Cleveland, TN—An event taking place this week is harkening back to a historic gathering for the Church of God of more than a century ago.
Starting Sunday, October 4, a tent has been erected at the corner of Central Ave. and Bible St. in Cleveland, Tennessee, and is scheduled to run through this Friday, October 9. The site is where an outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place under a tent more than 112 years ago, the place that Dr. Charles W. Conn referred to in his book The Cradle of Pentecost as the location of “The Great Revival.” According to Dr. David Roebuck, director of the Pentecostal Resource Center, the church, “entered into a spirit of revival in January 1908 that culminated with a ten-week tent meeting that lasted from August 11 until October 14. When the meeting closed there had been 105 conversions, 163 baptized with the Spirit, and 106 added to the church. It had been an extraordinary event for the town, the pastor, the local church, and all those seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
Roebuck goes on further to describe the 1908 event when Church of God General Overseer A.J. Tomlinson invited G.B. Cashwell to speak about his experience at the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. Tomlinson learned of Cashwell’s experience and invited him to Cleveland to preach at the third General Assembly in January 1908. In Roebuck’s article entitled, “Fire in the Tent: The 1908 Cleveland Revival,” he stated, “Although the business portion of the Assembly ended on Saturday, the printed program included worship services on Sunday, and Cashwell preached again on Sunday morning.”
“While Cashwell was preaching, Tomlinson fell to the floor under the power of the Spirit. According to Tomlinson, “My mind was clear, but a peculiar power so enveloped and thrilled my whole being that I concluded to yield myself up to God and await results. . . . As I lay there great joy flooded my soul. The happiest moments I had ever known up to that time. I never knew what real joy was before.… Oh, such floods and billows of glory ran through my whole being for several minutes!”
The tent meeting of 1908 attracted thousands from all movements, far and wide, and radically changed the trajectory of the ministry of the Church of God, which at that time was in its infancy, with just a few churches in Tennessee and surrounding states.
Leading the tent meeting this week is Dr. Rickie Moore, a professor at the School of Religion at Lee University. Moore’s vision for the gathering is a call to unity and reconciliation and answering the question, “Do you want to hear more about what God wants?” A website – tentmeeting2020.org – contains a connection to the nightly livefeed, several words from Moore, and the complete article by Roebuck explaining the details of the 1908 revival.