Assemblies of God: Cashwell, Taylor and the Theology of missionary xenolalia

Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

g-b-cashwellWilliam Seymour announced in The Apostolic Faith that “Bro. G.B. Cashwell who came from North Carolina for his Pentecost, has returned on his way rejoicing to carry the good news of the Pentecost to the hungry souls there.” In December, 1906, Cashwell led a three-week revival meeting in an old tobacco warehouse in Dunn, NC, that introduced Pentecost to the entire region. Over the next two years, Cashwell was instrumental in leading hundreds into Pentecost, including M.M. Pinson, who later became one of the first executive presbyters of the Assemblies of God; A.J. Tomlinson, who founded the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), N.J. Holmes of Greenville, SC, founder of Holmes College of the Bible and J.H. King.

January of 1908 he preached in Cleveland, Tennessee, at the conclusion the General Conference of the Church of God. A.J. Tomlinson, at that time pastor of the church in Cleveland, received the Pentecostal baptism.

Pentecostal Holiness Church leaders such as G.B. Cashwell and G.F. Taylor encouraged potential missionaries to trust God to provide the necessary languages. Cashwell believed learning foreign languages in colleges would take too long and Jesus would come soon. Taylor ridiculed “scholarly clergymen and high-steeple officials” who wondered how to spread the gospel as being “19 centuries behind the times.” So, while Pentecostal churches and periodicals struggled to spread their message throughout the Southeast, they also solicited collections for foreign missions.
Shortly after Cashwell’s 1907 revival at Dunn, North Carolina, laypeople and leaders set out to places such as China, Japan, and India. Among those was PHC minister T.J. McIntosh.

McIntosh, who apparently was the first Pentecostal missionary to reach China, was the test case that revised a critical piece of this emerging formula. McIntosh was one of many who believed his xenolalic tongues were Chinese. Once in China he lamented in the Bridegroom’s Messenger, “Oh! How we would love to speak to these poor people. Of course, God speaks with our tongues, but not their language.” Reports that McIntosh and other missionaries were unable to communicate with people because God did not miraculously provide them with a foreign language caused considerable discomfort for Pentecostals. This news also elicited further criticism from their opponents.

The teaching on Spirit baptism was modified in Cashwell’s inaugural issue of The Bridegroom’s Messenger 1:1 (1 October 1907).Here he specifically contrasted xenolalia with languages learned at colleges for evangelizing the world. He called the “gift of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12) xenolalic in contrast with initial-evidence tongues orglossolalia. Cashwell argued that McIntosh and others who thought they had the gift of tongues were pure in their motives, but mistaken. Cashwell criticized the disunity these misunderstandings were causing, and called on Pentecostals to pray that missionaries would attain the necessary gift. As for himself, Cashwell realized that he had only obtained manifestations of tongues, but he continued to expect the gift of tongues just as much as he expected to see Jesus. In subsequent years, the phc greatly escalated its missionary outreach, but also made concessions by adopting stringent requirements for its missionaries, utilizing translators, and sponsoring a more traditional approach to acquiring foreign languages.

14 Comments

  • Reply April 27, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Many here in this group like Ricky Grimsley Jim Price and @ have testified about leaving the Cog. Cant help but wonder how many here have left the AOg? Link Hudson

    • Reply April 27, 2017

      Link Hudson

      I’m not very ‘brand loyal’ when it comes to consumer products. That ‘I am of Paul’, ‘I am of Apollos’ passage causes me not to be ‘brand loyal’ when it comes to denominations either.

  • Reply April 27, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    I still go to a COG i just gave up my credentials.

  • Reply April 27, 2017

    Link Hudson

    Regarding Cashwell, why does the sign seem to take a dig at Azusa Street? Seymour paid him enough attention to mention him in his newsletter? Did Azusa have an ‘open format’ at the time he went like they did in some of the meetings Barlteman described? Did they let people speak as they were moved by the Spirit to do so. It’s possible he was even allowed to speak.

