And suddenly….. On January 1, 1901 Agnes Ozman was baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. And thus was ushered in what has been called the century of the Holy Spirit. It is reputed that she spoke Chinese. The other students soon followed suit. They had been studying the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and had come to the conclusion that speaking in tongues as the Bible evidence of Holy Spirit baptism. Charles Parham’s Bible School, the scene or this remarkable event soon moved to another location what it was attended by William J. Seymour a black man who was blind in one eye. Seymour was subsequently called to pastor Lucy Hutchinson’s church in Los Angeles where he was quickly shut out of the church for preaching wrong doctrine, that one could be baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Unfazed he continued his meetings in the home of Edward Lee and then Richard and Ruth Asberry at 214 North Bonnie Brae Street. where Lee was the first to receive the baptism and speak in other tongues. When the porch of the house collapsed from the pressure of many speakers speaking from there to the crowds outside, they moved to 312 Azusa Street and began to hold meetings. Soon things got in high gear and many were filled with the Holy Spirit with dramatic manifestations. The Apostolic Faith magazine reported “The news has spread far and wide that Los Angeles was being visited with a "rushing mighty wind from heaven." . . . One brother stated that even before his train entered the city, he felt the power of the revival. . . . There is such power in the preaching of the Word in the Spirit that people are shaken on the benches. Coming to the altar, many fall prostrate under the power of God, and often come out speaking in tongues. Sometimes the by the Spirit during testimony or preaching and receive Bible experiences. . . . The demonstrations are not the shouting, clapping or jumping so often seen in camp meetings. There is a shaking such as the early Quakers had and which the old Methodists called the "jerks." The phenomenon rapidly spread over the United States and the rest of the world, in particular among holiness and Methodist churches. Many new churches were formed including the Assemblies of God; soon Oslo, with T.D Barrat, Stockholm, with Lewi Pethrus, Sunderland with A.A Boddy, South Africa with Hezmalhalch and John G. Lake, Chile with Hoover caught the Pentecostal fire. P eople began to speak in tongues in London, Stockholm, Rome, Switzerland, India, China, and the rest is Pentecostal history. Today more than 500 million people worldwide claim to have the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues.
The first issue of The Apostolic Faith, Los Angeles, September 1906, carried the above news story on the Azusa Street revival.
background Methodism gave Pentecostalism the concept of a second experience subsequent to salvation which they called ‘entire sanctification’ Wesley’s co-preacher John Fletcher was the first to call it a Baptism in the Holy Spirit, for endowment with power and cleansing. . It is believed by some that some of the unusual manifestations in Wesley’s meetings could have been tongues speaking. However, it was not till 1830 that a concerted effort was made to focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Edward Irving, a popular Presbyterian pastor in London, England believed that the charismas and the fivefold ministries would be restored to the church. He began to hold meetings where it is reported that there were some tongues and prophecy. His Catholic Apostolic Church movement was not hugely successful but many believe it was a precursor of the Pentecostal movement. He was the first to express the position that speaking in tongues was the initial sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The ‘second blessing’ began to be seen, with the influence of the Keswick movement under Hannah Whittall Smith and others as relating more to the anointing than to inner purity.
Welsh revival In 1905 exactly 100 years ago, the Welsh revival broke out. It would witness some unusual phenomena. It is reported that illiterate miners and uneducated youth spoke in classical Welsh. The newspaper The Times is said to have reported the case of a young woman who prayed out loud in a congregation of 2,000 persons using Scripture, Welsh hymns, and her own words "in the purest idiomatic classical Welsh" which "would have done credit to the most scholarly theologian of the Welsh pulpit." Early church Some critics of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements claimed that there was no record of tongue speaking in early church history. Yet Irenaeus, (died 202), one of the church fathers, of whom little is known, but who knew Polycarp who in turn knew the apostles and was a student of the apostle John; is quoted as saying "In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God." Tertullian (died 220), replying to Marcion, a Gnostic: "Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer - only let it be by the Spirit, in an ecstasy; that is, in a rapture, whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him...Now all these signs are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator..." 6
Bishop Hilary of Poitiers (died 367) mentioned, among other things, "gifts of either speaking or interpreting divers kinds of tongues." He concluded, "Clearly these are the Church's agents of ministry and work of whom the body of Christ consists; and God has ordained them." John Chrysostom (345-407), bishop of Constantinople, wrote a comment on I Corinthians 12: "This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur hut now no longer take place… Well: what did happen then? Whoever was baptized he straightway spoke with tongues… They at once on their baptism received the Spirit… [They] began to speak, one in the tongue of the Persians, another in that of the Romans, another in that of the Indians, or in some other language. And this disclosed to outsiders that it was the Spirit in the speaker." 
