For anyone wishing to follow the Wigglesworth trail or simply view the places when reading about him it makes an ideal companion. The compiler is congratulated on his production that is a valuable addition to the history of Pentecostalism in Britain.

Reviewed by Desmond Cartwright, Elim Pentecostal Church

Paperback, 128 pages, illustrated. £10.99 plus postage. Order from: www.smithwigglesworth.com

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Review: Mission Possible


Mission Possible: Paul Williscroft’s Epic Christian Struggle Against Nazi & Communist Oppression, by Gladys L. Williscroft. Enterprise, OR: Biography Press, 2000.

Paul and Gladys Williscroft were newlyweds when they left the U.S. as missionaries to Eastern Europe in January 1938. In less than 2 years they were leaving Europe as World War II plunged the continent into total disorder, change, and unbelievable bloodshed.

As German troops massed on the Polish border, the couple caught the last trains out of two stations and were assigned the last cabin in a ship out of Oslo bound for the U.S. They returned almost as refugees to the United States, yet they lived for the time when they could return to Germany and pursue their mission.

During the 1940s they pastored in the Montana District. They returned to Europe after the war where they ministered for a total of 37 years, producing Sunday school materials, introducing Royal Rangers, and teaching in the German Bible School in Erzhausen. Paul died in 1987, and Gladys in 2002.

Excerpts from the book are included in “Fleeing an Explosive Europe as Adolph Hitler Begins World War II” in the Fall 2003 issue of Assemblies of God Heritage.

Paperback, 414 pages, illustrated. $15.95, plus $2.00 postage. Order from: R. G. Williscroft, P.O. Box 1087, Studio City, CA 91614-0087.

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Review: Out Behind the Barn


Out Behind the Barn, by Jon Liechty. Jamestown, ND: the author, 2008.

The Liechty family has been a fixture in the Assemblies of God in North Dakota since before the North Dakota District Council was organized. Spirit-baptized in the Egeland Free Mission (Egeland, ND) in the 1910s, John H. Liechty helped to organize a small but sturdy independent Pentecostal congregation, Minnewaukan Gospel Tabernacle. Of Liechty’s seven children, Jon, Paul, and Silas went on to become ministers or layleaders in the North Dakota District, using their business acumen, work ethic, and heart for ministry to build the church in the state.

In Out Behind the Barn, Jon Liechty tells his heart-warming testimony, which demonstrates the provisions and faithfulness of God. Liechty reminisces about people, places and events that will be familiar to many in his corner of the world. This book will be welcomed by the numerous people whose lives have been impacted by the Liechty family and by those who are interested in learning more about the development of Pentecostalism in North Dakota.

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers

Paperback, 232 pages, illustrated. $12.99 postpaid. Order from: Jon Liechty, PO Box 758, Jamestown, ND 58402.


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