    The Bible never says that if you get the gift of tongues, you get the language of your choosing or tongues to use on the mission field. In Acts 2, people who spoke in tongues spoke of the wonderful works of God. Then Peter stood up and preached. Garr also had this experience of not speaking the local language when he went to India. He’d actually heard someone in LA who spoke Bengali identify his tongue, though he was speaking something different from what he normally did when he spoke in tongues. I’ve read maybe three or four testimonies of people at Azusa who spoke languages that were identified by speakers of those languages as their own. But some of the people there assumed that they’d speak the language of whatever country they went to, which isn’t guaranteed in the Bible.

  • Reply April 27, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Question to you too Joseph Kidwell though the question was about our Aog but Mr. Link went astray again taking it in a whole different direction …

    • Reply April 27, 2017

      Link Hudson

      I responded to the OP. I don’t see much of a relationship between that and your next post in the thread.

    • Reply April 27, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      Troy Day, the truth is that God was dealing with me to leave the CoG for several years before I finally did. I was a full time evangelist from 1979-1991 and then from 1993-1996. During this time I served as a supplemented State Evangelist for Indiana (1980-82), South Georgia (1984-1988) and Florida (Cocoa Office) from 1993-1996. Evangelizing in the CoG was great because it gave me a network of churches with which to work and I never lacked for revivals in the CoG. Pastoring was a different story. If you are in a small state and you get on the wrong side of the Administrative Bishop, they can make life miserable for you. After conflicts with my last two Overseers, I finally walked. I should have walked several years before I did. Since I left the CoG, I’ve had opportunities that I never would have had if I had stayed in the organization. The leadership of the denomination tries to intimidate the ministers in causing them to feel that they have no future outside of the organization. But God is much bigger than any denomination. I have never looked back.

    • Reply April 28, 2017

      David Lewayne Porter

      Joseph Kidwell
      I am sorry for your bad experiences.
      Not all of the Administrative Bishops are the way you described.
      Not everyone in the leadership of the denomination tries to intimate the ministers into staying.
      That is a broad brush used to paint with.
      Generalities are normally false, at least in part.

    • Reply April 28, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      David Lewayne Porter, I never said that all Administrative Bishops are overbearing and abusive, but far too many are. I was in the CoG for 24 years I stand by my statement. The truth is, many ministers who are still in the CoG would agree with everything that I said. My experience in the CoG was not limited to one state, but I preached in 25 states in the CoG, served one term on the State Youth & Christian Education Board of Florida, two terms on the State Evangelism Board of Great Lakes, one term on the State Evangelism Board of Indiana and was a supplemented State Evangelist for nine years in Florida, Indiana and South Georgia. You have a right to you’re perspective, but my experiences are shared by hundreds of Church of God ministers.

    • Reply April 28, 2017

      David Lewayne Porter

      Joseph Kidwell
      With all that experience you should have been in the “in crowd”.
      I wonder what did not click?

    • Reply April 28, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      I was never in the “in crowd”. I am not a southerner and am the first Pentecostal in my family. I was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost in an Assemblies of God church and educated at an A/G school. I came into the CoG after pastoring a small church in Illinois which was part of the ‘World Bible Way Fellowship’. God gave me favor with Overseer Amos Ledford in Indiana and a door opened for me to preach revivals in Indiana. The opportunities that I had were not the result of nepotism or political favoritism, but rather the gift that God had given me making room for me. The board positions were the result of me being elected by my peers. There were Overseers who liked me and there were Overseers who did not like me. The bottom line is that God led me in a different direction and had I obeyed Him when He first dealt with me to leave, the final confrontation with an abusive and dishonest Administrative Bishop would not have happened. My only regret is not obeying God when He first dealt with me to leave. The Church of God has good doctrine and there was a great flow of the Spirit in most of the churches when I was part of it. However, it’s the mentality of the leadership and the overbearing approach to leadership that I have real issues with.

    • Reply April 28, 2017

      David Lewayne Porter

      Sorry it happened like that for you

    • Reply April 28, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      No problem. My time in the CoG was not permanent assignment from the Lord and I should not have tried to make it one. I maintain great respect for the doctrine and many of the ministers of the Church of God

  • Reply April 28, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Joseph Kidwell What you wrote is understandable and is your own choice. Many in this group have expressed similar opinions. I was simply asking if the same is happening in our Aog until Link Hudson took the discussion in his own direction which had nothing to do with what I was asking. Sorry about that

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