Tag Archives: Spiritual Gifts

What is the Ideal Church?


This Week in AG History — September 9, 1933

By William Molenaar
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 09 Sep 2013 – 3:12 PM CST

What does the ideal church service look like? What role do spiritual gifts play in your church?

Donald Gee, pastor, educator, ecumenist, and twice elected Chairman of the British Assemblies of God, was known as the “Apostle of Balance.” He authored the classic text on spiritual gifts, Concerning the Spiritual Gifts, which was published in 1928.

In the September 9, 1933, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Gee described what the ideal church service would look like. Like most early Pentecostals, he believed in the restoration of New Testament practice, concerning conducting Christian meetings. According to Gee, “The Assemblies of God believe that all worship and ministry should be based primarily upon the exercise of the varied gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10) placed within the Church.” However, Gee admitted that this ideal is “difficult to attain to in perfection.”

Gee decried two types of Pentecostal churches. The first kind of church Gee takes aim at is the church in which “the revival spirit wanes.” He points out that in these churches “there is an immediate temptation to still produce an apparent abundance of ‘life’ in the meetings by all sorts of artificial and carnal methods; such as novel programs, special music, spectacular sermons, etc. Some of these things may not be wrong under circumstances, and as the handmaid of the truly spiritual; but when they become the substitute for the true life and liberty of the operations of the Spirit of God, and when they even hinder and choke the manifestation of the Spirit — then the ideal is lost indeed.”

Gee says “An alternative that is almost worse” is a church which attempts to “maintain all the outward forms of spiritual liberty in worship, and exercise of spiritual gifts in ministry, without the anointing of the Spirit.” Here, the local church may have an open atmosphere and some semblance of Pentecost, but it merely wastes of time “with long dry prayers, stale testimonies, and unprofitable and undigested preaching.”

In fact, Gee states, “Even the heavily programed meeting is probably preferable to the deadness of an assembly that boasts an outward form of liberty in its outward form of services, but lacks the power and life of the Spirit at its heart.”

In contrast, Gee proclaims that “The achievement of the Assemblies of God ideal in worship and ministry absolutely demands a continuance of genuine Pentecostal power resting upon everything and everybody in the assembly. This is only maintained by ceaseless prayer and watchfulness, and full consecration to walk in the way of the Cross.”

Read the article by Donald Gee, “Our ‘Ideal’ in the Conduct of Meetings,” on page 2 of the September 9, 1933, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Behold He Cometh!” by E. S. Williams

* “Then and Now,” by G. Herbert Schmidt

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 Evangel, click 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

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Review: This River Must Flow, by William I. Evans


The collection of W. I. Evans’ classic spiritual messages, This River Must Flow, is now available from Gospel Publishing House as a digital download! Click here to download the book now for $4.99.

W. I. Evans was the long-time Dean at Central Bible Institute (now Central Bible College) in Springfield, Missouri. He is remembered as a great man of prayer and a powerful Bible teacher. See his full-page obituary in the June 13, 1954 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel (page 4) by clicking here.

This River Must Flow, published by GPH shortly after Evans’ death in 1954, has long been treasured by Pentecostals for its spiritual insight. Topics in the volume include: Sanctification and the Holy Spirit, Ministry Gifts, Speaking in Tongues, Diversities of Operation, The Exercise of Spiritual Gifts, Prayer Must Have Priority, and Had I But One Hour to Live.

Gary Flokstra of 4 the World Resources Distributors, one of the largest Pentecostal used book dealers in the United States, says that he sold seven copies of This River Must Flow this year alone, for an average price of $20. He can’t keep the book in stock. “If I had another 15 copies, I’d probably sell them right away.”

After Billye Brim and Gloria Copeland recommended This River Must Flow on the Believer’s Voice of Victory television program on November 9, viewers began to inundate Gospel Publishing House and the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (the archives of the Assemblies of God) with requests for the book.

In response to the demand for this spiritual classic, GPH re-released This River Must Flow as a digital download this morning.

Additional writings by Evans are accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website: www.iFPHC.org  To view the list of articles from the Home page, under the Research Menu choose Digital Publications Search, then Index Search. Then enter William I. Evans in the Author box under the Periodical Advanced Search section and hit Search. Fifty articles by Evans are accessible. See how Evans’ anointed writings continue to challenge Christians in their spiritual life today. The sacred writings from our Pentecostal past are important because they challenge some of our present-day assumptions. The anointing survives the grave!

Posted by Darrin J. Rodgers


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Review: Encountering God at the Altar

Encountering God at the Altar

Encountering God at the Altar: The Sacraments in Pentecostal Worship, by Daniel Tomberlin. Cleveland, TN: Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care, 2006.

Since the beginning of the Pentecostal movement, experiencing the Spirit of God has been central to Pentecostals in both private and corporate worship. When it comes to congregational worship, Pentecostals have critiqued what they deem to be dead ritualism devoid of a personal experience of the Holy Spirit. As a result, Pentecostals have questioned many traditional practices relating to the sacraments (often viewed as theologically or historically suspect because of their relation to the Roman Catholic Church) and have opted for the term “ordinances” instead. The latter is often seen to be more of a faith-based means rather then a works-based means of experiencing the Spirit.

Daniel Tomberlin, pastor of Bainbridge Church of God (Bainbridge, GA) and chairman of Ministerial Development for the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) in South Georgia, has authored a book that will raise some eyebrows. In it, Tomberlin claims that Pentecostalism and sacramental worship are not mutually exclusive. Rather, he provides a stimulating discussion of how he believes Pentecostal worship is sacramental. This volume, which aims to provide an introduction to the subject for Pentecostal church leaders, is possibly one of the first educational resources of its kind published by a classical Pentecostal denomination.