In the middle ages, it was reported that dissident groups like the Waldenses and Albinges spoke in other tongues Reformation to contemporary era Different groups had dramatic manifestations of the Spirit in their midst and some had tongue speaking in their midst; the Anabaptists, Camisards (France), Jansenists, Quakers, Pietists, Methodists as well as the Plymouth Brethren and various campmeetings organised in America; Wesley once had the occasion to respond to a comment that tongues did not exist in his time, by saying, "It has been heard of more than once, no farther off than the valleys of Dauphiny" Early Quakers "We received often the pouring down of the Spirit upon us, and our hearts were made glad and our tongues loosed and our mouths opened, and we spake with new tongues as the Lord gave utterance, and as His Spirit led us." The evangelical newsletter Christianity Today, which cannot by a long shot be accused of rabid Pentecostalism, has this to say: “The truth is some of the most prominent, influential leaders and groups in the evangelical lineage have yearned for, attained, and taught a transformative, postconversion experience identified with the Holy Spirit. Sure, these experiences have not usually come attached to the gift of tongues. But in other ways they have resembled closely the modern charismatic experience dubbed "baptism in (or with, or of) the Holy Spirit." Charles Finney said "As I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it … the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy …» Finney proceeded to recommend this same experience to all Christians—and especially all Christian workers. Two Methodist ladies "Auntie Cook" and "Mrs. Snow, «felt that Dwight L. Moody (18371899) lacked power in his ministry and subsequently he travailed in prayer that he might "get the power." According to R. A. Torrey "The power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy." Moody then went on an evangelistic tour of England, and he found that "the power of God wrought through him mightily in North London, and hundreds were added to the
churches." Subsequently Moody would always say to Torrey, «Torrey, I want you to preach on the baptism with the Holy Ghost."
According to another source, R.Torrey is quoted as saying. "On the following Sunday night, when I got to the rooms of the Y.M.C.A. I found the meetings on fire. The young men were speaking in tongues and prophesying. What on earth did it all mean? Only that Moody had been addressing them that afternoon." Dr Torrey is also said to have spoken of a service in LA where Moody found he was unable to preach because another language kept coming out of him. He was finally able to preach after prayer and praise. A secular source Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1972 Edition, Vol. W, p. 75 - Tongue-speaking manifested itself early in the Christian experience. At Pentecost (Acts 2) the gift appeared as a sign of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which marked the character of the earliest Christians...During later church history, glossolalia (speaking in tongues) occurred among the mendicant friars of the 13th century, little prophets of Cevennes, the Jansenists, and the Irvingites. Tongues were found also among the early Quakers, as well as among the converts of John Wesley and George Whitefield...In modern times glossolalia has been found chiefly among Holiness and Pentecostal groups.’ What does all this mean? Simply that throughout church history, here and there men and women have sought after more of God and more endowment of power from on high. But the scope of the Pentecostal outpouring with the subsequent charismatic renewal in the 1960s that crossed over denominational barriers and begun when, in 1960 Bennet announced that he had been filled with the Spirit, remains unprecedented since the early church. One is compelled to say, one hundred years later that God was and possibly is still up to something. Yet we find today that those smouldering flames of Holy Ghost activity seem to have settled into barely glowing embers. ANOTHER PENTECOST Have we taken for granted the blessed Holy Ghost? What happened to the power? The Pentecostal outpouring was accompanied by red hot fervour of evangelism, men and women went off to the mission field for life. Their main desire in being filled with the spirit was so they could speak foreign languages they never learnt and go out as missionaries. Two to three generations away, where is the passion? Many came out of the