Tag Archives: Pentecostal History

Alice Belle Garrigus and Pentecostalism in Newfoundland

Garrigus_1400bThis Week in AG History — June 24, 1950

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 25 June 2020

Alice Belle Garrigus (1858-1949) was only five feet tall, unmarried, and 52 years of age when she sensed God call her in 1910 to help pioneer the Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland.

Born into an Episcopalian family in Rockville, Connecticut, Garrigus spent the first half of her life in various locations in New England.

At 15 she began teaching in rural schools. Desiring further schooling she returned to Normal School and then spent three years (1878-1881) at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College). Leaving the seminary a year before graduation, she resumed teaching. Through the influence of a colleague, Gertrude Wheeler, Garrigus accepted Christ as her Savior in 1888. Both women left on a 10-month excursion to Europe.

Returning to the United State, Garrigus again taught school, but she was spiritually restless. She wanted a deeper walk with God and began reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. “This I read,” Alice wrote, “often on my knees — praying fervently: ‘Oh God, if there be such an experience, won’t you bring me into it?’”

Garrigus and Wheeler then joined the Congregational Church. Her friend Gertrude later went to Africa as a missionary and died there. About 1891, Garrigus gave up her teaching profession to work in a home for destitute children and women. Next she moved to Rumney, New Hampshire, where she came in contact with the First Fruit Harvesters Association, a small evangelical denomination focused on the evangelization of New England. Garrigus served as an itinerant preacher with the First Fruit Harvesters between 1897 and 1903.

During 1906, Garrigus reread the Bible and earnestly sought to understand what made Jesus’ disciples different following the Day of Pentecost. Around this same time, she heard about the revival taking place at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles.

In 1907, at a Christian and Missionary Alliance camp meeting at Old Orchard, Maine, she met Frank Bartleman, a veteran of the Azusa Street revival and an unofficial chronicler of the Pentecostal movement. Bartleman “stood for hours,” wrote Garrigus, “telling us of the deeper things of God.” After he left the camp meeting, Garrigus, Minnie Draper, and others met in an old barn to pray, and there Alice Belle Garrigus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She continued preaching at Rumney and Grafton, Massachusetts, and other places, but began feeling impressed to found a mission in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

One of her protégés at Bridgeport, Connecticut, was Charles Personeus, superintendent of the John Street Mission. Personeus wrote, “When Miss Garrigus was with me in the John Street Mission, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that changed the mission to First Pentecostal Mission.” In 1917, Charles Personeus and his wife, Florence, went to Juneau, Alaska, as missionaries for the Assemblies of God.

Together with the W. D. Fowlers, a missionary couple she had known since 1889, Alice Belle Garrigus traveled to Newfoundland, arriving in the capital city of St. John’s in December 1910. The three established Bethesda Mission in a rented building in the downtown area on New Gower Street, which opened on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1911. Garrigus’ preaching at Bethesda emphasized conversion, adult water baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the imminent return of Christ. Numerous lives were changed because of the ministry at Bethesda. After little more than a year, the building was purchased, and by the next year the building was enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of people attending the services. In 1912, the Fowlers had to leave Newfoundland for health reasons, and that left Garrigus in charge.

The Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland grew slowly during the next decade, since Garrigus’ ministry remained centered in the St. John’s area.

After a crusade in 1919 by evangelist Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest, interest in Pentecostalism grew. New converts started new missions, and one of these, Robert C. English, eventually became co-pastor with Garrigus at Bethesda Mission.

Alice Belle Garrigus’ work with Bethesda Mission eventually led to the founding of a Pentecostal organization in Newfoundland. On Dec. 8, 1925, the “Bethesda Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland” was chartered. The word “Bethesda” was dropped in 1930.

The first general superintendent of this organization was Robert C. English, followed by Eugene Vaters, A. Stanley Bursey (all three who worked closely with Garrigus), and others. In 1949 the people of Newfoundland voted to become Canada’s newest province, and this organization and the number of churches has continued to grow. The current name is The Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAONL). It is a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and has strong ties with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Assemblies of God, and other denominations within the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA).

Alice Garrigus’ nearly 40 years in Newfoundland were very busy. She remained there for the rest of her life and continued to be a principal figure in the Pentecostal church, serving as an evangelist in charge of Bethesda Mission and also holding a number of executive positions in the PAONL. She passed away in August 1949 at Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, at the age of 91. Soon after her passing, a Pentecostal campground was established and called Camp Emmanuel. The Garrigus Memorial Tabernacle at the camp was named in her honor and dedicated in 1955.

A. Stanley Bursey, a former PAONL general superintendent, wrote: “We, who have had the opportunity to appraise her work and the result of same, can only conclude that when God calls, He makes no mistakes.”

Alice Belle Garrigus was a prolific writer. In 1950, the Pentecostal Evangel published an article by her, titled “Eating on the Heap,” which discusses Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban, making a covenant that was solidified with a mound of stones called “a heap.” Afterwards they ate together on the heap to show that past wrongs and hurts would be forgotten and that love would prevail.

Read “Eating on the Heap,” on page 3 of the June 24, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “I Sat Where They Sat,” by J. Narver Gortner

• “The Passing and the Permanent,” by Robert C. Cunningham

• “Missions — New and Old,” by H. C. Ball

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: www.iFPHC.org

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William Jethro Walthall and the Early Pentecostal Movement in Arkansas

Walthall

W. J. Walthall, the older minister in the center, at Aimee Semple McPherson’s camp meeting in Wesson, Arkansas, ca. 1920.

