Spread of Azusa

The Azusa Street Revival could never be contained in one building. From its earliest days, revived participants spilled out into the streets and began holding street meetings in the surrounding area. Azusa began in 1906 and, by September of that year, evangelists had been sent out from it to San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Spokane and Seattle. By December of that year, Azusa revivalists were working in Denver, Colorado Springs, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Akron, Alliance, Cleveland, Chattanooga, Norfolk and New York. Also in 1906, they had sent thirteen missionaries to Angola, Africa. In 1907 Azusa had sent out missionaries to Mexico, Canada, Western Europe, the Middle East, Asia and West Africa. By 1908 the revival had spread to Central and Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Northern Russia. 1 As early as June 16, 1908, a convention of Pentecostal leaders was assembling in England under the leadership of an Anglican priest, Alexander A. Body, who had recently been baptized in the Holy Spirit. 2. In 1907 reports came in that a Pentecostal mission had been set up in Latvia and that there was an outbreak of tongues manifestations in Estonia. Ivan Voronaev, a Russian-born Baptist pastor who had immigrated to the United States, was confronted with Pentecostalism when his daughter had a profound experience with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He went to visit the church where she had experienced this and had his own powerful experience of it. After his church split over the issue of tongues, he left for Russia and founded the first Russian Pentecostal church in the Ukraine. His church grew to one thousand people and, by the time of World War II, there were reported 80,000 believers in the region.3 Janet Lancaster heard of Pentecostals in 1906 and, two years later, testified of having the gift. She was ministering in Australia and a revival of Spirit baptism and divine healing broke out in her meetings. In 1907 Pentecostal missionaries penetrated China and Pentecostalism began to spread there also. A number of Alliance Missionaries to China had an experience with the baptism in the Spirit and began spreading Pentecostalism in China, even further. In 1908 John Lake carried the message of Pentecost to South Africa where he was used in healing and evangelistic ministry. He came back to America in 1912. Although his time in Africa was short, 625 African churches sprung up under his ministry. Ordained ministers, Alfred and Lillian Garr, came to Azusa and had a powerful experience with the baptism in the Spirit. When their church found out that the Garrs now spoke in tongues, they were dismissed. Ablaze with the spirit of revival, they launched out and started several congregations in the United States. In January of 1907 they sailed to India. They ministered in Calcutta where they had some success but later were invited to minister in Mukti. They went and a wonderful revival broke out. Within two weeks, some eight hundred had received the baptism of the Spirit. 4

Back in Los Angeles Azusa’s influence was spreading, not just in locations but in people- groups. A Latin-American couple, Abundio and Rosa de Lopez, came to Azusa and had a wonderful experience with the baptism in the Spirit and, as well as serving at Azusa, they began holding open-air meetings in a Mexican plaza called La Plactica. They were greatly used of the Lord in winning converts and a revival broke out among Latin-speaking men and women in Los Angeles. By April of 1907, a number of Swedish converts formed a Swedish-language Pentecostal mission on Wall Street, Los Angeles. There were many Russian immigrants who came to Azusa and Russians and Armineans soon opened an Arminean-language Pentecostal church.

Again in Los Angeles, an evangelist, Ansel H. Post, was holding tent meetings in Pasadena. He heard about Azusa and visited the Mission for a couple of days. On June 25 he had a powerful experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and went back to his tent meetings a changed man. Within a week, some in his meetings were speaking in tongues, groaning and even shrieking, as things carried on into the night. Many were disturbed by his open-air meetings and the city of Los Angeles closed them down. Post simply relocated to an alley mission and was tremendously used by God. His mission became the source for two Pentecostal churches. Entire denominations were swept into the Pentecostal movement, officially affirming the teachings of Azusa. Some of these were the Fire Baptized Holiness Church, the Church of God In Christ, the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and the Pentecostal Holiness Church. In other cases, huge numbers of people left their previous denominations and formed new ones which accepted the Pentecostal experience and teaching. One example of this was the creation of the Pentecostal Free Will Baptists who came out from the old Free Will Baptist denomination. As well as the creation of large denominations, many independent Pentecostal churches sprang up as a result of Azusa. The Assemblies of God denomination is just one of these Pentecostal groups. In 2006 they had two-and-a-half million members in the United States and fifty-three million members worldwide. 5

Shawn Stevens

References:

1 Robeck, The Azusa Street Mission And Revival (Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2006), 7-8.
2 Ibid., 247.
3 Ibid., 11.
4 William F. Manley, quoted in Cecil M. Robeck, The Azusa Street Mission And Revival (Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2006), 253-254.
5 Cecil M. Robeck, The Azusa Street Mission And Revival (Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2006), 11.

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