the Holy spirit
The 100th Anniversary of Pentecost
By Gordon Robertson
The 700 Club
We recently experienced
the 100th anniversary of the day when the church once again
discovered the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In October, 1900, in Topeka, Kansas, a small band of believers
led by Charles Parham started Bethel Bible School. The school
"invited all ministers and Christians who were willing to
forsake all, sell what they had, give it away, and enter
the school for study and prayer, where all of us together
might trust God for food, fuel, rent and clothing." No one
paid tuition or board and they all wanted to be equipped
to go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel of the
Kingdom as a witness to every nation. The only textbook
was the Bible. Their concerted purpose was to learn the
Bible not just in their heads but to have each thing in
the Scriptures wrought out in their hearts.
As they searched the scriptures, they came up with one great
problem - what about the second chapter of Acts? In December,
1900, Parham sent his students at work to diligently search
the scriptures for the Biblical evidence of the baptism
in the Holy Spirit. They all came back with the same answer
- when the baptism in the Holy Spirit came to the early
disciples, the indisputable proof on each occasion was that
they spoke with other tongues.
Armed with this head knowledge, they now sought to have
it worked out in their own hearts. Parham called a watch
night service on December 31, 1900. He assembled about 75
people including the 40 students. One of the students, Agnes
N. Ozman asked that hands might be laid upon her to receive
the Holy Spirit since she desired to go to foreign lands
as a missionary. According to Parham, after midnight on
January 1, 1901, he laid hands upon her and:
had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory
fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face,
and she began speaking in the Chinese language, and was
unable to speak English for three days. When she tried to
write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote
the Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers
printed at that time."
They continued the prayer meeting for two more nights and
three days. According to Parham, "We all got past any begging
or pleading; we knew the blessing was ours." The rest, as
they say, is history.
Within 10 years, that tiny prayer meeting in Topeka spread
out far and wide to start the Azusa Street revival under
William J. Seymour and the healing ministries of John G.
Lake and F. F. Bosworth. That meeting ultimately gave birth
as well to the Assemblies of God, the Church of God, the
Church of God in Christ, and the Pentecostal Assemblies
of the World. Thousands of missionaries went out and Pentecostal
churches sprung up in Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, England,
Scotland, France, Holland, Denmark, Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador,
Venezuela, Chile, Liberia, Nigeria, the Congo, Ivory Coast,
South Africa, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines,
Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and even China. When Miss
Nettie Moomau, a missionary to China, heard about the Azusa
Street revival, she left China to go to visit Azusa in October
of 1906. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and returned
to China to start a great healing ministry. She eventually
planted churches in Lo Pau, Shanghai, Michow, Toachow, Canton,
Yunnan, Siimao, Kansu, Yunnanfu, and Beijing.
All of this was accomplished in 10 years without any formal
organization and in spite of the obvious limitations on
communication and travel at the turn of the century. These
people seemed to have no hesitation to leave everything
behind to spread the message that God wanted to pour out
His Spirit on all flesh - all nations - Jews and Greeks,
slaves and free, male and female, rich and poor - everyone
can come and be filled.
Perhaps at the dawn of a new century, and a new millennium,
all Christians could use a new Pentecost, where we get past
all begging and pleading and know that the blessing is ours
to take to the nations.
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