This Week in AG History — June 13, 1931

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 11 June 2020

William Jethro Walthall (1858-1931) was an early Pentecostal pioneer who later joined the Assemblies of God. Born in Nevada County, Arkansas, Walthall grew up in southwest Arkansas and attended Methodist and Baptist revivals in his youth. He felt called into full-time ministry and was always seeking more of God. He was ordained by the Missionary Baptist Church in 1887, but he was later expelled because of his strong belief in the Holy Spirit baptism, Bible holiness, and divine healing.

Walthall testified that he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1879, which was more than 20 years before the outpouring at Topeka, Kansas. He received the gift of speaking in tongues at about this time, although it is unclear whether it was in 1879 or shortly afterward. Earlier instances of tongues-speaking have been reported among the Shakers, the Holiness movement, the Advent Christian Church in New England (known as the “Gift People”), and others. However, among those who became Assemblies of God pioneers, it is possible that Walthall was the earliest to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues.

Walthall continued preaching on his own for a while, and then ended up organizing a group of churches that became known as the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas. This group affirmed the contemporary practice of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Soon after the Assemblies of God was organized in 1914 at Hot Springs, Arkansas, Walthall began having dialogue with the Assemblies of God leadership. In 1917 he brought 36 churches from his Baptist group into the Assemblies of God. He also served two stints as superintendent of the Arkansas District of the Assemblies of God (1918-1926 and 1928-1929).

Walthall passed away on May 24, 1931, in Bearden, Arkansas. Afterwards, several tributes to him appeared in the Pentecostal Evangel. Only a few days before his death, Walthall contributed an article giving an account of some of his experiences with divine healing and courageous faith.

He reported that early in his ministry, a man had a cancer on his cheek that had troubled him for seven years. He had taken treatments, but they had not helped. One half of his face became consumed with the cancer. Walthall felt directed to call the family to prayer in a “life-and-death struggle for victory.” A few days later, when the man’s wife changed the dressing on his face, new skin had covered the affected part and it looked almost healed. Walthall said, “In a few days’ time the healing was complete.” The man lived eight more years without any trace of cancer.

Walthall reported other cases of healing that he had witnessed including a woman with a cancer on her mouth that he prayed for, and she was still cancer-free 20 years later. He also reported on a woman who was healed of “acute rheumatism.” He told of a man who had been confined to a bed for six weeks and six physicians had pronounced him incurable, saying that he had a growth on the brain. After Walthall prayed with him, the man got out of bed and went out to work on his farm. After more than 20 years, Walthall had seen no sign of that affliction returning.

Walthall shared other examples when he prayed for days for spiritual oppression to leave. After prayer and fasting, he reported deliverance from an angry mob in one instance as well as further physical healings that he witnessed.

Walthall’s last sermon text, just a week before he died, was 2 Timothy 4:6-8, which emphasized “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” After his passing, this seemed like a final benediction to his congregation.

Read “A Ministry of the Miraculous,” on page 8 of the June 13, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Joy of the Lord,” by Donald Gee

• “Letter From the Tibetan Border,” by W. W. Simpson

• “How I Received the Baptism,” by George A. Jeffrey

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: www.iFPHC.org

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The Spiritual Legacy of Camp Meetings: From the Scottish Covenanters to the Assemblies of God

Tent meeting

Tent meeting in Seminole, Oklahoma, circa 1930s.

This Week in AG History — May 29, 1937

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 28 May 2020

If you attended meetings in the years of the early Pentecostal movement, you might remember a summer church event that included sawdust floors, crude benches, tents, and open tabernacles. Those early tents and brush arbors have since given way to air-conditioned auditoriums and indoor plumbing, but the rousing fellowship and memorable spiritual experiences continue to ensure that summer camp meetings have a place in the life of the church.

Although the Assemblies of God has a long tradition with the camp meeting, the phenomenon predates the Pentecostal movement. It was in 17th-century Scotland that a group of Presbyterians, known as Covenanters, refused to recognize the right of the king to mandate religious conformity and were expelled from their churches. They began to hold illegal open-air meetings. Attendance at these meetings was declared a capital offense and many Covenanters were martyred for their stand.

Some fled to Ireland and along with others formed the base of the Scots-Irish immigration of the 1700s. Many eventually settled south into Virginia and the Carolinas, with a large concentration in the Appalachian region. They brought with them their tradition of the extended outdoor meeting.

It was one of these Scottish Presbyterian camp meetings in Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in 1801 that brought thousands of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists together for an outdoor meeting that featured revivalistic preaching, enthusiastic singing, and extended prayer meetings with a flood of religious enthusiasm. The revival fires of the Cane Ridge Camp meetings set off the Second Great Awakening that sparked a movement of camp meeting revivalism that shaped the course of western American Protestantism.

By the mid-18th century, the Baptists and Presbyterians largely abandoned the camp meeting for indoor protracted meetings. The Methodists, however, began to build permanent meeting sites for the purpose of joining together with other believers for Bible teaching, extended prayer, and exhortational preaching. These camp meetings became a staple for the Holiness Movement of the later 18th century.

When the Pentecostal movement sprang out of the influence of the Holiness churches, it was natural to continue the camp meeting practice. Early Assemblies of God adherents, such as those in Wisconsin who rented Camp Byron in Fond du Lac County from the Methodist church, used these meetings for inspiration, fellowship, consecration, and response to the call of God.

The May 29, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel served as a promotional tool for many of the scheduled camp meetings of that summer. In the article, “Let’s All Go to Camp Meeting,” Evangel readers are made aware of the many district camp schedules for that year, including Wisconsin-Northern Michigan, Kansas, Virginia, Texico, Northern California-Nevada, New England, Potomac, Northwest, West Central, Illinois, Yellowstone, Arkansas, Louisiana, Rocky Mountain, and the North Central districts. Speakers included W. I. Evans, E. S. Williams, Myer Pearlman, Otto Klink, Charles Price, Ralph Riggs, Howard Carter, and many other pastors and lay preachers, both male and female.

