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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




The Front Page: Part One

June 9, 2013
 

Little Talks With the Office Editor
J. Roswell Flower — January 8, 1916

J. Roswell Flower, the first editor of the
Pentecostal Evangel, actually wrote the editorial excerpted below while he was serving as “office editor” and J.W. Welch, then chairman of the Assemblies of God, was the editor in name. Throughout its history, the Evangel has experienced growing pains and gone through changes, including several different names. This editorial provides some frank insight into one of those early periods of transition.

Again we greet the Evangel family with the second issue of the Weekly Evangel in its new form, and we hope that you will like this issue as well as you did the first, for already we have heard words of appreciation for what has been accomplished. Praise the Lord! Not one of these papers has gone out without deep prayer to God that He will put into them all that we cannot, and that He will make them a great blessing to every heart.

For two years, the Gospel Publishing House has been meeting and overcoming difficulties. When the Word and Witness was moved from Malvern, Ark., and the Christian Evangel from Plainfield, Ind., to Findlay, Ohio, great difficulties were met. The Gospel Publishing House had to be organized and the editors had to adjust themselves to their new conditions, which they successfully did. Then came the move to St. Louis, Mo., and the installation of a printing plant capable of performing the work of getting out the papers. This meant months of hard labor, working at nights, bending every energy to get moved, settled, machinery installed, etc., and it has only been a short while that we have been able to draw a long breath with the feeling that the plant was beginning to be so organized as to turn out the work in a satisfactory manner.

And then, when we thought most of our troubles were over, we plunged into the enlargement of the Weekly Evangel, the transfer of a multitude of names from the old Word and Witness to the Evangel mail list, and a campaign to get new subscribers. This has all piled in upon us at one time and has been almost more than the office force could stand. We wish every member of the Evangel family could drop in on us here and see what it means to get out a great paper like the Weekly Evangel now is. We feel sure that if you ever sympathized with anyone you would sympathize with us, and you would be more patient and lenient with us in [the] future if we do not respond to your letters just as soon as you think we ought to.



Some Important Questions Answered
E.N. Bell — April 5, 1919

E.N. Bell was the first national leader of the Assemblies of God, then called “chairman” (today the position is called general superintendent). Bell also published one of two official magazines the Assemblies of God possessed when it began in 1914, the
Word and Witness. After the Pentecostal Evangel became the sole official publication of the Movement, Bell twice served as its lead editor.

Over a period of years, Bell answered hundreds of questions in a regular feature of the magazine.

637. What is it to be cleansed or purified?

It is to be washed in the blood of Jesus through faith in Christ and through the operation of the Holy Spirit, to be cleansed from our sins and to have our souls purified by belief in the truth and by trust in Christ. It is purchased for us complete by Christ, and is appropriated instantly by faith, and it gives us the standing of saints (holy ones) before God the moment faith accepts the blood for sins and for sin in our nature. The Spirit of God continues to make us more and more holy in heart and life as we learn the truth and yield ourselves to it and to God. Cleansing comes when we first surrender unconditionally, and holiness is finished in process when the will of God is fully known and fully worked out in our lives. Cleansing from sin is done with the blood by the Spirit; it takes away sin. Holiness is wrought into our character by the Holy Spirit. One takes out and the other puts in.

638. How can we be saved?

By hearing the gospel, by yielding to conviction, by repenting of and turning away from sin to Christ, by accepting Jesus as our personal Saviour, by putting our trust in Jesus and His blood for salvation. ...

639. What is the Baptism with the Holy Ghost?

It is a great experience received after we accept Christ as our Saviour and are cleansed in His blood (Acts 8:5-17), an experience in which God pours out or sheds upon us the Holy Spirit from heaven (Acts 2:33; Titus 3:6; Acts 10:44-45), and as a result our whole body is enveloped or baptized with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16; 1 Cor. 12:13). It is not the same as conversion nor the same as cleansing, but it is for all believers after being saved.

640. What does one receive in the experience called the Baptism with the Holy Ghost?

... We are filled with the Holy Spirit and have power to witness for Christ (Acts 1:8).

