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AG History: 1914-1950. The Early Years: 1914-1927 Development: 1927-1949. The Early Years 1914-1926. A Call to Gather. E.M. Bell called for a special convention in the Word and Witness publication:

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Ag history 1914 1950

AG History: 1914-1950

The Early Years: 1914-1927

Development: 1927-1949

The early years 1914 1926
The Early Years1914-1926

A call to gather
A Call to Gather

  • E.M. Bell called for a special convention in the Word and Witness publication:

  • “This call is to all Churches of God in Christ, to all Pentecostal or Apostolic Faith Assemblies who desire with united purpose to cooperate in love and peace to push the interests of the kingdom of God everywhere. This is, however, only for saints who believe in the baptism with the Holy Ghost with signs following.” (1913)

Reasons for the convention
Reasons for the Convention

  • The following reasons were published in the Word and Witness for the meeting:

    • Unity among the churches

    • Conservation of the work at home and on foreign fields

    • Better support for missionaries

    • Chartering with a legal name

    • Bible school training for ministers

The first general council august 1914
The First General CouncilAugust 1914

  • Ministers and Missionaries were half the delegates

  • First 4 days dedicated to prayer and fellowship

  • Mack Pinson’s Keynote Sermon: “The Finished Work of Christ”

  • General Council of the Assemblies of God

  • Voluntary Cooperation

Two restrictions for marriage
Two Restrictions for Marriage

  • Divorce:

    • Disapproved except for adultery

    • Divorced person should remain single

    • No credential for anyone with two living spouses

  • Women in Ministry

    • Ordained only as Evangelists and Missionaries

    • Not to be ordained as pastors (until 1935)

Ag first two leaders
AG First Two Leaders

  • E. N. Bell, General Superintendent (1914; 1920-1923)

  • Well-educated Baptist background, tall and 22 years older than Flower. Just began his first pastorate in Arkansas. Edited Word and Witness. Ideas about women in ministry strong influence. Supported tongues as initial evidence. He was a shaper of AG doctrine in its formative stages.

Two leaders con t
Two Leaders (con’t)

  • J Roswell Flower, General Secretary (1914 -1916) (Executive until 1959)

  • Immigrant from Canada. No formal training for ministry. Before his call, he read law. Founder of the Pentecostal Evangel, along with his wife. Strong upholder of AG doctrines.

General superintendent
General Superintendent

  • E. N. Bell 1914 and 1920-1923

  • Arch P. Collins 1914-1915

    • Baptized in Spirit while pastoring a Baptist Church

  • John W. Welch 1915

    • Protector and Shaper of AG beliefs

    • Problems of the nature of the Godhead

The new issue 1913 1916
The New Issue1913-1916

  • Overemphasis of Jesus Christ as Savior, Healer, Baptizer, soon coming King.

  • Jesus Only

  • Re-baptizing believers in Jesus name only (Acts 2:38)

  • 1916 General Council statement against “the new move of God”/Oneness

  • Split: ¼ leave AG


  • 1918 General Council issue over Tongues as the Initial Physical Evidence of Spirit Baptism

  • Reaffirmed that tongues for the AG was “our distinctive testimony” (Aug 1914)


  • 1915 General Council officially affirmed the evangelization of the heathen by NT methods.

  • 1919 Missionary Department established with J Roswell Flower-funds to 206 Foreign Missionaries

  • John Welch in 1920: “The General Council of the Assemblies of God was never meant to be an institution; it is just a missionary agency.”

  • HQ: Findlay, Ohio- St. Louis- Springfield (1918)

2 nd general council november 1914
2nd General CouncilNovember 1914

  • Meeting at the Stone Church in Chicago

  • "As a Council, ... we commit ourselves and the Movement to Him for the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen."

  • Why? Jesus is coming

What grew the assemblies of god
What Grew The Assemblies of God?

  • Henry C. Ball– Reaching the Spanish-speakers

  • Ethel and Marcus Musick- She preached, he supported

  • Robert and Mary Craig- sobering drunks and training leaders

  • Evangelist: Aimee Semple McPherson- The Queen of the Evangelists

Challenges for missions
Challenges for Missions

  • 1914-1927 were the most unstable years for AG missions.

  • Many early GC missionaries dropped out because of difficulties

  • Age, illness, poorly trained and prepared, hardships on the field and some unable to work under man-made guidelines/policy

Ag missiology
AG Missiology

  • The Key: Evangelizing in Light of Jesus Soon Return

  • Alice E. Luce, India: First significant AG missiologist. She wrote “New Testament Methods” influenced by Roland Allen’s Book: Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?

    • To the 3-Self Formula, Luce added:

      Signs and Wonders

Early missionary characteristics
Early Missionary Characteristics

  • Aim: Establish 3-Self Churches that could reproduce themselves

  • Lillian Thrasher: compassion, courage, and good business sense

  • Ivan Voronaeff: sacrifice

  • W.E. Simpson: Martyr for China/Tibet

  • Victor Plymore: Paid with his family

1900 1921 summary decisions that framed ag missions
1900-1921: Summary Decisions that Framed AG Missions

  • April 1914: Reason for Being: Missions

  • Nov. 1914: Commitment to greatest world evangelism

  • 1915: New Testament Methods

  • 1917: First Mission’s Committee

  • 1919: Foreign Mission’s Department Formed

  • 1920: Survey of the Fields

  • 1921: Alice Luce: Pauline Methodology

1900 1921 lessons learned
1900-1921: Lessons Learned

  • Spirit baptism is empowerment to bear witness to the ends of the earth.