These camp meetings were not limited to the members of the host district. The West Central district camp at Storm Lake, Iowa, reminded readers that “last year the crowd was estimated at six to seven thousand people … and we are expecting a larger crowd this year. More than half of the states in the union were represented at last year’s meeting.”

The schedule varied by district, but the one listed by the Appalachian district, held at Pentecostal Park in Bristol, Virginia, was typical: Devotional at 7 a.m., Children’s service at 9 a.m., Bible teaching at 10:30 a.m., preaching at 2:30 p.m., young people’s service at 6 p.m., and an evangelistic service at 8 p.m.

While the meetings had some limited focus on certain demographics, the services were not segregated by age. Adults attended children’s services, and children attended alongside the adults. It was in these services that many children and young people were introduced to the leaders of the Pentecostal movement as they were exposed to anointed teaching in each service.

Many Pentecostal laypeople trace their first exposure to the baptism in the Holy Spirit to these protracted meetings. Ministers and missionaries testify of receiving their call to lifelong service around the altar at camp meeting. Other benefits included the tight bond of fellowship established between those who attended different churches but found lasting relationships at camp, including missionary Melvin Hodges. Not only was he was introduced to a love for Bible teaching by a camp speaker, but camp also provided the opportunity, as it did for many others, to meet a future spouse.

Although much has changed in our camp meeting presentation over the years, it remains an important chapter in our shared heritage. As the Evangel said in 1937, “It is blessed to be able to drop the daily tasks for a while and to go to some place where you can give yourself wholly to the things of God.”

Read the article, “Let’s All Go to Camp Meeting,” on page 9 of the May 29, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How Moody Used the Power” by Zelma Argue

• “The Result of One Day’s Travailing Prayer” by Charles G. Finney

• “God’s Condition for Revival” by Beatrice Pannabecker

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: www.iFPHC.org

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Glad Tidings Tabernacle: A Bright Pentecostal Lighthouse in New York City

BrownsThis Week in AG History — May 5, 1957

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 07 May 2020

Glad Tidings Tabernacle, located on West 33rd Street in New York City, was for many decades one of the largest Assemblies of God congregations in the United States. Started in 1907 by Marie Burgess, the flock initially met in a small rented storefront mission on West 42nd Street. Burgess hung crisp curtains and set up 96 chairs, praying that the chairs would be filled. Two drunks stumbled into the small mission and accepted Christ on the opening night.

The story of Glad Tidings Tabernacle was published in the May 5, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, in celebration of the church’s 50th anniversary. According to the article, Burgess laid the groundwork for the new congregation by first holding services in homes of people who “hungered and thirsted after righteousness.”

The earnest ministry of Burgess and her co-workers was met with opposition from both sinners and saints. One of the saintly critics was Robert Brown, a young Wesleyan minister from Ireland. He opposed the Pentecostal movement, but attended the meetings out of curiosity. He ultimately became convinced that the Pentecostal experience was both biblical and available to believers today. He finally submitted to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and, on Jan. 11, 1908, went forward to the altar and openly prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, following the New Testament example. Brown received the experience. He later testified:

“I had a wonderful conversion and many other visitations of God’s blessing and love, but the baptism in the Holy Spirit exceeded them all. Abandoned to God, yielded to His will, it was no longer I but the precious Holy Spirit. He took charge of every part of my body and then spoke through me in languages which I had never learned. Thank God, I received the same Baptism as the apostles did in the beginning.”

Brown went from being a critic of the small Pentecostal mission to one of its biggest supporters. The following year, Burgess and Brown were united in marriage and, together, they pastored the congregation until their deaths (Robert in 1948 and Marie in 1971).

Not only did God answer Marie’s prayers for the chairs to be filled in those early years of the mission (the article recounts that they “were filled continually”), but He filled the chairs with specific people, both saints and sinners, who would ultimately play significant roles in establishing a bright gospel lighthouse in New York City.

Read the entire article by Elizabeth Schuster, “Honoring Glad Tidings Tabernacle New York on its 50th Anniversary,” on pages 16, 17, and 20 of the May 5, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Healthy Church,” by Samuel S. Scull

• “Infilling and Outreach,” by Don Mallough

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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Annie Bailie: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary to China and Hong Kong

Bailie

Photo: Ecclesia Bible Institute, Hong Kong campus, 1959.  Annie Bailie is in the front row.

This Week in AG History — April 2, 1949

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 02 April 2020

Annie Bailie (1900-1986) immigrated from Ireland to the United States with her family in 1906, settling in Pennsylvania. She served as a tireless missionary for 58 years in southern China and Hong Kong, despite imprisonment and relocation during World War II, where she trained workers and built churches that would last through the communist revolution.

Bailie’s parents prayed fervently that their nine children would find success and happiness in their new country, and that they would serve God wholeheartedly. When she was 14 years old, Annie, the youngest child, consecrated herself to Christ and a few years later was filled with the baptism in the Holy Spirit at a camp meeting.

Annie Bailie took a job in a manufacturing plant to earn enough money to support her real passion — ministry. While in her early 20s, she passed out gospel literature on her lunch breaks, visited local hospitals on Saturdays, helped with street meetings, conducted a prison ministry, held Sunday School in rural areas, served in a young people’s group, and attended the many services at her church. Somehow, she also managed to find time to assist her brother in his outreach to African Americans.

She felt God calling her to leave her home and travel across the world to China. She was reluctant to go, explaining to God that she was a worker, not a preacher. She fought the inclination for several months but, in simple obedience to God, Bailie submitted herself to God’s call and boarded a ship for China on Oct. 28, 1928, sailing for the land that would be her home for the next 58 years.

