At the end of the 19th century, there was a longing for revival (a spiritual awakening where a lot of people turn to God) and many Christians worldwide prayed, “Send revival, and start with me!” In 1904 and 1905 a revival broke out in Wales where many received Jesus, and a lot of miracles followed.
The revival that affected Denmark the most took place in Los Angeles in America. An African-American with the name William J. Seymour (1870-1922) started having meetings in Los Angeles in the Azusa Mission which he lead, and which was named after the street where it was situated, Azusa Street. Seymour came from a Baptist background, was blind on one eye, and limping when walking. The building in which they had their meetings was a former Methodist church, and its capacity was approximately 40 people. He was a humble Christian, searching for the precious life in God.
On the 9th of April, the Holy Spirit fell on them in a powerful way, and they began to speak in tongues as on the Day of Pentecost. This continued for the next three nights.
God used Seymour in a powerful way. Even the toughest opponents fell to the ground and cried out to God for salvation. For hours, people prayed for the world to be saved, confessed their sins, got reconciled to other people, sick people got healed, and hypocrisy got revealed. Things that were not from God happened as well, but most of what was happening was authentic. They began to publish a weekly magazine, “The Apostolic Faith”, and shortly after they began to do tent meetings different places. Those that attended those meetings and received the gift of speaking in tongues went home to spread this new revival across America and to the whole world.
Thomas Ball Barratt (1862-1940), a Methodist pastor became the great Pentecostal apostle in Scandinavia. When he heard about the revival in Wales in 1904 and 1905 he hoped that such things would happen in Norway as well.
Hereafter, with the approval of the king of Norway, he travelled to America to collect money for a church building project that was to be named Håkonsborgen (after the king of Norway) – a great meeting hall where the gospel could be preached. But it was a failure. He had travelled across the sea with great expectation to raise a lot of finance but failed to actually do so. He was ready to go back home but then he got hold of the magazine “The Apostolic Faith” in where he read about the Pentecostal Revival and the breakthrough of the gifts of grace in Azusa Street.
He found some Pentecostal friends in New York who had been visiting the meetings in LA. They prayed for him and on the 15th of November 1906 he was baptized with the Holy Spirit, and he begun to speak in tongues. He, himself, was of the belief that he was speaking eight different kinds of gift of tongue languages. He went back to Norway without any money but with something much better: the power of God in his life.
In the spring of 1907, Barratt went to Sweden to preach, and he had success but was faced with opposition as well – for instance from the Baptists who shut the doors of their churches from the Pentecostal Movement.
In June 1907, T.B. Barratt went to Denmark to preach. He held meetings in different churches, but the actual breakthrough happened during a house meeting in a private home. On June 10th he held a meeting in warden Mollerup’s home in Gentofte, and it says in his diary: “On that night the Spirit of God fell on us. We kept praying through 4 o’clock in the morning, and the Spirit of God knocked us to the floor. Mygind the young woman, and I spoke in tongues and praised God. Mrs Mygind sang in the Spirit even though she has got no great voice, and the others were filled with such a power that it seemed that the rejoicing had no end.
It was not until Barratt came back in 1908 that the Pentecostal Movement really broke through in Denmark. This time, a famous actress with the name Anna Larssen (1875-1955) received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in one of Barratt’s meetings and began to speak in tongues. Anne Larssen’s conversion stirred the whole nation because now she did not want to be an actress anymore but would rather spend all her time telling people about Jesus. In 1912 she got married to Sigurd Bjørner, and together they started to travel around the whole country each summer in a horse-drawn carriage, which they called the “Gospel Carriage”. In the carriage was a tent, which they put up whenever they held meetings where they preached about Jesus. One summer day in 1920, they drove past “Trianglen” in Copenhagen and all of the sudden the horses would not move, no matter what they did to get them going again. They took that as a sign that this was where they were supposed to put up the tent. It resulted in becoming the greatest revival that has ever occurred on Danish site and it lasted for years. Souls were saved, sick people healed, and the Spirit fell and convinced many people about their sin.
In 1921 a fence was build around the “Gospel Tent” at “Trianglen”, and night after night they had to close the doors as there was only room for 2000 people.
And after that events followed each other in quick succession. Pentecostal churches emerged through the whole country, and they grew bigger and bigger. Other leaders raised up that was to have a great deal of impact on the history of the Pentecostal Movement. For instance, there was the bicycle dealer from Korsør, Andreas Endersen, who was known in town for his alcoholic lifestyle before turning to Jesus. When he did so it gained much attention because he immediately started to tell people about Jesus, and shortly after he experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. A smaller revival broke out which resulted in the “Evangeliemenigheden” in Korsør to be established in 1923.
In 1925 he felt called by God to travel to Copenhagen to do meetings there, and in August 1926 the Elim-congregation was founded with Endersen as the principal – the year after he moved to the capital.
H.P. Rosenvinge who became pastor in Korsør after Endersen moved to Aarhus in 1928 to plant a church, which was called the Filadelfia-congregation. Quickly, that grew big, too.
The revival in Wales began to take another twist, and in 1916 a union of 90 churches in Wales took the name “Apostolic Church”, thereby becoming a separate movement, segregated from the rest of the Pentecostal Movement. After having participated at a rally in Wales in 1923, Sigurd and Anna Bjørner chose to be transferred to The Apostolic Church. More churches followed along, whereas others chose to remain to exist as independent Pentecostal churches.
Elim, which had grown to become the largest Pentecostal church in Denmark under the leadership of Endersen, experienced a division, too. In 1947, 300 members and four elders resigned from Elim to found a new church, which got the name “Tabor” with Holger Petersen as principal.
On the 22nd of October 1955, Mariager Højskole (bible school) was opened, and the school became a pivotal point that united the Pentecostal Movement. Now, all the national rallies were organized here (today called SommerCamp) which before had been held on different locations all over the nation. Later on, more boarding schools were built in Mariager: Mariager Efterskole, Frydensberg Efterskole, and Alterna that just recently was moved to Hillerød.
Through the 70’s, the Danish Pentecostal churches experienced a renewal through the Jesus-movement from America who with simple worship songs, authentic faith, and a boldness to share their faith with others, created new life.
During the 80’s, Tabor and Elim got together to make Christian television (KKR), and on October 27th 1984 they broadcasted their first television programme. Later on, the Pentecostal Church in Aalborg began do to local Christian television as well (AKTV).
On the 8th of December 1992, Elim and Tabor chose to join forces again to become one, big church with the name “Pentecostal Church Copenhagen”. They assumed the former technical school on Nørrebro, a 5-floor property on 15.000 square metres, where they gathered all their activities, and they gave the building the name “Københavns Kristne Kulturcenter” (Copenhagen Christian Cultural Centre).
They experienced revival conditions shortly after in a series of meetings with the healing preacher Charles Ndifon. He had previously featured on Danish national TV in a television series called “The Power of the Spirits” in which the television producers had brought a diseased woman who got healed.
When the meetings with Ndifon was held in the cultural centre people got in line 3-4 hours before the night services were to begin. The house had a capacity of 1200 and it was filled to the brim every night. They had to open up extra rooms in where they transmitted on large screens what was going on in the auditorium. Every night hundreds of people were denied access because there was not enough room. A lot of people got healed.
Even though The Pentecostal and Apostolic Church have not been reunited, they have merged together with other Free Churches to found FrikirkeNet so that they can all be in a stronger position publicly, working together e.g. in areas of media, conferences, campaigns, and work groups for specific projects. FrikirkeNet’s overall goal is to preach the Christian Gospel in Denmark.