March 23, 2021

April 2021 Viewpoint

One hundred fifteen years ago, on April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake violently shook the San Francisco Bay area and caused significant damage along the entire California coastline. It remains one of the most damaging earthquakes in history. Nine days earlier and four hundred miles south, the power of the Holy Ghost had descended upon a group of holiness people who were praying together at 214 Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles. Over the years, many have noted how that prayer meeting soon shook the entire world.

As the prayer meetings grew, they were moved to Azusa Street. The Azusa Revival of 1906 was the start of the modern Pentecostal movement and it is referred to throughout this magazine. In “Conquerors through Christ,” Josephine McElveen notes that the leader, William Seymour, overcame extreme prejudice in order to learn of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. As noted in “The Baptism of the Holy Ghost,” he arrived at the Bonnie Brae Street house after being locked out of a church that had rejected the doctrine he attempted to preach. He experienced his personal Pentecost three days after the initial outpouring.

The founder of our church, Florence Crawford, received the experiences of entire sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost at Azusa, and soon after, established this work in Portland, Oregon. She continued the ministry of publishing reports about what God was doing, distributing the news as far and wide as possible. In 1932, one of those newspapers reached amateur boxer Richard Barney in the state of Florida (his testimony is shared in “A Prize Fighter Finds God”). As a result, he was saved just before turning professional, and in 1934, he attended our Portland camp meeting with his wife and another couple. You will read that they left Florida with only $100, a packed lunch, and some extra bread and jelly for the road. They arrived in Portland many days, three thousand miles, and several flat tires later. Despite the challenges, he deemed that the spiritual results were worth the effort. He returned to the South to share with others the Gospel message that he cherished, serving for decades as the pastor of our church in Anniston, Alabama, and the leader of our Southern churches.

Few today could say they have been impacted by the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, but the nearby outpouring of the Holy Spirit has only grown in its impact. At the fortieth anniversary of the Azusa Revival, Jack Robbins preached about his firsthand experiences in 1907, telling how the Pentecostal power had changed his life forever. Then he extended an invitation for his listeners to “Come and See” for themselves. Still today, at the 115th anniversary, we send out publications like this to let people know about the power of the Gospel to transforms lives. The invitation to “Come and See” is still extended, and it is our prayer that all who read this magazine will seek and experience their personal Pentecost.

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