At the height of the Azusa Street Revival, Seymour prophesied, “We are on the verge of the greatest miracle the world has ever seen.” The miracle to which he was referring was the true love and unity between races and creeds which he considered fundamental to Christianity.
He did not live to see the completion of his dream, but he fully expected the renewal ultimately to accomplish it. Since the movement still continues in a number of different forms, it is inevitable that his dream will come true. When it does, William J. Seymour must be considered as the one who sowed the seeds for this greatest miracle of all.
Possibly more than any other man in church history, he promoted that which alone can bring it to pass—seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
Above all things, the Holy Spirit has come to testify of Jesus. He alone can truly convict us of our sins and lead us into all truth. When the Holy Spirit does manifest Himself in our midst, we do not see the world in shades of black and white; we only see the glory of the Son of God. He has been given to help us see as God sees. God does not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart (see I Samuel 16:7). God does not just see us as we are now, but He sees us through the blood of His Son, and as who we are to become—made in the likeness of Jesus. We must begin to see one another in the same way.
The Apostle Paul said that “tongues are for a sign” (see I Corinthians 14:22), and this sign was given on the first Day of Pentecost. That day, people from every nation heard the glories of God in their own languages. This was the first time since the Tower of Babel and the scattering of men’s languages that this had happened. The sign was that the church would be the antithesis of the Tower of Babel, where people were scattered from one another. In the church, all will be gathered as one.
Even as fractured and divided as it presently may be, the Pentecostal Movement has the destiny and calling to help bring unity to the whole church. The fire still burns in the Pentecostal Movement and will burn until all of the wood, hay, and stubble have been consumed and all of the gold, silver, and precious stones are purified (see I Corinthians 3:12-15). Although various movements may each be fashioned into a different stone, the day is coming when we will all be fashioned together into one crown of glory.
The explosive spread of the movement begun at Azusa continued as long as the Holy Spirit was free to move as He willed and the people remained before Him in unity. When the revival drifted from these basics, the people drifted from the source of their power. Where the Holy Spirit is Lord, there must be liberty, and where He is Lord, there will be unity. Before the Lord, we all look the same. The blood of Jesus washes away all color lines.
Return to Azusa
It is interesting to note that the very name “Azusa” was derived from an Indian word that means “blessed miracle.” This was first noted by Father Juan Crespi in 1769, while he was on the Portola Expedition to explore in California. At that time, “Azusa” referred to the site of an old Indian village south of present-day Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Canyon.
There a young Indian girl named Coma Lee prayed and fasted for the healing of her people and was gifted with healing power as she laid hands on the sick. After she prayed for a chief who was wonderfully healed, he named her Azusa to commemorate his miracle of healing.
For many years, Azusa continued her healing ministry while her fame spread all over southern California. During that time, whenever there was suffering, people said, “Go to Azusa and be healed…go to Azusa.”
Maybe it is time for us to go to Azusa again and be healed of the many wounds we have inflicted upon one another.
For this booklet, I borrowed heavily from Frank Bartleman’s own account of the revival in his classic work, Another Wave of Revival, now published by Whitaker House Publishers. This book contains many important insights on the nature of revival and can be found in most Christian bookstores.