Explaining the Assembly of God Church
Throughout the history of the Church, the wind of the Spirit has never been still. From Tertullian in the second century to Symeon in the tenth, John Wesley in the eighteenth, and American revivalists in the nineteenth, the people of God have experienced mighty manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
One of the greatest outpourings of the Spirit began early in the twentieth century. Several small holiness groups whose members were seeking a fuller experience with God witnessed a renewal of the Holy Spirit's gifts. In their meetings they saw miracles similar to those recorded in the Book of Acts. Those who experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues, gave prophecies, prayed for the sick with miraculous results, and began a new surge of missionary ministry that soon reached around the world.
These twentieth-centuryPentecostals understood their spiritual experiences to be a fulfillment of Jesus' promise in Acts 1:4-5. They believed that this "promise of the Father" (KJV) was an experience that "all believers are entitled to, should ardently expect, and earnestly seek" (P. C. Nelson, Bible Doctrines,P. 77). Their emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit sparked controversy in most established religious groups. Pentecostals were ridiculed and dismissed from mainline churches, yet, the revival grew. These "holy rollers" built brush arbors and rented storefront buildings for their services. Miracles of healing and deliverance drew crowds. The curious who came to scoff often stayed to pray. At first the crowds were largely poor and dispossessed, but as the miracles continued, they swelled to include business and professional people.
During the next fifty years Pentecostals worked to build churches and establish colleges to train their ministers. They organized Sunday schools and sent out missionaries. Yet, they never lost their emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual believer. Then in the 1960s another wave of revival spread the blessings of Pentecost. Many Lutherans began speaking in tongues and praying for the sick. Many Roman Catholics raised their hands in worship and prayed in the Spirit. The wind of the Spirit was blowing across the entire spectrum of the Church-upon Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Brethren, Disciples of Christ.
Today, believers from all fellowships who are serious about their faith are looking again at the "promise of the Father." This experience, distinct from and following salvation, brings the believer into the richness of the Spirit-filled life.
Questions are best answered and controversies settled by allowing the Spirit to warm the heart and draw the soul into intimate fellowship with God.