Pentecostalism, a Christian pietistic movement, had its origins in a worldwide revival at the turn of the twentieth century. The charismatic movement refers primarily to Pentecostals within mainline denominations and independent churches, a "second wave" of revival beginning in the late 1950s. Pentecostals are defined by the way they practice their faith more so than by a distinctive theology. "Pentecostal," then, is more of an adjective than a noun. All major Christian traditions have significant elements that are Pentecostal. Indeed, Pentecostals constitute the second largest grouping within Christianity, at 500 million adherents in 2000. Pentecostals tend to accept the contemporary practice of Biblical spiritual gifts (i.e., I Cor. 12, especially speaking in tongues and healing), emphasize a personal relationship with God, and encourage corporate and individual religious experience. They are often noted for fervent spirituality and contemporary church music.
Pentecostal historiography generally identifies two early twentieth-century revivals as defining the movement: Topeka, KS (1901), and Azusa Street, Los Angeles, CA (1906-09). However, recent scholarship has emphasized Pentecostalism's diverse roots, pointing to additional glossolalic (tongues-speaking) revivals in India (1890s), Cleveland, TN (1896), and the Red River Valley of the North (1890s-1900s). The Red River Valley revival occurred primarily among Scandinavians in areas including Grafton, ND, Fosston, MN, Audubon, MN, Moorhead, MN, Greenfield, SD, etc. Leaders in the early Red River revival became leaders in the later Pentecostal movement emanating from Azusa Street, which was likely introduced to North Dakota in 1908 when Andrew H. Argue held services in Bathgate and Glasston, ND.
Most early believers were "Free Pentecostals," existing in networks of independent ministers and churches. Pentecostal denominations were soon formed, however, to provide accountability and mission agencies. The two primary Pentecostal denominations in North Dakota are the General Council of the Assemblies of God (AG), formed in 1914 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) (CG), formed in 1886 in Monroe County, TN. The AG formed the North Central District in 1922 to serve its growing number of affiliated churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Separate state districts were formed in 1936. The German Branch of the Assemblies of God was formed in 1922 for German- language churches in the U.S. About fifteen churches in North Dakota have been affiliated with the German Branch, later renamed the German District. The CG organized its first church in North Dakota in 1919, at Golden Valley. Among the most prolific early church planters in North Dakota were the Blanche Brittain (1890-1952) for the AG and Paul H. Walker (1901-1975) for the CG. In 1990, North Dakota was home to 10,000 AG adherents in 66 churches, and 1,000 CG adherents in 11 churches. Other Pentecostal groups in the state include: Church of God of Prophecy; United Pentecostal Church; International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Church of God in Christ; Association of Faith Ministries and Churches.
Blumhofer, Edith. The Assemblies of God: A Chapter in the Story of American Pentecostalism. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1989.
Conn, Charles W. Like a Mighty Army: A History of the Church of God: Definitive Edition. Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 1996.
Daffe, Jerald. "The Church of God in the Dakotas during the Depression of the 1930's." M.A. thesis, Wheaton College, 1973.
________. North and South Dakota, Church of God, Chronology, 1919-1986. S.l., s.n., 1986?
Dokter, Guy and Hazel Dokter. Let Us Go Forward: History of Northwest Bible College. Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, c. 1970-1977.
Forward After "50": North Dakota District Council, Assemblies of God. Bismarck, ND: North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God, 1986.
Hollenweger, Walter J. Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.
Walker, Paul H. Paths of a Pioneer. Cleveland, TN: The Author, 1970.
The North Dakota Pentecostal Church Collection has been divided into three series:
Series 1: Assemblies of God
Series 2: Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee
Series 3: Miscellaneous
Most materials in the collection are photocopies. Most North Central District (AG) original materials are housed at the Minnesota District Council, 1315 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404, (612) 332- 2409. Most North Dakota District (AG) original materials are housed at the North Dakota District Council, 1724 N. Grandview Ln., Bismarck, ND 58501, (701) 255-2526. Originals of Licht und Leben are archived at the Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo, ND, (701) 231- 8914. Most Church of God (Cleveland, TN) original materials are housed at the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center, 260 11th St. NE, Cleveland, TN 37311, (423) 614-8576. Additional materials are located at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, 1445 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802, (417) 862-2781.