Tag Archives: World War II

During WWII, Assemblies of God Gave Spanish New Testaments to Military Personnel in Central and South America

Spanish NT_1400

This illustration accompanied the May 1, 1943 Pentecostal Evangel article about Spanish new testaments. The caption read, “Our Good Neighbor Policy.”

This Week in AG History — May 1, 1943

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 30 April 2020

World War II conjures up theaters of battle in Europe, Africa, and Asia, but Latin America also served a strategic role. Following the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, most of Latin America either severed relations with the Axis powers or declared war on them. The Panama Canal, which provided a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was vital to both commerce and defense and Spanish-speaking soldiers found themselves fighting alongside English- and French-speaking comrades.

The Assemblies of God sought to reach out to servicemen through the distribution of literature. The May 1, 1943, Pentecostal Evangel, reported that the Home Missions Department, under direction of Fred Vogler, had printed 3,245,000 copies of Reveille, a paper specifically designed for servicemen, at a cost of approximately $24,000.

The article also makes reference to the response of the Assemblies of God young people, known as Christ’s Ambassadors, to a request in the Oct. 17, 1942, Evangel for $7,500 to provide copies of the New Testament to Merchant Mariners, United States civilian mariners who served to deliver military personnel and materials. The Merchant Mariners died at a rate of 1 in 26, the highest rate of casualty of any service in World War II. The response of the Christ’s Ambassadors exceeded the request by $2,500, which was used to place New Testaments in waterproof containers as part of standard equipment in lifeboats and rafts of naval vessels and military airplanes.

Much of this effort was led by Harry Jaeger, a 1937 graduate of Glad Tidings Bible Institute (later Bethany University) and Assemblies of God evangelist who had a burden to reach servicemen. Through his affiliation with the American Bible Society, he began a campaign to provide Scriptures to military personnel.

As pleased as Jaeger was with the response of the Assemblies of God to provide military Bibles in English, the Florida-based evangelist saw another need — Spanish Bibles were not available for soldiers serving from Central and South America. In response, the May 1, 1943, Evangel laid out the proposition before the Assemblies of God constituency to provide 250,000 Spanish New Testaments to South and Central American military personnel with an additional 50,000 testaments to be delivered to Guatemalan missionary John L. Franklin, at the cost of $45,000.

The request for financial donations ended with a plea for prayer: “Let us definitely ask the Lord that He will open hearts to receive His Word, and that as a result of this distribution there will be many souls in heaven who otherwise might not be there. And in addition to praying, ‘whatsoever He saith to you, do it.’” Funds were to be sent to the Home Missions Department designated as “Spanish Service Testament Fund.”

As a result of his work and creative vision in distributing literature to servicemen, Jaeger was invited to move his operation from Tampa, Florida, to Springfield just a few months after this article was published. In early 1944, the Servicemen’s Department, under Jaeger’s direction, was established within the Home Missions Division. This was the beginning of what is now a part of the Chaplaincy Department of U.S. Missions of the Assemblies of God. The Assemblies of God continues to be one of the largest evangelical distributors of discipleship literature printed in the Spanish language.

Read the article, “A Great Opportunity,” on page 1 of the May 1, 1943, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Need of Spiritual Mothers” by Alice Luce

• “Because of Covetousness” by Stanley Frodsham

• “Recollections of a Pioneer Pentecostal Preacher” by Walter J. Higgins

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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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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Melvin Hodges: A Pentecostal Response to War and Racism

HodgesThis Week in AG History — September 23, 1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

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

• “V Day,” by Lester Sumrall

• “Family Worship,” by Walter Scott

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: iFPHC.org

 

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Otto Klink: From Atheism and Socialism to Assemblies of God Evangelist

KlinkThis Week in AG History — July 18, 1931

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 18 July 2019

Otto J. Klink (1888-1955) was a German-born American Pentecostal evangelist who traveled the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, preaching salvation through Jesus Christ and warning his listeners about the dangers of socialism, atheism, and modernism.

Born in Hersfeld, Germany, he was educated in Berlin, where he learned French, Latin, and Greek, alongside his native German. His family were members of the Lutheran church; however, in 1905, 17-year-old Otto attended a Holiness tent meeting. Kneeling in the sawdust, he claimed God’s promise of salvation and felt a distinct call to enter the ministry.