In conversion or the New Birth, the Holy Spirit operates upon us, convicts us of sin, and by the Spirit we are quickened or made alive, the Spirit is present and works within us; but the New Testament never calls this the receiving of the Holy Spirit as a gift. But after the apostles’ conversion they were promised the Spirit as a future experience which came at Pentecost (John 14:16-17; Acts 1:5 and 2:1-4), also after the Samaritans believed and were baptized in water they later received the Holy Spirit as a separate experience (Acts 8:5-17). Note that it was in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit that God “poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 10:45) upon the household of Cornelius, that it was there they received “the like gift” (11:17) as did the apostles at Pentecost, that it was then Peter said they “have received the Holy Ghost” (10:47), and that Peter applies the words of Jesus to this experience as “baptized with the Holy Ghost” (11:16), and that in such an experience believers also get “filled with the Holy Ghost” and speak with other tongues (Acts 2:4 and 10:46 and 19:6).


Your Crown
J.W. Welch — November 29, 1919

J.W. Welch served officially as
Pentecostal Evangel editor from October 1915 to May 1918. He was still chairman of the Assemblies of God when he wrote the following.

Dear child of God, will you have a crown of rejoicing in that day because of the souls whom you have won to Jesus, because of your obedience and yieldedness under the hand of God? The element of self-sacrifice is behind all this — the life poured out in surrender to God for the salvation of others.

Are you willing to pay this price? Do you really know the supreme joy that belongeth to the soul winner? Have you the longing, the burden, the compassion for souls? If you have not, you should ask God to take you to His whipping post, and lash you into the responsibility for souls in these last days. They who have this passion and burden for souls have not much time to mourn over their own feelings and pains. They are occupied in His employ, and “when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory which fadeth not away. Likewise ye younger submit yourselves to the elder. Yea all of you be subject one to another; and be clothed with humility.”

Here we see the same principle we began with. It runs through the whole matter. That which is within us, which is contrary to that which is within Him, must be subdued and brought into subjection. Here we fill our side of the wonderful blood covenant God has made for His people. A life is demanded for a life — and God has given on His side the Life of Christ. His side is running over and rounded out; and He is calling for us to give our half of the covenant — a life surrendered, yielded to Him. Thus He will fill up, and round out our side of the transaction.

Some people talk continually about free grace, and speak as though Salvation were a common bargain counter, and declare they never want to be more than a simple beggar at His feet. But O, He wants more than that. He wants us to be co-partners with Him in working out His plan of bringing perishing souls into the fold. He wants our lives to go down in a depth and development of consecration, and abandonment that will be an example to others.

It is essential to successful ministry, to get down on hands and knees and take the place of a beast of burden, bearing one another’s burdens with a tender heart of love that is touched by the infirmities of those round about us. We are never to strut and pomp, because we have been longer on the way, but pour out our lives freely — whether it is a preacher’s life, or a dishwasher’s life, submitting ourselves one to another.

Oh, this is what will make our crown shine the brighter, and bring us into the highest possibilities in that land up yonder. To have a crown, you must go through. ’Tis not a way of self-exaltation, but of self-humiliation.

Determine to go through with Him from this day on, in a deeper, truer way than ever before. Cast yourself at His feet; put your all on the altar. Let Him take you and shape you as He will. Obey His slightest whisper, and He will transform you into His own blessed image, and meet you at last with a crown of Glory, and Life, Rejoicing and Righteousness, which is Incorruptible and shall never pass away.


Editorial Meditations: Humility and Wisdom
J.T. Boddy — May 15, 1920

J.T. Boddy served as editor of the
Pentecostal Evangel for less than two years. Due to Boddy’s illness, for much of that time, Stanley Frodsham (called “office editor”) did a great deal of the work. This editorial is representative of Boddy’s writing.

There are two very important features essential to Christian character, which are not appreciated and coveted as they should be by the average believer. They are humility and wisdom, and failing these we fall very far short of the divine requirements. These graces have a very close affinity for each other, and when we are truly humble we feel our great lack of divine wisdom, and are led earnestly to seek it. Oh, how we need wisdom from on high! This “sense of the eternal fitness of things.” Divine wisdom gives holy tact.

