The Manifestations Throughout History
St. Louis CATCH THE FIRE Conference, May 3-6, 1995

by Richard M. Riss.


Here's a report that appeared in THE APOSTOLIC FAITH, vol. 1, no. 10 (September, 1907):

Missionaries in China have been seeking the baptism with the Holy Ghost ever since they received the first Apostolic Faith papers from Los Angeles. One dear missionary, Brother B. Berntsen from South Chih-li, Tai-Ming-Fu, North China came all the way to Los Angeles to receive his Pentecost. And, bless God, he went to the altar at Azusa Mission, and soon fell under the power, and arose drunk on the new wine of the kingdom, magnifying God in a new tongue.

On January 29, 1907, T. B. Barratt wrote from Chistiania, Norway that "One man was thrown on his back, a preacher, last Sunday morning in the Students' Hall, and when he rose, he spoke in four languages, one of these was English. He could speak none of them before" (THE APOSTOLIC FAITH, vol. 1, No. 6 [February- March, 1907], p. 1).

John Barclay, a policeman from Carlton, Melbourne, Australia, wrote in the May, 1908 issue (vol. II, no. 12): "Presently some mighty, marvelous unseen power took hold of me, and I was thrown downward on the floor. Everything around me disappeared. The other friends were as if they never existed. I saw the heavens opened and my precious Jesus sitting on the throne. . . . [At another meeting,] about 1 o'clock a.m., a brother laid hands on me, and I received my baptism. My hands, arms, and whole body trembled greatly and I was thrown on the floor. All the others were praising the Lord."

A. S. Copley of Cambridge, Ohio, was quoted by THE APOSTOLIC FAITH (January 1907), p. 4, as follows about a meeting that had taken place on December 8, 1906 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hebden in Toronto: "One young woman . . . laughed incessantly for hours and hours. Sometimes she speaks in a tongue while at her work."

Henry Prentiss reported as follows in the May, 1907 issue (vol. 1, no. 8, p. 4):

We went to the meeting where Bro. Blassco is. The Lord wonderfully blest in the service, and one precious sinner was saved, sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost. The Lord filled her mouth with holy laugher and she spoke in new tongues and has been under His power ever since, filled with joy and gladness.

The following month, A. A. Body wrote from England as follows (vol. 1, no. 9, p. 1):

The next morning the Holy Ghost came in mighty power, causing me to laugh as I had never done in my life.

A. A. Body's wife wrote something very similar in a later issue (vol. 1, no. 11 [October 1907 to January 1908], p. 1):

After a long time of silent waiting upon Him, God gave me a wonderful vision of Christ in the glory at the right hand of the Father, and from Him came a wonderful light on to me, causing me to laugh as I had never done before.

Here's another example, from vol II, No. 13 (May, 1908), p. 4:

Then the power fell. There were times when we were all shouting, screaming and laughing together under the power of the Spirit.

The ninth issue of THE APOSTOLIC FAITH (September, 1907), p. 4, published a warning from Kedgaon, India, about attempts to suppress manifestations of this kind:

We do not need to worry over these manifestations, nor seek to suppress them. IT IS FRUIT IN THE LIFE AND SERVICE THAT WE WANT TO SEE [Emphasis in the original]. These manifestations do not hinder fruit-bearing but we have seen over and over again during the past fifteen months, that where Christian workers have suppressed these manifestations, the Holy Spirit has been grieved, the work has stopped, and no fruit of holy lives has resulted. Who are we to dictate to an all-wise God as to how He shall work in anyone? When the Spirit is poured out upon anyone in strong conviction, why should we tell them that it is wrong to cry? Because among idolaters the devil imitates the trembling caused by the Holy Spirit when He comes in so as to overpower the physical, why should we say that the person has worked it up or is possessed by an evil spirit? The writer testifies that she has in the silence of the midnight hour, alone in her room without a sound in the house, been shaken from her innermost being, until her whole body was convulsed, and filled with joy and consciousness that the Holy Spirit had taken possession of every part of her being.
No one had greater prejudice against religious excitement than she, but every time she put her hands upon the work at Mukti to suppress joy or strong conviction, or reproved persons being strongly wrought upon in prayer, the work of revival stopped, and she had to confess her fault before it went on again.