Klink was willing to serve God but did not want to be associated with the Holiness people. He decided to study for the Lutheran ministry and entered the University of Berlin, where he studied the works of Marx, Engels, and La Salle. He came to believe that salvation was achieved by good character and social action — particularly through elevating the lot of the poor and underprivileged.

One night while attending a Socialist political gathering, he made a speech that was interpreted as encouraging rebellion against the German Crown Prince for his mistreatment of the working class. He was arrested and sentenced to two months in prison. Upon completion of his prison term, he found that his name had been removed from the University of Berlin attendance list. Klink interpreted these events as evidence that his belief in God had failed him. He made the intentional decision to embrace an atheistic worldview.

Finding jobs difficult to get in Germany due to his prison record, he asked his father for money to sail to America. Arriving in 1909, he began writing for a German language newspaper in New York City. He later recounted how he became involved with an anarchist society in New York City called The Red Mask, and that he was part of a plot to assassinate President William Taft at Bronx Park. His failure to carry out the plot led to his dismissal from the society. He returned to Germany, where through the assistance of influential friends he was able to secure a position in the office of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Due to political unrest in Germany, Klink sought to return to the United States. He did so just three months before World War I broke out in Europe in 1914. In 1917 he married a young Pentecostal girl named Ida Ball. Ida prayed earnestly for her new husband to receive Christ and to be healed of the anger and bitterness within him toward God. On the last night of a 10-day revival meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, with evangelist Paul Barth, Klink felt God say to him that this was his last chance. He prayed through to salvation that night and, in 1921, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He received ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God in 1923.

In the 1930s, Klink began to speak out strongly against the policies of the Nazi Party in Germany. Klink ministered alongside Myer Pearlman, the Jewish Assemblies of God Bible teacher and author, at the 1937 Wisconsin District camp meeting. Klink spoke of a great persecution of the Jewish people in Germany and prophesied disaster for Adolph Hitler if he continued his course of action.

Klink wrote several booklets, including, Why I Am Not An Atheist, and Why I Am Not A Modernist, along with a monthly column in the C.A. (Christ’s Ambassadors) Herald called “Otto-graphs” — a collection of world news and events of interest to young readers. He also authored several featured articles in the Pentecostal Evangel. His article in the July 18, 1931, issue, “The Language of the Blood of Christ,” is a prime example of his use of historical illustrations and world events to provide a deeper understanding of the gospel message of salvation.

For more than 30 years, Otto and Ida Klink traveled the country in evangelistic meetings, making their home in the Miami, Florida, area where Mrs. Klink also began a children’s home that provided care for up to 40 children. The Klinks moved to California in 1951 and opened a gospel supply house which they operated until his death in 1955.

At the height of his preaching ministry, an article published in the Enid (Oklahoma) Gospel Tabernacle newspaper described the former employee of the German Kaiser as having “one of the most powerful, soul-gripping messages ever delivered from an American pulpit — a combination of fire and level headedness — whirlwind oratory and calm common sense that has made him an outstanding figure in American evangelism.”

Read Otto Klink’s article, “The Language of the Blood of Christ,” on page 1 of the July 18, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Freedom From the Dominion of Sin,” by E.S. Williams

• “How I Received the Baptism,” by H.C. Ball

• “Proving God as Healer,” by Mattie Kerr

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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Wesley Steelberg’s Cautionary Note on Citizenship and Faith: A Pentecostal Voice from 1941

steelbergThis Week in AG History — July 4, 1942

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 4 July 2018

It was July of 1941, months before the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the United States into the Second World War. Conflict was raging across Europe and Asia, and competing messages of nationalism flooded the airwaves and the consciousness of Americans.

How should Assemblies of God young people in the United States view their nation in relation to both their faith and other countries?

National Youth Director Wesley Steelberg, speaking at the National Young People’s Conference on July 4, 1941, addressed this pressing issue. In a message titled “The Stars and Stripes of Calvary,” Steelberg encouraged young people to place their primary allegiance in Christ. He said, “First of all we belong to the Lord. We are citizens of heaven.”