Knowledge is not in itself wisdom, but “wisdom is the adaptation of knowledge to its highest end.”

Many strong, self-reliant natures do not seem to feel their need of these two heavenly graces, as some others do, and even where wisdom in some cases is desired, it is not always sought for from the highest motives.

Now, if this quality of mind and heart holds such a high place in God’s thought, why should it not be more highly prized by us than it is? So much depends upon it. God has promised to “beautify the meek with salvation.” Beautify us with a divine ornamentation — the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Nor can we expect to become possessors of the heavenly wisdom — or any other promised good — in the measure which God designs to bestow it unless we seek in the spirit of meekness; for “only with the lowly is wisdom” (Prov. 12:2) and “the meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His way” (Psa. 25:9).

How deficient in knowledge, wisdom and judgment we are, because of our lack of meekness and humility. Shall we not “let this mind be in us that was also in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no reputation,” and covet the priceless characteristics that adorned the life of Him, who was meekness and wisdom personified, and in whom is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? As with meekness so with wisdom, they both possess an inestimable value, and may be ours without measure for the asking, since “Christ is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.” And “if any lack wisdom (and who does not?) let him ask of God, who giveth liberally to all, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given unto him.”

This wisdom which is from above, James tells us, is “first pure and then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.”

Wisdom, we are assured, is “more precious than rubies; better to get than gold.” Therefore in all thy getting, get wisdom, for it is the principal thing; and it is ours for the asking, and we are without excuse, if we do not receive.

How these two divine qualities would develop in us every other grace and regulate and balance our whole lives, and save us from pride and self-sufficiency. But lacking these things, how much religious ambition and egotism is often manifest through thinking, in many cases, that because we have been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit that we are prepared for anything, and because we are honest, earnest and willing, we must therefore be right; that any thing will do, and we can do it. The wisdom and fitness required, though, [do] not seem to enter into some people’s calculations at all, because of their deplorable lack of humility. This keeps them always from finding their true place in God and though possessing a “zeal without knowledge,” they meddle with things too high for them, and undertake to do that for which they are not adapted, intruding themselves upon the public. They seem devoid of a real reverence, not only for God and sacred things, but for certain callings in life.

And one very sad feature in this connection is that God the Holy Spirit is made responsible for so much emanating from the human, where a lack of humility results in a corresponding lack of discernment, rendering such blind to their own condition and the real situation.

Realizing our great need of God and all the graces and qualities of the Spirit, shall we not go down deeper and deeper in humility and self-abasement before Him and rise in wisdom and divine understanding?

We would commend to all God’s children Andrew Murray’s wonderful little book entitled, Humility, the Beauty of Holiness.

Editor’s note: Murray’s valuable book is still in print and a consistent seller in 2013. It is one of a handful of books that I reread regularly. — K.H.

 

For Christ or Antichrist?
Stanley H. Frodsham — May 21, 1927

Stanley H. Frodsham had a huge impact on the Assemblies of God and guided the
Pentecostal Evangel, in whole or in part, through most of the years 1916-49. He began as assistant to the editor in 1916, the same year he was elected general secretary of the AG, a post he held until 1919. He became the editor in 1921 and continued until 1949, with one brief hiatus.

The editorial excerpted here provides a fascinating look at a prophetic concern about our colleges and society. Things were much different when this was written. Today, Christian activities are increasingly being banished from public institutions of higher learning.

In the May [1927] issue of World’s Work there is the first of a series of articles written by Homer Croy, bearing the title “Atheism Beckons to Our Youth.” It tells of the activities of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism in our schools and colleges, and states that already in eighteen of our best known universities (including the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago — two well-known Baptist institutions) atheist clubs have been formed. In speaking of this to Mr. Croy, Mr. Freeman Hopwood, the secretary of the Atheist Association, said: “The beauty of it is that we have so many atheists in the college faculties in America. But of course they cannot say much about it, as they would be thrown out, and then where would their living come from? But they encourage the students all they can. As the movement grows the professors will become more and more open in their private beliefs.”

