Early Pentecostals in Holland
God has sent a very gracious outpouring of His Spirit to Holland and we have asked Pastor G. R. Polman of Amsterdam, whom God has raised up to be a leader in the work among the Dutch people, to send us an account of God’s dealings. He writes the following:
“In the early days of our Christian life we had dreamed about the beginning of the church of God, the wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room, and the life and work of the apostles. Looking at the present spiritual condition of Christendom it seemed too great for us to believe that we might have the same experiences, but at the same time there was such a longing in our innermost beings for a full salvation, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, that we felt there must be a possibility of our receiving a blessing to meet our need. The deep need of our being cried out for God, and nothing but God can satisfy; but this we know, He has made it possible for us to be fully satisfied in God. He has given us a revelation of Himself through the Holy Spirit, so that we may enter into the fellowship of God and Christ through the Holy Spirit, for Pentecost means; ‘At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you’ (John 14:20).
“This mysterious fellowship with God and the Son is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer. And as God fulfilled our dreams in giving us the Holy Spirit, it could be said of us as of Israel of old, ‘When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad’ (Psa. 126:1-3).
“In 1906, we heard wonderful tidings from America. Some papers were sent to us in which we read that God had again visited His people as in times of old. We learned that God was pouring out His Holy Spirit and people were speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. We knew it must be of God, because that is according to the Scripture. Where the Holy Ghost is present in Pentecostal power a manifestation of the Spirit must also be there; and while there is a hidden work of God’s Spirit in the hearts of the people, there is also a work through the believers that is manifested in the gifts and operations of the Spirit. When we heard of this, we set apart a day for definite prayer and Bible searching in our assembly, and our dear brothers and sisters became very hungry for this new blessing that God was bestowing upon His people.
“What was this wonderful blessing? We heard that the Lord was giving His children the same blessing as the hundred and twenty received in the upper room, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them, as recorded in Acts 2: 2-4, ‘And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ Our hearts became hungry, and we began to pray earnestly to be filled with the Holy Spirit. On October 29, 1907, Mrs. Polman received a wonderful Baptism, accompanied with the speaking in tongues. No words can describe either her joy and glory, or the glorious days and months that followed.
“We had at that time a hall with about one hundred seats, but we saw that we could not remain long in that hall. It was packed every evening, and many had to go away because no room was to be found. What a wonderful revival broke out; men, women and children were saved, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and received the gifts mentioned in First Corinthians, twelve. On June 4, 1908, the Lord baptized me with the Holy Spirit. I was in Sunderland as a visitor of the First International Convention, a never-to-be-forgotten meeting, with Pastor A. A. Boddy as chairman.
“God met me in a quiet way, but when He sent me back to Amsterdam, we had wonderful meetings. The sick were healed, demons cast out, souls saved and other manifestations of the power of God were given. What a wonderful change it brings in our lives when the Holy Spirit comes in, in Pentecostal power; how it changed our conduct, our hearts and lives; what a fellowship in the Spirit with our risen Lord! How real then was our salvation and the power to conquer sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil. Truly may we say with the Apostle Paul: ‘Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.’ What a change it brings in our work for the Lord when the flesh is crucified with Christ, the Holy Spirit rules in our lives, and is the power for service. We serve God and work for Him, no more in our own strength, but by the Spirit of God, and therefore we rest in the work, and work in the rest. It is a trusting in His leading, who leads into all truth.
“In February, 1909, some leading brethren from Germany visited the little Amsterdam assembly and they were a great blessing to us; and we were invited to different centres in Germany. We accepted the invitations and our meetings resulted in wonderful revivals in many places. To the glorious Lord of all be the glory and honour forever and ever. The work in Amsterdam went on under much persecution and hatred from churches and the world, but the little flock kept on trusting the Lord, and following the Lamb. Meanwhile a monthly paper was issued called ‘Spade Regen’ (Latter Rain), wherein good teaching was given, and the mighty works of God were proclaimed over the whole world.
“Very soon the hall was too small, and we had to rent another hall. God had led us to live by faith, not asking for anything, and till this day we walk the Lord’s way, as He says in His Word: ‘In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God’ (Phil. 4:6). So we trusted Him, and He provided us with a big stable, finely built, that had been used for race horses, but nevertheless a stable.
