Tag Archives: North Central University

Thomas J. Jones: The Dynamic Pentecostal Preacher/Educator from England

JonesThis Week in AG History — June 20, 1942

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 20 June 2019

Thomas J. Jones (1896-1970) was a dynamic British preacher and Bible teacher, much in demand by American congregations. Jones taught at North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University) in Minneapolis for 21 years and was known as a man who could make the Old Testament come to life.

Accepting Christ as Savior in Birmingham, England, in 1914, Jones had an insatiable desire to understand God’s Word. Along with that desire came the desire to teach the Bible to anyone who would listen. He was a pastor in England when he married one of his congregants, Doris Lancaster. He found her attractive partly because she was as dedicated to the importance of teaching the Word of God as he was. Despite their great love for each other, that dedication to ministry would cost them separation, often during difficult times.

In 1937, a letter arrived at the Jones’ home with an invitation to preach in the United States. Jones told his wife, “I’ve always had an inkling to go.” Doris released him for ministry and travel while she stayed in England with their five boys. This invitation led to others in 1938 and, again, in 1939. It was while Jones was in America that Britain declared war on Germany on Sept. 3, 1939. Jones could not return home, so Doris and the children evacuated from London to a cottage 20 miles away. The bombs came within a quarter mile of their home and the doors were blown open. She and the children stood at their window and watched the sky turn orange with the burning of London during the Blitz.

Jones was able to return to his wife and children after the war, bringing with him an invitation to teach at North Central Bible Institute (NCBI), the Assemblies of God Bible school in Minneapolis. Arranging passports for the family took time; it was December 1947 before all seven members of the family were finally together, the boys arriving in English schoolboy short pants during a blizzard.

Doris would later say of Jones, “My husband studied the Bible as few did. People would quote him Scripture, and if he couldn’t pin down the chapter or verse, he could tell them the book. And he did not want to stop preaching.” She described their 40-year marriage as “wonderful” because she shared his vision for providing solid biblical teaching to anyone who wanted to hear it.

Jones was considered a “preacher’s preacher” by the students at NCBI and those who gathered around the country to hear him speak at camp meetings and ministry schools. He began each of his classes with the prayer, “Open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” and then opened the Scriptures and lovingly trained thousands of young students for the ministry.

He was also concerned with ensuring that students managed the practicalities of life, often saying that young men studying for the ministry should obtain “books first, a Buick second, and then a bride.”

The Pentecostal Evangel published more than 60 articles and sermons by T.J. Jones between 1938 and 1969. The June 20, 1942, issue contained a sermon preached by Jones at the Glad Tidings Bible Institute in San Francisco called “The Blessedness of Salvation.” In the sermon he used the first two verses of Psalm 32 to give a well-thought-out doctrine of the remissions of sins. He masterfully used the words of the Psalmist to explain the different ways each person is a sinner and the ways that God perfectly provides a remedy for “transgression, sin, and iniquity” through “forgiveness, covering, and imputation.”

Jones displayed in his written sermons a principle he quoted in this particular sermon: “You can take every word (of the Scripture) and the more minutely you examine it the more wonderful it seems. Why? Because it is the Word of God.”

Jones developed heart problems in 1963 but, despite his illness, he accepted speaking assignments whenever and wherever he could. In 1967 his health forced him to retire. Although sad at stepping out of the classroom, he turned over some of his notes to students and colleagues who would take his place, receiving comfort from II Timothy 2:2, “…entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Jones died in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on July 17, 1970, at the age of 74. At his funeral, the president of North Central Bible College, Cyril Homer, quoted a favorite text of Jones from Genesis 49:33, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered to his people.” In 1974, the college named its library, the T.J. Jones Memorial Library, in his honor.

Read Jones’ sermon, “The Blessedness of Salvation,” on page 2 of the June 20, 1942 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Life A Trust” by E.S. Williams

• “Wanted: Men Who Can Pray” by Joseph Kemp

• “Prayer Brings in the Souls” by E. Hartmann

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Review: Mel and Corliss Erickson

Living the Call: Mel and Corliss Erickson, by Karen Koczwara. Beaverton, OR: Good Book Publishing, 2010.

For more than 40 years, Mel and Corliss Erickson have been synonymous with Assemblies of God ministry to Native Americans in North Dakota. Mel, a native of Kulm, North Dakota, and Corliss, from Hallock, Minnesota, met at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis and married in 1967.

The trajectory for their lives was set on one Sunday evening in August 1966, when Mel received a distinct call to minister to Native Americans. He recounted, “I suddenly felt God say to me, ‘I want you to go to minister to the American Indians.’ I was so shocked I nearly bolted out of my seat.” He had little exposure to Native Americans, and he asked God three times whether he had heard correctly. He reasoned that he should go to Africa, India, or South America, instead of remaining so close to home. God confirmed this call, and Mel remained true to it.

The Ericksons spent the first twenty years of their ministry as pastors of Tokio Assembly of God, located on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation near Devils Lake, North Dakota. Mel became the coordinator of the North Dakota District’s outreach to Native Americans. After resigning from the Tokio church in 1987, Erickson oversaw the planting of All Tribes Assembly of God in Bismarck and the construction of new church buildings for Native American congregations in Belcourt and Fort Totten.

