Historical Archives | Pentecostal History 2


  

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  Trailblazing The Apostolic Faith

As Pentecostal historian, Dr. Larry Martin stated, "The 20th Century Pentecostal Movement in America was born on January 1, 1901 in Topeka, Kansas. For several months the fledging faith slept like a babe in a crib.

Kansas City, Missouri

It took a couple of years of crawling around before the Apostolic Faith Movement began to stand up on its feet with national recognition. However, on January 21st, 1901, just three weeks after Agnes Ozman became the first to be baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues at the Topeka Outpouring, Charles Parham took a small band of seven workers, and went to Kansas City. There, he hoped it would be the first place on a tour across the United States, and Canada, to carry the new Pentecostal message as he personally coined it. 

For about two weeks, meetings were held in a small storefront building, at the Academy of Music at 1675, Madison Avenue, so that larger numbers of people could be accomodated. The result of this venture was rather minimal, with some response being reported. The missionary tour was quickly cancelled as a result of the disappointing response in Kansas City, thus they returned to Topeka.

Lawrence, Kansas

In the middle part of February, 1901 Parham took twenty of his Bethel Bible School students with him to nearby Lawrence, to conduct his Apostolic Faith meetings. The remaining student body of the school remained in Topeka, to intercede for the revival. Each night in the Music Hall, meetings were conducted. During the daytime, the students did door-to-door witnessing.

While there were a few who were converted to Jesus Christ, with some testimonies of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the results were far from overwhelming, and to little avail. Therefore, Parham's group returned to Topeka, and continued the curriculum of the Bible School on through the spring months.

Sarah Parham stated, "The people seemed slow to accept the truth. Some declared it was not the power of God, which enabled us to speak in tongues". Charles Parham wrote concerning his disappointments, "Through great trials, and persecution in Kansas City, at which time I wrote the first book published by any Full Gospel people entitled, A Voice Crying In The Wilderness, in which was set forth what is now being taught in different movements throughout the world. Both the pulpit, and the press sought to utterly destroy our place, and prestige, until my wife, her sister, and myself, seemed to be standing all alone; Hated, despised, and counted as naught, for weeks and weeks, never knowing where our next meal was coming from, yet feeling that we must maintain 'the faith once delivered to the saints'. When we had car-fare, we rode, when we did not, we walked. We entered every open door, but did not try to force doors open. When buildings were closed to us, we preached on the streets."  

Sarah Parham wrote, "We continued the fight until the spring of 1903, when a lady minister, who was brought into the faith when we had held a meeting in Lawrence in 1901, invited brother Parham to hold a meeting in a mission she had established in Nevada, Missouri. Here, the Lord blessed us, and we learned some needful lessons, as we saw some fleshly manifestations, and giving out of messages we had not witnessed before. Here, brother Parham carefully tested these things. The Word tell us to 'try the spirits' and 'prove all things'. If we had not done so, brother Parham would not afterwards have known how to rebuke fanaticism, when it was manifest in such force and power."

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El Dorado Springs, Missouri

During the summer months of 1903, the Parham's felt led to go to El Dorado Springs, Missouri, where people came from all over the United States to try the virtue of the mineral spring water for the healing of their bodies. El Dorado Springs proved to be the biggest turning point in Parham's ministry since the Topeka, outpouring.

                         

The two photos above are where Brother Parham stood and preached to throngs of people in Eldorado Springs, M0. (1903)

  

 El Dorado Springs Park

Sarah Parham wrote, "Brother Parham along with his workers stood at the corner of the park where the steps led down to the spring. People came by the hundreds to hear his message of salvation, healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many were converted and healed, witnessing to the truth from many different states". Sarah continues, "Our home was continually filled with the sick and suffering, seeking healing, and God manifested His mighty power. Among the many that came to our home and was healed was a Mrs. Mary A. Arthur from Galena, Kansas".

 

                               Rev. Mary A. Arthur                        

 

This occasion historically was the turning point for the floundering Apostolic Faith Movement, and is responsible for building the momentum that eventually led to the 'great revival' in Galena, Kansas in 1903. Likewise, it opened the doors to evangelize North America within a few short years.

It's exciting to think how just one person can make that much difference, but in God's perfect timing, He brought Evangelist Charles F. Parham and Mary A. Arthur together, and that pre-determined meeting changed the entire direction of Pentecost as we now know it.

