Tag Archives: Oneness

The Open Bible Council


This Week in AG History–June 24, 1916
By William Molenaar

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 23 Jun 2014 – 3:13 PM CST.

In the early days of the modern Pentecostal movement, controversies raged over the nature of tongues, sanctification, water baptism, and the Trinity. Many local churches and pastors operated independently, with little accountability, and did what was right in their own eyes. The Assemblies of God was formed in 1914 in part to bring unity, stability, and accountability to churches within the Pentecostal movement. However, the first General Council decided not to create a binding statement of faith.

The emerging Oneness movement (also called the “New Issue”) forced the Assemblies of God to reconsider its decision to be non-creedal. Advocates of the New Issue were teaching that believers must be baptized in the name of Jesus based on the narrative of Acts, rather than using the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19: “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” They further rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and understood the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit not as persons of the godhead, but rather as different manifestations of the one personal God. As a result, some Oneness believers asserted that no distinctions existed between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The young Assemblies of God was compelled to define its doctrine and to create organizational mechanisms to ensure accountability. Chairman J. W. Welch, in the June 24, 1916, editorial of theWeekly Evangel, issued a call to ministers to attend a third General Council of Assemblies of God. Welch desired unity and decried the strife and contentions among Pentecostals. He pointed out the need for “scriptural unity, order and government in the church.” Welch referred to the council as “an OPEN BIBLE council,” asking that those who attend to base their decisions squarely on the Bible.

Welch reassured readers that the meeting would not seek to create a sect or denomination. Doctrinal confusion was at hand, and he pleaded with those attending the next General Council to strive for unity and harmony, while discerning what is truth and what is error according to the Word of God. What resulted? The 1916 General Council adopted the Statement of Fundamental Truths.

Read the entire editorial by J. W. Welch on pages 3 and 7 of the June 24, 1916, issue of theWeekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Christians in India Are Given ‘Gift of Tongues,'” by William T. Ellis.

* “Some Good Things to Remember,” by Mrs. P. M. (Agnes Ozman) LaBerge.

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Church, Theology

D. W. Kerr on the Bible

P0138_Kerr

This Week in AG History — December 16, 1916

By William Molenaar
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 16 Dec 2013 – 5:21 PM CST

In 1916, the fourth General Council of the Assemblies of God approved the Statement of Fundamental Truths. Later that year, the Pentecostal Evangel published a series of articles by D. W. Kerr, who was the primary author of the statement. The first installment in the series, published in the December 16, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, pertained to the nature of the Bible itself. Kerr stated, “The Bible is the written word of God. Holy men, whom God had made ready, spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Pentecostals and other orthodox Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God — the infallible and authoritative rule for faith and conduct. Authentic Pentecostal spirituality is guided by biblical teaching. There was a common saying amongst Pentecostals: “If we have the Word without the Spirit, we dry up. If we have the Spirit without the Word, we blow up. If we have both the Word and the Spirit, we grow up.”

When faced with the Oneness controversy (which denied Trinitarian understanding of the godhead), the Assemblies of God adopted the Statement of Fundamental Truths, which affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity as being biblically grounded.

Nevertheless, Kerr admitted, “The Bible has in it many things very plain and simple and easy to understand. But there are some things of which the written word of God speaks, which are, and always will be too deep and high for us to understand.”

Kerr continued, “The Bible does not tell us how there can be a Father, a Son, and a Holy Ghost, who always was, is now and ever shall be, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Bible tells us that these things are facts without beginning and without end; but it does not tell us how these facts can be.”

Also featured in this issue:

* ” ‘I Fell in Love with the Nazarene.’ The Birth of a Wonderful Sacred Song,” by Sarah Haggard Payne.

* “The Pearl Divers. A Parable of Missionary Work,” by Alice E. Luce.

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

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

3 Comments

Filed under Bible, Theology

1916 General Council

frodsham_P6899

This Week in AG History — October 21, 1916

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 21 Oct 2013 – 3:50 PM CST

The year was 1916. The Assemblies of God faced deep doctrinal divisions that threatened to tear apart the young fellowship. A significant minority of Assemblies of God ministers had identified with the emerging Oneness movement, which denied the doctrine of the Trinity. In the face of this turmoil, the fourth general council of the Assemblies of God, which met in St. Louis in October 1916, voted to adopt its Statement of Fundamental Truths.

