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"Express Worship" ~ Early Service (8-9 am) begins April 19

History of the Assemblies of God Movement

The Pentecostal Movement is a religious phenomenon that has transformed the face of Christianity since its Twentieth Century advent at Charles Parham's Bible school in Topeka, Kansas. 

by William W. Menzies

Topeka Parham

Parham had instructed his students to carefully study Acts Chapter 2, believing that speaking in tongues was the evidence of Spirit baptism. After careful examination of the Scriptures, Agnes Ozman was baptized with the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues on January 1, 1901. The rediscovery of the Pentecostal experience shortly led to converts and seekers around America.

Parham allowed a young black Holiness preacher named William Seymour to sit in the doorway of the meetings so he could hear the Pentecostal teachings.

Charles Parham's Bible school in Topeka, Kansas Charles Parham
William Seymour Seymour From there, the unknown and humble Seymour, a son of slaves, was invited to Los Angeles to assist a black pastor, Julia Hutchins, in her Holiness mission. He assumed the Holiness church could hardly wait to hear his message that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit - though he himself had not yet spoken in tongues. He was wrong. In fact, he soon found himself locked out of the church. But the message burned in his soul. He found an audience in the Edward Lee home where he was staying, and then at Richard and Ruth Asberry's home at 214 North Bonnie Brae Street.
There, integrated congregations prayed for revival and they learned of speaking in tongues from Seymour. On April 9, as Seymour was about to leave the Lee home for the Asberry house, Edward Lee engaged him in a conversation about speaking in tongues. Afterward, he and Seymour prayed and Lee received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. That news shot the levels of faith and excitement to new highs over at North Bonnie Brae Street. Soon, several in the Bible study spoke in tongues. Bigger crowds than ever gathered in the Asberry's home. The house could hardly handle all the people. In fact there were so many on one occasion that the porch caved in. That's when finding a bigger and safer building became necessary. The building at 312 Azusa Street soon had new tenants. Within a week, a pulpit, an altar, and benches-all makeshift, graced what the Times called the "tumbledown shack." Asberry House The Asberry house
Azusa Street

The Azusa Street Church in Los Angeles, California (Circa 1908).

 


Next: The Azusa Street Revival (1906 - 1913)  -->

 
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