“Through the help of our beloved brethren and sisters of our assembly, this stable was soon changed into a fine hall, everyone helping with his own hands to lay the floor, to paint, to put in beautiful windows, etc., and on December 19, 1909, the hall was opened. This hall contained about two hundred and fifty seats, but after two years it was not possible for it to hold the people. The work by that time had been better organized. Bible classes were formed; a big Sunday school, prayer meetings for children and adults, and other meetings were held. We also felt the great need of a Bible school, and a Christian home for brothers and sisters, who came from other countries to seek spiritual and bodily help. We began to pray earnestly, especially that God would thrust out workers in His vineyard. A missionary spirit reigned in the hearts of the Pentecostal people, and very blessed were their sacrifices for home and foreign missions. Some brothers and sisters among us had given themselves for foreign missionary work, and were waiting for the command of the Lord. Our prayers were answered. Through the help of a dear brother in Christ, in 1911, we were able to buy an old building in the centre of the city.
“Soon the building processes were going on, and on June 1, 1912, our beautiful Immanuel Hall was opened. The hall seats five hundred and fifty; above the hall are apartments, two of which are rented, while the other two are combined and used for a Home of Rest. Behind the big hall is a smaller one used for Sunday school, Bible classes, etc. Above this smaller hall are rooms for lady missionaries. Everyone will understand how we and our dear assembly felt when that building was dedicated to the Lord. Great joy and thankfulness filled our hearts and souls. Songs of praise and prayers of gratitude filled every corner of the building. Yes, Immanuel, God with us, it has been indeed. To Him only be praise!
“In October of the same year, our Bible School was opened, and five candidates were received, followed by several others. Our Home of Rest was also filled, and God blessed us and the work went on. Souls were added daily to the church, many were baptized, receiving the gifts, and the Holy Spirit had His way. What shall we say about what He did? Wonderful healings, casting out of demons, deliverance of mediums out of the snare of spiritism, was the continuous work of the blessed Holy Spirit. Above all, there was a glorious unity, not only among the brethren and sisters of the assembly, but also with all our brothers and sisters in other countries.
“From Amsterdam, we worked out to other places, and at present, we have blessed assemblies in Haarlem, Rotterdam, Hilversum, Utrecht, and on the Isle of Terschelling, Heerlen and different little groups in other places. The great war broke out, and cut off all connections with the Pentecostal centers in other countries, and we went through a difficult time, spiritually and financially, but praise the Lord, He was with us.
“In 1918, a wave of blessing swept over our assembly, the fire fell with power, and this revival continued till in 1919 God again visited us and led us in deeper ways. God’s Word became more and more living in those days; the Spirit of God worked mightily and real wonders were revealed. This revival brought again much persecution and mis-interpretation, and again we had to go through deep waters, but glory to God, He revealed in those days the great and deep mystery of the cross. ‘He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.’ This was the life of our dear Lord Jesus and will be the life of all who follow the slain Lamb of God. Suffering for the sake of Christ has become a fountain of joy, because it leads to a deeper knowledge of Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death (Phil. 3:10).
“In 1921, we had an International Convention visited by Swedish, Danish, German, Swiss, English, Scotch and American leaders and brothers and sisters; also by missionaries from different countries. We were blessed by the tie of love which bound us, and by the teaching we received from each other, fortifying us in the holy war against Satan, the world and the flesh. Since that time till now, God has been leading us on into deeper truths of the Word, in the depths of salvation, preparing us more and more for His glorious coming. Several have gone out from us to the different heathen countries, including the Belgian Congo, East India, South America and China.
“We praise God that through all the years the unity in the Spirit has been kept among us, and that throughout the whole country we are one. We pray to God that this may continue in such a way that He can reveal to us, as one body, all His fullness among us, that our assemblies will be a testimony in the midst of the spiritual deadness of Christianity, and show to them the Spirit of the true Christ of God. We are waiting and praying that we may be made conformable unto His death, that the full life of the risen Christ may be manifest in our mortal bodies and that we may be ready for His coming:
“May God bless all the dear Pentecostal people throughout the whole world by these words. We greet you as members of the same body, for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be American, Dutch, English or German. It matters not what nationality we may be, we are one in Christ, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, for we have been all made to drink into one Spirit. The body of Christ is a new race of people, born from heaven, .and as such, they are a heavenly people, seeking the things which are above.
‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.’
Taken from Stanley Frodsham’s ‘With Signs Following,’ chapter 10