A century has come and gone since Florence Crawford stepped off the train in Portland, bearing the message that Pentecost had come. No historian will ever number the hungry souls who were drawn to 312 Azusa Street. No theologian will ever calculate the impact of the thousands who were baptized by the power of the Holy Ghost and then scattered to the ends of the earth. However, as we trace the way God used one woman who received that experience and followed where God led, we are assured that the Pentecostal fire ignited just after the turn of the century in Los Angeles is still burning today.
The images and accounts on the pages of this book are the threads that, woven together, form the history of the Apostolic Faith work. The band of zealous believers who gathered with Florence Crawford in the mission hall at Front and Burnside, and the faithful saints of God who followed after them, were instrumental in shaping a God-given message into a worldwide ministry. These Gospel pioneers determined to proclaim without fear or compromise God’s power to save the repentant heart, sanctify the converted soul, and pour out the Holy Spirit on sanctified believers.
It is with this same purpose that we, as today’s generation, continue the work that was started in 1906. We are charged in God’s Word to preserve our spiritual landmarks. In 2 Timothy 3:14, we read Paul’s words to Timothy, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” We learned of this Latter Rain Gospel from Florence Crawford and the dedicated men and women of God who came after her. These words that Paul addressed to Timothy could have been written to us from those who have gone on before.
To serve the next generation, we must stay true to the principles that the veterans of the faith so compellingly taught. That will not happen without effort. In Hebrews 2:1 we read a warning, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” The word slip is a nautical term that suggests “drifting away.” Drifting does not happen obviously or abruptly. It is subtle. It happens a little at a time.
That is why Jude exhorted his readers to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” It will take effort! We must challenge ourselves to look back to what was taught when the old-timers received the Pentecostal blessing, and set forth with a message that would change the world. Then we must earnestly contend for those same beliefs.
We do not need to reevaluate what was taught back then. We do not need to revise it or adapt it for today’s society. We must learn what it was and then hold to it! If every generation does so, we will have landmarks that are intact.
Let us determine to cherish and preserve our spiritual heritage. And let us all pray that the love, humility, tears, hunger, and dynamic Pentecostal power that were the spirit of Azusa will continue to be with us. Our churches, our nation, and our world still need Holy Ghost revival!