Pentecostal History By Margaret Calhoun


Pentecostal History
By Margaret Calhoun

The day of Pentecost, when the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ were gathered in the upper room, were filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with tongues as the Spirit of God gave them utterance, fulfilled the Scriptures and the promises of God in the Old Testament, where He said He would pour out His Spirit in the last days.  The memorial sermon that the Apostle Peter preached on that great day in Jerusalem set forth the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost.

Throughout the Book of Acts this wonderful truth of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, the revelation of baptism in Jesus' name, and the fullness of God in Christ were paramount truths.  God proved to the world that this was His plan of salvation for this dispensation, which we call the church age.

But Jesus and the Apostles, spoke also, that in the days to follow there would be persecution, and a falling away.

The Apostle Paul warned the church that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.

The Apostle Paul also warned the church that the days were coming when persecution against the truth would arise, and he urged them to remember the words of our Lord and His commandments. He warned that the time would come when men would forsake the wonderful truths that were so prevalent in the early New Testament days as recorded in the book of Acts.

After the Apostles died, we must admit, a falling away followed in the second, third, and fourth centuries.. Traditions and opinions of men began to push the truth of God into the background.

But God, through the prophecies of His Word, gave us an assurance that though the gates of hell waged war against the church, it would not prevail. And in the evening time there should be a light in the days before the coming of the Lord.

We believe the Scriptures teach that there will be a restoration of truth revealed, as God set forth in the early church.  In this course, we shall endeavor to present to you how that God, step by step, began to lead us back to the truth and open our eyes to the word of God.


A. The Early Church: The Christian Church began on the day of Pentecost when one hundred and twenty of the most faithful followers of Jesus Christ had assembled and tarried ten days waiting for the promised baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5). Suddenly they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues (Acts 2:1-4).

B. Baptism: The Early Church Baptized in the Name of Jesus.

1. 3000 were baptized and added to the Church on the first day (Acts 2:41).

2. They were baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

3. At a later time, in Samaria, they were baptized in the same way (Acts 8:16).

4. The first Gentile converts were baptized in Jesus Name (Acts 10:48).

5. Paul was given a direct revelation by God, of the gospel (Galatians 1:11,12).  He baptized in the Name of Jesus.  And even rebaptized those who had not been baptized in the Name of the Lord (Acts 19:4,5).

6. There is not one place in the New Testament church where any convert was baptized other than in the name of the Lord.

C. Holy Ghost Baptism: The Early Church Spoke in Other Tongues.

1. When the one hundred and twenty received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues, they caused much amazement throughout the city of Jerusalem (Acts 2:6-8).

2. The first Gentiles to receive salvation spoke in tongues (Acts 10:45,46).

3. Twenty-five years later, at Ephesus, an outpouring of the Holy Ghost with tongues is recorded (Acts 19:1-6).

4. There are other instances in which the phenomenon is not mentioned, but many Bible scholars agree, there was an outward sign, obviously tongues (Acts 8,9): at Samaria, and the conversion of Paul.

5. God gave the same gift to Jews and Gentiles (Acts 11:17).

D. Jesus Christ Acknowledged as God

1. Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus indicated the belief of the early church leaders (Peter, Philip, Paul) that this was the name of the Godhead.

2. They taught that the God of the Old Testament and Christ of the New are one and the same person, not two separate and distinct ones. Read Colossians 2:9, John 10:30.

3. The Father and the Holy Spirit are one and the same (John 4:24, Ephesians 4:4, I Corinthians 12:13).

4. God veiled Himself in human flesh, born of the virgin Mary.  He became a God-man. The flesh was the Son of God which housed God the Father within. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15)

5. There is one God, who has manifested Himself in three ways: Father in creation, Son in His redemptive plan and Holy Spirit in His dealings with Humanity.

6. The Early Church hinted at nothing like the teaching of the Trinity. Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh. God the Father, the only God in existence, came to earth and was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.

