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Led by The Spirit: The History of the American Assemblies of God Missionaries in the Philippines, Preface and Introduction

To achieve a proper balance and accurate history, problems that occurred on the field are dealt with throughout the book. There are, however, some exceptions. I am well aware that there was a major financial scandal that took place in the AGMF office in 1978 in which a minimum of thirty thousand dollars was either lost in bad business deals or embezzled. The story is not included here for legal reasons. In some cases, moral failures that would adversely affect living family members if they were discussed will remain undisclosed. Other problems related to missionaries currently serving on the field remain confidential because the revelation of such would disrupt the excellent current unity of the field. These issues will be left to future historians.

This volume is offered with the hope that it will contribute both to the historiography of the Assemblies of God World Missions in general and to the Assemblies of God work in the Philippines in particular. I also pray that God will be glorified through this effort.

Dave Johnson
Daraga, Albay, Philippines
November, 2008


This is an excerpt from Dave Johnson, Led By The Spirit: The History of the American Assemblies of God Missionaries in the Philippines (Pasig City, Philippines: ICI Ministries, 2009)


The story of the Assemblies of God Missionary Fellowship in the Philippines flows out of the well-known 1906–1909 Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, California. During this time, thousands of people from all strata of life were saved, healed, and baptized in the Holy Spirit. At Azusa Street, neither race nor social status was important as all were equally convicted of sin, set free through forgiveness in Jesus’ name, and filled with the Spirit’s power.

Speakers at the revival emphasized several theological themes: Jesus as Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and soon-coming King. They also emphasized a countercultural perspective for that era: that all races were equal before the cross of Christ. This newfound unity between the races may have paved the way for an Assemblies of God missions vision that emphasized the dignity, gifting, and callings of people around the world in the Lord’s harvest. The resulting strategy focused on developing institutions that trained and released national leaders. These leaders, in turn, multiplied missionary efforts hundreds of time over through dynamic Spirit-empowered evangelism and church planting.

Word spread about what God was doing at Azusa Street, and people came from around the world to see what was happening. Many veteran and new missionaries came and experienced the dynamic of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and then left for the mission fields around the world with the conviction that the Holy Spirit baptism empowered believers to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Many independent Pentecostal churches sprang up when those who had been filled with the Spirit were kicked out of their churches.

Many independent Pentecostal churches sprang up when those who had been filled with the Spirit were kicked out of their churches. In time, many began to feel a need for some type of ecclesiastical structure that would allow for the moving of the Holy Spirit. A call was issued through Pentecostal publications for interested people to gather in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in April 1914, and about three hundred people did so. The meetings were marked by an attitude of waiting upon God. Out of this meeting was born the Assemblies of God, often referred to as a fellowship because some resisted the idea of a denomination. One of the major reasons cited for founding the Assemblies of God was to work together for world evangelization. The founders committed themselves to the greatest evangelistic effort that the world had ever seen.1 This solid biblical principle of working together to bring the world to Christ would prove to be one of the reasons for the explosive growth of the Fellowship around the world. From the beginning, missionaries from various parts of the world sought affiliation with the new movement, a number of them filing their applications from the field.

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Category: Church History, Summer 2019

About the Author: Dave Johnson, M.Div., D.Miss. (Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines), is an Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines. Dave and his wife Debbie have been involved in evangelism, church planting, and Bible school and mission leadership. Dave is the Managing Editor of Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, the director of APTS Press in Baguio City, Philippines and coordinator for the Asian Pentecostal Theological Seminary's Master of Theology Program. Facebook Twitter

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