But could we expect the young men and women in our colleges to recognize the inspiration and authority of God’s holy Word when a well-known Baptist preacher like Harry Emerson Fosdick, who has a great influence over the college undergraduates in this country, makes a statement in which he declares, “The modern man cannot take in earnest the man-sized representations of God.”

One direct result of the breaking down of the authority of God’s Word is the extraordinary spirit of lawlessness as it is manifested everywhere in the earth today.

When on the one hand we are seeing such strong anti-Christian influences at work on the earth today, praise God, we can see on the other hand much to encourage. God is pouring out His Spirit in these days even as in the first century. A Baptist minister once said to the writer, “This Pentecostal revival seems to be a young man’s movement!” And equally, we are seeing the Spirit of God falling upon the young handmaidens, the “sons and daughters” receiving the Pentecostal enduement alike. Christ is making a bid for the lives of young people, and we are seeing many yielding themselves to Him and becoming active in His service.

Two of the most wonderful romances of missionary work that we have heard of — and it has been our privilege to read a great many missionary biographies — have been, first, the story of the Assiout Orphanage in Egypt, through the Lord’s raising up a young woman, Lillian Trasher, sending her to Egypt as a faith missionary, allowing her to gather together 400 orphans and other needy ones, and after seventeen years of faithful seed sowing, enabling her to see the remarkable revival that she has attempted to describe in the last two issues of the Evangel; and secondly, the story of the two young men who went to the Belgian Congo less than twelve years ago (Burton and Salter), whom God has used to raise up 300 Pentecostal assemblies in that land, and who now have laboring under them no less than 120 native evangelists, every one of whom has been filled with the Spirit.

Are you for Christ or for Antichrist? Absalom had usurped the throne of Israel and David was in exile. The choice was put to Ittai the Gittite whether he would share the glory of the usurper or the shame of the exiled king. He made his choice and said to David, “As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.” Is that your choice?


Sectarianism
Harold H. Moss — August 3, 1929

Early in the Pentecostal Movement, sectarianism — a tendency to divide Christians, elevating one’s own experience above others’ — had to be addressed. In this 1929
Pentecostal Evangel editorial, Acting Editor Harold H. Moss confronts sectarianism head on, making it clear it has no place in the Assemblies of God.

“I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” This text [1 Corinthians 1:12, KJV] reveals the fact that early in the history of the Christian church the evil of sectarianism, one of the greatest dangers in church life, began to creep in.

John came to Jesus in this spirit, saying, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in My name, that can lightly speak evil of Me. For he that is not against us is on our part.” [Mark 9:38-40] The Lord Jesus was more concerned with the spirit of Christianity and getting the lost sinners saved and those bound under Satan free than He was in hair-splitting theological discussions or denominational boundaries.

Sectarianism breeds a patronizing aloofness or an intolerance which says that the one who hasn’t what I have, hasn’t anything. It also fosters [disrespect] of persons.

Peter did not realize his sectarian spirit until he was brought face to face with the fact that although Cornelius had not had the advantage he had, God had accepted him on the basis of his devoted faith and working of righteousness. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him.” [Acts 10:34,35] Peter’s sectarian aloofness yielded to the magnanimous love of Jesus.

Instead of belittling, as we so often do, what of good the other does possess because it fails to measure up to what we may have received, we should, as Peter did, give the simple gospel message and God will witness to the work as He did when He poured out His Spirit in Cornelius’ home.

Has not God given us, as a movement, a blessed revelation of truth, a wonderful Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which has drawn us together in this fellowship? Is not the blessing we have received of God that which God would have us present to those who have not understood or received it? Yes! If as a united body and as individual members we are to accomplish this, it will only be by manifesting brotherly love and laboring for the Master in the spirit of grace, refusing to countenance in ourselves that spirit which would say, “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ,” or would discredit what the other has, no matter how inferior we may feel it to be.

“Truth, like sunlight, cannot be imprisoned by sectarian walls.” “When men, by their attitude, presume to fence a ray of truth with which God has blessed them, and which has not shined upon other of their brethren, immediately darkness overtakes this exclusive circle, and lo, the light shines elsewhere!”

 

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