Arriving just in time to experience the early years of the Chinese Civil War, Bailie spent much of her first missionary term dodging the fighting and assisting local Christians to find safe places while discipling them to put their faith in Christ.

Three years after her arrival, the situation became more difficult when Japan invaded mainland China. Bailie and those living with her slept in their clothes each night, always ready to make a quick escape to a safer place. One night, robbers came into their home and demanded money. A Chinese person living with Bailie told them that they were preachers, and that preachers did not have any money. While this conversation was happening, Ballie began to pray and soon found herself praying in tongues. This panicked the intruders and they hurriedly left with no further harm to the women.

In 1934, the Holy Spirit spoke through a Chinese believer who knew no English, speaking in perfect English with instructions to go north. Bailie moved to Pak Noi, where she experienced many fruitful years of ministry, despite the heavy fighting and bombing of the city by the Japanese army.

When non-Chinese residents were imprisoned, Bailie was able to avoid detection due to her mastery of the language, dark hair, and petite frame. A local villager, fearing retribution from their oppressors, ended up betraying her. Though she was placed in a Japanese internment camp in China, Bailie reported that her captors were not overly cruel. They allowed Chinese Christians to bring food to her and she was able to freely minister to others in the camp.

In June 1942, Bailie and other Americans were released from the camps and returned to the United States. In 1947, after the end of World War II, she returned to Pak Noi to find that the village had been leveled but that the church was rebuilding. In 1947, through joint efforts between the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Ecclesia Bible Institute was established and began to train workers to minister to the Chinese people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the healing of the Holy Spirit. In a letter published in the April 2, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Bailie asked for prayer that more of the students would receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Bailie worked freely in Pak Noi until 1949, when forced to leave due to the Chinese Communist Revolution. She entrusted the church to the care of a local pastor and moved to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, she helped to establish and operate four schools, provided scholarships to young Christians, and returned to the ministry of hospital visitation and tract distribution like she had done in her early years in Pennsylvania. Many were saved, healed, encouraged, and filled with the Spirit due to her loving ministry.

In the late 1970s, Bailie was able to return for a visit to her beloved friends in Pak Noi. She discovered that the government had recently returned the church building to the congregation, which was still being led by the pastor who Bailie had discipled and left in charge in 1949. Not only had the government returned the property, but it paid rent for the many years the church building had been used as a warehouse, giving the congregation enough money to renovate the church and to purchase Bibles for every member.

After Annie returned to Hong Kong, her health began to deteriorate. She died at the age of 86 and, in accordance with her instructions, she was buried in Hong Kong, not far from the church she started almost 40 years before.

Read Annie Bailie’s report, “In South China,” on page 11 of the April 2, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Salt and Light of the World” by Donald Gee

• “The Meaning of Spirituality” by Myer Pearlman

• “The Promise is Unto You” by Stanley Frodsham

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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Amanda Benedict: The Early Pentecostal Prayer Warrior in Springfield, Missouri

AmandaBenedict_1400This Week in AG History — March 19, 1927

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 19 March 2020

Amanda Benedict (1851-1925) is remembered as a fervent prayer warrior and one of the early participants in the Pentecostal movement in Springfield, Missouri. When she died, Assemblies of God leaders credited her prayers for the success of the local congregation and national ministries located in the city.

When Benedict moved to Springfield around 1910, she was 60 years old and had already served the Lord with distinction in a rescue home for girls in Chicago and in a faith home for children in Iowa.

Soon after moving to Springfield, while working as a door-to-door salesperson, Benedict met Lillie Corum. The two ladies got acquainted and, in conversation, Corum shared about her experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Corum had been baptized in the Spirit on June 1, 1907, under the ministry of her sister, Rachel Sizelove, who had brought the Pentecostal message from Azusa Street.

Benedict expressed interest in receiving this blessing and began seeking it. The two ladies began praying together regularly, and soon Amanda herself was filled with the Spirit. Corum, Benedict, Birdie Hoy, and a few others prayed fervently and helped with the beginnings of what became Central Assembly of God.

With a burden for lost souls, Benedict prayed and interceded for days on end, until she felt the burden lift or victory came. She often prayed all night in a grove of trees near the corner of Campbell Avenue and Calhoun Street, which later became the site of Central Assembly of God. She prayed many times for Springfield to make a spiritual impact on the world, and that God’s blessings would flow through Springfield to the ends of the earth. At one point, she felt led to fast and pray for Springfield for one entire year — living only on bread and water.

In 1915, Benedict moved to Aurora, Missouri, where she started a Pentecostal church that became affiliated with the Assemblies of God. After pastoring in Aurora for almost a decade, she died in 1925 at the age of 74. At her funeral service at Central Assembly of God in Springfield, church members, Bible school students, and others gave inspiring testimonies of her life.

Stanley Frodsham, the editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, reported that Benedict helped to launch a tent meeting in the early days of revival in Springfield and “spent whole nights praying under the canvas.” Among other things, “She prayed for a Pentecostal Assembly in Springfield.” And on the very site where she prayed, the first building for Central Assembly was erected. Frodsham and others believed that Central Assembly of God, Central Bible College, and the Assemblies of God national office, all located in Springfield, resulted largely from Benedict’s fervent, effectual prayers.

Benedict was buried without a grave marker in Eastlawn Cemetery in Springfield. In 2007, 82 after her death, a marker was finally placed on her grave. The marker features a fitting tribute: “She prayed and fasted for the city of Springfield.” On the back is a Scripture verse: “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Frodsham published a sermon by Benedict, titled “Abundance for All,” a couple of years after her death. The sermon compared the blessings of the baptism in the Holy Spirit to a multitude of savory items held in a locked bakery. She said, “I would fail to satisfy a vigorous physical appetite to look through the windows of a locked bakery.” She continued: “Just so it is unsatisfying to a healthy spiritual appetite to see what Pentecost meant in the years that are past, and yet not partake of it now in this present day.” She felt that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was necessary to receive all the blessings of God. She said, “Pentecost means appetite and a free table loaded with solid food and with dainties hitherto unknown.”

