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This Week in AG History — November 8, 1924
By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 10 November 2022
The founders of the Assemblies of God were not “cookie-cutter” Pentecostals. They were pastors, evangelists, and missionaries who hailed from a variety of religious and social backgrounds. Some came from large northern cities; others from small southern hamlets. Many were entrepreneurs who had launched churches, orphanages, and rescue missions without any denominational backing. They often differed on ministry methods, which were shaped by their personalities and cultural preferences. They were not all cut from the same mold. However, they all believed they were helping to restore the vibrant witness of the New Testament church, and they all believed that they could do more together than they could apart.
This diversity within the early Assemblies of God naturally created tension. However, many founders embraced this tension and sounded a common theme — that they aimed for “unity of the Spirit” until one day they could achieve “unity of the faith.”
The first masthead of the Christian Evangel (the original title of the Pentecostal Evangel), from 1913, stated: “The simplicity of the Gospel, In the bonds of peace, The unity of the Spirit, Till we all come to the unity of the faith.” This call to unity implicitly recognized that readers did not yet have “unity of the faith” — that disagreement existed on some matters. In the meantime, they affirmed that believers should aim for “unity of the Spirit.”
The minutes from the first General Council, held in April 1914, reveal that the convention began with devotions. The devotions set the tone for the next 11 days of meetings. According to the minutes, the devotions brought together “Men of God, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” but who “were not yet in perfect unity in faith.” The minutes then reported that participants “retained the unity of the Spirit until the unity of Faith was being much manifested in the meetings.” This language about keeping “unity of the Spirit” while aiming for “unity of the faith” was repeated in the resolution that officially formed the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
The Pentecostal Evangel, in 1924, published a devotional article about “the two unities” — the unity of the Spirit and the unity of the faith. The article, by pioneer Assemblies of God pastor W. Jethro Walthall, illuminated what early Pentecostals meant when they used the phrases “unity of the Spirit” and “unity of the faith.” According to Walthall, “unity of the faith” — which is the believer’s eschatological hope — cannot be fully achieved on earth. Before they achieve perfection in heaven, Christians can maintain “unity of the Spirit” on earth. Walthall wrote that “unity of the Spirit” is achieved by “walking worthy of our calling, and this is done by a meek and lowly walk with God, and maintaining a loving and long-suffering attitude to all saints.”
These insights — showing how early Pentecostals theologically explained the existence of differences amongst themselves — provide hope to those today who struggle to find unity amidst diversity.
Read “The Two Unities” by W. Jethro Walthall on page 5 of the Nov. 8, 1924, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. Also featured in this issue:
• “The Sin of Hopelessness,” by Florence L. Personeus
• “The Old-Time Power,” by Donald Gee
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Pictured: Assemblies of God leaders in San Antonio, Texas, circa 1926. Front row is unidentified. Identified on the back row (l-r): unidentified, Josue Cruz, unidentified, Henry C. Ball, Josue Sanchez, and Demetrio Bazan. Please contact the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you know if the names of the unidentified people.
YES Philip Williams your grandma there?
during the pandemic I finally found all my grand and great relatives
as recorded in the founding meeting #1 minutes of our home church (1924-1928)
Troy Day they were 20 years ahead of Eagle Mills AOG that my parents helped form in the late forties. My grandma helped form a Church of God about the same time. They would invite people from both churches to a prayer meeting at our home. They discovered that the COG folks set back while the AOG had church. After that the COG folks had church and the AOG ones remained silent.
Do you remember the sectarian days among the Pentecostals. Oh yeah, the Church of God of Prophecy were separate still. Then we attended Garr, loosely connected to FourSquare. Finally, the Schools of the Prophets which birthed Latter Rain.
Philip Williams well true and not true There were no Pentecostals in our deep rural area until my folks gotS the Holy Ghost It was a miracle 4 gen back and3 ahead of me already have done well
in all actuality there were many HSB amongst them but the church did not register officially as AG until nov 1929 as recorded in the minutes NOT certain there were any cogs their wither THOUGH seems like there were some free range preachers visiting and talking about holiness – something John needs2
Troy Day church isnt getting the holy ghost no matter what name yer told to give to it so dont even say that.
Theres no gifts in the church program
Troy Day same with them in north Iredell county as late as the forties where they helped pioneer the introduction of Pentecostal churches there.
Peter Vandever are you still Pentecostal?do youstill subscribe to Pentecostal heritage ? John Digsby seems to be another wanna be like John Mushenhouse has called them
John Digsby are you still Pentecostal?
do youstill subscribe to Pentecostal heritage
who and what are you ?
Troy Day i left pentecostalism because they preached that false catholic doctrine of satan and fallen angels silliness.
John Digsby figures you are just a wannaBE but how can one tell without askingyou directly to this extent
of course its not mainstream i got the HGB!
John Digsby you talk a lot but dont really say much
John Digsby you got something, but sadly it isn’t the Holy Spirit and His wisdom, discernment, truth and salvation. Go and repent and seek the Lord.
John Mushenhouse ppl whos got it got it ppl who dont dont It is a sad place to be a wannabe Pentecostal
Troy Day He says a lot. It is just hellish false teaching based on his ego and being religiously mad.
John Mushenhouse seems he done left pentecost and figured some other teaching – who can tell from here now?
Troy Day you dont hear at all, you’re too busy formulating your comment half way through scanning my comment.
we cant even talk holy ghost/holy spirit, cuz yours is made up by a lukewarm church system in the laodecian era that doesnt care about truth in doctrines.
John Digsby actually that is not true. You dont even know my church to comment But I know your church well
Troy Day you boast your way out? Sorry, but your church shares doctrines with the catholic church system.
think about that… before ya go telling me what denomination you are.
John Mushenhouse it is possible John Digsby got the HGB but we get the feeling is a holy GNOSTIC baptism
Troy Day you cant say anything cuz you dont know. I have stated the gifts in the church are not in operation, you have to agree. Nobody speaks tongues, you have to agree.
and i hope we can agree that “Gods gifts to the church ENDED” is just carnal crap from a failure cathoprot religious system.
God gives holy ghost, as God gives all things… to people who know how to handle the situation.
John Digsby I do NOT agree gifts in the church are not in operation PLENTY of ppl speak in tongues and John Mushenhouse know it – suppose you are part of some cult that do not operate the gifts and tongues? CALVIN stated the gifts have ended so you must be a dead cavlinist BUT even Kyle Williamswould not find you of such doctrine
Troy Day you dont, so where are they, in the catholic church system?
are readers of the niv gettin the holy ghost picture?
any chance of becoming more enlightened than a talking snake doctrine?
John Digsby did NOT know you are in the catholic church system? Philip Williams knows about it than me
Troy Day maybe try to comprehend what i type
or stop dodging everything