Encountering God at the Altar touches on topics such as Pentecostal worship and spirituality. Tomberlin develops a Pentecostal theology of the sacraments and also explores the practice of the sacraments in Pentecostal worship.In following Church of God theologian Kenneth Archer, Tomberlin argues for the retrieval of the term sacrament over the term ordinance, claiming that the ordinances are sacramental — a “means of grace” where one encounters the Holy Spirit (p. 24). The author rightly points out that Pentecostal spirituality is centered on encountering the Holy Spirit. “Therefore,” Tomberlin states, “the center and focus of Pentecostal worship is the altar” (p. 19).

When addressing whether life in the church and the sacraments are essential to salvation, Tomberlin identifies the church and sacraments as “secondary salvific gifts,” compared to the Son and Spirit as “primary salvific gifts” from the Father. At the same time he ultimately admits “that participation in the sacramental life of the church may not be absolutely essential to salvation due to God’s prevenient grace” (p. 27). Continue reading


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Review: The Azusa Street Papers

The Azusa Street Papers

The Azusa Street Papers: A Reprint of The Apostolic Faith Mission Publications, Los Angeles, California (1906-1908), William J. Seymour, Editor. Foley, AL: Together in the Harvest Publications, 1997.

Have you ever wondered what the participants at the Azusa Street revival were thinking? Would you like to read their testimonies and discover for yourself what this interracial revival which promoted a restoration of Biblical spiritual gifts was all about?

You can do just that with The Azusa Street Papers, a reproduction of the tabloid papers used to herald the events of the phenomenal Azusa Street revival during its first two years (1906-1908). In this high quality reprint of 13 issues of The Apostolic Faith, you’ll read the same stories that early Pentecostals read one hundred years ago. As a result of the reports in The Apostolic Faith an amazing thing happened. Readers became hungry for the same Pentecostal experience. They believed that the promise Jesus made to his followers 1900 years earlier was also for them. Continue reading

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Free Azusa Street photos on Flickr

[splashcast JWJV4127TN FJVE2903HV]
SplashCast with Flickr photos
Produced by iFPHC

It was an unlikely location for an event that would change the face of Christianity.

In the summer of 1906, revival erupted in the newly-formed congregation meeting at the small, run-down Apostolic Faith Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Critics attacked the congregation because its mild-mannered black Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour, preached racial reconciliation and the restoration of Biblical spiritual gifts. The Azusa Street revival, as it became known, soon became a local sensation, then attracted thousands of curiosity seekers and pilgrims from around the world. The spiritual intensity of the revival was red hot for over three years, making Azusa Street one of the most significant Pentecostal centers in the early 20th century. One hundred years later, the Pentecostal and charismatic movements — broadly construed — claimed over a half billion adherents, the second largest grouping within Christianity after the Catholic Church.

With the Pentecostal movement’s explosive growth came recognition of the Azusa Street revival as one of the most important events in recent Christian history.

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center holds one of the largest collections of Azusa Street-related materials. Our vault protects treasures such as a complete set of The Apostolic Faith, the newspaper published by the Azusa Street mission. We also hold a significant collection of rare photographs of the Azusa Street mission, William Seymour, and other early revival leaders.

We keep these valuable Azusa Street materials under lock and key, but — to mix metaphors — we don’t want to hide our light under a bushel! We have digitized some of our best photos and are making them available for free on Flickr. Not only can you view these photos, you can paste our Azusa slideshow into your own blog or website, or use them in a PowerPoint sermon or classroom lecture.

These photographs remain the intellectual property of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. The free photos on Flickr contain an unobtrusive watermark (iFPHC.org). If you use the photos, our only requirements are that you leave the watermark on the image and include the following line in your website, PowerPoint, or other publication: “Image used with permission of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (iFPHC.org).” Publication-quality images without the watermark are available for purchase from the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Would you like to read the exciting news of the Azusa Street revival as it was originally published in The Apostolic Faith newspaper? We also have digitized The Apostolic Faith, which is included on the following research DVD for sale:
Assemblies of God Publications: Pre-WWII

To view the photoset of the Azusa Street at Flickr click on the link below:
Flickr Photoset

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Posted by Darrin Rodgers

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Review: Java and Justice

Java and Justice

Java and Justice: Journeys in Pentecostal Missions Education, edited by B. Brenneman, W. R. Brookman, and N. Muhovich. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, 2006.

Sponsored by the Department of Intercultural Studies and Languages at North Central University, this handy volume presents foundational issues in educating students for missions in the 21st century by presenting 19 essays by 17 contributors.

Essays in this volume include:

  • The shame and the glory of being a Pentecostal: a personal journey / Bob Brenneman
  • A legacy of Pentecostal missions education at North Central University: 1936-2006 / Dan Notely
  • Story telling: a Biblical model of missions education / Nan J. Muhovich
  • Planting ethnic churches in urban America / Richard and Farella Shaka
  • Prepared in the fire: Argentine revival and missionary training / Rocky Grams
  • The explosion of spiritual gifts and fervor in Celtic missions / Carolyn Tennant
  • Spirit, mission, and the religions: toward a p(new)matological/Pentecostal theology of religions / Amos Yong
  • Biblical justice: caring for the poor and oppressed / Nan Muhovich
  • Ministry in hostile areas / Mark Hausfeld
  • The veil worn and the veil torn: reflections from the inside / Myra Crane
  • Sexual slavery and the gospel / Beth Grant
  • From Noah to Saddam: the story of the Kurds / Bob Brenneman Continue reading

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