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This Week in AG History -- Oct. 14, 1973

Charles T. Crabtree invested his life in ministry — teaming with his wife, Ramona, as a ministry partner and going on to being elected assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.
Charles Talmage Crabtree (1937-2020) wore many hats of ministry during his lifetime. He was a preacher’s kid, a pastor, evangelist, director of the Decade of Harvest, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and president of Zion Bible College (now Northpoint Bible College). He is also remembered for his powerfully anointed preaching, his sterling reputation, and his unforgettable sense of humor.

Charles Crabtree possessed a solid Pentecostal pedigree. His father, Clifford Crabtree, was converted in an Aimee Semple McPherson meeting in the early 1920s. Clifford honed his preaching skills in Georgia and became an assistant pastor, earning a dollar a week. Later he went to Canada where he led a series of historic revivals. During his long career as a minister, he was associated with Rufus Moseley, Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, and British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth.

Charles Crabtree, one of four children, was born on Oct. 20, 1937, to Clifford and Helen Crabtree in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was raised in Bangor, Maine, where his father served as a pastor. After graduating from high school, he attended Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri, where he received theological training and met his wife, Ramona Hudgins, who was attending Evangel College (now Evangel University) in Springfield.

Charles and Ramona were married on Nov. 1, 1958, and they formed a capable ministry team. Charles excelled at preaching, and Ramona was a talented pianist. They first served as associate pastors and traveling evangelists. They later served as lead pastors of First Assembly of God, Des Moines, Iowa (1963-1974) and Bethel Church, San Jose, California (1974-1988). In addition, Charles was the national director for the Assemblies of God’s Decade of Harvest (1988-1993), assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (1993-2007), and president of Zion Bible College (2007-2013) prior to his retirement in 2013.

During his retirement years, Charles enjoyed preaching, writing, traveling, and spending time with his family. He and Ramona, traveled extensively around the globe speaking at various events. Crabtree authored eight books on subjects in theology, pastoral ministry, church development, and discipleship. Interspersed with his preaching and in his daily life, Crabtree often would share a few timely jokes. He also could do an amazing voice impersonation of Revivaltime speaker C.M. Ward.

Fifty years ago, at the 35th General Council, held in Miami Beach, Florida, Crabtree preached a rousing message at the “Call to America” rally at the Friday night service. He exhorted the listeners to “Look across America tonight and you will observe brokenness — broken relationships, broken hearts, broken bodies — but the Spirit of the Lord is upon us and has anointed us to make men whole.” He continued by saying, “If we are to call America to Christ, they must see Christ in us.” He closed out the message by saying, “Let’s call America to Christ. It's the best news she’ll ever hear.”

Read Charles Crabtree’s sermon, “Calling America to Christ,” on page 3 of the Oct. 14, 1973, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “New Spiritual Vitality Encouraged” (Report of the Spiritual Life Committee)

• “Increasing in the Knowledge of God,” by George Holmes

• “A Call to America,” by Joe D. Wilmoth

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Glenn W. Gohr

Glenn W. Gohr is the reference archivist at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri.