Also published in PE News, 22 January 2015
James Menzie (1899-1986) helped to lay the foundation for the Assemblies of God in the Upper Midwest in the 1920s. In a 1943 Pentecostal Evangel article, he recounted his early days as a Pentecostal pioneer and also offered a warning of what he called “a crisis in Pentecost.”
The Pentecostal movement, according to Menzie, “was born of the Holy Spirit.” He described the Pentecostal revival at the turn of the twentieth century as a sovereign move of God and not orchestrated by any one founder. At first, small groups of people would gather in homes to pray. God’s power was manifested and people accepted Christ, were healed, and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Believers organized churches that, despite opposition, grew to constitute one of the fastest-growing segments within American Christianity.
Menzie expressed concern over what he perceived to be a decline in spiritual fervor in some quarters of the Pentecostal movement. He recalled in earlier years that people went to church with great expectation, wondering what God would do in the service. He lamented that some churches had become too “formal” and no longer seemed to have room for unexpected manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
This spiritual decline, in Menzie’s estimation, was the unfortunate result of “fanaticism.” Fanatics, he wrote, are often otherwise godly people who allow their zeal to justify “foolish things that hurt rather than further the cause of Jesus Christ.” Some Pentecostals, in rejecting foolish behavior, also rejected genuine moves of the Holy Spirit.
Menzie concluded his article with this admonition: “Let the Holy Ghost be unhampered in our lives and our meetings. I do not mean, for a moment, to give any leeway to fanaticism…I believe that God wants to manifest Himself in our midst and in our lives, and if we have ears to hear, we will hear His voice.”
Read the article, “Make Way for the Holy Ghost,” by James Menzie, on pages 2-3 of the January 23, 1943, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Encourage Him,” by Zelma Argue
• “Praying in the Holy Ghost,” by Ernest S. Williams
• “The Healing of G. W. Hardcastle, Jr.”
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
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