Fifty Golden Years of Spiritual Blessing Celebrated
This article originally appeared in the August 20, 1956 issue of Evangel.
Several global trouble spots are currently setting the stage for a series of serious world-shaking events that may herald the coming again of our Saviour to earth. At the same time in one accord, men filled with. the Holy Spirit and on fire for God are setting the stage for a meeting with God on His terms that may shake the world in a greater way than all the atom or hydrogen bombs could ever do.
The true meaning of the scriptural injunction, that “in the day that men seek me with the whole heart, I will be found of them,” is a theme now burning in the hearts of a large group of ministers and laymen in Southern California.
Diligently, prayerfully and seeking the Spirit’s guidance, this group, made up of every organized segment of Pentecost, now for some time has been meeting each Wednesday· in an all-day prayer and committee meeting and planning an old-fashioned, soul-stirring, Spirit-seeking, four-meeting-a-day observance of the Golden Anniversary of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the saints gathered at the old Azusa Street Mission, in Los Angeles, in 1906. Denominational barriers and doctrinal differences mean nothing to this earnest group of Pentecostal Christians seeking a new outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.
Some of these men were at the Azusa visitation. Now aged and grey, their words burn with fervor and fire the younger men of Pentecost to a greater vision to seek God as men did fifty years ago.
Pentecost’s falling in our time had as humble a beginning as it did on the first Pentecost nearly two thousand years ago in the obscure “upper room” in the city of Jerusalem.
Judging from the effects of the twentieth-century revival of God’s power which we have observed the world over, the results were comparable in shaping men’s thoughts toward the coming again of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As God began His “latter rain” outpouring around the world, in Los Angeles, California, came a deluge which is described in Henry Fordsham’s book and by quotes made directly from old saints of God who were there.
It was in the year 1906 that the power of God fell upon praying saints; seven received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, even though they did not know what it was, and began to speak with other tongues. The shouts of praise were so tremendous that they made an uproar similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. It was soon noised abroad that God was blessing His people with a gracious visitation. Interested parties came from everywhere. The good news spread fast; by morning there was no possibility of getting near the place. The sick were healed; sinners were saved as they came through the doors into the presence of a power-deluged people.
Thus is briefly, yet graphically, described the all-important event that took place in an old two-story building, at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, which had been used as a Methodist Church at one time.
Amid squalor in the vicinity of a tombstone shop, lumber yard and livery stables, no one complained of the round-the-clock meetings of praise, glory, manifestation, and wonderful infilling and indwelling of God’s mighty power in humble praying men and women.
Race, color or church affiliation presented no barrier. Both the preaching and the men who did it were simple. The power fell on hungry waiting people and altars were filled with men and women whom the Bible aptly describes as “going everywhere preaching the gospel” which they received.
In an upper room of the old structure. which had been cleared of junk and building materials to make way for the meetings, the sick and the afflicted were introduced to the Great Physician; and, as the power fell, sickness had to go. Every kind of illness and affliction gave way before the expectant and faith-practicing saints. Men and women left the building praising God, later to return bringing others with them. Many never came back but boarded the next public conveyance home to spread the miraculous news there.
Ministers of every denomination came from everywhere to see what was going on. Most stayed to receive more of God, and then went out to change the name of their respective groups or to create churches which later grew into the prominent Pentecostal organizations of today.
As oh the day of Pentecost, all races and nationalities heard the message as the Holy Spirit graciously moved upon men and women who in turn spoke in a tongue divinely given to the speaker who had never learned it. One Irish minister, very Galic in his accents, spoke and conversed freely with a group of Russians, bringing them to Christ; yet never in his life had he studied their language. This manifestation of God’s power was not uncommon.
When men get down to business with God, they can have another Pentecost. -Dr. Donald Gee
Naturally this made a public stir, newspaper men and journalists came to see, to sneer, and to make fun of the outpouring; but many stayed to obtain the blessing and later go out and write the miraculous vision and make it plain.
Soul-shaking, life-changing, powerfilling as the event was, it could not keep its converts and recipients there. In the nearly four years of the visitation, men and women came, received and then went to scatter the word to the ends of the earth.
Today, commercial buildings stand where the power of God so mightily swept down on waiting saints and where, as on the initial day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit sent them out to build monuments of faith to the moment when men and women were willing, as Donald Gee once said, to “get down to business with God.”
Slipped from human memory will soon be many of the small and personal details of that outpouring which came when an almost unknown holiness preacher from Houston, Texas, the Reverend J. W. Seymour, stopped to hold a meeting in Los Angeles and found both frustration and a fulfillment of God’s promises. But in the annals of glory, down eternity’s corridors, the victories which began in so humble a place will be sung and told.
Today, there is another “stirring in the mulberry bush,” as men, moved by the Holy Ghost in committee and prayer meeting, join all Pentecostal faiths of our land in a time of memorial and expectancy, celebrating this year the Golden Anniversary of the great 1906 event in Los Angeles.
Let us then “get down to business with God” and look for the outpouring, as churches everywhere are urged to observe “Azusa Week,” September 9-16: Pentecostal people everywhere are urged to look toward the central meetings of this celebration which will use Angeles Temple, one of the largest full-gospel church auditoriums in the world, its radio facilities, its prayer rooms, and so forth, in a four-meeting-daily program led by the greatest prayer and pulpit leaders of the full-gospel movement, including Oral Roberts, William Brannam, and others. Pentecostal hearts are expecting another moving of God upon man as great as that in time past, and even beyond that; they are looking for the soon return of their King.