From Azusa Street to the ends of the earth
"Pentecost Has Come," roared the September 1906 headline of the Apostolic Faith newspaper, published by an obscure mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. New Testament Christianity finally was being restored to its charismatic fullness: "The gift of languages is given with the commission, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.'" Indeed, those who experienced "Pentecost" at the revival claimed that they spoke in Greek, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Zulu, "dialects of India," Chippewa, and many more languages. While one Los Angeles paper decried this "Weird Babel of Tongues," the faithful at Azusa declared that God had bestowed these unlearned human languages so that they could speedily evangelize the world before the coming of Jesus Christ.
April 2006 marked the centenary of the Azusa Street revival, an event that was crucial to the major global awakening we now call Pentecostalism. From the barrios of Latin America to the house churches of China and the villages of Africa, all the way to the corridors of the Vatican, its impact has been felt. Yet many still wonder how the goings-on at the Apostolic Faith Mission could have changed the face of 20th-century Christianity.
Best known of the early formative Pentecostal revivals, it began in an unlikely location, a little house tucked away on North Bonnie Brae Street. The pastor of the largely African-American congregation, William J. Seymour, had arrived only a few weeks before from Houston, where he had been mentored by Pentecostal pioneer Charles Parham. During a prayer meeting in this North Bonnie Brae Street house on April 9, 2006, a member of the congregation began speaking in tongues. Others followed suit. It seemed that the Day of PentecostActs ...