Stanley H. Frodsham’s observations of the meeting were published in the October 21, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. Frodsham (1882-1969), a young British Pentecostal pastor and writer, had a unique perspective. He was not just an observer, those in attendance elected him to serve as general secretary of the Assemblies of God.

Frodsham described how early Pentecostals initially thought they were “being led by our Joshua, out from the wilderness, over the Jordan, into the promised land.” This triumphalistic view was soon tempered by divisions within the movement. Frodsham quoted Scripture to describe the disunity: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). He lamented, “This new spirit has crept in and brought shipwreck and havoc in many directions.” Frodsham described at length how General Council participants discussed their doctrinal differences and, ultimately, voted to “set forth a clear statement of the things most surely believed among us.” The Statement of Fundamental Truths has provided a basis of fellowship for the Assemblies of God for 97 years.

But the adoption of the Statement of Fundamental Truths was not the most important accomplishment at the 1916 general council, according to Frodsham. While the decision to adopt the Statement was important, he believed that the meeting’s missionary spirit was its best and most memorable feature. He explained, “The mightiest factor in this great Pentecostal Revival has been the wonderful missionary spirit that has characterized it from the first.” Frodsham stated that the “paramount needs of the hour” were “A large spiritual horizon, a revelation of the need of souls, a passionate desire to see them saved, [and] intense prayer for multitudes to be pressed into the Kingdom.” This missionary spirit continues to animate the Assemblies of God to this day.

Read the article, “Notes from an Eyewitness at the General Council,” by Stanley H. Frodsham, on pages 4 and 5 of the October 21, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
* “The Vision of the Lord,” by Arch P. Collins
* “Thirsting after God,” by Andrew Urshan
And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions, Theology

Rex Humbard Biography

Rex Humbard Biography

The Soul-Winning Century, 1906-2006 : The Humbard Family Legacy … One Hundred Years of Ministry, by Rex Humbard. Dallas, TX: Clarion Call Marketing, 2006.

Since almost the beginning of the twentieth century Pentecostal movement, members of the Humbard family have been engaging in earnest, energetic ministry to reach the lost for Christ. Rex Humbard, whose preaching has graced the airwaves for over 65 years, has now told his family’s story in his memoirs, The Soul-Winning Century.

While Rex Humbard became a household name through his groundbreaking television ministry, his father, Alpha E. Humbard also was an important pioneer preacher in his own right. Alpha Humbard, born in 1890 sixty miles north of Little Rock, Arkansas, had a rough childhood. Poverty, fights, liquor, and hard work dominated the world in which young Alpha was reared. However, he sensed God’s calling at a young age and overcame the odds to answer this call. Alpha was a practical, direct, no-nonsense kind of preacher whose compassion for people, according to this telling, overcame any deficit created by his lack of formal education. Perhaps it was this lack of haute couture – combined with a dependence upon God — that allowed him to touch the masses where they were at.

Alpha once recalled that a seminary-trained minister bitterly complained that, while he was a learned man with good diction and degrees, he could not draw the crowds like Alpha, whom he described as “an old farm boy, a clodhopper who can’t talk good English.” Alpha recalled that he recommended that the minister throw away his cigar, which he was smoking while complaining, and get on his knees and pray (p. 27). Alpha was not alone – his innovative, sometimes rough-and-tumble ways reflected a whole generation of early Pentecostal preachers. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Review: Northern Harvest

rPentecostalism in North Dakota

Northern Harvest: Pentecostalism in North Dakota, by Darrin J. Rodgers. Bismarck, North Dakota: North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God, 2003.

Northern Harvest documents the rise of Pentecostalism in North Dakota from a few scattered congregations at the turn of the twentieth-century to its present status as the state’s fourth largest religious group. While many historians contend that revivals in Topeka, Kansas (1901) and Los Angeles, California (1906-09) became the focal point of the emerging worldwide Pentecostal movement, Rodgers unearthed evidence that earlier revivals in Minnesota and the Dakotas provided it with precedents and leaders. North Dakotans, Pentecostals, and historians will be intrigued that a network of Scandinavian immigrant churches on the northern Great Plains practiced tongues-speech and healing before the better-known Topeka and Azusa Street revivals. This is the first significant study of Pentecostal origins in Scandinavian pietism in Minnesota and the Dakotas, exploring the movement’s roots outside the American Wesleyan and Holiness traditions. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Reviews