  • Understanding that not all practices and trends are are or equally effective. The guidance of the Spirit and Structure.

  • Deep commitment to the Bible. “Anything goes in the name of the Spirit” is not biblical.

  • Balance of the Spirit and the Word.

  • 1921 General Council stated the objective of missions was to produce indigenous churches, but it took a long time to work out.

Indigenous churches
Indigenous Churches

  • 1914: there were 40 AG missionaries, years of instability

  • 1920-1924: missionary numbers—221

  • First indigenous churches and national bodies began to appear in the 1930s: El Salvador and then Burkina Faso (1934)

  • Problems with missionaries and old ways and resistance from US churches.

Compassion charitable work
Compassion/ Charitable Work

  • 1920: J Roswell Flower, first mission’s secretary wrote about Pentecostal Standard: Preaching as priority, with no time for schools, hospitals, etc.– the latter were distractions.

  • However, in real life on the field compassion and proclamation went together.

Dislike of denominationalism
Dislike of Denominationalism

  • Pentecostals wanted to be Spirit-led, not man-led.

  • Distrust of man-made organizations.

  • Slow change of attitude and understanding of reality.

  • “Cooperative Fellowship” or “The Fellowship” preferred.


  • Ernest S. Williams elected Superintendent in 1929 and served 20 years.

  • During this period:

    • The Home Missions and Education Departments were created: 1937 Busy Bee- Buddy Barrel

    • Bible Institutes multiplied

    • Gospel Publishing House increased publications

    • Evangelicals began to recognize Pentecostals

    • Women were ordained as pastors


  • Initially, WWII was not a worry– Jesus was coming soon.

  • In 1941, Noel Perkin reported that 104 missionaries had reached field– only 4 failed.

  • 1941: Mission’s Dept offered to pay for missionaries in China, Hong Kong and Philippines to come home, but too late.

  • New Fields opened after the war

Strategic planning
Strategic Planning

  • Rapid Changes between 1943 and 1959

  • Continued development of Mission’s Department and strengthening of the role of the department– not appreciated by independent-minded missionaries

  • By 1959, AG Missions was well-recognized by other agencies.

  • 1943 Mission’s Conference


  • Develop positions of field secretaries

  • Add 500 new missionaries

  • Develop an advisory groups of pastors and laymen

  • Provide missionaries with better training

  • Promote missions better in US

  • Raise $5 million for missions.

Ag history 1950 s and beyond

AG History 1950’s and Beyond

Passingthe Baton


  • New Order of the Latter Rain 1949

  • Healing Controversies

A new generation for new era
A New Generation for New Era

  • Thomas Zimmerman (1912-1991) Elected one of 4 Assisstant General Superintendents in 1953 and General Superintendent in 1959. “Let us never get the idea tat God has brought us to our present plateau to terminate progress– His command is, ‘Go Forward.” (1968)

  • Philip Hogan, Executive Director of DFM in 1959

Decade of harvest
Decade of Harvest

  • G. Raymond Carlson: 1990s Decade of Harvest

  • Members and Adherents from 16 million to 30 million

  • Bible Schools increased by 43%

  • Total National Ministers increased 48%

The charismatic movement
The Charismatic Movement

  • May 1960, Episcopal Priest Dennis Bennett baptized in the Spirit and spoke with other tongues.

  • Revival within the Catholic Church. Feb. 1967 at Duquesne University: 30 students and 2 theologians. Influence by David Wilkerson’s Cross and the Switchblade.

  • David du Plessis (1905-1987): Pentecostal Ambassador

  • Condemnation of the World Council of Churches

Key missionaries
Key Missionaries

  • Melvin Hodges (1909-1988): The Indigenous Church

  • J. W. Tucker: Assembly of God Martyr

Mission s developments
Mission’s Developments

  • Light For the Lost

  • Chaplaincy

  • Prison Ministry

  • Speed the Light

  • BGMC

Faith promise
Faith Promise

  • Local Church Mission’s Convention

  • Establish a regular income for missions

  • Getting people committed and involved

  • J Philip Hogan: “I have been selling missions to churches on a money-back guarantee for many years… If they set aside a portion for the lost abroad, God will help them in the local church” (1963).

Missionary life became more complex
Missionary Life Became More Complex

  • Promotional duties

  • Financial pressures

  • Hostility and danger

  • Qualifications


  • Jim and Tammy Bakker 1987

  • Jimmy Swaggart 1988


  • 1980’s change in the church around the world– partners in God’s work

  • Morris O. Williams, The Indigenous Church and the Missionary (1978)

Mission s leaders
Mission’s Leaders

  • Loren Tripplett (1989-1997): stressed the Spirit’s supernatural role in calling people to enter the last days’ harvest in expectation of Christ’s return.

  • The Fall of the Soviet Union opened up many fields previously closed, increasing urgency of the task

  • AGWM still thinking in terms of geography, not people groups.

  • John Bueno (1997-2012): Partnership

Mission s core our four pillars
Mission’s CoreOur Four Pillars

  • The widest possible evangelism (REACHING)

  • Establishment of NT churches (PLANTING)

  • Training national beleivers (TEACHING)

  • Showing the Compassion of Jesus to the suffering (TOUCHING)

Unreached people s
Unreached People’s

  • “The ends of the earth” Acts 1:8

  • Lack of strategy

  • Partnership may have eroded pioneering

  • Hostility

  • Center for Ministry to Muslims/ Global Initiative

  • International Ministry Department and Compassion