(Translated from Norwegian by Jan-Aage Torp)
Dr. Emanuel Minos gave this lecture at the 100th anniversary of the Pentecostal Movement in Oslo. Jan-Aage Torp was privileged to translate for him from English to Norwegian. This specific meeting was held in Filadelfia Oslo on September 18th, 2007. The conference was called: “Centennial Highlights: From Azusa Street to Oslo Spektrum”.
Emanuel Minos and Jan-Aage TorpThe people were amazed and awed. Most of the time the man was crying. He had been shaken by a spiritual experience, and was only able to stutter some incongruent sentences. Nobody had expected something like this. He was known for his eloquence. He was well educated as a priest of his denomination. Now this same man stood almost helpless on the pulpit. This describes the first Pentecostal meeting in Kristiania (or Oslo) on Christmas Day 1906. (1)
Scientifically and theologically this spiritual experience is called “zenolali” and “glossolali”. Zenolali means speaking in tongues in a real language that the speaker does not know. This is described in Acts 2:4. Glossolali means speaking in tongues in an unknown language that must be understood through interpretation. This is described in 1Cor 14:27. The man who testified of this experience was Thomas Ball Barratt. (2)
For 9 years I can remember him as a close friend of my parents (i.e. my adopted parents). He grew up in a home of “the established”, meaning the upper middle class. (3) His parents as well as his forefathers were passionate Methodists. Personally, I heard him describe how his English forefathers fought to abolish slavery. They were actively involved in the battle for women’s voting privileges in parliamentary elections. They supported that common laborer’s rights should be respected. Even unto his death in 1940 he defended the Jews. (4) This speaks quite a lot about the background of pastor T.B. Barratt.
He was sent to boarding school in England. But he spent the vacations in Norway. After completed schooling he studied piano and composition with Edward Grieg. Reportedly, he was one of the foremost students of the composer. Grieg was truly sorry that he chose to be a Methodist priest, and not a pianist. He was also a gifted violinist. He got to know the world famous Ole Bull who invited him to his home at Lysøya. Barratt was also a student of the painter Olaf Dahl. And in England an expert acknowledged strongly his pictures. This was the man who on December 23rd, 1906 was in tears at Turnhallen (in Oslo).
Barratt never made it to the cradle of Pentecostalism in Los Angeles. (6) But during a visit in New York he met the Swede Anders Gustaf Johansson. Like many other immigrants he changed his name and called himself Andrew G. Johnson. In 1955 I met him as a retired man in Skövde. (7) He told me about a meeting between him and T.B.Barratt in New York. In a passionate way he had told Barratt about what had happened at Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Historically, this incident has been overlooked. (8) Some days later Barratt had a spiritual experience of an unusual kind. He went home and brought the Pentecostal Revival to Norway and many nations of Europe, and later on to India.
Shortly after his death his wife Laura told about an invitation he had been given in 1909. (9) Barratt was approached by Anglican and Methodist leaders at a convention in Sunderland. The clerics asked him if he would lead the revival on the British Isles. They reminded Barratt that he was British. In those days Great Britain was an empire. What would have been the significance of this man in an Anglo-Saxon setting? Possibly his name would have been known as John Wesley or Martin Luther. But he chose to be a nonconformist preacher in Norway.
However, his name is still remembered on the British Isles. During my studies at Oxford University I got vivid proof of this. A professor of theology said about him: “T.B.Barratt must be viewed as one of Europe’s last reformers”. (10)
In a special way, the Pentecostal Movement touched the lower segments of the people. But through 100 years it has affected all classes of society. As an example of this I would like to close with an interesting conversation. It was between commanding captain Victor Lorch in Copenhagen and my missionary parents. Lorch had been a friend since his youth, and a military colleague, of Prince Carl of Denmark, who later became King Haakon 7th of Norway. When the king celebrated his 25th anniversary as an officer, he invited his former military comrades to Oslo. When Victor Lorch received the invitation, he answered: “May I inform Your Majesty that I have become a Personal Christian (i.e. born again Christian). I have also become a Pentecostal. For this reason I do not know if I will fit into the anniversary that will be celebrated”. King Haakon answered immediately: “Precisely for this reason I welcome you in a special way”. In a lengthy conversation he told King Haakon about his salvation and Pentecostal experience. (11)
The Pentecostal Movement is today the fastest growing Christian revival in the world. The reknown news magazines “Time” and “The Economist” have written extensively about the movement. They estimate that the Pentecostal Movement with its many expressions has between 500 and 700 million adherents. For the time being, the Pentecostal Movement in Scandinavia is at a standstill. As representatives of one of the affluent nations we can only say: “What now, Pentecostal Movement? And our answer can only be: Almighty God, may we again experience Christmas Day 1906 with its power, with its faithfulness to the Bible, and with its agape love!”
“Fram til urkristendommen I” by Martin Ski pg 7. Filadelfiaforlaget Oslo 1956.
”Pinsebevegelsen”. Dissertation by Nils Bloch-Hoel pg 453, 455. Universitetsforlaget Oslo 1956.
“T.B.Barratt – Forfulgt og etterfulgt” by Vebjørn K. Selbekk pg 21-31. Hermon Forlag 2006.
Christmas Party 1937. Private notes.
”T.B.Barratt – Et Herrens sendebud” by Solveig Barratt Lange pg 28, 40. Filadelfiaforlaget 1962. ”T.B.Barratt – Minnesbok” edited by Lewi Pethrus pg 12-14. Förlaget Filadelfia 1940.
”Fire on the Earth” by dr. Eddy Hyatt pg 89, 147, 170. Creation House, Florida.
“Svensk pingsthistoria” by Jan-Åke Alvarsson. Nya Dagen April 11th, 2006.
Private notes. Private conversation.
Prof. G.Henton Davis, Regents Park College, Oxford 1960.
Victor Lorch’s conversation with pioneer missionaries Oddbjørg and Gunnerius Tollefsen. Private notes.