Should Christians pledge allegiance to their nation and its symbols? According to Steelberg, adoption of national symbols is “a custom probably almost as old as humanity.” He acknowledged that Americans are proud of their flag: “We salute it, and we pledge allegiance to it. We raise it as an ensign of liberty, and we rejoice in what it represents.” In the face of the march of totalitarianism, Steelberg stated, “we hold more precious and valuable our liberty and freedom.”

However, he warned, “we have a responsibility to be more than Americans. We are called to be Christian Americans.” As Christian Americans, Steelberg encouraged every Assemblies of God young person to metaphorically wave his or her own flag, reflecting allegiance to the heavenly king. According to Steelberg, every Christian should declare, “Christ is my standard, my banner of love!”

Read Wesley Steelberg’s sermon, “The Stars and Stripes of Calvary,” which was published on pages 1, 4 and 5 in the July 4, 1942, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Shelter in Tribulation Days,” by Stanley H. Frodsham

• “Revival in Norway,” by Mrs. A. R. Gesswein

• “How to Help Your Pastor,” by Theodore Cuyler

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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Waiting for Christ’s Return: A Warning from 1941 about Biblical Prophecy

prophecy-chart

Assemblies of God evangelist Ivan D. Rayborn and his prophecy chart, circa 1950s.

This Week in AG History — December 13, 1941

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on PE-News, 8 December 2016

On the first Sunday after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Assemblies of God church members opened their weekly magazine, the Pentecostal Evangel, to an article by Iowa evangelist (and later Kansas City pastor), William E. Long, asking them, “Can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

Long laments that when he was younger he possessed more Bible knowledge than he did in later years. When he started in ministry he “knew” the identity of the Antichrist and could easily ascertain the meaning of the 144,000 of Revelation 14 and the Man-child of Revelation 12. He recalled the sermons he had heard proffering various identities of the Beast of Revelation, among whom were Kaiser Bill, Woodrow Wilson, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Benito Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler.

Long also recollects the fear of a dear old saint greatly disturbed about a sticker on the back of his car displaying a Blue Eagle (the symbol of President Roosevelt’s “National Recovery Administration”). She met him in front of the church in tears and, pointing to his sticker, exclaimed, “Oh, Brother Long, you have taken the Mark of the Beast!”

Looking back as an older, more experienced preacher, Long had good advice for the Evangel readers of 1941 and for Pentecostal believers today. He cautions against two extremes in handling biblical prophecy. The first being that we would be “carried away with every foolish idea that blows our way.” As Pentecostals we are anxious to see the prophecies of the Bible fulfilled and, in our enthusiasm, can fall prey to absurd and short-sighted teachings.

The second extreme is that these “wild, weird ideas” would lead to a reluctance to preach prophetic sermons. Neglecting biblical prophecy is just as alarming as the first extreme, according to Long. He pleads, “We must keep preaching the second coming of the Lord and not quit just because some have read into the Bible prophecies things that were not there.”

After World War I, the “war to end all wars,” Long states that many American preachers have “stood before large audiences and said they wouldn’t insult their audience by believing there would be any more wars.” Saying we have “beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks,” these preachers forgot Jesus said that right up until the time of the end “there shall be wars, and rumors of wars.” Having heard their president declare war on Japan that very week, his words took on a somber tone for Evangel readers.

Long also points to Jesus’ proclamation that the Jews “shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9) and reminds his readers that “in America today there are clubs and beaches and areas with signs which say, “For Gentiles Only.” Even though Long and the rest of the western world did not yet know the fullness of the atrocities of the Jewish Holocaust happening at that very moment, he warns this would be a sign of the nearness of Christ’s return.

He also mentions that Pentecostals should learn from the Jews who watch for the appearance of Messiah and who await the fulfillment of “the return of the Jews to their own land,” a reference to the Zionist movement for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. “The Jews are looking for Him and praying that Messiah will come. But let us ask ourselves this question: are we really anxious for Jesus Christ to return? We in America are not so anxious to have Him come. We have good jobs, we live in luxury, we have comfortable homes, we still enjoy peace.”

