The Imperial Japanese Navy conducted a surprise military strike on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The following day the United States declared war on Japan, and within a few days America was fully embroiled in the Second World War.
How should the Assemblies of God respond to this world crisis? The Jan. 10, 1942, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel published three articles addressing this pressing question.
Pentecostal Evangel Editor Stanley H. Frodsham, in an article titled, “Keeping Tranquil in a World of Turmoil,” cautioned believers to not become caught up in the destructive patterns of the world. He predicted that the “insanity” of the nations would not last forever and instead urged Christians to remain calm. He admonished readers to act according to an eternal perspective, reminding them of Matthew 5:5, “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Frodsham’s irenic posture during the early years of the Second World War was in continuity with his earlier opposition to the First World War (1914-1918).
Raymond T. Richey shared a different perspective about the war. In an article titled, “Evangelizing at our Army Camps,” he wrote about his experience as a military chaplain during both world wars. Richey was known for holding evangelistic meetings in his “patriotic tent” (which was constructed of red, white and blue cloth) and he saw thousands of soldiers accept Christ. He encouraged readers to pray for and support chaplains, suggesting that army camps “present the greatest opportunity for home missionary work that ever has been.”
Evangelist E. Ellsworth Krogstad, in a sermon titled “Loyalty to Government and to God in the Present World Crisis,” encouraged American Christians to be loyal to their government, which he claimed was “founded upon godly principles.” He acknowledged America’s imperfections, but he also “(thanked) God for the privilege of living in America.” America was great, according to Krogstad, because it provided the “greatest liberty,” including freedom of speech, press, assembly, and worship.
The responses to the outbreak of the Second World War by Frodsham, Richey, and Krogstad demonstrate that early Pentecostals were not cookie-cutter thinkers. They each had their own perspectives on politics and world events. However, all agreed that American Christians needed to pray fervently and with great contrition. They took seriously the notion that the Christian’s citizenship, ultimately, lay in heaven and not on Earth. It was with this deep conviction that they encouraged readers, in the midst of global turmoil, to place their primary focus on things eternal.
Read the articles by Frodsham, Richey, and Krogstad in the Jan. 10, 1942, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Watchmen, What of the Night?” by Noel Perkin
• “Ezra Teaches Separation,” by J. Bashford Bishop
• “The Sadhu,” by Mary Warburton Booth
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.