She exhorted the reader to depend on God and ask Him for this blessing: “If you are a seeker of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, see to it that you receive with the God-appointed sign, promised by Christ himself (Mark 16:17), that the disciples received when they were first filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4).”

Read “Abundance for All,” by Amanda Benedict on page 5 of the March 19, 1927, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Holy Ground,” by James H. McConkey

• “Judgments of God and Revival Fires in Poland,” by Gustave H. Schmidt

• “Job,” by Ernest S. Williams

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: www.iFPHC.org

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Gerald Derstine Collection Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

DerstineBy Darrin J. Rodgers

Gerald Derstine (1928- ), a Mennonite pastor who became a prominent early leader in the charismatic movement, has deposited materials relating to his life and ministry at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Derstine is perhaps best known for his roles as former president of Gospel Crusade, Inc.; founder of Christian Retreat in Bradenton, Florida; and founder of Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship (now Global Christian Ministers Forum), a Pentecostal denomination.

The Gerald Derstine Collection includes books, tracts, periodicals, photographs, audio recordings, and unpublished materials documenting Derstine’s life, ministry, and the organizations he led. The collection provides valuable insight into segments of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements that have not been sufficiently documented and will be a boon to researchers.

Gerald Derstine was born into a conservative Pennsylvania Mennonite family, but as a teenager he became a functional agnostic. He was a baptized church member, but he had not internalized the faith and did not believe Christian claims. He offered two major critiques of Christianity: Christians seemed to lack joy, and twentieth-century churches did not seem to resemble those in the New Testament.

Derstine married Beulah, also raised a Mennonite, on June 25, 1949. On their honeymoon in Minnesota, a friend told them about miracles he had witnessed at a Pentecostal revival in Michigan. This piqued Derstine’s interest, and three months later he and Beulah visited a crusade in Reading, Pennsylvania, featuring Pentecostal evangelist T. L. Osborn. At the revival, Derstine was immediately struck by the warmth, friendliness, joy, and earnest faith he found among the Pentecostals. They kept returning to the evening revival services, where they saw miracles and yielded their lives to Christ.

They began attending services at the Brethren in Christ Church, an Anabaptist church impacted by the Holiness movement, which encouraged believers to have an experience of entire sanctification. Both Gerald and Beulah had this experience, they consecrated their lives to Christ, and Gerald felt called to the ministry.

Derstine knew that ministry would not be easy. From a young age, other children mocked “Pee Wee” Derstine for his small stature and his chronic stuttering. Not only would he have to overcome a lifetime of feelings of inadequacy, his stuttering would be an obstacle to ministry. However, Derstine recalled that Osborn encouraged Christians to pray for healing. He followed Osborn’s instructions to confess Bible verses about healing and was healed of stuttering.

Derstine began passing out tracts among alcoholics in street ministry in Philadelphia. His uncle, a Mennonite missionary to the Chippewa Indians in northern Minnesota, asked Gerald and Beulah to join him in ministry. In 1951, they moved to Minnesota. Gerald was ordained into the ministry in 1953 and became pastor of Strawberry Lake Mennonite Church (Ogema, MN), which had been started by his uncle.

In late 1954, an unexpected outpouring of the Holy Spirit, featuring a spirit of intercession, miracles, and spiritual gifts, changed the trajectory of Derstine’s ministry. He was leading a five-day Bible study retreat for 76 Mennonite youth between Christmas 1954 and New Year’s Day 1955, when a remarkable revival began. After a period of fasting and prayer by seven pastors at the camp, 13 unconverted youth accepted Christ on the first day of the camp. Soon afterward, several children reported hearing angels singing. The youth and adults began praying fervently for their unsaved family members and friends, and some experienced healings and gifts such as speaking in tongues.

After returning to his pastorate at Strawberry Lake Mennonite Church, similar charismatic phenomena began to happen in homes and in the church sanctuary. Word spread quickly and, in April 1955, Mennonite bishops and elders conducted a hearing that resulted in Derstine being “silenced” from the Mennonite ministry. They offered to restore him to ministry if he would publicly state that the manifestations had been an “act of Satan.” Derstine refused to deny the work of the Holy Spirit.

Later in 1955, Derstine met Henry Brunk, a Mennonite evangelist and businessman from Florida. In 1953, Brunk had founded the Gospel Crusade, Inc. as a non-denominational missions outreach to Haiti. Brunk encouraged Derstine to enter the evangelistic ministry and supplied him with a tent, a house trailer, and a car. Derstine began to receive invitations to preach and share his testimony, first from people at the fringes of the Mennonite community, and then from larger cities.

The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship offered Derstine his first national platform, and he became well known in Pentecostal circles. Pentecostal revival began to break out in mainline denominations (often termed “charismatic renewal”) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Derstine also became a popular speaker among mainline charismatics.

The charismatic renewal made a significant impact on the Mennonite church, which officially “restored” Derstine as an approved minister in 1977. However, Derstine’s ministry went far beyond his ancestral denomination.

Derstine settled in Sarasota, Florida, a city where many Mennonites live or own winter vacation cabins. He started a non-denominational charismatic church, Revival Tabernacle, which included a core group of several former Mennonite families. In 1965, Derstine became president of Gospel Crusade, Inc.

God gave Derstine a vision for a conference and retirement center that would serve as headquarters for Gospel Crusade. In 1968, he purchased a 110-acre tract of land on the banks of the Manatee River near Bradenton, located just south of Sarasota. That same year he founded Christian Retreat and began building facilities on the land.