Long ends his exhortation to remember the urgency of Christ’s second coming with an application from His first coming. He hearkens back to Luke chapter two and Simeon, a man who lived his entire life longing to see Jesus, yet who only saw the Lord for a few short moments. “Why lament because we did not have the privilege of knowing Jesus as the shepherds did, and Simeon, and John? We are going to be in His presence forever! … My prayer is ‘Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!’ Is that your prayer, too?”

Read Long’s article, “Signs of the Times,” on pages 2 and 3 of the Dec. 13, 1941, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Are You a Fruit-Bearing or a Withered Branch,” by Clara A. Grace

* “A Scientist Meets the God of Science,” by James R. Graham, Jr.

* “News from our School and Orphanage in Syria”

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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Assemblies of God Chaplains: Serving United States Men and Women in Uniform Since 1941

this-week-military

Assemblies of God chaplain A. C. Lane (standing on far left), with American servicemen in New Guinea during World War II.

This Week in AG History — November 11, 1944

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on PE-News, 10 November 2016

When President Woodrow Wilson declared the United States’ first observation of Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, he envisioned a world that would “work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations.” However, history would show that the world was not yet done with international war. Twenty-five years after that first declaration, the Pentecostal Evangel reported on Nov. 11, 1944, that nearly 12,000,000 men had taken up arms and were serving their country in war-time military service. The Assemblies of God provided several ministry avenues to these servicemen but one of the most critical was to “give our prayers and our wholehearted support to those who are in by far the most strategic position to sustain them — the United States chaplains.”

As early as 1917, the Assemblies of God began work among servicemen when a motion by Raymond T. Richey, of Houston, Texas, to “adopt every available means consistent with Scriptural teaching and example to co-operate with every approved agency for revivals among our soldiers” was approved by the General Council.

However, at the 1941 General Council in Minneapolis, which took as its theme “Our Place in the Present World Crises,” the need became apparent that a more complete plan for providing ministry to servicemen was needed. This plan came to include quarterly publications for military personnel, service centers near military bases and the creation of resources for local churches to minister to soldiers. The Assemblies of God also felt the need to provide some of its ministers as U.S. Military Chaplains.

The qualifications for chaplains were very high. In December of 1941, Army Regulation 605-30 stated that an applicant must be “a male U.S. citizen, between the ages of 23 and 34, regularly ordained and in good standing with an organization which holds an apportionment of chaplain appointments, a graduate of both 4-year college and 3-year theological seminary, and have 3 years of ministerial experience.”

Many ministers from the Assemblies of God, as well as other denominations, wished to serve their country as chaplains but found the educational requirements prohibitive. Due to the overwhelming need, educational and experiential requirements were at times waived or relaxed until the end of the crises. The first Assemblies of God Chaplain was Clarence P. Smales, who received his commission in June of 1941. During World War II, 34 Assemblies of God ministers left their churches, homes, and families to serve their country in providing spiritual care for military personnel. Of these, two were awarded the Purple Heart and three the Bronze Star.

The Servicemen’s Department of the Assemblies of God (created in 1944) provided these chaplains with needed equipment not provided by other sources, such as public address systems, short wave radios, Bibles, and communion sets.

In the Nov. 11, 1944, article, Hard But Glorious, Assemblies of God Navy Chaplain Joseph Gerhart tells of a seaman needing an immediate removal of an appendix. The operation was set to be carried out on the dining room table, and the roughness of the sea added to the peril. The ship’s doctor had not performed an operation for several years, adding to the young man’s apprehension. The sailor had been attending Chaplain Gerhart’s services but did not come from a church that believed in divine healing. Gerhart reports that he “prayed that God would heal his body … the boy began to improve immediately and the doctor came in after a while and said that the operation would not be necessary.” The boy was back on his feet the next day, much relieved at foregoing the surgery.

On this 25th anniversary of Armistice Day (renamed Veterans Day in 1954) the Evangel editors called their readers to assist these chaplains by use of the most powerful weapon the church has in its arsenal: prayer. “We are sure you feel with us the urgent necessity of sparing no effort — for the reward is great! We must not let them down! … PRAY!”

Read the full article “Hard But Glorious” on page 9 of the Nov. 11, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Apostolic Message, Method and Might,” by H. B. Garlock

* “That Blessed Hope,” by D. A. Clark

* “A Trophy of God’s Grace,” by D. W. Murphy, missionary to North India

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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