Tag Archives: Melvin L. Hodges

Melvin Hodges: A Pentecostal Response to War and Racism

HodgesThis Week in AG History — September 23, 1944

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 26 September 2019

“Is it possible to maintain calm and serenity in the midst of the world-shaking storms that are raging today?”

Melvin Hodges (1909-1988), an Assemblies of God missionary to Central America, posed this question in 1944 in the Pentecostal Evangel. The Second World War was on everyone’s mind, and Hodges described the seemingly intractable conflicts around the world. “Nations are locked in a struggle for their very existence,” he wrote, and countless people are killed “as opposing systems of government struggle [to maintain] their way of life.”

How should the Christian respond to such conflict? Hodges encouraged believers to exhibit “calmness and steadfastness.” Believers will stay “on a true course regardless of the storms that rage,” according to Hodges, if they have faith in the promises of God and submit to God’s will.

Significantly, Hodges also admonished readers to reject the racism that had permeated vast segments of the world. Hodges wrote, “We must not be moved from the love of God in our hearts toward all men by the spirit of racial hatred being fostered today. Some hold the Jew responsible for all the ills of the world. Others are moved to intense hatred of the enemy nations. Again, some manifest bitterness toward certain racial groups in America.”

According to Hodges, blaming people groups or nations “is a false diagnosis of the ills of this sick world.” Instead, he identified the world’s woes as being rooted in “the evil nature of all unregenerate mankind.”

Hodges is perhaps best known for his promotion of indigenous church missions theory — the belief that churches should be self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating, rather than controlled by outside missionaries. Hodges’ article, though, pertains to what are usually regarded as missionary-sending nations, offering a critique of racism in America and Europe, as well as in non-Western nations.

It would have been easier for Hodges to remain silent when confronted by racial hatred in his own culture. By speaking out, he risked marginalization. But Hodges believed that racial hatred and God’s love were incompatible, and that Christians must not assign blame for social problems to racial or cultural groups. This wise counsel continues to be true today.

Read “Call to Calmness and Steadfastness” by Melvin Hodges on page 8 of the Sept. 23, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Why I Came to Egypt Thirty-Four Years Ago,” by Lillian Trasher

• “V Day,” by Lester Sumrall

• “Family Worship,” by Walter Scott

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: iFPHC.org

 

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1985 Interview with Melvin Hodges


Melvin L. Hodges, former missionary to El Salvador, field director of Latin America, professor at AGTS, and author of “The Indigenous Church ” and other missions books, is interviewed by Dr. Gary B. McGee at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, Missouri, 1985.
ID: V125

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2008 Interview with Lois Hodges

Part 1

Part 2

Lois Hodges (1908-2011), the widow of leading Assemblies of God missiologist Melvin L. Hodges (1909-1988), sat down with Darrin Rodgers, director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, and recorded an oral history interview on November 13-14, 2008.

The interview was recorded in two parts. In part one, Sister Hodges discussed her childhood as well as the background of her husband. Melvin Hodges ’s father, Charles, was a 1902 graduate of Boston Theological Seminary (now Boston University School of Theology), the oldest Methodist seminary in the United States. While pastoring in Washington State, he grew disenchanted with “ecclesiasticism, ” cast his lot with the Pentecostals, and ultimately joined the Assemblies of God. His son, Melvin, was called to the ministry at age 10, learned Greek from his father at age 13, and matriculated at Colorado College at age 15. A precocious young man, Melvin’s theological knowledge and preaching skills became widely noted, including by a young woman name Lois from Fort Collins, Colorado. Melvin and Lois married in 1928.

In part two of the interview, Sister Hodges recounted her life and ministry with Melvin, telling stories of how they had to live by faith during the Great Depression, when they did not have a regular income and food was scarce. They pioneered churches in Colorado and Wyoming until leaving for the mission field in Central America in 1935 with three young children. The Hodges returned to Springfield in 1954. From 1954 to 1973, Melvin Hodges served as AG field director for Latin America and the West Indies. He then became a professor of missions at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He was a prolific writer, and many of his publications deal with missions, church growth, and the indigenous church principle.

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Lois Hodges oral history interview


hodgeslois

Lois Hodges, the widow of leading Assemblies of God missiologist Melvin L. Hodges (1909-1988), celebrated her 100th birthday on September 23, 2008. Darrin Rodgers, director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, recently sat down with Sister Hodges and recorded an oral history interview.

The interview was recorded in two parts. In part one, Sister Hodges discussed her childhood as well as the background of her husband. Melvin Hodges’s father, Charles, was a 1902 graduate of Boston Theological Seminary (now Boston University School of Theology), the oldest Methodist seminary in the United States. While pastoring in Washington State, he grew disenchanted with “ecclesiasticism,” cast his lot with the Pentecostals, and ultimately joined the Assemblies of God. His son, Melvin, was called to the ministry at age 10, learned Greek from his father at age 13, and matriculated at Colorado College at age 15. A precocious young man, Melvin’s theological knowledge and preaching skills became widely noted, including by a young woman named Lois from Fort Collins, Colorado. Melvin and Lois married in 1928.

In part two of the interview, Sister Hodges recounted her life and ministry with Melvin, telling stories of how they had to live by faith during the Great Depression — when they did not have a regular income and food was scarce. They pioneered churches in Colorado and Wyoming until leaving for the mission field in Central America in 1935 with three young children. Melvin and Lois returned to Springfield in 1954. From 1954 to 1973, Melvin Hodges served as AG field director for Latin America and the West Indies. He then became a professor of missions at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He was a prolific writer, and many of his publications deal with missions, church growth, and the indigenous church principle.

Click here to listen to PART ONE and PART TWO of the oral history interview with Lois Hodges.

Posted by Darrin J. Rodgers

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