This Week in AG History — August 22, 1954
By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 24 August 2023
Carl M. “Daddy” Hanson (1865-1954), a spiritual father to many early Pentecostals on the northern Great Plains, earned his Pentecostal stripes on both sides of Azusa Street. He experienced the Pentecostal distinctive of speaking in tongues in the 19th century, and he became an early leader in the Assemblies of God in the first half of the 20th century.
The son of Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota, Hanson was converted while a student at Augsburg Seminary and became an evangelist affiliated with the Scandinavian Free Mission (now known as the Evangelical Free Church). The Scandinavian Free Mission, in the 1890s and early 1900s, witnessed a significant revival in which many people experienced salvation, healings, and biblical spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues.
This revival made a deep impression on Hanson, who himself was healed of a terminal illness in 1895. A short time later, he held services in Grafton, North Dakota, where people had a great hunger for God. There, he saw a young Norwegian girl, enraptured in the presence of God, speak in a language she had not learned. Hanson pondered what it meant, studied Scripture, and came away convinced that that the prophecy in Joel 2:28 was coming true before his eyes: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
Hanson continued as an itinerant evangelist. His daughter, Anna Berg, recalled, “My father began giving testimony wherever doors were open to him: in churches, schoolhouses, homes, and missions. The response was amazing. Everywhere people were saved. This was usually followed by a consuming desire for more of God’s power in their lives.”
In about 1899, Hanson received the gift of speaking in tongues. In 1904, he opened a rescue mission in Minneapolis, where he sought to give physical and spiritual help to those who were drunken, homeless, and destitute. He traversed the region, raising support and seeking young people to work with him at the mission.
Hanson soon identified with the emerging Pentecostal movement in Chicago, which had its roots in the 1906 Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles. Chicago Pentecostal leader William Durham ordained Hanson in 1909, and Hanson transferred his ordination to the Assemblies of God in 1917. In 1922, when the Assemblies of God organized churches and ministers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas into the North Central District, participants unanimously elected Hanson to serve as the district’s first chairman.
Hanson and his wife, Mathilda, had 13 children, two of whom became Pentecostal missionaries. Esther M. Hanson served at L.M. Anglin’s orphanage in China, and Anna C. (Mrs. Arthur F.) Berg served in Belgian Congo prior to pastoring in Sisseton and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Former Assemblies of God General Superintendent G. Raymond Carlson also traced his family’s Pentecostal experience back to Hanson’s ministry. It was in Carlson’s maternal grandparents’ home in Grafton, North Dakota, that Hanson first saw someone speak in tongues.
Hanson’s story reminds us that the modern Pentecostal movement emerged from a variety of sources. Revivals at Topeka and Azusa Street may have been two of the most visible focal points of early 20th-century American Pentecostalism, but prior revivals, including those among Scandinavian settlers in the northern Great Plains, provided precedents and leaders for the emerging movement.
The Pentecostal Evangel published a memorial tribute to Hanson on page 12 of the Aug. 22, 1954, issue.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Tony, the ‘Miracle Boy’”
• “Maybe I’m Wrong,” by John Garlock
• “Ride on, King Jesus,” by Zelma Argue
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Read more about Hanson in the article, “Carl M. Hanson: Scandinavian Harbinger of Pentecost,” in the Spring-Summer 2006 issue of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine.
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
“The New World of Realities in Which We Live”:
How Speaking in Tongues Empowered
Gary B. McGee
Assemblies of God T eological Seminary, 1435 North Glenstone Ave.,
Springﬁeld, Missouri 65802, USA
Histories of Pentecostalism have recounted how early adherents anticipated preaching in their newfound languages until disappointing reports from missionaries trickled home. Yet, in the years from 1901 to 1908, many Pentecostals recognized the value of glossolalic utterances to include languages not only for preaching but also as a means of prayer, with the latter especially denoting their willingness to step beyond the border of rational spirituality into the realm of Christian mysticism. At the same time, they addressed the connection of Spirit baptism to love in the Spirit-ﬁlled life and struggled with questions that arose about the meaning of the gift of interpretation. This essay proposes that the early literature reveals a consistently held role for adoration and prayerful intercession that enabled the faithful to withstand the impact of other changes in meaning.
Pentecostalism, speaking in tongues, Spirit baptism
“We wanted power from on high to help save the world,” declared Charles Parham matter-of-factly to a newspaper reporter as he reviewed the events of the January 1901 revival at his Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. “We prayed for it; we received it.”1 To Parham and his band of followers, who embraced his novel teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Charles F. Parham, quoted in “New Religion ‘Discovered’ at ‘Stone’s Folly’ Near Topeka,” Topeka Mail and Breeze, February 22, 1901; in Larry Martin, ed., The Topeka Outpouring of 1901, rev. ed. (Joplin, MO: Christian Life Books, 2000), 219.
Mary Johnson (1884–1968) and Ida Anderson (1871–1964) are described in pentecostal historiography as the first pentecostal missionaries sent from America. Both of these Swedish-American missionaries experienced baptism of the Spirit, spoke in tongues, and were called as missionaries to Africa by God, whom they expected to speak through them to the native people. They went by faith and completed careers as missionaries to South Africa. But who were these two figures of which relatively little has been written? They were Swedish-American “Free-Free” in the tradition of August Davis and John Thompson of the Scandinavian Mission Society—the first Minnesota district of the Swedish Evangelical Free Mission, known today as the Evangelical Free Church of America. This work examines the lives of these two female missionaries, their work in South Africa, and their relationship with Swedish Evangelical Free churches in America, particularly its pentecostal stream of Free-Free (frifria).