The Remnant On Line History Page

   

AZUSA STREET REVIVAL & William Seymour

LOS ANGELES, CA -- I drove down the street in Los Angeles to try and find the location of 312 Azusa Street, but it’s not there anymore, but God’s blessing wasn’t initially poured out at the spot where a parking lot is today, it was poured out on another street. Bonnie Brae was where the power of God was poured out, but they call it today the Azusa Street Revival and every modern work of Pentecost can be traced to Los Angeles, California. When God spoke to Jacob, He opened up Heaven on a rock that was named Bethel. Scriptures says that angels went up and down that ladder and God was at the top of the ladder in that place. The city where the initial thrust of Pentecost was a place named for the Angels of God by Catholic missionaries as they planted missions up and down the coast of California. The name was spoken like a prophet through their own visions of the area. The Fathers established the San Gabriel Mission in the Los Angeles area and named it for one of the most powerful messengers of God. The original hope was that the mission would reach the people of California with the gospel and while it did, God had other plans through this area to reach and entire world with signs and wonders. He would reach the world with the experience of Pentecost in a city named for the angels. What’s in a name -- the Spanish were consecrated to God to spread the Catholic faith and many names along our coasts dot that intention. In Mobile, Alabama the initial Spanish settlers named what is now Mobile Bay the Bay of the Holy Spirit. Many believe that the name the Bay of the Holy Spirit is a call toward a future purpose named by a prophet of the Christian faith.  William Seymour would be the last one you would ever had thought to bring a new move of Pentecost upon the world stage. He knew about prejudice as in Houston he worked as a waiter and heard the teachings of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit through a prejudice Methodist Preacher Charles Parham. He was more interested in the teaching than the prejudice because God was establishing a new vision inside of his heart. Seymour wasn't worried about how people treated him but he was hungry for the experience and he believed in it so much he paid the price for it when he came to Los Angeles, California. Rejection built the man of God and the move of God in Los Angeles as the door was locked at church where he taught this new vision. Vision can only come through where revelation is free. It was on Bonnie Brae Street where a women had opened her house up for the new teaching. The Spirit did fall on that September day in 1906 and Seymour saw his work just begin in a small room with only a piano. A few people helped establish God's ladder like Bethel in Southern, California. The ladder would just not reach to Los Angeles but it would go around the world before it would be over. Charles Parham experienced the first touch of this vision but God  gave the increase to a humble servant of God who had a hunger to see God move. Through all the rejected prejudice that even happened, today, William J. Seymour was more than conquer as God chose this vessel of honor to bless the world.

What was the thing that brought people from all around the world to experience. Los Angeles had become the Bethel and the great outpouring of God's love in California was just the beginning of a move of God that hadn't been seen since the early days of the early church. If you would have been a Christian in 1906 and would have read the Los Angeles Times you would have been turned off by the events of Azusa St. God was changing the atmosphere of religion and what was accepted by the masses was not going to be accepted by normal denominations of the time. Those who had been built around traditions for years could not understand this modern day Pentecost. Many ministers heard about the outpouring and they came from their denominations from all around the world. When they were baptized in the Holy Ghost they began to speak with an unknown tongue. That was the hardest thing for the fundamental churches to accept. Many including D. L. Moody called it a vomit from Hell but whether you accepted it or not it would be a standard by what people would measure this new group of people. They were called Pentecostals and with the infilling, religion had to get out of the way for a new breed of people who haven't been seen since the day of Pentecost. 

During this period of time two great men of faith were being raised up. The first person was a wealthy businessman from Chicago, Illinois. John G. Lake had been very successful in the banking business but the people of his family were being touched by sickness and death. Lake searched the scriptures about healing and was led to the Zion Movement just above Chicago. He was amazed at the healing coming from this place led by a man of God named Alexander Dowie. Dowie believed in healing power of God but did not believe in the Baptism in the Holy Ghost experience. While Lake was a believer he received the fullness of God with the evidence of speaking in tongues. He was a seeker at the early part of the Azusa Street Revival and from that revival he was led as a missionary to Africa where he established the foundations of Pentecost in South African. His wife died while he was raising funds in the United States but his early works would be the foundational works of several major evangelists to come out of that region. John G. Lake moved to the North West of the United States and established a work called the healing rooms.

When you say foundational you have to include the work of Smith Wigglesworth. He is a classic example of faith who did more for Pentecost in the early days than any other building block. He had always been a soul winner one on one but he was afraid of people when he got up to preach. Revival broke out in Sunderland, England after Father Alexander Boddy of the Episcopal Church read about the accounts of revival in Los Angeles through the small Pentecostal Newspaper The Apostolic Faith that was sent around the world. He traveled to Los Angeles by going around South America in a ship and returned to break Pentecostal Revival in England. It would be at this revival that a legend of Pentecost would be birthed. He was a plumber but at 46 years of age he received the Baptism in the Holy Ghost in Sunderland, England at the rectory from the wife of Alexander Boddy He had sought the filling of God for almost two weeks at the revival in Sunderland. Frustrated he stopped by the rectory to say good-bye when he was touched in a powerful way after Boddy’s wife ministered to him. He had a hunger for the power of God and had saw many healings in the small house meetings he was holding in Leeds, England but the powerful infilling put him in another realm as a minister.

He had several recordings of raising the dead in his 40 years of ministry. Raising the dead was only one amazing facet of the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth. This great apostle of faith walked in such an astounding measure of God's anointing that the miraculous following his ministry was only secondary to it. In his lifetime, this one time plumber would give new meaning to the word "adventure." "Only believe!" To Wigglesworth, simple obedience to what one believed was not an extraordinary feat, but the fruit of that experience was. His own faith was said to be unflinching and sometimes ruthless. But he was also said to possess an unusual teaching anointing and a keen sense of compassionate fruit of which produced countless salvations and miracles in his ministry every day. The same power Wigglesworth walked in is here for us today! (All the pictures you see were taken by Editor Jerrell Miller in his 1997 trip to England with Cleddie Keith)

Wigglesworth at the beginning of his ministry, begged others to preach in his place because of shyness. He was so hungry to speak in other tongues, that he disrupted a service and the minister three times and was escorted out by the ushers. When he did speak in other tongues, he interrupted the minister again, took over the pulpit, and 50 people were baptized in the Holy Spirit as he preached. The next day, the newspapers wrote a front page account of the story! He died at age 86 in 1947 but the truth of who he was and what he represented was an example for those who would follow in his footsteps. Wigglesworth introduced the Baptism in the Holy Ghost to New Zealand and his legend grows greater as the days go on..

The greatest failure of The Azusa Street Revival was that it did not change the racial situation in the church. God used a one eyed black evangelist to change the church through the power of God but the church remained in its racial makeup and is still that way today. The greatest failure of the Azusa Street Revival was that it did not join the races in common belief, it remained segregated the next move will be with the segregated heart.