7. Study: John 5:43; Matthew 1:21, 28:19; Isaiah 42:8,45; John 14:9,10; 11 Corinthians 5:19; John 1:1-14, 20:28; John 1:3,10; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; Philippians 2:10; Titus 2:13; Colossians 1:15

Pentecost Through the Ages

Very little remains of historical writings of the church, outside of the Roman Catholic records. All "heretic" (those not adhering to the teachings of Rome) peoples and their writings were ruthlessly suppressed. Most of what we know comes from writings against them, therefore cannot be very useful. But we realize there have always been children of God, standing for Bible truths and experiences they were willing to die for.

1. Mention is made in history of some who baptized in the Name of Christ as late as the eighth century. They were branded as heretics and died for the truth they upheld.

2. There were three chief views of the Godhead (H.  G. Wells) by the third and fourth centuries.

a. Arian - Christ was less than God.
b. Sabellians.- Christ was a mode or aspect of God.  God was Creator, Saviour and Comforter, just as one man may be father, trustee and guest.
c. Trinitarians - led by Athanasius, who taught that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were three distinct Persons, but one God.

3. Historians record that the teaching of the unity of God (three aspects or manifestations of God) sometimes called Sabellianism, from Bishop Sabellius, has appeared many times in history and is current today.

4. Speaking in Tongues - this phenomenon has been in existence in almost any age.

a. Mentioned in the writings of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Origen, Augustine and others.
b. Twelfth century: Albigenses and Waldenses spoke in tongues.
c. Sixteenth century: The Quakers, or Shakers spoke in tongues, shouted, danced in the Spirit.  Followers of Wesley, Whitefield and Irving spoke in tongues.
d. Nineteenth century: revival in Wales, India.  Many others received the Baptism but did not realize exactly what it was.  Followers of D. L. Moody spoke in tongues and prophesied. Also Charles Finney.
e. In reports of revivals throughout history, there is frequently mention made of speaking in tongues or ecstatic utterances.


A. The Topeka Outpouring

1. There was great unrest in the church during the latter part of the nineteenth century.  The church had become cold and formal.

2. New groups began to spring up, seeking to fill the hunger in their hearts for reality in religious experience.

3. In 1898, Charles F. Parham (age 25) and his wife established a home for those needing healing.  Spiritual needs were met as well.  The sick were cared for and prayed for, and many workers were instructed in Bible truths and trained for gospel work.

4. Parham felt there was waiting for the Church a great outpouring of power for the Christians who were to close this age.  He bought a large mansion "Stone's Folly", to house a Bible School, in Topeka, Kansas.  Forty enrolled, and they depended entirely upon the Lord to meet their needs.

5. Late in December, 1900, Parham had to leave town.  Before departing he instructed each of his students to study the Bible individually to see if there were some sort of special witness to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Many different religious bodies were claiming different proofs, and he felt none tallied with the second chapter of Acts.

6. When he returned and reconvened the students, they informed him that on each occasion in Apostolic times when the Holy Spirit fell, there was an outward manifestation - speaking in tongues.

7. From that moment each member of the college family determined to pray and to look for an experience that would tally with those recounted in Acts.

8. At a service on New Year's Eve, one of the students, Agnes Ozman, asked Mr. Parham to lay hands upon her that she might receive the Holy Spirit.  As he prayed, her face lighted up with the glory of God and she began to speak with other tongues.  This was New Year's Day, 1901.  On the third, Parham and many others likewise received the same experience.

9. The school was besieged with newspaper reporters, professors of
languages, government interpreters etc.  All agreed the students were speaking in languages of the world.

B. Significance of the Topeka Outpouring

The unusual significance concerning the Topeka outpouring is not that it was the first time in the modern age that people had spoken in tongues, but that it was the first known experience of people seeking for the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the expectation of speaking in tongues.  From this time Pentecostal believers were to teach that the baptism should be sought, and that it would be received with the evidence of tongues.  For this reason, the experience of Agnes Ozman is designated as the beginning of the modern Pentecostal revival.