 Parham's choice of El Dorado Springs is indicative of his desire to rekindle his former ministry of divine healing, and as this account reveals, the expectations became a miraculous reality. Mary Arthur was afflicted  with dyspepsia for fourteen years. She also suffered from prolepsis, hemorrhoids, and paralyses of the bowel. But her greatest distress was her eyes. The optical nerves were afflicted in a way which might culminate at any time in sudden blindness. Her right eye was virtually blind from birth. With many other things wrong with her, nothing she did seemed to help her afflictions.

  Her husband was a leading merchant in the city of Galena, Kansas. He had sent Mary to El Dorado Springs several years in a row, trying to find some kind of relief from the mineral water, but with no results. After Mr. Arthur encouraged her to go just one more time, she hesitated, knowing that nothing had changed before. With so many physical problems, and no help in sight, the enemy was tempting her with thoughts of suicide. After she consented to go just one more time, Mary left Galena, and arrived in El Dorado Springs in August, 1903. One day as she was in the park, she heard a small number of people singing nearby. Then she heard a preacher announce, "If there be any here seeking God for salvation, or healing in their bodies, come to my house tomorrow morning at nine o'clock".

 As Mary listened to brother Parham teaching the Word of God, her faith begin to build, until she was able to believe without doubting that God was willing to heal her of all her diseases. After brother Parham prayed for her, the healing power of God liberated her body, setting her free from all her infirmities. She hastened back to Galena, to tell her husband. Her family and friends joined in her rejoicing. From that time on there was someone in the Arthur home almost continually to hear her wonderful story. This went on until the whole town had heard of her healing, which she received on August 17, 1903. Afterward,  joy and gladness filled her soul continually. Sarah Parham wrote, "Because of Mary Arthurs healing, the way was opened for us to go to Galena, Kansas, and the wonderful revival which followed was begun in her home ".

 

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Galena, Kansas

 

 The Arthur Home

Sarah Parham wrote, "We came to Galena, Kansas in the fall of 1903, and immediately began holding meetings in the Arthur home at 311 Galena, Street. Though a large and commodious home, it soon proved to be too small to accommodate the crowds of hungry people who came to hear the message of the Full Gospel, which brother Parham had brought to them".

 

     

On the left is the exterior of the Arthur home, on the right is the living room where Parham preached in the fall of 1903.

 

As the crowds outgrew the Arthur home, more room was needed to accommodate the throngs of hungry people who came to hear the message of the apostolic faith. Therefore, a large tent was erected on a vacant lot adjacent to the Arthur home, and the revival continued until after Thanksgiving. As cold weather approached, the " Grand Leader" building, an immense double store-room was used to continue the meetings. Though the building would accommodate one thousand people, the doors were many times thrown open as the crowds overflowed into the streets.

Two meetings were held each day, and the entire city of Galena, with a population in 1903, reaching somewhere in the vicinity of 80,000 was greatly moved. Large numbers came from surrounding towns, and God stretched forth His hand to heal by the hundreds, and many "signs and wonders" were wrought. Hundreds were converted, and filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

 

Apostolic Faith Mission, in Galena, Kansas (1907)

 

As we continue to view Charles F. Parham from a religious perspective, not only was he an apostolic preacher, but he was also the key figure in the development of many of the customs and doctrines that are still being taught in the 21st century Apostolic Movement. For several years, Parham was the Projector of the entire Apostolic Faith Movement. He was solely dependant on his own revelations concerning the virtues of God's Word. Parham was a genius when it came to interpreting some of the issues that remain prevalent to this day. He had an early insight concerning the virtues of water baptism. What he saw in light of the Scriptures was truly Apostolic in origin. He rejected the triune baptismal formula of dipping a person three times, once for each person of the Trinity. Instead, (as has been stated earlier) he taught that baptism should be done by immersion, one time in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

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Howard Archibald Goss 

One of the great and notable personalities to come out of the Galena revival (and there were many that went on to become preachers) was Howard Archibald Goss. Around the turn of the 20th century , Galena, Kansas was a booming mine town. Lead and Zinc was being mined around the clock, which was the reason for the population explosion at that time. People came from all over the United States to work in the mines, and the Goss family was not without exception.