Of course, accounts of this kind were not limited to the APOSTOLIC FAITH newspapers, but can be found in much of the literature of the early Pentecostal movement. For example, in CHRONICLES OF A FAITH LIFE by Elizabeth V. Baker, 2nd ed. (Rochester, N.Y.: Elim Tabernacle, 1924), pp. 96-97, Mrs. Nellie A. Fell wrote:

Thus the Lord led me on to that wonderful day in June [1907] when the Spirit fell in Pentecostal power [at Rochester Bible Training Center in Rochester, N.Y., associated with Elim Faith Home]. The convention in June opened on Wednesday with an unusual presence of God and power of the Spirit. . . .
My sister, Susie, came into the room, and as she looked around, said, "Oh! the slain of the Lord. Pentecost has come to Elim." With that I was laid down as by a gentle pressure, which I did not try to resist; she also was prostrated at the same time. The Spirit within me began to laugh, and such joy and restful laughter I had never known.
As I saw the complete finished work of Christ on the cross and we in Him, it filled my whole being with joy and praise. This continued until about seven that evening. In the meantime several others who had come in were prostrated under the power. Then some one thought we had better get up and go over into the meeting. (The Lord forgive us for our ignorance!) We were really unable to walk, literally drunk with the Spirit, but we went to the service and the power died out of us, for the time.

In RADIANT GLORY: THE LIFE OF MARTHA WING ROBINSON (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Bread of Life, 1962), pp. 299-301, there is an account of a Mr. Waldvogel, who received a number of manifestations:

Sometimes he would pray with groanings and would weep bitterly. At other times, he would laugh uproariously and his whole body would shake. One minister advised him, "Brother, you had better ask God to cause that to stop." Perplexed and certainly not wanting to have any fleshly manifestations, Mr. Waldvogel met Mrs. Robinson in the hall of the Meeting House one day and, stopping her, told her of his quandary. "Every time I touch the Lord, I have such violent manifestations and I have been told to pray that they would stop. What should I do?"
Quietly she smiled and answered, "Well, I certainly wouldn't." Then she went on to give her own experience in this respect and what the Lord had taught her. "In the beginning of the Pentecostal Movement there was a great deal of shaking and violent manifestations that people didn't understand. I didn't understand it either, but I said, 'It's either of God or not. If it is of God, it must be wonderful. It must have a very real purpose.'" . . .
Relieved and instructed, Mr. Waldvogel went his way, and this teaching became a guiding light to him not only for himself but in his ministry. "I went on seeking the Lord, never trying to interfere with His operations either in myself or in others," Mr. Waldvogel comments. "I found out that God's plan and God's way is always the best way. . . ."

There were also manifestations of drunkenness in the Spirit and Holy Laughter in Kathryn Kuhlman's meetings. Beyond Productions (P.O. Box 3000, Dana Point, CA 92629, phone: 800- 468-4588, fax: 714-493-7544) has made available a two-hour videotape of a Kathryn Kuhlman miracle service which took place in 1969 at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California. This video contains two sections pertinent to this topic. One of them is only about a minute or two in length, and the other lasts for about five minutes. The first is an outbreak of holy laughter in the audience, and both Kathryn Kuhlman and Ralph Wilkerson refer to it in that way. The second is an example of drunkenness in the Spirit, and lasts longer. Here, also, Kathryn Kuhlman specifically refers to it as drunkenness in the Spirit. A portion of this second clip was shown in a recent television report by Peter Jennings, IN THE NAME OF GOD, which was aired on March 16, 1995.

Used with the permission of Richard M. Riss