This Week in AG History -- Aug. 25, 1968
David Womack's book, The Wellsprings of the Pentecostal Movement, continues to shape the mission of the Assemblies of God decades after it was written.Fifty years ago this week the Assemblies of God launched a book called The Wellsprings of the Pentecostal Movement. The author, David Womack, compared the Pentecostal movement to a tree, carefully examining the deep roots of Pentecostalism.
Womack saw the tree today threatened by two grave dangers — people with a limited knowledge of Church history and people who have been overinfluenced by non-Pentecostal concepts. To remedy this, he gave a prescription for having a truly Pentecostal church.
Instead of expounding on the practices of the Pentecostal movement and the Assemblies of God, he focused on New Testament church patterns, the meaning of these patterns, and the need for a resurgence of these patterns in the church today. He outlined some important factors to consider in building a healthy church. He described how world events and current trends in society can influence the church and its mission (sometimes in a negative way). He also mentioned the continuing trend of society to become more urbanized. He declared “The most dangerous problems facing the Pentecostal Movement are not those of external forces … but the slow decay from within.” He stressed that if Jesus and His apostles intended for the New Testament patterns to be the standard for the Church in all ages, then the Pentecostal movement should make every effort to uphold the biblical patterns.
According to Womack, the Day of Pentecost established a number of important precedents, including that “the infilling of the Holy Spirit … was to be for the whole Church, not only for its leaders.” Womack also makes this conclusion: “It also showed that anointed preaching was to be a major method of evangelism, that the Church was to reach large numbers of people with its message, that spiritual experiences may not always be understood by those outside the Church, and that three of the main religious experiences of the normal Christian life would be repentance, water baptism, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
David Womack, a foreign missions editor for the Assemblies of God, had collaborated with the 15-member Committee on Advance to evaluate the life and role of the church. The book was an outgrowth of this study committee.
The study committee also launched a monumental gathering called the Council on Evangelism, held in St. Louis in August 1968. This meeting became a significant turning point for the Assemblies of God as members prayed together, worshiped together, and redefined the goals of the denomination for the last part of the 20th century. At this gathering, The General Council reaffirmed its mission as an agency for the evangelization of the world, a corporate body in which humanity may worship God, and a means for the discipleship of Christians. The Assemblies of God has a long history of compassion ministries, and in more recent years, the fourth reason for being — compassion —was added.
Womack’s book that was launched at the Council on Evangelism and the principles he outlined have continued to shape the mission of the church.
Read more about The Wellsprings of the Pentecostal Movement on pages 10, 11, and 21 of the Aug. 25, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Full Redemption is Ours!” by John P. Kolenda
• “The Meaning of Discipleship,” by Melvin L. Hodges
• “This is Our Mission,” by James E. Hamill
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.