Christian Retreat in Bradenton became a focal point of Derstine’s ministry. He organized well-attended charismatic conferences, featuring prominent Pentecostal and charismatic speakers. He also established retreat centers in Ogema, Minnesota (Strawberry Lake Christian Retreat, which operated from 1965 to 2017) and in Hermon, New York (North Country Christian Retreat, which operated from 1982 to 2014).

Gospel Crusade has been active in global missions, supporting ministries in over 25 nations, including Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Philippines, Romania, and Trinidad. In 1981, Derstine began traveling to Israel and has ministered in many Jewish and Arab locations.

Derstine is a prolific author. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center holds 22 books and booklets that he wrote, as well as different editions and translations of his works into other languages. His daughter, Joanne Derstine, has been responsible for many of the publications of Gospel Crusade over the past 50 years.

Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship (GCMF) was formed in the 1970s to serve as the credentialing arm of Gospel Crusade, Inc. By 2002, GCMF had grown to over 1,100 certified ministers and 67 affiliated churches. While some GCMF ministers came from Mennonite families, the Fellowship has attracted Pentecostals and charismatics from varied backgrounds. In 2009 GCMF restructured and became organizationally separate from Gospel Crusade and relocated its headquarters from Bradenton, Florida, to Denver, Pennsylvania. It was renamed Global Christian Ministry Forum in 2012.

Derstine established the Institute of Ministry in 1975 to provide ministerial training in a 10-week course. Approximately 8,000 students have graduated from the program. A local church, Christian Retreat Family Church (now The Family Church), was organized in 1986 by Phil and Jannette Derstine, Gerald’s son and daughter-in-law, and meets on the grounds of Christian Retreat.

Derstine, now 91 years old, has stepped down from most of his leadership roles. However, he continues to travel across the United States, preaching and sharing his testimony. Derstine, with his engaging manner, compelling testimony, and visionary leadership, has made a lasting contribution to the Pentecostal and charismatic movements.

_________________

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 archives and research center 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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Prominent Novelist Sven Lidman Shocked Sweden in 1921 by Converting to Pentecostalism

Lidman1This Week in AG History — March 12, 1927

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 12 March 2020

When Sven Lidman (1882-1960), one of Sweden’s most prominent authors, accepted Christ as Savior and was baptized at the leading Pentecostal church in Stockholm in 1921, it seemed as though the entire nation took notice.

Sven Lidman (pronounced Leed’man) was born into great privilege. He received a classical education and he earned a law degree from the University of Uppsala. He spent several years in the military and then studied the Italian language and literature. By 1920, he was an acclaimed author and had published 13 books and collections of poetry.

Lidman was a renaissance man. His writing explored family issues and sexuality, philosophy and ethics, and religion and politics. He cultivated relationships with the leaders of his day, and his early life was steeped in worldly pleasures.

Despite Lidman’s background, his conversion to Christ was not entirely unexpected. For years, he had experienced a deep spiritual struggle. He felt deep inner longings that could not be satisfied with brandy, tobacco, and women. He openly shared this struggle through his pen, most notably by authoring in 1920 an annotated translation of St. Augustine’s Confessions. Lidman closely identified with this fifth-century-Christian theologian who abandoned a life of youthful sin and who used his testimony to proclaim the transformative power of the gospel. Lidman soon followed in Augustine’s footsteps.

However, it came as a shock to many that Lidman cast his lot with the Pentecostals. Lidman could have easily joined a respectable Lutheran congregation of the State Church of Sweden. Instead, Swedish Pentecostal leader Lewi Pethrus baptized him at the Filadelfia Church.

Lidman’s conversion was widely covered by the nation’s press and became an ongoing topic of conversation at dinner tables across Scandinavia. The Christian press in other corners of the world also trumpeted this news.

Why did Lidman join the Pentecostals? Lidman’s conversion to Pentecostalism, according to a March 12, 1927, Pentecostal Evangel article, occurred because “Lidman is no half-way man.” Lidman would not settle for anything less than genuine, historic, biblical Christianity. “He believes in the power of Christ’s blood and redeeming death to save from sin,” the article continued. “He believes in a whole dedication to the Christian witness.”

Lidman rejected the notion that his conversion consisted merely of “a series of processes in the subconscious.” Rather, he maintained that “real conversion” to Christ was “the consequence of meeting with a supernatural power.” True Christians who have encountered and submitted to God’s power, Lidman wrote, are living sacrifices. “It is only upon the whole offering on the Lord’s altar that His fire falls,” he declared.

Lidman illustrated this theology of full consecration with his own testimony. At first, Lidman was not willing to surrender all of his ways to God. Early in his Christian life he defended his use of brandy and tobacco. But he recounted how his mind changed after an encounter with a man who had suffered the ravages of alcoholism. He realized he could not calmly stand before an alcoholic and say, “Drinking is an adiaphoron, a matter of indifference, and not a sin per se.” He could no longer in good conscience say, “There are many splendid and real Christians who are not abstainers.” Lidman came to believe that saving faith should permeate every aspect of a Christian’s life. Lidman submitted his destructive habits to God, and God took away his desire for alcohol and tobacco.

Although Lidman was an intellectual, he grew disenchanted with certain intellectual fads of his day. He had the independence of mind to challenge prevailing cultural assumptions and instead wanted something real. And reality, for Lidman, was the living Christian faith that he found in the Pentecostal church. The Pentecostal baptism in the Holy Spirit, he wrote, “is a full-blooded reality and no pale intellectual ideal.”

Filadelfia Church pastor Lewi Pethrus asked Lidman to become editor of the leading Pentecostal magazine, Evangelii Härold. Lidman accepted and served in that position from 1922 until 1948. Lidman became a popular Pentecostal preacher, and countless people accepted Christ through his voluminous writings. Lidman became the second best-known Pentecostal in Sweden, after Lewi Pethrus.

