ELSIE OTT, who attended the services Florence Crawford held in the old converted blacksmith shop on Second and Main, tells of receiving the Holy Ghost in one of those meetings.
“I had three small children—the youngest only a baby. I knew it would be impossible for me to have the time to seek long at the altar as other folks were dong. The second meeting I was in, such a hunger gripped my soul. I was saved and sanctified, but it seemed as though I would die if I couldn’t get what these people had. I could hardly wait for the altar call to be given. Then just as it would happen, my baby was crying and there was no chance for me to pray. So I slipped through the back door and upstairs where Sister Crawford’s bed was. I soon had the baby asleep and laid her on Sister Crawford’s bed. Mildred [Florence Crawford’s daughter] was upstairs, and she told me she would watch the baby. So I thought, Now is my chance. I hurried downstairs and opened the door back of the altar, and to my surprise I could hardly get standing room let alone a place at the altar. Some of the saints were sitting on the chairs back of the altar as there was no kneeling room. My heart began to sink as I was so hungry. Then one of the sisters who was sitting back of the altar offered me a seat on her lap. I sat down and dropped my head in my hands, and began to pray with all my heart.
“Brother Bourcey, who had no kneeling room, was standing back of me and praying for me. The power came on me while sitting there. Then, all of a sudden someone left the altar right in front of me, and I gave one lunge for that spot. Sister Crawford heard me praying and came to my side and started praying for me. In just a short time I fell over with my head on her lap, and received the mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. That was the 8th day of January 1907—a glorious day to me. People and ministers of other churches came to my home trying to talk it out of me. But God had put something in my soul that no one could talk out. I believe there were eight people who got through that day.”
The concept of Preach was chosen as the second of three keys in our mission statement. It reads: “We emphasize the original Pentecostal doctrines of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, continually striving to develop fully committed disciples of Jesus Christ.” One of the special aspects of the Apostolic Faith Church is the unity we enjoy worldwide. That unity is tied, in a great measure, to our consistent doctrine. All branch churches around the world preach these same Bible truths. At the heart of our doctrinal teaching are the three foundational Christian experiences.
1. How can the experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost be compared to a foundation?
2. Florence Crawford once said that sanctification is the hub of the Gospel. Why is sanctification of such central importance in our Christian walk?
3. How do these experiences relate to spiritual growth?
In the first paper printed from the mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906, we find these words, “Justification is that act of God’s free grace by which we receive remission of sins. Sanctification is the second work of grace by which He makes us holy. The disciples were sanctified before the Day of Pentecost. By a careful study of Scripture, you will find it is so now. . . Too many have confused the grace of sanctification with the enduement of power, or the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Baptism with the Holy Ghost is a gift of power upon the sanctified life; and when we receive it we have the same evidence as the disciples received on the Day of Pentecost, in speaking in new tongues.”
In the years since 1906, many of the groups tracing their roots to the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles have modified their doctrines, particularly regarding a definite experience of sanctification. The Apostolic Faith organization still upholds and teaches these doctrines as they were taught in 1906. This is the doctrinal teaching upon which God manifested His seal of approval by pouring out the Pentecostal experience. What an assurance it is to know that the basis for our teaching has been proved!