C. The Fire Spreads

Parham and workers from the school held several revivals in different cities. News of the phenomenon spread far and wide and crowds of people would be On hand to hear the evangelist speak.

Soon after the revival in Topeka, ministers from various denominations began to inquire after this new way. Many searched the Scriptures and found that the experience was Scriptural.  They became seekers and many were filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking with other tongues.

D. Galena, Kansas Revival

In the fall of 1903 a meeting was begun which lasted on through the winter.  Many were healed and filled with the Holy Ghost. The largest building in town, holding 1,000, could not take care of the crowds. Much publicity was given in the newspapers, and the news spread far and wide.

E. Revival in Texas

From Galena and other cities, the revival fires spread to the state of Texas. Numerous healings were reported, along with a large number receiving the Holy Ghost. It is estimated that by the winter of 1905, Texas had 15,000 Pentecostal believers and about 60 preachers. Parham organized a Bible School in Houston, Texas. Among his students was a negro Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour. Seymour did not receive the Spirit Baptism at that time, but was convinced of the experience. He was to occupy a prominent place in the movement in the future.

F. The Azusa Street Mission Revival

In 1906 W. J. Seymour, a Negro minister, was invited to conduct a meeting in a Nazarene church in Los Angeles, California. He chose as his text Acts 2:4, and proceeded to tell the congregation that the scriptural evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was speaking in another language as the Spirit gave the utterance.

This ignited a wave of protest, and in the afternoon when he returned, the door was locked against him.  As yet he had not received the Holy Ghost, but he believed he must preach only this truth.

He was invited to hold services in the Asberry home, and things began to happen there.  Six were filled with the Holy Ghost. For three days and nights, services continued with hundreds of all races pushing into the little house. Then Seymour received his personal Baptism. During the three days of services, it is said that the house actually shook under the praising of a hungry people.

The crowds grew so large, that a new location was sought. An old Methodist church on Azusa Street, which had been converted to a store building, was found. Here a great three-year revival began.

The conditions that are counted necessary for a real revival were all wanting. No instruments of music were used. The singing service was literally inspired by the Holy Ghost. No subjects or sermons were announced ahead of time, and no special speakers for such an hour. All was spontaneous, ordered of the Spirit. Seymour generally sat behind two empty boxes, one on top of the other. He usually kept his head inside the top one during the meeting in prayer.  There was no pride there.

Travelers came from far and wide to the whitewashed store building. Here they found a mighty Pentecostal revival going on from 10:00 in the morning until 12:00 at night. People from almost all churches in existence came.  They came from every continent in the world. This continued for three years, day and night, without a break. Nothing like this, with such far-reaching significance, had ever happened in the twentieth century Pentecostal movement and for this reason, the Azusa Street revival is commonly looked upon as God's means of spreading the influence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost experience to much of the United States and several other countries.

The Secret Behind Azusa Street

A prominent place was given to prayer. The people customarily gathered for an undirected period of prayer before the services commenced. Seymour, upon preaching, would fall upon his knees and begin to pray. Without encouragement, the congregation would follow for long periods of supplication. Many were healed and filled with the Holy Ghost in the upstairs prayer room.

H. The Spreading Revival

When people returned to their homes from Azusa Street, they spread the story of their experience and the wonderful way God had blessed. The more the message was preached and people embraced it, the more the old line churches fought it. Leading pastors of the day took strong stands against the "tongues movement." Yet nothing could stop it, for it was ordained of God and heaven-backed.

Reports were coming from everywhere of people receiving the Holy Ghost. It was as if the first century was begin relived, to see the spreading flames moving so quickly in so many places.

I. Pentecostalism Reaches Europe

In 1906, T. B. Barratt, born in England, but now a resident of Norway, made a visit to America where he received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. He pastored a large Methodist church in Norway, and returned preaching the Pentecostal message. From his witness and influence, the message spread to many other European countries.  The desire for a Holy Ghost revival also had come from reports of the great Welsh Revival of 1904.

J. Pentecostalism Penetrates the Orient, Africa, and Latin America

1. India: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in India cannot be traced to the indoctrination of any one person or organization. However, the first recorded instance of a Holy Spirit Baptism was in 1906. It was the result of the heart-felt need of a nine year old girl. She and four other girls began to pray, and before long, one began to speak in an unknown language. As the result of prayer bands, and efforts of Pentecostal missionaries, Pentecostalism spread throughout India and even beyond.

2. China: The first report comes in 1908 where people from a Christian and Missionary Alliance group began speaking in tongues.In succeeding years, missionaries began to come and teach the Pentecostal experience.

3. Africa: The Pentecostal message was first introduced in South Africa sometime before 1910 by two American evangelists. The vast Central African territory was not penetrated by Pentecostals until 1914-15.

4. Latin America: The greatest rise in Pentecostalism has been until recently, in Chile and Brazil.  The outpouring of the Holy Ghost in Chile, in 1907, came as the result of the fervent prayer of an American missionary who wished to see his church filled not only with people but the Holy Spirit.  Great revival came.

In Brazil, the Pentecostal message was brought in 1910 by an American missionary, and a group of Swedish-American missionaries as well.


A. Los Angeles Camp Meeting

In 1913 a campmeeting for ministers of the Pentecostal movement was held in Los Angeles, California.  One of the speakers was R. E. McAlister, a popular preacher.  Just prior to baptizing several converts, he spoke on the subject of baptism, pointing out that the apostles invariably baptized their converts in the name of Jesus Christ; that the words Father, Son and Holy Ghost were never used in Christian baptism.

The message caused quite an emotional upheaval in the audience and at the meeting. McAlister made an attempt to quiet the group, but this was to be the high point of the camp meeting.

B. After the Camp

Present at the meeting was Frank J. Ewart, later prominent in the Oneness movement. Ewart and McAlister, after the camp, opened a revival in the city. This later continued in the church of Brother Warren Fisher. Others preaching in this revival were Glenn Cook and G. T. Haywood.

During this time Ewart noticed the tremendous moving of the Spirit of God when he exalted the name of Jesus. The evangelists were encouraged by the pastor to do many things in the name of Jesus, but were not to do all things in that name.  At this time Ewart decided to obey God @and step out with His message.

Thus in 1914, the same year when the Assemblies of God organization was set up, Frank Ewart, through much seeking God in prayer, had revealed to him through the Word of God a great truth concerning the plan of salvation: that God was in his Son Jesus, reconciling the world unto Himself (II Corinthians 5:19), and that the simple plan of salvation had been plainly laid out by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:38.  "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." It was revealed further that Jesus is the only door of salvation, and that there is none other name given ... whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).  Still further it was revealed that all the fullness of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) dwelled in Him bodily (Col. 2:9).  Thus all the apostles, fully understanding the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19, baptized every candidate in the "name of Jesus".  He saw that the apostolic commandment is, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus..." (Col. 3:17).

C. Ewart's First Acts 2:38 Sermon

When Ewart had made his decision, he offered to leave the pulpit of Fisher's church. He pitched a tent on the east side of the city, and was treated kindly by Fisher.

On April 15, 1914, he preached a message on Acts 2:38. The message took fire, and a revival started.

Glen Cook rejoined him. Since neither had been baptized in Jesus' name, they purchased a tank and baptized each other. Soon many were baptized, a noteworthy number receiving the Holy Ghost when coming up out of the water. The sick were brought, and many were healed when baptized, in obedience to God's Word.

D. The Truth Spreads

At this time Ewart was editor of a paper, Meat in Due Season. Through it he propagated the message of Jesus' name in many parts of the nation and in many mission fields. Thus many were convinced of the truth before a preacher ever preached it to them.

Cook began to carry the message to many of the states in America, with tremendous results.

Among other outstanding preachers of the day was G. T. Haywood, who had an outstanding knowledge of the Word of God. He too embraced the Truth and brought many into it.

