My last revival in the U.S. before the dedication of Angelus Temple was a great tent meeting in Oakland, Calif. It was in this Oakland revival that the concept of the gospel as “Foursquare” dawned in my heart.
I had not been completely content with the designations “Pentecostal” or “Full Gospel,” though I had used both on the masthead of the Bridal Call magazine. For some time, I had used the phrase “the middle of the road” to describe my position. On one side of the road stands the cold, worldly church. On the other side loomed, at that time, the frenzied fanaticism boasting manifestations that brought discredit to the precious Holy Spirit.
I stand in the middle, however, for a sane, wholesome power of the Holy Spirit that brings honor and souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. For me, the phrase “Foursquare Gospel” better describes the ministry of Jesus Christ that I am thrilled to proclaim. Let me tell you how I commenced using this expression.
During the Oakland revival in July 1922, the great tent was packed, with multitudes standing around its borders, unable to find a seat beneath the bigtop. The Spirit of God was manifest in a wonderful degree. The great audience listened with rapt attention to my message on “The Vision of Ezekiel.”
In the clouds of heaven, which folded and unfolded in fiery glory, Ezekiel had beheld the Being whose glory no mortal can describe. As he gazed upon the marvelous revelation of the Omnipotent One, he perceived four faces: those of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle.
In the face of the lion, we behold that of the mighty baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire. The face of the ox typifies the great burden-bearer, who Himself took our infirmities and carried our sicknesses, who in His boundless love and divine provision has met our every need.
In the face of the eagle, we see reflected soul-enrapturing visions of the coming King, whose pinions soon will cleave the shining heavens, whose voice will vibrate through the universe in thrilling cadences of resurrection power as He comes to catch His waiting bride away. And in the face of the man, we behold the Savior, the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, dying upon the tree for our sins.
Here is a perfect gospel, a complete gospel, for body, for soul, for spirit and for eternity, a gospel facing squarely in every direction.
The whole tent was enveloped as I developed the exposition of God’s Word. It was as though every soul there was aquiver with the harmony of celestial music. In my soul was born a melody that seemed to strike and be sustained upon four full quivering strings, as I thought upon the vision of the prophet Ezekiel.
I stood still for a moment and listened, gripping the pulpit, almost shaking with wonder and joy. Then there burst from the white heat of my heart the words: “Why—why, it’s the Foursquare Gospel. The Foursquare Gospel!” Instantly, the Spirit bore witness. Waves, billows, oceans of praises rocked the audience, which was borne aloft on the rushing winds of Holy Spirit revival.
Since that day when the Lord gave me that illumination, the term “Foursquare Gospel” has been carried around the world, as vividly and fittingly distinguishing the message He had commissioned me to preach of Jesus the Savior, Jesus the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Healer, and Jesus the Soon-Coming King.
Adapted from Aimee: The Life Story of Aimee Semple McPherson by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1979. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.