The article concluded by noting that Lidman encouraged both education and heartfelt faith. While some “rationalists” and “revivalists” seemed to believe that faith and understanding are mutually exclusive, Lidman asserted that Christians need both.

“I know not how the forces of cold and darkness can ever be driven from the heart save through revival Christianity. They can never be cultivated away,” he wrote. “But after revival has gone ahead with its spring break-up of ice and frost the work of education begins.” According to Lidman, education is a work of the Spirit.

Sven Lidman’s profound influence on Swedish Pentecostalism may have faded from the memory of many American Pentecostals, but his testimony and writings continue to challenge readers to seek the fullness of God. Lidman had the world but found it wanting. Like Augustine before him, the Swedish novelist and intellectual found that only Jesus could satisfy his deepest longings.

Read the article, “The Witness of a Swedish Novelist,” on pages 4 and 5 of the March 12, 1927, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Reminiscences of a Faith Life,” by Marie Burgess Brown

* “African or Scriptural Brick,” by Arthur S. Berg

* “The Blood,” by J. Narver Gortner

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions are 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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Jack Hayford Deposits Personal Papers at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Hayford_wide copyBy Darrin J. Rodgers

Jack W. Hayford, one of the most highly respected Pentecostals in the United States, has deposited his personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri. Hayford is an author, educator, songwriter, former senior pastor of The Church On The Way (Van Nuys, California), and fifth President of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

The Jack Hayford Collection consists of correspondence and travel files, 1976-2014 (25 linear feet); approximately 200 books and pamphlets authored by Hayford and published in 16 different languages; approximately 250 audio/visual recordings of Hayford; numerous publications and theses relating to the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; and a large framed piece of art depicting his best-known song, “Majesty.”

Hayford deposited his collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) upon the suggestion of his daughter, Rebecca Hayford Bauer. Bauer became familiar with the FPHC during her doctoral studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. The FPHC, located in the national office of the Assemblies of God, is the largest Pentecostal archives in the world and collects materials from the Assemblies of God and the broader Pentecostal movement. Hayford also conferred with Dr. George O. Wood, former general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, who encouraged him to place his collection at the FPHC.

The Jack Hayford Collection takes its place alongside other significant Pentecostal collections deposited at the FPHC in recent years. The list of collections reads like a Who’s Who of the Pentecostal world and includes Assemblies of God church leaders Thomas F. Zimmerman and G. Raymond Carlson; Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr.; Charisma magazine founders Stephen and Joy Strang; charismatic leader Gerald Derstine; Pentecostal Assemblies of the World historian James. L. Tyson; educators Grant Wacker, William W. Menzies, Gary McGee, and J. Robert Ashcroft; and many others.

Broad Influence

In his over sixty years of ministry, Jack Hayford has become known as one of the Pentecostal movement’s senior statesmen. A July 2005 article in Christianity Today called him “the Pentecostal gold standard.” Hayford’s biographer, David Moore, described his ministry and influence:

…Hayford’s ministry has been characterized by balance and integrity. As a communicator, his low-key, often self-effacing style, coupled with theological depth and biblical fidelity, has overcome the stereotype of the pentecostal preacher and contributed to his broad acceptance beyond pentecostal circles.

Hayford has been a bridge builder between Pentecostals and evangelicals and also across the racial divides. He has spoken to countless gatherings and has maintained a busy travel schedule. He was the only Pentecostal invited to be a plenary speaker at the Lausanne II Congress on World Evangelism in 1989, demonstrating the breadth of his influence. He was also one of the primary speakers for the Promise Keepers men’s stadium events during the 1990s.

Hayford is a prolific writer. He authored or co-authored at least 120 books, as well as countless pamphlets, tracts, and journal articles. He also served as general editor of The Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible. Many of his writings have been translated into other languages. Hayford is also a gifted musician and has written over 500 hymns and songs. His song, “Majesty,” is one of the most widely recorded contemporary Christian songs.

Life and Ministry

Like many other early Pentecostals, the conversion of Jack Hayford’s family resulted from a miracle. Hayford was born in Los Angeles on June 25, 1934. His parents were not Christians at the time of his birth. After their infant son was healed of a life-threatening illness, they became Christians at the Long Beach Foursquare Church. Hayford accepted Christ at age 14 and made a commitment to pursue full-time Christian ministry at age 16.

In the spring of 1952, Hayford matriculated at L.I.F.E. Bible College, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel’s school in Los Angeles. He met Anna Marie Smith at L.I.F.E., and they married in 1954. He graduated in 1956 as class valedictorian.

The Hayfords immediately launched into ministry and pioneered a Foursquare church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana from 1956 until 1960, when they moved back to the Los Angeles area. Hayford served as national youth director for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (1960-1965) and as dean of students at L.I.F.E. Bible College (1965-1970).

While serving as dean of students at L.I.F.E., Hayford was asked to serve as interim pastor at a declining church in Van Nuys, California. Under his leadership, First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, also known as The Church On The Way, grew from a congregation of 18 to a membership of 10,000. The congregation included Hollywood notables as well as the urban poor.

Hayford melded church ministry with education. He taught at L.I.F.E. Bible College (now Life Pacific University) and served as its president (1977-1982). In conjunction with The Church On The Way, Hayford founded The King’s Institute in 1989 to train Christian leaders. He founded The King’s College and Seminary in 1997 and resigned his pastorate in 1999 to focus on development of the school. The school was renamed The King’s University in 2010 and was moved in 2013 to Southlake, Texas, where it operates under the umbrella of Gateway Church, a large Pentecostal congregation.

Hayford served as president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel from 2004 to 2009. His wife, Anna, passed away in 2017, and he remarried and continues to live in the San Fernando Valley of California.