In 1903, Howard Goss was in high school, and a practicing infidel. He had many doubts concerning the existence of God, but after Mary Arthur was healed, the entire town of Galena became interested in the revival that was shaking their town. Many of Goss' classmates began attending the revival, and several received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Edith Blumhofer wrote, "Mary Arthur's sister was a high school teacher, and one day during school she challenged Howard to accept Parham's message. First, curiosity, then a haunting sense of spiritual need attracted Howard to the meetings, which had now moved from the tent located at the Arthur's home to the "Grand Leader" warehouse on Main Street as winter approached".

Howard Goss later recalled, "Miracles and wonders seemed to be a constant occurrence". Among them of course were healings and tongue speaking. Goss claimed that he owed his conversion to Christianity to hearing people speak in other tongues. After attending the meeting, and seeing God at work, to his own surprise, he became convinced that somewhere there existed a being that men called God. On one of the coldest days of the winter, Howard Goss, along with one hundred other converts was baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ in Spring River. It wouldn't be until February, 1906, that Howard would receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost while riding on a train with other apostolic believers from Orchard, Texas to Alvin, Texas, on his way to one of Charles Parham's Apostolic Faith meetings.  

In 1915, after the Oneness position had been established among Pentecostals, Howard Goss was re-baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, because he had not fully realized the significance of his earlier baptism, as was performed by Charles Parham. 

 

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Baxter Springs Kansas

In 1904, Brother Parham began taking his meetings to some of the nearby communities. Although the crowds were not as great in Baxter Springs (a distance of about ten miles west of Galena) yet, a genuine revival was reported, with many accepting the apostolic faith message. Brother Parham was so impressed with the town of Baxter Springs (the first cow-town ever built in America) that he eventually made it the permanent headquarters for the Apostolic Faith Movement. Parham purchased the old"Zellekin "  brewery  in Baxter Springs, and turned it into a multi-purpose facility including his home, the headquarters for the Apostolic Faith Movement, and the printing press for the periodical  entitled The Apostolic Faith. Scattered throughout the regions of southeast Kansas, and southwest Missouri, are numerous building, and landmarks where Brother Parham once held Apostolic meetings.

 

 The Apostolic Faith Headquarters in Baxter Springs, Kansas

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Keelville Kansas

As the result of a meeting  Parham held in Melrose, Kansas, another meeting was held in Keelville, Kansas, located about ten miles west of Baxter Springs. In 1907, with the help of his converts (who donated the land and labor) Brother Parham erected the first Pentecostal Church ever built in America. The building is still being used today as a Pentecostal church. Up to this time, revivals and special meetings were conducted in store-fronts, tents, or school houses.

 

The dedication of the first Pentecostal church ever built in America.

 Keelville, Kansas (1907)

 

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Joplin, Missouri

In the year 1904, Brother Parham  reaffirmed his commitment to the Apostolic Faith Movement. He ceased not to travel, and wherever he went, he established Pentecostal works. Through this endeavorment he was able to build a successful network of missions in and around his headquarters in Baxter Springs.  Parham took on a burden for the neighboring city of Joplin, Missouri. In the fall of 1904, he pitched a tent on the corner of 15th and Joplin, Street, where he held a seven-week revival campaign. Joplin is located about sixteen miles east of Baxter Springs, and a mere five miles from Galena. Joplin served as the commercial center of the "lead and zinc" district. 

Mrs. Belle Deorge was brought to the tent in a wheel chair having been unable to walk for years. After Brother Parham prayed for her, she was wonderfully healed. Mrs. Rosana Trapp was the first  person in Joplin to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence recorded in Acts 2:4.

From the very first meeting, a great interest was manifested from the public. Deep conviction came upon the people, and many were soon converted to the Apostolic faith, leaving their denominational affiliations behind, they embraced the divine healing message that Brother Parham preached, and numerous   healings were soon being reported. The revival continued in the tent for about four weeks, then it was moved inside at the "Roosevelt Flats" located at 906 Main Street. This building still stands today.

 

Apostolic Faith Mission, 906 Main Street, Joplin, Missouri (1904)

According to Parham, the Joplin meeting proved to be such a great success, that it rivaled the one held the year before in Galena, Kansas. Hungry souls congregated from all points, including those traveling from the surrounding states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. The move of God was greatly witnessed and felt during this meeting. Over four hundred were filled with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and many were taken to a local creek, and were baptized in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

With the success of the Joplin meeting, came much "criticism and ostracism" from the local press and community leaders, prompting Parham to have a complete nervous breakdown. His wife (Sarah) wrote, "My husband was taken very sick during the Joplin revival. His physical strength giving away under the stress of constant labors. Unable to eat for some time, he lingered between life and death. His life would have been despaired of had it not been for our trust in God, who answered the prayer of faith, and in love and mercy reached down and touched him by power divine, and restored him to health. God gave him a new lease on life, and he continued on in the service of God, working for lost humanity".

