The Roots of Azusa: Pentecost
By Gordon Robertson
The 700 Club
CBN.com With the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, we should also remember the anniversary of the day when the church once again discovered
the baptism in the Holy Spirit -- New Year's Day, 1901.
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:
"I 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
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
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