_________________

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 archives and research center 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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Edmund Hodgson: Pentecostal Martyr and Missionary to Belgian Congo

HodgsonThis Week in AG History — March 6, 1948

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 05 March 2020

Edmund “Teddy” Hodgson (1898-1960) was a British Pentecostal missionary to the Belgian Congo, Africa, from 1920 to 1960. He served his Lord and his church as a preacher, teacher, doctor, dentist, carpenter, hunter, husband, father, and friend. Ultimately, he gave his life as a martyr for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Born in Preston, a city in northern England, Hodgson left formal schooling at age 13 and went to work as a delivery boy for a bakery. One day his employer asked him if he attended Sunday School. He replied that he did, but the man then asked a deeper question, “And do you love the Lord Jesus?” The question bothered him and he found no answer to give. Not long after, he knelt with his employer and committed his life to the service of Christ.

Finding that he was gifted with his hands, he became an apprentice to a cabinetmaker at age 14. At the same time, he became acquainted with students at a Pentecostal Bible school and a pioneer missionary in the Congo. After receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit and admitting his love of adventure, he made a promise to God and to the missionary to consider serving in the Congo.

While still a teenager, Hodgson enlisted in the British Armed Forces and served in front line trench warfare in France in World War I. Though the other soldiers called him “Holy Hodgson,” they respected his natural ability as a crack shot and his fearless leadership. Following orders to move out into no-man’s land, Hodgson was hit by a German shell. He recovered but found his trigger finger useless.

After the war, Hodgson returned to England to rebuild his life. Driven and capable, he soon built a thriving business restoring furniture. There were times when the Congo crossed his mind but, having seen enough suffering on the front lines of war, he believed he could serve God better by making money to give to missions rather than going himself. Then one day the missionary he had met before the war walked into his shop. He asked, “Well, Teddy, what about the Congo?”

Over the next days a battle as fierce as anything he experienced in France took place within his heart. He wrestled with the sacrifice it would mean for him as a young man to leave a promising business and disappear into the darkness of Africa. However, when he finally surrendered to God, it was total. After saying “yes” to God, Teddy Hodgson never looked back.

He sailed to the Congo in 1920 and found that he had to walk the last 150 miles through mosquito-infested swamps. Within a week, he was suffering with malaria. After nine months of pain he was nearly blind and argued with God about bringing him to the Congo and leaving him useless. Finally, in desperation, he cried out, “Lord, either heal me or take me to heaven.” The next day, he was able to get out of bed and he packed his bags to go into the villages to begin his work.

Though his skill in the Kiluba language was limited, Hodgson approached the village chief in Kisanga and asked to speak to the people. After receiving permission, he thought, “Well, here’s my audience, so here goes!” As he began to speak, he felt such an overwhelming love for these people that the words seemed to simply flow from his mouth. When he finished, he thanked them and left.

As he was leaving, two boys who had been helping him build his house in Kisanga followed him with great laughter. They told him how funny it was that when he was speaking to them while working they could hardly understand him but that morning as he spoke they could all understand every word. Hodgson was greatly encouraged at his miraculous provisional help from God. This was the first of many times he found that God blessed and provided all he needed when he made his own resources available.

In the coming years as he traveled from village to village, Hodgson had many hair-raising experiences with witch doctors, angry chiefs, hungry lions, rogue elephants, hippos, and crocodiles. Though his trigger finger was useless, he trained himself to shoot with his middle finger. Over the years, God used his ability with a rifle to win many friends among the villages. Over the years he killed more than 60 marauding lions. He never shot for sport or pleasure, only to protect the people he loved.

Serving in the Belgian Congo for 40 years, Hodgson also buried two wives and was constrained to send his five children back to England for care and education. These experiences pained him deeply and challenged his resolve, but his love for Christ and the people to whom he was called compelled him to continue.

In the March 6, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Hodgson wrote about a great revival that was taking place in the Congo in response to prayer for renewal among the Christians. The revival featured miraculous exercise of the gifts of the Spirit leading to the conversion, infilling, and baptism of well over a thousand souls.

After the Congo declared its independence in 1960, the atmosphere changed for Hodgson and his fellow Christian workers. The missionaries soon found themselves contained in a small area in Kamina by rebels. Other missionaries from New Zealand, Elton Knauf and his wife, joined them there. Knauf was concerned that he had left in such a hurry that he had been unable to deliver much needed supplies and money to the hospital workers in Lulungu. He was convinced he could travel safely if he went by “the back road.” Hodgson agreed to accompany him.

When they reached Mukuya, they were confronted by a band of surly rebels who were singing one of the songs of the rebellion, “We want no words from the white man’s God!” The missionaries tried to negotiate that they would leave the supplies and return back to Kamina. However, the rebel forces demanded that they march with them. A few Christians in the area heard of the trouble and followed from a distance. After marching for a short time, the Christians saw the rebels stop. They watched in horror as the machetes were raised and Hodgson and Knauf were hacked to pieces before their eyes.

Hodgson wrote in his book, Out of the Darkness, “The Lord Jesus illustrated and commended a Christianity that bent its back, soiled its hands, and blistered its feet in stooping to help fallen man. Just as positively He denounced and condemned a professional religion that passes by on the other side when man’s need is at the greatest. Some are called to be Apostles, but every Christian is called to be an Epistle (a love letter of God, read of men).” Hodgson served God as both Apostle and Epistle.

Read Edmund Hodgson’s article, “A Pentecostal Revival in the Congo,” on page 2 of the March 6, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Test of True Discipleship” by Robert A. Brown

• “A Mighty Revival at CBI” by Kathleen Belknap

• “Jeremiah of Anathoth” by Walter Beuttler

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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