"Though the battle had been hard, and the work strenuous, a great victory had been won for God, and souls, for during the year 1904, many hundreds of people from Carthage, Missouri through Southeastern Kansas, to Miami, Oklahoma, were now believers in the power of the faith once delivered to the saints".

 

 

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The Houston Connection

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Oyler, of Orchard, Texas, attended the meeting in Galena, Kansas (1903) and both of them received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They also attended the meeting held in Joplin, Missouri in the fall of 1904, where they met a Mrs. Hall. On March 21, 1905 she accompanied them back to Orchard, Texas. They told the people of Orchard, of the "full gospel" which had meant so much to them for both soul and body. They prayed that the Lord would send Brother Parham there for a meeting, and God answered prayer. 

Brother Parham arrived in Orchard and stayed at the home of H.H. Aylor. His first sermon in Orchard, Texas was on Easter Sunday, 1905. This was the birthplace of the Apostolic Faith Movement in Texas. So many were healed, saved and baptized with the Holy Ghost that there seemed to be scarcely one left to plead the cause of the evil one. The whole community had been transformed, restitution had been made, lives had been changed and led into the deeper things of God.

On May 20, 1905 Brother Parham returned to Baxter Springs, Kansas, to fill some appointments he had planned. On July 2nd a farewell meeting was held in Galena, Kansas. Brother Parham, with a company of fifteen (15) faithful soldiers, returned once more to the southland. They arrived at Orchard, Texas on July 4, 1905. On July 10, 1905, Brother Parham, now with twenty-five workers including those who joined the company from Texas, began the revival meeting to lay seize to the city of Houston in the name of the Lord. Bryan Hall had been secured for the meeting which cost $50.00.

   

Bryan Hall, Houston, Texas (1905)

The town of Brunner became one continuous flame of revival power. A large tabernacle was erected where throngs of hungry people came to be healed and filled with the Holy Ghost.  Meetings were also held in Richmond, Katy, Alvin, Angelton, Needleville, Crosby and many other places.  The power of God was present to save, sanctify, heal and baptize with the Holy Ghost. 

 

 

Brunner Tabernacle, Houston, Texas (1905-06)

 

Apostolic Faith Church, Katy, Texas (1905)

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After having returned again to Baxter Springs, for commitments, on Monday, October 16, 1905 Brother Parham and about twenty workers said goodbye, leaving the depot at Columbus, Kansas around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, about 8:30 a.m. they arrived at Orchard, and were warmly welcomed by God's children. They remained there till October 21, holding services day and night, and showers of blessings refreshed hungry souls. On Saturday, October 21, 1905 they left Orchard enroute for Houston. They had to lay over at Alvin for about five hours. Two street meetings were held, one in the morning and one after lunch. The people of Alvin were so pleased that as the group was getting ready to leave, several citizens went to Brother Parham and requested him to return and hold some meetings in their town. The first building used as an Apostolic Faith Church in Alvin, Texas was a warehouse seen in the picture below. 

 

Apostolic Faith Church, Alvin, Texas (1905)


Under the leading of the Holy Ghost, Brother Parham considered making Houston the new headquarters for the Apostolic Faith Movement and to conduct a Bible School. Scores of persons, married and single, were consecrating their lives to God and volunteering for His service without money and without price to preach this gospel, but felt the need of Bible teaching.  So, Brother Parham consented to spend the winter in Houston, not only to engage in training students but to firmly establish this great growing work in Texas. In a few days, $100.00 was given for the rent of a large residence which was completely furnished.  

 

The Apostolic Faith Headquarters and Bible School, Houston, Texas (1906)

                                                                                                 
This announcement was made in the daily paper: "A reception will be tendered for Brother and Sister Charles F. Parham at their home, 503 Rusk, tonight. Brother Parham conducted a revival at Bryan Hall last summer and has decided to make Houston the headquarters for the Apostolic work in Texas, and will personally superintend the work for a time until it can be left in other hands. During the winter and spring months, a Bible Training School will be located here under his instruction." Those who came to the school earnestly seeking to know more of God, were greatly helped and went out from the school better prepared to preach and teach the word of God.

 

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