Greetings In The Name of the Lord:
Acts 2:4 (ESV)
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
While Tina and I were in Seminary we had the honor of sitting under the teaching of and being mentored by Dr. Gary McGee. Dr. McGee was first and foremost, a walking encyclopedia of Pentecostal history. It was amazing to sit in his classroom and listened to him site Pentecostal history from sheer memory. In addition to being a great teacher and Pentecostal historian, Dr. McGee was also an incredible mentor of young people in ministry. He has since gone to be with the Lord, and in his memory on this Pentecost Sunday I would like to share some of his writings with you. “In the early 1900’s a major revival began in Los Angeles. It became known as the Azusa Street Revival. What the Holy Spirit did there was really quite revolutionary for its time. Here is what Dr. Gary McGee of the Assemblies of God writes about Azusa St.: According to the Los Angeles Times, a bizarre new religious sect had started with people “breathing strange utterances and mouthing a creed which it would seem no sane mortal could understand.” Furthermore, “Devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories, and work themselves into a state of mad excitement.”
If that didn’t grab the reader’s attention, the article continued by saying that, “Colored people and a sprinkling of whites compose the congregation, and night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howling’s of the worshipers who spend hours swaying forth and back in a nerve-racking attitude of prayer and supplication.” To top it all off, they claimed to have received the “gift of tongues,” and what’s more, “comprehend the babel.Nonetheless, for the spiritually hungry who came from far and wide to receive their Pentecost, “the very atmosphere of heaven” had descended, according to one. A visiting Baptist pastor said, “The Holy Spirit fell upon me and filled me literally, as it seemed to lift me up, for indeed, I was in the air in an instant, shouting, ’Praise God,’ and instantly I began to speak in another language. I could not have been more surprised if at the same moment someone had handed me a million dollars.”
Little could the subscribers of the Times have guessed that in years to come, historians would say that the Azusa Street revival played a major role in the development of modern Pentecostalism—a Movement that changed the religious landscape and became the most vibrant force for world evangelization in the 20th century. Azusa Street became the most significant revival of the century in terms of global perspective. [McGee, Gary]