The officials of the Assemblies of God tried to stop the carrying of the message and much was written against it. E. N. Bell, first superintendent of the Assemblies of God, at first condemned the "new issue", but in 1915 he was baptized in Jesus' Name. He later baptized H. A. Goss, another prominent leader in the Pentecostal movement.

E. The Assemblies of God Reject the Oneness Message

The General Council of the Assemblies of God was held in 1915, during the tremendous surge toward the Oneness doctrine. Central topics of discussion at this meeting were the Godhead question and the proper baptismal formula.

Those against the message began fighting it severely. The leaders began to exert great pressure to re-align those of the brethren who had gone into Oneness teaching, and to keep others behind the Trinitarian teaching.

At the next annual council, in 1916, a committee was drawn up to write a statement of fundamental truths of the organization.  This was seen as a necessity by the Trinitarians, to combat the entrance of the Oneness doctrine in their midst.  When the statements were read, the "Oneness" section endeavored to strike out the strong Trinitarian ideas.  They had wanted to remain with the group.  The Oneness doctrine was referred to as "hay, wood and stubble", and the Oneness brothers were said to be "in the wilderness".  The advocates of the new doctrine said little more, having come to the conclusion that opposition would be futile.

The passing of the strong Trinitarian report forced the Oneness brethren to leave. They were no longer part of the Assemblies of God. One hundred fifty-six ministers and numerous assemblies were expelled. This marked the beginning of a separate Oneness Pentecostal organization.


A. Gladstone Thomas Haywood

G. T. Haywood, a well-known Pentecostal pioneer, was born July 15, 1880 in Indiana. He was extremely talented and deeply spiritual.

After graduating from high-school, he worked for two newspapers, hoping to become a writer or professional cartoonist. He later left the paper and took a job in a foundry.

In February 1908, he was testified to concerning the Holy Ghost, and attended his first Pentecostal revival. That very night he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

One year later he started his first mission, with thirteen saints. There he continued until 1913. God blessed, and in 1924 a large, beautiful building, Christ Temple, was built in Indianapolis. It still stands.

He traveled extensively and was in constant demand as a Bible teacher. He is perhaps best remembered for the inspiring hymns which God moved upon him to write. These include "I See A Crimson Stream of Blood", "Thank God for the Blood", "Behold the Bridegroom Cometh", "Coming as a Thief in the Night", etc. He died in April, 1931 at the age of fifty-one years.

B. Howard A. Goss

Howard Goss was born on a farm in Missouri, March 6, 1883. Life in his early childhood was typified by hard work and few luxuries, but in his own words, " seemed full to us, and complete..."

In 1898 the farm was sold and the family moved to Galena, Kansas. Howard Goss was converted here in 1902 under the ministry of Charles F. Parham. He received a call to the ministry, and in 1905 joined a group of twenty-two workers who went to Texas.

In 1906, while riding to a revival on a train, the workers began to worship God. He began to pour out His Spirit, and Howard Goss and others received the Holy Ghost on the train!  That year he was also ordained.

He married in 1907 but widowed three years later. In 1911 he married again, and he and his wife became the parents of six children. In 1912 he settled in Hot Springs, Arkansas where he pastored. In November of that year, he and E. N. Bell issued an invitation to hold a convention in order to organize the Pentecostal work. E. N. Bell was elected Chairman; Howard Goss, Secretary. Out of this meeting grew the Assemblies of God organization.

At about this same time the truth of baptism in the name of Jesus and the Oneness of God was revealed. Howard Goss, along with many others accepted this truth.

In 1919 he moved to Canada, where he pastored until 1937. In 1939 he returned to the United States, and was elected General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Church Incorporated.

In 1945 he was elected the first General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church, the newly formed group from the merger of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, and the Pentecostal Church Incorporated. He held this position until 1951.

He continued active in the work of God as a Bible teacher and spiritual leader until illness prevented.  He died in July, 1964, at his home in Windsor, Canada.

