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Pentecostal Classics: An interview with Larry Martin

Larry Martin started to share recordings of classic sermons from Pentecostal preachers. Pneuma Review caught up with this busy evangelist and author to ask him about this golden archive available to the public without cost or obligation. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Larry Martin: I am an Assemblies of God evangelist with more than fifty years in gospel ministry. I have served the body of Christ as a pastor, evangelist and Bible College administrator. I have dedicated myself to the study of Pentecostal origins and have published a number of books on the revival at Azusa Street and the outpouring in Topeka, Kansas. Briefly explain what Pentecostal Gold is.

Larry Martin: Pentecostal Gold is a free audio archive of classic Pentecostal preaching. There are more than 2,200 sermons on the site by more than 200 different preachers. I add several more sermons almost every week. What inspired you to start this website?

Larry Martin: With a love for history and good preaching, it seemed natural to take an interest in preserving great Pentecostal preaching. Over the years, I had personally collected several hundred tapes of sermons and soon found that several of my friends also had a lot of tapes. When God gave me the idea over seven years ago I immediately went to work on it, purchasing the web address and uploading sermons.

I spend part of most days working on the website. It is my gift of love to the body of Christ. I believe when I am gone or no longer able to minister Pentecostal Gold will continue to minister to new generations of men and women hungry for the Word of God. Did you have certain criteria that you used in order to determine which preachers you would include on your website?

Larry Martin: Yes, there are several.

  • The preacher must be Pentecostal
  • The preacher must be 70 years of age or in Heaven. I set the age limit arbitrarily, but was interested in posting preachers with experience and those who had passed the point of trying to impress others.
  • I must be able to obtain permission to post the sermons. If the speaker is alive, I must have his or her permission. If they are deceased, I must have permission from an heir.

I am very serious about the third requirement. Christians and even preachers are sometimes the most careless about violating copyright laws. Every sermon ever preached is the intellectual property of the speaker and we respect that. In order to listen to the sermons, an individual must sign into the site and agree that they will not download or copy the sermons. If I can add a short side note, I am amazed that “Christians” will use a fake name or fake email to sign into the site to try and short cut that simple request. Who are some of the preachers that people can listen to on Pentecostal Gold?

Larry Martin: A complete list is on the website, but readers will recognize names like C. M. Ward, Jimmy Swaggart, R. W. Schambach, Aimee Semple McPherson, A A Allen and David Wilkerson. This, of course, is just a small sampling.

Not all of the preachers are famous. I value all preaching and intentionally include the obscure as well as the famous. I realize that most listeners will be drawn to the better known preachers, but the unknown men and women of God also had something important to say.

Many of my friends and even people I have never met send me sermons from their personal library. When I get a new preacher, I begin the search for permission. Locating the heirs of a long-deceased preacher can be the most difficult part of the process. When I get permission I edit the sermon and change the format to MP3 and another preacher is added to the archive. The Pentecostal Gold website makes a point of saying that your ministry “does not endorse every person posted on the site; neither do we endorse every doctrine and discipline advocated by every preacher.” Why was it necessary to include this disclaimer?

Larry Martin: I have been criticized because I have added preachers that may have had a blemish on their lives. My answer to that is that Pentecostal Gold exists to celebrate preachers, not judge them. I will let God take care of the rest on judgment day.

Image: Matt Botsford

As far as doctrines, there are certainly some minor things said on the website that is not totally in line with everything I believe. That would be especially true with regards to the interpretation of prophetic events. If someone raised an issue, I would probably joke and say, “I don’t always agree with myself.”

At the same time, I would not allow heresy on the site or a major deviation from truth. For example, I have not posted any sermons by “Oneness” Pentecostals. Will I ever? I am not sure. I do know I would not post a sermon that advocated a “Jesus Only” water baptism or Holy Spirit baptism as requisites for salvation. Are there any preachers that you would like to add to the website in the future?

Larry Martin: There are many. I don’t want to name names, but some preachers or their heirs have refused to allow me to post sermons. Some of those are big names that most would quickly recognize. Unfortunately, others are not at all famous but their families are just unwilling to share. Sad to say, it is often for monetary reasons. This really disappoints me because I feel if I could talk to the preacher themselves almost all of them would be glad to share the messages God has given them.

There are others I would like to add but to date I have not been given any of their sermons. Honestly, my unattainable goal would be to add everyone that ever preached a Pentecostal sermon. What can we learn from the Pentecostal preachers who are found on Pentecostal Gold?

Larry Martin: What is there not to learn? With over 2000 sermons, just about every subject regarding our Pentecostal practice is covered. Many of the sermons are categorized by subject.

Young preachers can also learn practical preaching styles by listening to these men and women of God. Of course, there is an anointing of the Holy Spirit, but there are also styles of preaching, cadence, homiletical structures and basic delivery that have been proven successful for over a century.

To be candid, I personally learned much about preaching by listening to reel-to-reel and cassette tapes of some of the sermons on the website. What do you feel is unique or special about Pentecostal preaching?

Larry Martin: I value all biblical preaching. Some of the greatest preaching I have ever heard was by preachers who were not Pentecostal. I, however, am Pentecostal and honor my heritage through celebrating Pentecostal preaching. If Pentecostal preaching is unique it is because Spirit-filled ministers tend to rely more on the anointing and power of Holy Spirit.


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Category: Church History, Fall 2020

About the Author: Larry E. Martin, D.Min. (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary), is an educator, historian, pastor, and evangelist, serving in Christian ministry for more than fifty years. He is the author of The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour, The Topeka Outpouring of 1901, and editor of The Complete Azusa Street Library. He has written, edited, and contributed to several other works and his articles have appeared in numerous Pentecostal/charismatic periodicals.

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