Legacy of Azusa Street Revival –1906-1915

Legacy

By 1913, the revival at Azusa Street had lost momentum, and by 1915 most of the media attention and crowds had left. Seymour remained there with his wife, Jennie, for the rest of their lives as pastors of the small African American congregation, though he often made short trips to help establish other smaller revivals later in life. After Seymour died of a heart attack on September 28, 1922, Jennie led the church until 1931, when the congregation lost the building.

Sending of missionaries

As The Apostolic Faith and many secular reports advertised the events of the Azusa Street Revival internationally, thousands of individuals visited the Mission in order to witness it firsthand. At the same time, thousands of people were leaving Azusa Street with the intentions of evangelizing abroad. Reverend K. E. M. Spooner visited the revival in 1909 and became one of the Pentecostal Holiness Church‘s most effective missionaries in Africa, working among the Tswana people of Botswana.  A. G. Garr and his wife were sent from Azusa Street as missionaries to Calcutta, India, where they managed to start a small revival. Speaking in tongues in India did not enable them to speak the native language, Bengali. Garr significantly contributed to early Pentecostalism through his later work in redefining the “biblical evidence” doctrine and changing the doctrine from a belief that speaking in tongues was explicitly for evangelism to a belief that speaking in tongues was a gift for “spiritual empowerment”.

Missionary Bernt Bernsten traveled all the way from North China to investigate the happenings after hearing that the biblical prophecy of Acts 2:4 was being fulfilled. Other visitors left the revival to become missionaries in remote areas all over the world.  So many missionaries went out from Azusa (some thirty-eight left in October 1906) that within two years the movement had spread to over fifty nations, including Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, Ceylon and India. Christian leaders visited from all over the world.

 Birth of Pentecostal movement

The leaders of the Apostolic Faith Mission. Seymour is front row, second from the right; Jenny is back row, third from left.

By the end of 1906, most leaders from Azusa Street had spun off to form other congregations, such as the 51st Street Apostolic Faith Mission, the Spanish AFM, and the Italian Pentecostal Mission. These missions were largely composed of immigrant or ethnic groups. The Southeast United States was a particularly prolific area of growth for the movement, since Seymour’s approach gave a useful explanation for a charismatic spiritual climate that had already been taking root in those areas. Other new missions were based on preachers who had charisma and energy. Nearly all of these new churches were founded among immigrants and the poor.

Many existing Wesleyan-holiness denominations adopted the Pentecostal message, such as the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), the Church of God in Christ, and the Pentecostal Holiness Church. The formation of new denominations also occurred, motivated by doctrinal differences between Wesleyan Pentecostals and their Finished Work counterparts, such as the Assemblies of God formed in 1914 and the Pentecostal Church of God formed in 1919. An early doctrinal controversy led to a split between Trinitarian and Oneness Pentecostals, the latter founded the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1916.

Today, there are more than 500 million Pentecostal and charismatic believers across the globe and is the fastest-growing form of Christianity today. The Azusa Street Revival is commonly regarded as the beginning of the modern-day Pentecostal Movement

This entry was posted in DreamBlog 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>