C. William Thomas Witherspoon

W.T. Witherspoon was born in Pennsylvania, on August 7, 1880. He married in 1902, in Pittsburgh, where he was employed as a salesman for a large equipment firm.

The Witherspoons were prominent in church work, first in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and then in the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

In 1912 W. T. Witherspoon received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  Three years later God revealed to him the truth of the Oneness of the Godhead, and baptism in Jesus' name.

In 1914 he received a promotion in his work and was transferred to Columbus, Ohio. Shortly after this, he received a definite call to the ministry. In 1917 he organized a group into a small congregation. This work grew to be one of the largest Oneness assemblies in the world.

His keen spiritual vision also led to the establishing of five branch churches in Ohio.

He became the first Foreign Missionary Chairman of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, serving from 1938 until it merged with the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated in 1945, to form the United Pentecostal Church. He was elected Assistant General Superintendent of this new group.

He died on October 27, 1947. The life and ministry.of W. T. Witherspoon has made a lasting contribution to the world.

D. Oliver F. Fauss

Oliver F. Fauss was born May 22, 1898 on a farm in northwestern Oklahoma. His home had been built, by his mother's request, like a long hall. The rooms were made by curtains stretched on a wooden frame, so they could be easily moved out for a dance.

When he was five or six, the family attended a Methodist revival. His parents were wonderfully converted, and from that time their home was completely changed.

When Oliver was eleven or twelve, the family moved to Texas. There he was converted while praying alone out in a pasture.  In 1911 he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He felt definitely called to work for the Lord.  He attended services at a mission hall, and worked in street meetings until 1915, when he was baptized in Jesus' name, and entered the ministry. The first nine years of his ministry were spent almost entirely on the evangelistic field. From 1924 to 1928 he pastored a church in Port Arthur, Texas.

He married in July, 1916, and had three children. In 1929 he founded Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Houston, Texas, and was its pastor for approximately forty years.

He was elected Assistant General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church in 1947. In October, 1967, when General Superintendent Arthur T. Morgan died suddenly, Oliver Fauss was appointed to serve the two remaining months of his term.

E. Andrew Urshan

Andrew D. Urshan was born on May 17, 1884, in Iran in a village approximately 400 miles northwest of Mt. Ararat, where Noah's ark rested.

He was converted in his homeland in 1900. In 1902 he came to the United States. He began preaching the gospel in 1904 and remained faithful to his calling until his death - 63 years later.

In 1906, in Chicago, he witnessed a new touch of God's sanctifying grace, and a fresh divine anointing that set him on fire to win lost souls. He began personal work among the Assyrian people with marked success.

Two years later, in 1908, the Holy Ghost fell upon these converts in an upper room of the Moody Bible Institute. He sought the Lord, with a new determination to receive this heavenly outpouring of God's Spirit.  God baptized him with the Holy Ghost in July of 1908.

Brother Urshan preached not only in the United States and Canada, but also in the British Isles, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Persia (now Iran). There is a large group of Oneness believers in Russia today, called "Urshanites". The origin of this group can be traced back to an evangelistic preaching tour of Bro. Urshan's made in the early nineteen-hundreds.

During his lifetime, Brother Urshan published at least eight books which were widely distributed. In 1917 he began to publish a monthly periodical, "The Witness of God", which he continued until the time of his death.

He was ordained in 1910, and married in 1917. He was blessed with four children.

In 1933 he became pastor of a church in New York City. He resigned this pastorate in 1950 and spent the remaining years of his life speaking in special meetings, evangelistic services and conferences.

The inspiring ministry of Andrew D. Urshan made a lasting contribution to the present-day Oneness Pentecostal movement. Andrew D. Urshan went to be with Jesus on October 16, 1967, at the age of eighty-two years. His last words to his son were, "You go to the National Conference in Tulsa; I'm going to the International Conference in the New Jerusalem."

This article is from: Overseas Ministries Training Series, date unknown.

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