Living the Call tells the engaging, faith-inspiring story of the Ericksons and their six children, as they learned to live and minister in their cross-cultural calling. This book will be of interest to those who knew the Ericksons and to those who desire to know more about life and ministry in the rural Great Plains and among Native Americans.

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers

Paperback, 230 pages, illustrated. $15 plus postage. Order from: Dakota Missionary Evangelism

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Trask to resign as general superintendent

Rev. Thomas E. Trask

Rev. Thomas E. Trask announced on July 10, 2007 that he would step down as general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God at the denomination’s biennial General Council, slated to convene August 8-11 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nominations to fill the top office of the Assemblies of God will be accepted at the General Council.

The announcement came as a surprise, and news of the decision spread quickly. Trask conveyed his decision to step down to the AG’s Board of Administration at 9 am on July 10, 2007. He then broke the news to those who work at the Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, in a brief statement that he read over the building’s public address system at approximately 2:30 pm. At 4:00 pm, a written statement was sent to Assemblies of God ministers via the AG Minister listserv (the email is reproduced below).

Trask has served as general superintendent since November 15, 1993. He was elected to his third four-year term in 2005. As the chief executive officer of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, he is a member of the denomination’s Board of Administration and serves as chairman of the Executive Presbytery. During his tenure, the Assemblies of God has grown significantly. The number of U.S. adherents increased by 25 percent from 2,271,718 in 1993 to 2,836,174 adherents in 2006, and the worldwide constituency of the Assemblies of God increased by 124 percent from 25,448,373 in 1993 to 57,023,562 in 2006. Continue reading


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Review: A Faithful Past, A Shining Future

A Faithful Past, A Shining Future

A Faithful Past, A Shining Future: 75 Years of Pentecostal Education at North Central University. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, 2006.

This book aims “to capture memories and events” of North Central University “that have shaped thousands of lives during the last 75 years.” Birthed in 1930 as North Central Bible Institute under the leadership of Frank J. Lindquist, the Minneapolis school has become a leading educational institution within the Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement. This volume consists of essays, primarily written by alumni, about the school while they were students. While an institutional history of North Central University remains to be written, this book does provide valuable insight into many of the issues and people that made the school what it is today. A Faithful Past, A Shining Future is “must” reading for all NCU alumni and is an important addition to the literature on Pentecostal educational institutions.

Paperback, 198 pages, illustrated. $12.95 plus shipping. Order from: University Bookstore, North Central University, 910 Elliot Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404. Ph. 612-343-7887.

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Grinding the Face of the Poor

Grinding the Face of the Poor

Grinding the Face of the Poor: A Reader in Biblical Justice, edited by W. R. Brookman. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, 2006.

Those who accuse Pentecostals of lacking a social conscience would do well to meet W. R. Brookman. In this handy, compact volume, Brookman has collected scriptural passages and other Christian texts that speak to justice issues. Grinding the Face of the Poor is designed to be an introductory reader for the student who is beginning to investigate the Biblical warrants to care for the poor. The editor, who serves as Chairman of the Department of Intercultural Studies and Languages at North Central University, is to be commended for drawing attention to an important subject in a book that will be useful in classrooms across the denominational spectrum.

Paperback, 180 pages. $12.99 plus shipping. Order from: University Bookstore, North Central University, 910 Elliot Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404. Ph. 612-343-7887.

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Review: Front Line

Front Line

Front Line: A Daily Devotional Guide for Christian Leaders, by Carolyn Tennant. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, c.2004.

Dr. Carolyn Tennant wears many hats: an ordained Assemblies of God minister, Professor of English at North Central University, popular speaker, and now author of a new devotional book for Christian leaders. Tackling relevant questions with wisdom gleaned from Biblical examples and ministry experience, Front Line provides enriching reading.

Paperback, 454 pages. $17.99 plus shipping. Order from: University Bookstore, North Central University, 910 Elliot Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404. Ph. 612-343-7887.

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Review: Move, and I Will Move


Move, and I Will Move: How the Great Church Builder Taught Me Step by Step, by Arvid Kingsriter with Lynne Jonell. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, 2006.

When Arvid Kingsriter pioneered Bloomington Assembly of God in 1953, he could not have known that the congregation would become one of the largest in Minnesota, or that he would continue to pastor the church until 1989. Kingsriter, through his leadership in the Minnesota District, his steady and balanced life, and his passion for missions and church planting, has influenced generations of Pentecostals. In Move, and I Will Move, Kingsriter aims to share lessons from his life and ministry. From his recollections as a student at North Central Bible Institute in the 1930s, to accounts of various revivals and leaders with whom he worked, to leadership lessons learned through crises such as the Latter Rain movement, to advice offered to ministers, this book will prove a valuable resource for pastors, scholars, and people in the pew.

Paperback, 210 pages, illustrated. $12.95 plus shipping. Order from: University Bookstore, North Central University, 910 Elliot Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55404. Ph. 612-343-7887.

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