Holiness movement to form new Pentecostal denominations which today seem colder than the denominations they originally came out of. In many a ‘spirit filled’ church, little is said about the Holy Spirit, and many sitting in our pews are not spirit filled, or were, in the distant past. Smith Wigglesworth said “It is a serious thing to have the baptism and yet be stationary; to live two days in succession on the same spiritual plane is a tragedy. and, ‘there is no limit as to what we may become if we dwell and live in the Spirit’. When the elders and Pharisees released the apostles after warning them to speak no more in the name of Jesus, they went back and lifted up their voices and cried out to God. The Bible says that the place where they were staying was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and boldness. They could not get enough of the Holy Spirit. God was not content with shaking the people, He shook the building too. He sometimes has strange views of conduct. The apostles looked utterly drunk on the day of Pentecost. Yet there are circles today where people deride every outpouring of the Spirit that offends their rigid views of deportment. They had another Pentecost, oh how today, we need another Pentecost.
And tongues? Our sparse use of this divine gift is a clear indication that we have lost the understanding of why it was given. The Lord directed me a couple of weeks ago to study and teach on why speak in tongues. I initially thought, well everybody knows that. I was wrong. It is the same as saying everybody knows what paucity means, but it is in the realm of passive knowledge or vocabulary, otherwise they would not use it with such paucity. The response to the teaching was phenomenal, obviously a very welcome refresher course, as someone put it. God is up to something, and we need to get in on it now, go back on our faces and begin to cry out for more of the Spirit of God, take hold of the other tongues He has endued us with and pray through His purposes on the earth, work as partners speaking divine mysteries and uttering groans which cannot be expressed in articulate speech; to birth the purposes of God in our generation. Let us joyfully and gratefully lift up our voices daily to offer Him transcendent praise in the language of the Spirit, praise perfect, praise glorious, praise pleasing, praise harmonious, praise joyfully received in the courts of heaven. 100 years since the Welsh revival, 100 years since Azusa, what will this century be? ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me’. Our Lord needed the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, ‘how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil for God was with Him’. If Jesus, our Lord, our Saviour, our Redeemer, needed the Holy Spirit to successfully accomplish His life’s work, how much more do we. Oh that our cry may be ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me’. Is it possible that the Holy Ghost can so manifest Himself among us that a Peter will have to get up and say ‘this is that’? Oh, for numerous 'thats' in our midst. May God anoint us afresh this Pentecost season; our gimmicks have not done it; our organisation, well tailored, shortened microwave services, our beautiful singing, charity work and diverse and sundry activities may keep our pews filled in an increasingly lonely society where people yearn for a sense of belonging; but if we are to turn them from clients we entertain on Sundays and struggle to keep amused so the money will keep coming in, into persons passionate for God and living holy lives, if we will go about doing good and healing those who are oppressed of the devil; if we will preach the good news to the captives, bind up the broken hearted and set at liberty those who are bruised and let the oppressed go free; if we will in our generation break the power of sexual sin and perversion over people’s lives rather than just march against ungodly laws, we must be anointed of the Holy Spirit. As we celebrate Pentecost, let us go after the things of the Spirit in a new way, make room for Him, let Him sweep through your being and bring a new shaking; and as ministers, let us not fail to draw the attention of those in our care to the Spirit of Truth, the beautiful Holy Spirit and help them walk into a new dimension of His love, and His power.
Published on Jun 1, 2009
Published on Jun 1, 2009
Have we taken for granted the blessed Holy Ghost? What happened to the power? The Pentecostal outpouring was accompanied by red hot fervour...