Assemblies of God History

You may be wondering where we came from, and you’ll be glad to know we’ve been around for awhile. The Assemblies of God has its roots in a religious revival that began in the late 1800’s and swept into this century with widespread repetition of biblical spiritual experiences.

During that time, many Christians in the United States and other parts of the world began to feel a need for more of God’s power operating in their lives. Individually and in groups, they began earnestly to pray and to seek to conform their commitments and experiences to what they believed was the New Testament pattern.

In response, the Holy Spirit came on large numbers of them, prompting a joyous, spontaneous worship and an intense desire to spread the gospel. As in the Bible, in the Book of Acts, this experience called the “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” was universally accompanied by speaking in unknown languages. It was associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost (Acts 2), and participants in the movement were called “Pentecostals.”

The beginning of the modern Pentecostal revival is generally traced to a prayer meeting at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas on January 1, 1901. While many others had spoken in tongues previously during almost every period of spiritual revival, most researchers agree it was here that revipients of the experience, through study of the Scriptures, came to believe speaking in tongues is the biblical evidence for the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The revival spread rapidly to Missouri and Texas, then to California and elsewhere. A 3-year revival meeting at Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles attracted believers from across the nation and overseas and served as a springboard to send the Pentecostal message around the world.

Reports of what was taking place were carried in scores of periodicals and other publications that sprang up with the movement. Spontaneous revivals also began to break out about that time in other parts of the world and on various mission fields.

The Pentecostal aspects of the revival were not generally welcomed by the established churches and participants in the movement soon found themselves outside existing religious bodies. They were forced to seek their own places of worship, and soon there were hundreds of distinctly Pentecostal congregations.

By 1914, many ministers and laymen alike had begun to realize the rapid spread of the revival, and the many evangelistic outreaches it spawned had created a number of practical problems. The need arose for formal recognition of ministers as well as approval and support of missionaries, with full accounting of funds. In addition, there was a growing demand for doctrinal unity, gospel literature, and a permanent Bible training school.

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